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Terminology and Etiquette - Columbus State University

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Student Life

Terminology and Etiquette


  • Active: A member who has been initiated into lifelong fraternity or sorority membership and is active at the collegiate level
  • Alumni/Alumnae: Initiated fraternity or sorority members who have graduated from college


  • Bid: An invitation to join a fraternity or sorority
  • Bid Day: The last day of recruitment when new members celebrate getting their bids and when disaffiliated recruitment counselors rejoin their organization through "running home"
  • Big Brother or Sister: An active member of a fraternity or sorority who serves as a sponsor, mentor, and special friend to a New Member, guiding them through their New Member program


  • Calls: Vocal expressions unique to a Greek organization. While you can enjoy listening to organizations' calls, it is disrespectful to imitate the calls if you are not a part of the organization.
  • Chapter: A local group of the larger national organization; an individual fraternity or sorority
  • Charter: Permission from the national or international fraternity or sorority headquarters for the local chapter to operate
  • College Panhellenic Council (CPH): The governing body of sororities at the Columbus State University Panhellenic operated under the direction of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC)
  • Colony: A group of students seeking a charter from a headquarters to a chapter
  • Crest: Insignia used by sorority and fraternity members, usually with hidden, secret meanings within its design
  • Crossing: A term used by NPHC groups to indicate that a new member has been fully initiated into a group


  • Disaffiliate: To remove yourself from the Greek organization in which you have been initiated. This is done temporarily by recruitment counselors until bid day, when they "run home" to rejoin their organization.
  • Divine 9: Refers to the nine organizations represented in the National Pan-Hellenic Council
  • Dry Recruitment: The prohibition of alcohol at any chapter event where potential new members are or may potentially be present


  • Formal Recruitment: The major period of time set aside by the Panhellenic and Interfraternity Councils for meeting potential new members
  • Fraternity: The general term for all Greek-letter organizations, generally applied to men's groups 
  • Function: A social gathering for two or more fraternities or sororities


  • Greek: Any member of a Greek-letter social organization (sorority or fraternity)


  • Informal Recruitment: A time period outside of formal recruitment in which Greek organizations individually decide when they will extend bids to potential members
  • Initiation: The formal ceremony or traditional ritual that brings a new member into full membership
  • Intake or Membership Intake: The term typically used by NPHC organizations for bringing new members into their organization
  • Interfraternity Council (IFC): One of the governing bodies of fraternities at Columbus State University. IFC operates under the affiliation requirements of the National Interfraternity Conference (NIC).


  • Legacy: The brother or sister, son or daughter, or grandson or granddaughter of a fraternity or sorority member. Each chapter has its own policy regarding legacies.
  • Line: A term typically used by NPHC organizations for individuals going through the membership intake process together


  • National Panhellenic Conference (NPC): A national organization composed of 26 member sororities/women's fraternities
  • National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC): A national organization composed of four sororities and five fraternities whose membership is historically African American; locally the governing council for six organizations
  • Nationals: A term referring to the central organization of a fraternity or sorority
  • Neophyte (Neo): A term typically used by NPHC members for the newest members of a fraternity or sorority
  • New Member Program: An educational journey in which New Members learn the history, ideals and values of the organization. The time frame of the New Member Program varies for each chapter.
  • New/Associate Member: A member of a fraternity or sorority who has not been initiated
  • North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC): A national organization composed of 66 national member men's fraternities and alumni associations.


  • Order of Omega: An honors organization that extends invitations to juniors and seniors who are initiated members of a fraternity or sorority and have attained a high standard of leadership and scholarship within the fraternity and sorority community


  • Philanthropy: A service project, fundraiser, or initiative taken on by a Greek organization at the campus, community, or national level
  • Pin: (Two types) The active pin is worn on the chest designating an initiated member of a certain Greek organization. A new member pin is simpler and is used to designate a new member.
  • Potential New Member (PNM)A person who has shown interest but not yet been offered or accepted a bid into a fraternity/sorority
  • Prophyte: A term typically used by NPHC members for an older brother or sister in a fraternity or sorority who generally took part in the initiation of the organization's new members


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


  • Recommendation (Rec): A written recommendation for a Potential New Member from an alumni member of an organization. Letters of recommendation do NOT guarantee a bid from any sorority.
  • Recruitment Counselor: An active member of a fraternity or sorority, chosen and trained to assist Potential New Members with formal recruitment
  • Recruitment/Rush/Intake: The activity by which chapters seek new members
  • Ritual: The traditional ceremonies of a chapter, which are usually secret
  • Running home: When disaffiliated recruitment counselors rejoin their Greek organization on Bid Day


  • Stepping: A creative form of artistic dance and musical entertainment unique to some culturally-based fraternities and sororities, especially those of historically African American heritage
  • Signs: A unique hand symbol or movement related to a Greek organization. It can be considered disrespectful to imitate the signs if you are not a part of the organization.
  • Sorority: The term generally applied to Greek organizations of women
  • Strolling: When a fraternity or sorority, typically an NPHC organization, forms a line and performs choreographed moves. While you can enjoy watching the organizations stroll, it is disrespectful to imitate their choreography if you are not a part of the organization. It is also considered disrespectful to walk between people in the line while they are strolling.


  • Total: The maximum number of members and new members a Panhellenic sorority can have at the end of recruitment. If a Panhellenic sorority has obtained quota during recruitment and is still below total, that sorority may continue to extend bids to new members.


  • Unaffiliated: A student not in a fraternity or sorority


  • Yard: A term used by NPHC groups to reference the campus.

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