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Fraternity & Sorority Life Terminology

Active  – A fully initiated member of a fraternity or sorority

Alumni/Alumnae – Members who have graduated from a college or university

Bid  – A formal invitation to join a fraternity or sorority

Big Brother/Big Sister – An active member assigned to mentor and guide a new member

Brother – A term used by initiated fraternity men to refer to one another

Chapter – The local group that is part of a national organization

Chapter Advisor – An alumnus/alumna who serves in an advisory capacity to the local chapter

Colony – An approved student organization working towards recognition to as a chartered chapter of that fraternity or sorority

Coming Out Show – A show used to introduce new members of the organization

Cross/Crossed  –  A term referring to becoming a member after new member orientation / intake, typically used by culturally based organizations

Depledge/Deactivate – The termination of a new member’s or initiated members’ relationship with the fraternity or sorority

Formal Recruitment – Occurs in the spring semester for sororities belonging to the National Panhellenic Conference during which all member organization may recruit to quota

Fraternity – A group of men bound together by common values, rituals, goals, and brotherhood

F&S – Fraternity & Sorority Life

Hazing   An action taken or situation created that recklessly or intentionally endangers another person's psychological, emotional, or physical health, regardless of the person's willingness to participate, for the purpose of joining or maintaining membership with any organization, group, or team.

Inactive – An individual who is still a member of the fraternity or sorority but has requested that they no longer participate in the day-to-day activities of the organization due to academic, family, or work commitments

Initiation – A formal ceremony in which new members become active members of a chapter

Intake   –  The time period between being given an invitation for membership and the final initiation/crossing ceremony, this term is typically associated with culturally based organizations

Inter-Fraternity & Sorority Council (IFSC) – The governing body that oversees all fraternities and sororities at SBU

Interfraternity Council (IFC) – A governing body representing over 65 national and international fraternities

Interest Group – A group of individuals interested in becoming affiliated with a fraternity or sorority

Legacy – the child, sibling, or grandchild (and some cased niece or nephew) of an initiated member

Line – The name for a prospective member class for culturally based organizations

Line Brothers/Sisters  – Individuals who are members of the same intake class

Multicultural Council – A governing body representing a variety of cultural and multicultural fraternities and sororities

National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO) – A governing body representing Latino/a based fraternities and sororities

National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) – A governing body representing 26 national and international sororities

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) – A governing body composed of the nine national historically black fraternities and sororities

New Member – One who has accepted an invitation for membership but has not yet been initiated

New Member Class – Individuals who are participating in the new member orientation process together

New Member Orientation – The time period between being given an invitation for membership and the final initiation/crossing ceremony

Neophyte – A term that refers to a brother/sister the first semester after they are initiated

Philanthropy  – An effort, project, or service to promote human welfare of the raising of funds to be donated for that purpose

Pledge – An individual participating in the new member orientation process or referring to the new member orientation process itself, mostly an outdated term and very few of our organizations still use it

Probate - A show used to introduce new members of the organization

Prophyte – A term that refers a member who has experiences at least one intake process as a member of the organization

Quota – The number of new members each NPC organization is allowed to take during formal recruitment

Recruitment/Rush – A series of events offering members and potential members the opportunity to get to know each other

Sands – A word used to acknowledge other members to that crossed in other organizations, or the same organization, but a different chapter

Sister – A term used by initiated sorority women to refer to one another

Sorority – A group of women bound together by common values, rituals, goals, and sisterhood

Step – A series of complex, synchronous and precise rhythmic body movements performed to the tune of stomps, songs or chants created by organization members

Strolling – The traditional dance or “party walk” performed by culturally-based fraternities and sororities

Total – The allowable chapter size as determined by the college NPC