Greek Terms 101

Alphabet
Certain terms may be used more by IFC, NPHC, PA or USFC members than others.

Advisor

Alumnus member who serves as a resource to chapters and act as a liaison between alums and collegiate members.

Alumni/Alumnae

Initiated member of a fraternity/sorority who has graduated from college 
Alumnus (male)
Alumni (men)
Alumna (female)
Alumnae (women) 
Alum (abbreviation) 

Badge/Pin

Given and wore over the heart at all official functions with at least business attire by initiated members of the organization.

Bid

A formal invitation to join a particular IFC fraternity/CPA sorority extended by a chapter.

Bid Day

The last day of recruitment in which new members receive bids to join a particular IFC fraternity/CPA sorority.

Big/Little (Lil’)

Terms used for mentors assigned between new members and actives/prophytes. The active members/prophytes are typically charged with guiding new members through their new member period and initiation.

Call

A yell used mostly by NPHC organizations (although some NIC, NPC and local orgs have calls as well) to promote pride in their organization and greet brothers/sisters. Non-members are not permitted to use another organization’s call.

Chapter

A small group of a larger organization, regional or Inter/National headquarters, typically designated by a specific Greek name established at a University or college.

Collegian/Collegiate

An initiated member of a fraternity or sorority currently in college.

Dry

Term typically referring to a place that is designated as “alcohol-free” including a fraternity which does not permit alcohol on their chapter house premises and may not allow the organization to host a party involving alcohol. Fraternities can be dry at the Inter/National level or chapter level. Sororities each have different levels of “dry”. For example, one may allow the sorority to attend a function hosted by a non-dry fraternity, while another sorority may not. 

Dues

Monetary cost of membership in a fraternity/sorority; fees are used to cover the costs of operation, formal events, social activities, and other events, depending on the organization.

Expansion/Extension

Process of an organization beginning a new chapter of the organization at a college or university.

Greek

Applied to students who are members affiliated with Greek organizations.

HQ/Headquarters

The central office of the Regional/Inter/National Greek organization of a particular fraternity/sorority. These offices are responsible for making policies for the organization that are meant to be implemented through all of its collegiate chapters. It is most accurate to use the term “headquarters” as opposed to “nationals” as many organizations are international with chapters in the U.S.A. and Canada.

House Director

A person hired to live in the chapter house. Responsibilities vary per chapter.

Informational

A meeting held by a chapter for prospective members who are seeking general information about the organization.

IFC

Stands for Interfraternity Conference and governs member organizations of the 11 IFC chapters at Fresno State.

Initiate

An undergraduate who has been initiated into life-long membership.

Initiation Ceremony/Crossing

A process during which new members receive lifelong membership privileges into the organization they have chosen to be a part of. This is typically and formal, ceremonial type event where active member of the group are also present. Events are private and different for all organizations. Culturally-based and NPHC organizations use the term “crossing”. Chapters initiate/cross members at various times.

Intake

The membership selection process for historically African-American sororities and fraternities.

Legacy

A potential new member who is the son/daughter/brother/sister of an active/alum member of the organization. Each organization has its own definition of a “legacy” and some organizations also include grandchildren or step children. Some organizations also dictate that a “legacy” potential new member is invited to attend the next round of formal Panhellenic recruitment. However, legacies are not guaranteed a bid from the organization they are a legacy to, nor are they required to select the organization as one of their choices during the recruitment process. An in-house legacy is potential new member who has a sibling who is currently a collegian in the organization.

Line Brothers/Sisters (LBs/LSs)

Individuals who are members of the same intake class.

Neophyte (Neo)

The newest members of an organization; typically designated as such until another intake process occurs.

New Member/Associates

Student who has accepted the bid or invitation for membership of a Greek organization but has not yet been initiated/crossed.

NPHC

Stands for National Pan-Hellenic Council, governs member organizations of the 5 NPHC chapters at Fresno State.

PA

Stands for Panhellenic Association and governs member organizations of the 6 PA chapters at Fresno State.

Parallels (Ls)

Term used to identify members who become members at the same time. Typically used by culturally-based organizations (NPHC / USFC).

Pari

Term short for "paraphenalia" used to refer to hats, shirts, jerseys, etc. that contain the organizations letters, colors, logos, crests, etc. Typically used by culturally-based organizations (NPHC / USFC).

Philanthropy

Refers to either a community service and/or fundraising project sponsored by a chapter or the non-profit organization in which an organization has specified as it’s official “philanthropy” signifying a special relationship and desire to give (time/money) to the organization, sometimes officially named by the inter/national organization.

Probate/Coming Out

A show used to introduce new members of the organization.

Prophytes

A show used to refer to older members of the organization. Typically used by culturally-based organizations (particularly NPHC).

Potential New Member

A college student not affiliated with a fraternity/sorority who is eligible and shows interest in joining by attending recruitment/intake activities. The term is often abbreviated to PNM. 

Recruitment

Organized effort to meet potential new members to join a chapter.

Recruitment Counselor

Active SDSU sorority member who serves on the CPA side of recruitment in order to guide Potential New Members during the process of formal recruitment.

Ritual

A secret ceremony of a Greek organization performed by active fraternity/sorority members that is prescribed and endorsed by the chapters’ headquarters. The document containing the rituals and elements therein are sacred to each fraternity/sorority. Only initiated members may be privy to rituals.

Step

A series of complex, synchronous, and precise rhythmic body movements performed to the tune of stomps, songs, or chants created by organization members. A Step Show hosts all members of NPHC chapters from anywhere doing step/stroll.

USFC

Stands for United Sorority and Fraternity Council and governs member organizations of the 20 USFC chapters at Fresno State.

Yard

All members of NPHC chapters at the University. A Yard Show hosts only members of NPHC chapters at the University doing step/stroll.