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Greek Glossary

Active - A dues paying initiated member of a fraternity or sorority who can participate in chapter events

Alumna/Alumnus - An initiated member who has graduated.

Associate/New Member- a member of an IFC fraternity or PHC sorority not yet initiated.

Bid - A formal invitation to join a chapter.

Big Brother/Sister - An active who befriends and becomes a mentor for a younger member

Brother/Sister - A term used by active members in a chapter when referring to each other.

Calls – a unique vocal expression attributed by an NPHC or MGC organization.

  • Please Don’t: Repeat an organization’s particular call or response. It is considered a sign of disrespect.

Chapter - The local collegiate group of a national fraternity or sorority.

Charter - the official document recognizing a chapter’s status by the national organization.

Colony- status of a new chapter before installation.

Colors - The official pair or triad of colors that represent a specific Greek organization.

Crest - Insignia used by sorority and fraternity members. Most Greek organizations reserve the crest for initiated members only. Each crest has hidden, secret meanings behind it. Also known as a coat or arms or shield.

Divine Nine: Term used to describe the nine NPHC affiliate organizations.

Dues - Charge of joining a fraternity or sorority. Covers costs of operation, formal events, activities and other events.

Formal Recruitment - A time when IFC fraternities/PHC sororities sponsor activities seeking potential new members.

Frater/Frat- NPHC term used to refer to one’s fraternity or a fraternity brother.

Greek - Any member of a social fraternity or sorority.

Handshake - special handshake unique to each organization. Only initiated members will know the handshake. Also known as a Grip.

Hazing - Any degrading activity that would cause mental or physical harm to an individual or group. This is completely unacceptable to any East Carolina University student.

House Director/House Mom - A person hired to live in the chapter house and supervise the chapter members.

IFC - Interfraternity Council; a representative governing body of fraternities affiliated with the North American Interfraternity Conference.

Inactive Member - An NPHC member who has elected or due to grades has to become inactive in sorority or fraternity life. They have no say or participation in chapter activities.

Initiated Member - Any member who has gone through the initiation ceremony and is currently enrolled.

Initiation - A formal ceremony that brings about the transition from new member to initiated member.

Intake - Term for the process by which NPHC/MGC members are selected to become new members of an organization.

Informational Meeting- An informational is a program usually hosted by NPHC/MGC organizations that strictly gives information to interested students. 

Interest Meeting- A meeting usually hosted by NPHC/MGC chapters for prospective members to receive information about the intake process.

Legacy - A person whose parent, sibling, or grandparent is an alumna/alumnus or active member of a sorority/fraternity.  For NPHC a legacy may need to be active as a graduate member.  Not all organizations recognize legacies.

Membership Recruitment Acceptance Binding Agreement - A signed card by a potential new member after the last day of Panhellenic recruitment, indicating the potential new member's preferences of the chapters that she attended in the last round.

National - A term referring to the Headquarters of a given fraternity or sorority.

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) - The governing organization that promotes the historically African-American fraternities and sororities that belong to the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

Neophyte (Neo) - Term used by NPHC when referring to new members.

New Member/Pledge - A person who has accepted an invitation to a chapter and has not yet been initiated.

New Member Presentation  - An event referred to by the NPHC where new members are presented to the East Carolina University community. Also referred as: Coming Out Show/Probate/Roll Out.

On the Yard – an NPHC phrase meaning that a chapter is currently chartered on campus.

Open Recruitment - Membership selection process that occurs throughout the academic year; also known as continuous open bidding among Panhellenic sororities.

Order of Omega - national honor society that recognizes and promotes Greek leadership and scholastics.

Panhellenic Council (NPC) - The governing organization that promotes and represents sororities belonging to the National Panhellenic Conference.

Philanthropy - A charitable project sponsored by a fraternity or sorority

Potential New Member - A term used by IFC/PHC members for students going through the formal recruitment process.

Prophyte - An older member of an NPHC organization.

Quota - The specified number of new members each NPC sorority can accept through formal recruitment.

Recruitment Counselors (Pi Chi) - NPC sorority members who have disassociated themselves from their chapters during recruitment to support women going through the recruitment process.

Ritual - Sacred and inspirational ceremonies used to inspire and educate members about the importance of the organization.

Signs – a display of organization pride expressed by hand symbols

  • Please don’t: Emulate an organization’s sign. It is a sign of disrespect

Social - A get-together with another group for a party, dinner, or other fun occasion.

Soror - NPHC term referring to one’s sorority sister.

Stepping/Step Show - a tradition of NPHC organizations where entertaining synchronized movements and routines are performed.

Strolling – NPHC Organizational members move together in a line expressing pride for their organization. In this line, members may express their pride through use of their organization’s call, sign or historical information, ritual/custom dances, etc. All of this is done through movements that are unique to a particular organization.

  • Please Don’t: Emulate the stroll or cut in between members of the line. That is considered a sign of disrespect.

Total - The maximum number of members a PHC sorority can have. Sororities can only exceed total during formal recruitment, if for example, taking new members would put them at 180 members and total is 140.   If a sorority has obtained quota during recruitment and is still below total, that sorority may continue to ask new members to join.