Student Involvement & Career Center

Image: Photos of the diverse SF State Student community getting involved in various activities such as joining organizations and participating in the SF State Greek Life. Also pictured is the Student Involvement and Career Center Logo.

Greek Terms

The following is a list of commonly used terms in the Greek community.

Active: A member who has been initiated into a fraternity or sorority membership and is active at either the collegiate level or alumni level.

Alumna/Alumnus/Alumni: A member of a sorority/fraternity who is no longer in college.

Badge: The pin of an initiated member.

Bid: A formal invitation to join a fraternity or sorority.

Bid Day: The last day of recruitment when new members accept their bids and officially join their new organization.

Big: Short for "big sister" or "big brother"; an active member who serves as a mentor for newer members.

Brother: A term used by fraternity members to refer to one another.

Chapter: A local group of the larger national organization.

Chapter Advisor: An alumni member of an organization who advises or mentor a local chapter.

Chapter Consultant: An alumna or alumnus who works for the national organization and maintains a close advisory relationship with a local chapter.

City-Wide: Typically refers to chapters whose members span more the one particular campus to make up one complete chapter.

Closed Relations: A period of time when conversations and contact between potential new members and fraternity active members and alumni are strictly limited by the recruitment guidelines.

Colony: A student organization in the final stage before being installed as a charted chapter of a nationally affiliated organization.

Community Service :A donation of time and/or service given to the surrounding community by an organization; not to be looked at as charity, but rather a joint communal effort with the community and the organization.

Frat: Short for fraternity; or a reference to ones fraternity brother (typical of NPHC members).

Fraternity: The name applied to all Greek-letter organizations. Informally, this name applies to men's groups while women's organizations may be sororities or female fraternities.

Greeks: Members of a Greek-letter fraternity or sorority.

Greek Week: An annual celebration (sometimes bi-annual) in which chapters participate in educational, social, and service events. It is a time for all Greek organizations to unify.

Hazing: Any willful act or practice by a member or associate member, directed against a member or associate member, which, with or without intent, is likely to: cause bodily harm or danger, offensive punishment, or disturbing pain, compromise the person's dignity; cause embarrassment or shame in public; cause the person to be the object of malicious amusement or ridicule; cause psychological harm or substantial emotional strain; and impair academic efforts. In addition, hazing is any requirement by a member or new member, which compels a member or new member to participate in any activity that is illegal, is contrary to a member's or new member's moral or religious beliefs, or is contrary to the rules and regulations of the fraternity, institution of learning, and civil authorities. Please visit hazing law and policy for more information.

Inactive Member: An individual is still a member of the organization, but is denoted as "inactive" to designate that they no longer participate in the day-to-day activities of the fraternity or sorority. This status usually has a time limit of 1 academic year or less.

Initiation: The formal ceremony that brings a new member into full Greek membership. Each chapter has a different set of requirements that must be met in order to be initiated.

Intake: The process by which NPHC chapters recruit, inform, and initiate new members.

Interest: Someone who is interested in a particular organization.

Local Chapter – "Local": a Greek-letter group which exists on a campus but which has no affiliation with a national Greek organization.

Legacy: Someone whose mother, father, sister, brother, grandmother, or grandfather is an initiated member of a Greek organization.

Line: The new member class of a NPHC chapter.

Little: Short for "little sister" or "little brother"; a newer member who is mentored by an older member of the organization.

Nationals: Reference to the national headquarters and/or ruling governing body of a nationally incorporated Greek-lettered sorority or fraternity. Also, slang for any Greek-lettered sorority or fraternity that is characterized as a national organization.

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC): An umbrella organization for nine historically black, international Greek lettered fraternities and sororities. Each of the nine NPHC organizations evolved during a period when African-Americans were being denied essential rights and privileges afforded other college students. It is referred to as the Divine Nine.

National Panhellenic Conference (NPC): The governing body for 26 national and international sororities and female fraternities.

North American Inter-fraternity Conference (NIC): A conference of men's private fraternities founded in 1909, which includes 66 members, national and international fraternal organizations comprising 5500 chapters in the United States and Canada.

New Member: A potential member who has accepted the bid of a fraternity or sorority, but who has not been initiated.

New Member Educator: The chapter officer who oversees the development of new members and prepares them for initiation

New Member Program: The period of learning about fraternity and sorority life prior to initiation. In addition to learning the history of the organization, new members may attend presentations on topics such as study skills, acquaintance rape, substance abuse, and other important issues.

Philanthropy: A service project sponsored by a chapter from which donations of goods, money, and/or time are given to charitable organizations. A charitable activity.

Potential New Member: A college man or woman who is participating in Recruitment.

Preferential Bidding: The process of mutual selection between Panhellenic sororities and potential new members.

Probate Show: The introduction of new members of a NPHC chapter to the Greek and campus communities.

Quota: A specified number of women a Panhellenic sorority may offer bids to during formal recruitment.

Recruitment: A series of events offering members and potential members the opportunity to get to know each other.

Recruitment Counselor: An initiated member of a Panhellenic sorority who guides potential new members through the recruitment process.

Recruitment Guidelines: Guidelines set forth to ensure a fair and stress-free Recruitment process.

Silence: A period of time when conversation and contact between potential new members and Panhellenic sorority active members and alumnae are strictly limited by recruitment guidelines.

Sister: A term used by sorority members to refer to one another.

Soror: An initiated member of a NPHC sorority. A reference to ones sorority sister.

Sorority: A group of women joined together in friendship for leadership and academic purposes.

Sovereign Rights: The basic rights of fraternities and sororities as private voluntary organizations that cannot be precluded by other agents or entities. For example, the right to be single gender organizations.

Unanimous Agreements: Statements binding on all members of NPC organizations that express the fair play essential to inter-fraternity activity and that set forth the expectations and the rights of women's fraternities.

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