Saint Louis University

Greek Glossary

Here are some of the terms used within fraternities and sororities.

Active: A fully-initiated undergraduate member of a fraternity or sorority

Alumnus/Alumna: An initiated fraternity/sorority member who has graduated from the university

Bid: A formal invitation from a chapter asking a prospective member to join

Chapter: The local membership of a national fraternity or sorority

Colony: A fraternity or sorority that has received recognition from the university and governing councils but is not yet a fully-recognized chapter by their national organization and governing council

Fraternity: A greek-letter organization that may comprised of men and/or women

Social Function: A social event hosted by a fraternity or sorority

Greek: The name applied to affiliated fraternity and sorority members

Initiation: The traditional ritual or ceremony in which a new member becomes a full member

Interfraternity Council: The campus governing council of men’s fraternities

Invite: An official invitation to come back and meet the members of a chapter

Legacy: A woman whose mother, sister or grandmother is an alumna of a sorority; a man whose father, brother or grandfather is an alumni of a fraternity

Membership Intake: Membership selection process used by NPHC fraternities and sororities

National Panhellenic Conference: An organization composed of 26 member women’s sororities

National Pan-Hellenic Council: A governing organization of nine historically-African American fraternities and sororities

New Member: A prospective member from the time he/she accepts a bid to affiliate until the time he/she is initiated

New Member Program: A period of adjustment to Greek life, during which new members learn the history and values about the fraternity/sorority, its members and activities

North-American Interfraternity Conference: An organization composed of 58 member national men’s fraternities

Panhellenic Council: The campus governing council of women’s sororities

Philanthropy: A service project sponsored by a fraternity or sorority that raises money for a non-profit organization

Potential/Prospective Member: Undergraduate men and women who are participating in recruitment and are interested in joining a fraternity or sorority

Recruitment/Rush: The membership recruitment and selection process held by fraternities and sororities

Ritual: Fraternity or sorority ritual may include ceremonies and symbols that are connected to the values and ideals of the organization. Some ritual is open to non-members, while some is only open to chapter members

Sorority: a greek-letter organization that may comprised of women.

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