Greek Glossary

Main Content

Active A fully initiated member is a currently enrolled in college.
Alumni/Alumnae An initiated member who is a college graduate.
Bid A formal invitation to join a chapter.
Big Brother/Sister An active member of a fraternity / sorority who serves as a sponsor, advisor, and undergraduate mentor to a new member, guiding them through their new member program and initiation.
Chapter The local group of a national fraternity/sorority that has received its charter.
Colony The local group affiliated with a national fraternity/sorority that has not received its charter.
Formal Recruitment The period set aside for structured/formal recruitment of new members. CPH sororities at SIU participate in formal recruitment.
Open Recruitment The recruitment process for the IFC fraternities at SIU. Chapters are encouraged and able to extend bids once a student has registered for classes as well as at any time they would like to invite a perspective member to join.
Fraternity/Sorority A values-based organization characterized by a ritual, pin, and a strong tie to friendship and moral principles. Many have Greek letters as their names.
Hazing Forcing someone to something against their will, causing mental or physical abuse; is strictly forbidden by Illinois law and University policies. Please see University handbook for complete definition.
Initiation The traditional ritual that brings men/women into full membership.
Intake The process MGC and NPHC organizations perform to recruit, select, and educate new members.
Interest Group A group of students who have a desire to affiliate as a chapter/colony with a national fraternity/sorority but have not yet been granted official status.
Inter/National Headquarter The central organization of a particular fraternity/sorority. Commonly abbreviated as I/NHQ.
Lavaliere A pendant with a fraternity’s / sorority’s Greek letters on it.
Legacy A potential new member whose grandparent, parent, and/or sibling is an alumnus or active member of a fraternity / sorority.
New Member A person who has accepted an invitation to join a chapter and has not yet been initiated. Also referred to as pledge, associate, aspirant, candidate, or provisional member.
Philanthropy A charitable fundraiser where funds are raised for a charitable organization. These are commonly sponsored by many fraternities and sororities.
Potential New Member (PNM) A student interested in joining a fraternity/sorority.
Preference During the last part of sorority recruitment, a potential new member determines which sorority she is interested in joining.


The process used by fraternities/sororities to select new members.
Recruitment Counselor An NPC sorority member who has disaffiliated from her chapter during formal recruitment. She is especially trained to help potential new members and answer any questions they may have about sorority membership.
Ritual The traditional secret ceremony of a fraternity / sorority.
Sister A term used by sorority members to refer to one another.
Soror The term used by members of historically African-American sororities to refer to one another.
Volunteering An activity that involves hands-on volunteering for an entity that is not a charitable organization such as a campus department.