Greek 101

Learning the Greek Alphabet

Learning the Greek alphabet can be very beneficial for parents and students who are new to the world of Fraternities and Sororities. There are 52 chapters represented at Mizzou, and chapter names  may be represented by two, three, even four Greek letters. The more familiar  you are with the Greek alphabet, the better off you’ll be!

Greek Terms

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

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

Alumnus/Alumni: An initiated member of a fraternity who has received their undergraduate degree.

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

Big Brother or 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.

Call: Audible sounds used by members of multi-cultural organizations 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.

Formal Recruitment: A structured period set aside (typically 1-2 weeks prior to start of the fall semester)where potential members and chapters participate in a mutual selection process to match potential members with IFC and PHA chapters.

Frater(s): Member(s) of the same fraternity. The term “Frat” is sometimes used in NPHC in reference to any fraternity man.

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.

House Director: A person who is hired to supervise the kitchen, plan menus, and manage the food budget and also assist in house management: often known as a “house mom” or “house dad”.

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

Informational: A meeting to provide membership information to prospective members. Also referred to as an interest meeting.

Initiation: The formal ritual that brings new members into full membership of the sorority or fraternity. Through initiation, members learn and pledge themselves to uphold the ideals of the sorority or fraternity.

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

Initiation: The formal ritual ceremony that brings new members into full membership of the sorority or fraternity. Through initiation, members learn and pledge themselves to the ideals of the sorority and fraternity. Many initiation ceremonies are open to initiated members only.

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

Line: The persons who were initiated together. The term is primarily used by NPHC 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.

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

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.

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.

Panhellenic Association (PHA): The governing body for all National Panhellenic Conference sororities.

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

Potential Members: A person participating in recruitment.

Panhellenic Counselor (Pi Chi): A PHA sorority member who has disaffiliated with her sorority during recruitment to assist a potential member through the formal recruitment process.

Recommendation (Rec.): A letter or statement written by an alumna to the chapter of her sorority on this campus recommending a potential member for a bid offering. It is the responsibility of the sorority to obtain the “recs,” but the potential member may also ask an alumna to write a letter.

Recruitment Guide: An IFC fraternity member who has disaffiliated with his fraternity during recruitment in order to assist a potential member through the formal recruitment process.

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.

Soror(s): Member(s) of the same sorority. Sometimes used in NPHC functions to refer to any sorority woman.

Step Show: A Black Greek function characterized by synchronized hand an foot movements, along with singing, dancing, chanting, and acting.

Strolling: Coordinated movements done in a line by NPHC  to show unity. It is often demonstrated at social gatherings or during step shows.

Week: Period of times when a Black Greek-letter organization sponsors a variety of events for the campus. May include educational programs, discussions or debates, variety shows, parties, and step shows. Sometimes they are referred to as Founder’s Week. NOTE: Analogous to the philanthropic weeks of IFC and PHA.