Greek Life Terms

Alumna/Alumnae: An initiated member of a sorority who has received her undergraduate degree.

Alumnus/Alumni: An initiated member of a fraternity who has received his undergraduate degree.

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

Big Brother or Sister: A member assigned to assist and mentor a new member in his or her college transition.

Brother: A term used within men’s fraternities when referring to other members.

Call: Audible sounds used, typically used by MGC and NPHC members, to acknowledge or gain the attention of other members.

Chapter: A chartered undergraduate or alumni group that is recognized by the inter/national fraternity or sorority.

Frater(s): Member(s) of the same fraternity.  The term, is sometimes used in NPHC in reference to any fraternity man.

Hand Sign: Symbol or gesture made with the hand(s) that signify membership in a particular organization, usually MGC or NPHC chapters. Hand signs are special to members of that organization and should not be replicated by non-members.

Informal/Open Recruitment: The unstructured recruitment process by which fraternities and sororities take members throughout the academic year. 

Informational: A meeting to provide membership information to prospective members.  Also referred to as an interest meeting.

Initiation: The formal Ritual that brings new members into full membership of the sorority or fraternity. Through initiation, members learn and pledge themselves to uphold the ideals of the sorority or fraternity.

Interfraternity Council (IFC):  The governing body of all North-American Interfraternity Conference fraternities.

Legacy: A prospective member whose parent, sibling, or grandparent is an alumnae/alumni or active of a sorority or fraternity.

Line: The persons who were initiated together.  The terms is primarily used in MGC and NPHC organizations.

Line Brothers/Sisters: Persons that were a part of the same initiation (membership) process, at the same time and in the same chapter.  Each person usually obtains a number during initiation, which is referred to as a Line Number.  Primarily used in MGC and NPHC organizations.

Membership Intake: The process of acquiring membership into a NPHC organization.  NOTE: Analogous to the recruitment process.

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC): The governing body of historically Black sororities and fraternities, sometimes referred to as the Divine Nine, being derived from the nine organizations that make up the council.

Mutlticultural Greek Council (MGC): The governing body of the multicultural sororities and fraternities at UC Irvine.

Neophyte: A new member of an NPHC organization during his/her first year of membership.

New Member: A woman or man who has accepted a fraternity or sorority bid, but has not been initiated.

New Member Education Period: The period of time before initiation when new members learn about their fraternity or sorority.

Panhellenic Association (PHA): The governing body for all National Panhellenic Conference sororities.

Philanthropy: Fund-raising projects sponsored by fraternities or sororities supporting local and inter/national charitable organizations.

Potential Members: A person participating in recruitment or intake.

Recruitment Counselor: A Panhellenic sorority member who has disaffiliated with her sorority during recruitment, to assist potential members through the formal recruitment process.

Sands: Persons that were initiated together at the same time (i.e. Fall 2001), not necessarily a chapter.  Primarily used in NPHC organizations

Sister: A term used within sororities when referring to other members.

Soror(s): Member(s) of the same sorority.  Sometimes used in NPHC functions to refer to any sorority woman.

Step Show: A Black Greek function characterized by synchronized hand an foot movements, along with singing, dancing, chanting, and acting.

Strolling: Coordinated movements done in a line by NPHC and MGC organizations to show unity.  It is often demonstrated at social gatherings or during step shows.

Week: Period of times when a Black Greek-letter organization sponsors a variety of events for the campus.  May include educational programs, discussions or debates, variety shows, parties, and step shows.  Sometimes they are referred to as Founders’ Week.  NOTE: Analogous to the philanthropic weeks of IFC and PHC.