Carnegie Mellon University

Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL) Terms

a formal initiated member of a fraternity or sorority
a sorority member who has graduated from college
a fraternity member who has graduated from college
the insignia that designates your FSL organization
a formal invitation to join a FSL organization
Big Brother/Sister:
An active member assigned to be the personal mentor for a new member
a term used when referring to other members of a fraternity
A vocal sound (sometimes high-pitched) used by members of cultural-based FSL organizations to acknowledge one another
name for the local organization of a national fraternity/sorority
Chapter Advisor:
an alumnus/alumnae or faculty/staff member who serves in an advisory role to the organization
a newly formed affiliate of a national organization that has not yet received its charter. The members of a colony are referred to as "founders."
the actual date of initiation into a cultural FSL organization. The term is used to represent the symbolic “crossing of the burning sands.”
a FSL organization for men
Mental or physical abuse or harassment of a member. Hazing is prohibited by university policy, state law, and the policies of national fraternities and sororities.
House Corporation:
Alumni organization which owns and/or manages a chapter house
The membership recruitment and induction process for the National Pan-Hellenic Council (historically African-American fraternities and sororities) and other culturally-based organizations.

Interfraternity Council (IFC):
the representative body governing fraternities

the traditional ritual or ceremony which brings the new member into full membership
a prospective member who has a family member in the same fraternity or sorority
the new class of members of a cultural FSL organization
National Panhellenic Conference (NPC):
the representative body of national sororities
National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC):
the representative body governing national historically black FSL organizations
a new member of a cultural FSL organization, sometimes referred to as a “neo”
New/Associate Member:
one who has been accepted as a probationary member of a sorority or fraternity but has not been initiated (some organizations use other terms such as pledge, associate, candidate, or line brother/sister). Collectively, new members who join the same semester are called the new member class or pledge class.
New Member Education Process:
the time period in which candidates (or new members) for active membership learn about the organization and participate in brotherhood/sisterhood activities
Order of Omega:
a national honor society recognizing fraternity and sorority members who excel in academic achievement, FSL leadership and campus involvement
New Member Pin:
a pin that designates a new member of a FSL organization
the chapter's specific charitable organization(s) where they donate money and volunteer hours
Recruitment (sometimes called RUSH):
the membership recruitment process; potential new members are sometimes referred to as rushees
Recruitment Counselor
a disaffiliated member of an organization who assists potential members through the recruitment process (only in Panhellenic sororities)
the traditional ceremonies of a chapter, which are usually secret
Potential New Member:
a term for men or women being recruited by a FSL organization
a term used when referring to other members of a sorority
a FSL organization for women
Strict Silence:
not discussing recruitment with non-sorority members outside of the Panhellenic recruitment events (only applies to Panhellenic Sorority recruitment)
Stroll/Step Show:
a line dance done by members of cultural FSL organizations (usually at a party or step show)
Sorority and fraternity membership is a lifetime association. After your graduation, you will always have a group to return to for homecoming and alumni weekends. Alumni are the backbone of sororities and fraternities. They contribute experience to strengthen each chapter. They also can be contributing factors in your life and future endeavors.
Community Service:
Philanthropies provide opportunities for FSLs to participate in community and national service projects. Not all donations are monetary. Many hours of time have been donated as well. All of these experiences are very rewarding and result in a great sense of accomplishment.
Many leadership opportunities are available within the FSL community. Not only are officer positions available in each chapter, but also FSL affiliation opens doors to organizations all over campus.
The FSL community at Carnegie Mellon strives for high scholarship. A minimum grade point average is required by sororities and fraternities in order to become an initiated member. Each chapter has a scholarship program to provide incentives, coordinate study hours, and to encourage members to achieve their highest academic goals.
Intangible, yet the most cherished of assets among all FSL members, sisterhood and brotherhood are the foundations of sorority and fraternity life. Both are difficult to explain, but they can be basically characterized by their most common and identifiable element.
The FSL community at Carnegie Mellon offers a well-rounded social life and provides the opportunity for developing lifelong friendships. Many activities are organized not only to become closer to one's sisters and brothers, but to members of other chapters as well. Men and women get together for original theme parties, and informal or formal dances that provide many rewarding and fun memories.