Carnegie Mellon University

Common Greek Terms

Active:
a formal initiated member of a fraternity or sorority
Alumnae:
a sorority member who has graduated from college
Alumnus:
a fraternity member who has graduated from college
Badge(pin):
the insignia that designates your Greek organization
Bid:
a formal invitation to join a Greek organization
Big Brother/Sister:
An active member assigned to be the personal mentor for a new member
Brother:
a term used when referring to other members of a fraternity
Call/Chant:
A vocal sound (sometimes high-pitched) used by members of cultural-based Greek organizations to acknowledge one another
Chapter:
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
Colony:
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."
Crossed:
the actual date of initiation into a cultural Greek organization. The term is used to represent the symbolic “crossing of the burning sands.”
Fraternity:
a Greek organization for men
Greek:
a member of a fraternity or sorority
Hazing: 
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
Intake:
The membership recruitment and induction process for the National Pan-Hellenic Council (historically African-American fraternities and sororities) and other culturally-based organizations.

Inter-fraternity Council (IFC):
the representative body governing fraternities

Initiation:
the traditional ritual or ceremony which brings the new member into full membership
Legacy:
a prospective member who has a family member in the same fraternity or sorority
Line:
the new class of members of a cultural Greek organization
National Panhellenic Conference (NPC):
the representative body of national sororities
National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC):
the representative body governing national historically black Greek organizations
Neophyte:
a new member of a cultural Greek 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, Greek leadership and campus involvement
New Member Pin:
a pin that designates a new member of a Greek organization
Philanthropy:
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)
Ritual:
the traditional ceremonies of a chapter, which are usually secret
Potential New Member:
a term for men or women being recruited by a Greek organization
Sister:
a term used when referring to other members of a sorority
Sorority:
a Greek 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 Greek organizations (usually at a party or step show)
Alumni/Alumnae:
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 Greeks 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.
Leadership:
Many leadership opportunities are available within the Greek community. Not only are officer positions available in each chapter, but also Greek affiliation opens doors to organizations all over campus.
Scholarship:
The Greek 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.
Sisterhood/Brotherhood:
Intangible, yet the most cherished of assets among all Greek 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.
Social:
The Greek 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.