Fraternities and Sororities

Terminology

Some of the terms used within the fraternity and sorority community can be confusing if you are unfamiliar with them.  Here are some of the most commonly used terms.

Active: a college undergraduate who has been initiated into fraternity or sorority membership and is active at the collegiate level.

Alumni/Alumnae: initiated fraternity or sorority members who have graduated from college.

Bid (card): a formal invitation to join a particular fraternity or sorority.

Bid Day: the day immediately following formal recruitment where chapters extend their invitation for membership to potential new members

Brother: a term used by fraternity members to refer to one another.

Chapter: a local group of the larger inter/national organization.

Depledge: to terminate one's fraternity or sorority membership before initiation; those who depledge a fraternity or sorority may not pledge another fraternity or sorority until the next formal recruitment period.

Fraternity: the name that applies to all Greek letter organizations characterized by a ritual, pin, and strong ties to friendship and moral principles. Informally, women's fraternities are called sororities.

Greek: any member of a Greek-letter social or community service organization (sorority or fraternity).

Hazing: any displays of buffoonery by active members of a fraternity or sorority meant to belittle or harm new members. These acts are not tolerated at Indiana State University and are in direct violation of our hazing policy.

House: the physical residence where the local chapter of a fraternity or sorority resides. Not all fraternities and sororities have houses.

House Corporation Board: A legal entity holding title to, or leasing, 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.

Initiation: the formal ceremony that marks the beginning of active membership.

Interfraternity Council (IFC): the governing body of fraternities at ISU.

Intramural: athletic activities in which members from different chapters compete and participate in sporting events.

Legacy: The brother or sister, son or daughter, or grandson or granddaughter of a fraternity or sorority member. While being a legacy does not mean automatic membership into that chapter, it is looked upon favorably.

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC): A national organization comprised of four sororities and five fraternities whose membership is historically African-American, and locally the governing council for eight of these groups.

New Member: A member of a fraternity or sorority who has not been initiated.

New Member Program: A period of learning about fraternity and sorority life prior to initiation. This period varies for all groups.

Philanthropy: A charitable fundraiser or service project sponsored by a fraternity or sorority.

Pledge: see "New Member".

Pledgeship: see "New Member Program".

Potential New Member: A college man/woman who is participating in Membership Recruitment/Rush.

Quota: The specified number of Potential New Members to which each sorority may extend a bid.

Recruitment Counselor: A sorority member who has disaffiliated herself from her chapter during Formal Membership Recruitment. She is specially trained to help Potential New Members and answer any questions they may have about sorority membership.

Ritual: The traditional beliefs and oaths of a sorority or fraternity usually used in reference to the Ceremonies of Initiation as well as weekly chapter meetings. These traditions do not include any forms of hazing, because hazing weakens the bonds of brotherhood / sisterhood, and undermines the common experience of the fraternity or sorority.

Rush: (Also known as recruitment) The process fraternities and sororities use to recruit new members.

Rush Chair: The person from each fraternity who is in charge of each chapter's rush functions.

Sister: A term used by sorority members to refer to one another.

Social: A get-together with another group for a party, dinner, or another fun occasion.