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Greek Terminology

Fraternity & Sorority members sometimes use terminology that may seem a bit confusing. Here are some common terms used by Greek members and their definitions:

Active:
A member of a fraternity or sorority who has been initiated and is currently an undergraduate in college.

Alumna/Alumnae:
An initiated member of a sorority who has received her undergraduate degree.

Alumnus/Alumni:
An initiated member of a fraternity who has received his undergraduate degree.

Bid:
A formal invitation to join a sorority or fraternity.

Big Brother or Sister:
An older member assigned to assist a new member in his or her college transition.

Brother:
A term used within men’s fraternities when referring to other members.

Call:
Audible sounds used, typically used by MGC and NPHC members, to acknowledge or gain the attention of other members.

Chapter:
A chartered undergraduate or alumni group that is recognized by the inter/national fraternity or sorority.

Formal Recruitment:
A structured period set aside (typically 1-2 weeks in the Spring semester) where potential members and chapters participate in a mutual selection process to match potential members with IFC and PHC chapters.

Frater(s):
Member(s) of the same fraternity. The term, Frat, is sometimes used in NPHC in reference to any fraternity man.

Greek Row:
Greek Row at UTA is where many of our UTA Fraternity and Sororities have housing.  There are currently nine organizations with housing on Greek Row.

Hand Sign:
Symbol or gesture made with the hand(s) that signify membership in a particular organization, usually MGC or NPHC chapters. Hand signs are special to members of that organization and should not be replicated by non-members.

Informal/Open Recruitment:
The unstructured recruitment process by which fraternities and sororities take members throughout the academic year. NOTE: Recruitment is not typically a practice for MGC or NPHC.

Informational:
A meeting to provide membership information to prospective members. Also referred to as an interest meeting. (This is mostly done by MGC & NPHC groups)

Initiation:
The formal Ritual that brings new members into full membership of the sorority or fraternity. Through initiation, members learn and pledge themselves to uphold the ideals of the sorority or fraternity.

Interfraternity Council (IFC):
The governing body of all North-American Interfraternity Conference fraternities.

Legacy:
A prospective member whose parent, sibling, or grandparent is an alumnae/alumni or active of a sorority or fraternity.

Line:
The persons who were initiated together. The terms is primarily used in MGC and NPHC organizations.

Line Brothers/Sisters:
Persons that were a part of the same initiation (membership) process, at the same time and in the same chapter. Each person usually obtains a number during initiation, which is referred to as a Line Number. Primarily used in MGC and NPHC organizations.

Membership Intake:
The process of acquiring membership into a NPHC organization. NOTE: Analogous to the recruitment process.

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC):
The governing body of historically Black sororities and fraternities, sometimes referred to as the Divine Nine, being derived from the nine organizations that make up the council.

Neophyte:
A new member of an NPHC organization during his/her first year of membership.

New Member:
A woman or man who has accepted a fraternity or sorority bid, but has not been initiated.

New Member Education Period:
The period of time before initiation when new members learn about their fraternity or sorority.

Panhellenic Council (PHC):
The governing body for all National Panhellenic Conference sororities.

Philanthropy:
Fund-raising projects sponsored by fraternities or sororities supporting local and inter/national charitable organizations.

Potential Members:
A person participating in recruitment or intake.

Recommendation (Rec.):
A letter or statement written by an alumna to the chapter of her sorority on this campus recommending a potential member for bid offering. It is the responsibility of the sorority to obtain the “recs.,” but the potential member may also ask an alumna to write a letter.

Recruitment Counselor:
A PHC sorority member who has disaffiliated with her sorority (for a short period of time) during recruitment, to assist potential members through the formal recruitment process.

Sands:
Persons that were initiated together at the same time (i.e. Fall 2001), not necessarily a chapter. Primarily used in NPHC organizations.

Sister:
A term used within sororities when referring to other members.

Soror(s):
Member(s) of the same sorority. Sometimes used in NPHC functions to refer to any sorority woman.

Step Show:
A Black Greek function characterized by synchronized hand an foot movements, along with singing, dancing, chanting, and acting.

Strolling/Strutting/Party Walking:
Coordinated movements done in a line by NPHC and MGC organizations to show unity. It is often demonstrated at social gatherings or during step shows.

Week:
Period of times when a Black Greek-letter organization sponsors a variety of events for the campus. May include educational programs, discussions or debates, variety shows, parties, and step shows. Sometimes they are referred to as Founders’ Week. NOTE: Analogous to the philanthropic weeks of IFC and PHC.