Getting to Know the Greek System from A-Z

A.

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


All-Greek Averages:  All Greek averages are the mathematical GPA averages of all the fraternities and sororities put together. These figures are used to compare grades within student populations and to make inferences regarding programming.


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

 

B.

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


Big Brother/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.

C.

Call:  Audible sounds used by 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.
 
Continous Open Bidding (COB):  Term used by NPC sororities which allow a chapter who did not reach Quota during recruitment or is below Total to fill those vacancies with new members.


F.

Formal Recruitment:  A structured period set aside where potential members and chapters participate in a mutual selection process to match potential members with IFC and NPC chapters.


G.

Greek Week:  Greek Week is a week that occurs during the Spring semester for the Greek community. The week consists of various competitions such as a tug o' war, Greek Sing, powder puff football, Greek Unity Step Show, Greek Jeopardy, and more. This week allows members of the Greek community an opportunity to show spirit for their organization and also for Midwestern State University.


Greek Weekend:  A weekend in the Fall semester where members of the Greek community come together to support one another through friendly competitions like Greeks Got Talent, provide food or other goods for a local shelter, and bond as a Greek community.

Greek Viewbook:  A booklet which provides a brief overview of each fraternity and sorority on campus, giving information such as the founding date of the chapter, colors, and a link to the national offices.


H.

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


Hazing:  Hazing is defined as "subjecting someone to abusive and/or humiliating mental or physical harm". This activity has been sanctioned by Midwestern State University and is not tolerated by any of the national fraternities and sororities. Strict rules and penalties exist at MSU regarding the mental and/or physical abuse of anyone involved in a fraternity or sorority. Please refer to the Hazing statement and information section of the student handbook for more information.


I.

Informal Recruitment:  The unstructured recruitment process by which fraternities take members throughout the academic year.  NOTE: Recruitment is not typically a NPHC practice.


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


Interest Meeting:  A meeting to provide membership information to prospective members. Term typically used by NPHC and MGC organizations. 


Initiation:  The formal ritual ceremony that brings new members into full membership of a sorority/fraternity. Through initiation, members learn and pledge themselves to uphold the ideals of the sorority/fraternity. This also is a secret activity and is unique to each fraternity or sorority.


L.

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


Line:  Those persons who were initiated together.  The term is primarily used by NPHC and MGC 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 NPHC organizations.


M.

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


Multi-Cultural Greek Council (MGC):  The umbrella organization for fraternities and sororities that seek to promote cultural awareness.


N.

Nationals:  Fraternity and Sorority members often refer to their national/international headquarters or offices as "Nationals". These offices are responsible for making policies for the individual chapters at different colleges and universities.


National Interfraternity Conference (NIC):  A consortium of National Fraternities whose purpose is to define policies and procedures for National Greek Letter Organizations.


National Panhellenic Council (NPC):  The governing body for all National Panhellenic Conference sororities on campus.


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.


National Order of Omega:  This is a National Honor Fraternity for fraternity or sorority members that maintain a grade point average above the All-Greek average, have distinguished themselves as leaders in the MSU Greek community, have exemplary character and are either juniors or seniors. The members are selected by an application process. 


Neophyte/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.

New Member Institute:  A university's sponsored education program for new members of fraternities and sororities to learn about issues they may face during their first year in a chapter.


P.

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


Potential New Members (PNMs):  A person participating in recruitment.


Q.

Quota:  During the fall semester NPC sororities are required to follow very strict guidelines with respect to the number of new members they may accept into their organization in order to produce an equitable sorority system. This means that each sorority can only accept a certain number of members before they must stop and allow other sororities on campus an opportunity to reach that level as well. The number for quota may vary from year to year.


R.

Recruitment Guide (Rho Gamma):  A NPC sorority member who has disaffiliated with her sorority during recruitment, to assist a potential member through the formal recruitment process.


Recruitment Counselor (Rho Chi):  An IFC fraternity member who has agreed to assist a potential member through the formal recruitment process.


Recruitment Week:  These events occur at the beginning of each semester and function as informative sessions for non-Greeks to get to know the members of fraternities and sororities. These events are held throughout the course of the week and are meant to give students an opportunity to meet and decide which fraternity or sorority they would like to join. Each organization holds activities on designated nights during the week so students can get to know the basics of each organization. Although recruitment week only lasts a week, students are encouraged to ask questions throughout the year and any brother or sister would be happy to answer questions anytime during the year.


Risk Management:  Risk management is a system for decreasing the chance for injury or accidents in a given area, in this case a fraternity or sorority function. These Risk Management policies are to protect our fraternity and sorority members from issues relating to illegal drinking and substance use and abuse, fire code regulations, hazing, legal implications of fraternity and sorority affairs, and social events such as parties and socials.


Rituals:  Rituals are activities usually secret in nature, known only to the members of a given fraternity or sorority. Rituals are what make a Greek letter organization unique and so often times these activities and the materials used to conduct these activities are held in the strictest of confidence among members.


S.

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.


Social:  An event that is held between a hosting fraternity (or sometimes two fraternities) and a sorority, (or sometimes two sororities). Typically these events have a theme.

Standards of Excellence:  Midwestern State Univeristy's guiding policies and expectations for all Greek chapters on campus. Every chapter must reach a level of exellence as defined in the policies in order to remain in good standing with the university.  

Step Show:  A function where percussive dance and participant's entire bodies are used to produce complex rythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word, and hand claps. Often hosted by an NPHC or MGC council, these shows showcase the unity and talent of the organizations.


Strolling:  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.

T.

Total:  the allowable chapter size for a sorority on campus. This number includes new and initiated members. Term typically used by NPC sororities.