Common Greek Terms


Active Member

A person who has been initiated into a lifelong membership of a Greek organization. Generally, the term is used to reference a member who is currently an undergraduate. However, it is preferable to use the terms "undergraduate member" or "student member" for those still in school.



A sorority member who is no longer a student. The plural is Alumnae.



A fraternity member who is no longer a student. The plural is Alumni.


Alumni Association

An organization of alumni from an individual fraternity or sorority. The association may be based on geographical location or chapter.



The symbol worn by the initiated member of a Greek-letter organization.



An invitation to join a fraternity or sorority.



An initiated member of a fraternity.



The campus group of a national organization. Within each organization, chapters are usually referenced via a Greek-letter order. For example, the founding chapter would be the "Alpha Chapter," and the second chapter is usually the "Beta Chapter".


Chapter Advisor

An alumna/alumnus who establishes and maintains a close advisory relationship with a chapter and serves as a teacher, counselor and friend.



A student organization in the final stage prior to being installed as a chartered chapter of a Greek-letter organization.



The termination of a pledge's relationship with a Greek-letter organization.


Dry Recruitment

A policy which states that alcohol is forbidden at all events associated with introducing the fraternity/sorority to recruits.



An activity where the members of one Greek-letter group visits the chapter of another Greek-letter group for a social event.


Formal Recruitment

The "official" recruitment period of the year with specific scheduled recruitment events. The most concentrated period with Formal Recruitment for entertaining and selecting potential new members (PNMs) is known as "Recruitment Week". At the University of Washington, only the sororities participate in Formal Recruitment.



The name informally applied to a Greek-letter brotherhood. Formally, both men's and women's groups were called fraternities, though many of the women's groups refer to themselves as a "Fraternity for Women."



Students affiliated with Greek-letter fraternities and sororities.



Any willful act or practice by a member or associate member, directed against a member or associate member, which, with or without intent, is likely to: cause bodily harm or danger, offensive punishment, or disturbing pain, compromise the person's dignity; cause embarrassment or shame in public; cause the person to be the object of malicious amusement or ridicule; cause psychological harm or substantial emotional strain; and impair academic efforts. In addition, hazing is any requirement by a member or pledge which compels a member or associate member to participate in any activity which is illegal, is contrary to a member's or associate member's moral or religious beliefs, or is contrary to the rules and regulations of the fraternity, institution of learning, and civil authorities. Hazing is a violation of state law and university policy.


Chapter House

A chapter's physical facility which serves as its home.


House Corporation

A legal entity holding title to any real property (land and buildings) for a chapter's living/meeting purposes. This alumni body has basic responsibilities relative to property ownership and maintenance.


Inactive Member

A member attending the same institution in which his/her undergraduate chapter is located, who (upon the recommendation of the undergraduate chapter and approval of the Alumni Board of Trustees) shall be defined as "inactive". With such designation, the inactive member shall have no material participation in undergraduate chapter activities, such as social activities, living in the chapter house or voting at undergraduate chapter meetings.


Informal Recruitment

A continuous, open recruitment period. Bids may be extended and accepted at any time. For sororities, informal recruitment is called C.O.B. (Continuous Open Bidding).



A formal ceremony by which new members become initiated members.


Interest Group

A group of individuals on campus in the first stage of the process leading to installation as a chapter of a Greek-letter organization.


Interfraternity Council (IFC)

The governing body of the NIC fraternities.



A student whose parent, grandparent, or brother/sister is a member of a particular fraternity or sorority. Typically, legacies are extended full consideration during the recruitment process.



The term generally applied to members of an organization that actually live within the chapter house.


New Member

A student in his or her first phase of membership in a sorority or fraternity (before being initiated). Also known as Pledges or Associate Members.


Panhellenic Association

The governing body of NPC sororities.



A series of events offering members and potential members the opportunity to get to know each other.


An informal term for recruitment.

Potential New Member (PNM)

A non-member who is eligible to participate in the rush program, visiting Greek organizations with an interest in possibly affiliating with one organization.



An initiated member of a sorority.



An individual women's Greek-letter organization. This is the term commonly used to distinguish between men's (fraternities) and women's (sororities) organizations. As noted previously, some sororities are identified as a fraternity (or fraternity for women) in their official name.