Greek Definitions and Terminology
As you learn more about Greek Life, get yourself acquainted with these frequently used terms.
Active: A member who has been initiated into lifelong fraternity or sorority membership and is active at the collegiate level.
Alumni/Alumnae: Initiated fraternity or sorority members who have graduated from college.
Badge: The pin of an initiated member.
Bid: A formal invitation to join a particular fraternity or sorority.
Big Brother or Sister: An active member of a fraternity or sorority who serves as a sponsor, advisor, and special friend to a new member, guiding him or her through the new member program and initiation.
Brother: A term used by fraternity members to refer to one another.
Chapter: A local group of the larger international organization, designated by a special Greek name.
Depledge: To terminate one's fraternity or sorority membership before initiation; those who depledge a fraternity or sorority may not pledge another fraternity or sorority until the next formal recruitment period.
Function: A social activity with another Greek organization.
Fraternity: The name that applies to all Greek organizations characterized by a ritual, pin, and strong ties to friendship and moral principles. Informally, women's fraternities are called sororities.
Greek: Any member of a Greek-letter social or community service organization (sorority or fraternity).
Greek 101: The program put on by the office of Fraternity and Sorority Life to educate new members on the expectations of being Greek, member responsibilities, alcohol consumption, and various other pertinent topics.
Initiation: The formal ceremony that marks the beginning of active membership. Each chapter has a different set of requirements in order to be initiated.
Interfraternity Council (IFC): The governing body of fraternities at UNLV. IFC operates under the affiliation requirements of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC).
Initiated Member: Any member who has completed the new member process and has gone through the initiation ceremony.
Intake: The process National Pan-Hellenic Council chapters perform to recruit, interview, choose,and educate new members.
Lavaliere: A pendant with a fraternity or sorority's Greek letters on it. Sorority members usually receive their chapter's lavaliere at the time of initiation.
Legacy: The brother or sister, son or daughter, or grandson or granddaughter of a fraternity or sorority member. Each local chapter has its own policy regarding legacies. Though preference is given to legacies, they are not guaranteed membership.
Membership Recruitment/Rush: The process of mutual selection between a prospective member and active chapter.
NIC (North-American Interfraternity Conference): Governing body for 66 national member men's fraternities and alumni associations.
NPC (National Pan-Hellenic Conference): A national organization composed of 26 member sororities, each of which is autonomous as a social, Greek-letter society of women, undergraduates, and alumnae.
NPHC (National Pan-Hellenic Council): A national organization composed of four sororities and five fraternities whose membership is historically African-American.
International Headquarters: The central organization of a particular fraternity or sorority.
New Member: A member of a fraternity or sorority who has not been initiated.
New Member Program: A period of learning about fraternity and sorority life prior to initiation. This period varies for all groups.
Pan-Hellenic: Means "All Greek." It is an association for all Greek-affiliated women. The Pan-Hellenic Council operates under the direction of the National Pan-Hellenic Conference (NPC).
Philanthropy: A charitable fundraiser or service project sponsored by a fraternity or sorority.
Pledge: See "New Member."
Pledgeship: See "New Member Program."
Potential New Member: A college woman who is participating in formal membership recruitment.
Preferencing: During the last part of recruitment, a potential new member determines which particular sorority she is willing to join. For sorority membership recruitment, the potential new member lists two sororities in her order of preference.
Quota: The specified number of potential new members to which each sorority may extend a bid.
Recruitment Counselor: A sorority member who has disaffiliated herself from her chapter during formal membership recruitment. She is specially trained to help potential new members and answer any questions they may have about sorority membership. Also referred to as a Rho Gamma.
Sister: A term used by sorority members to refer to one another.
Social: A get-together with another group for a party, a dinner, or another fun occasion.