Panhellenic Glossary

  • Active – A sorority woman who has completed her new member period and is initiated into a lifelong membership with a sorority.
  • Alumna – A female graduate or former student of a school, college or university.
  • Alumnae – A group of female graduates or former students of a school, college or university.
  • Alumni – A group of male and female graduates or former students of a school, college or university.
  • Alumnus – A male graduate or former student of a school, college or university.
  • Bid – An official invitation to a young woman to join a sorority.
  • Big Sis/Little Sis – These are affectionate terms given to sorority women who adopt new members. The Big Sister is an initiated member who take a new member under her wing and shows her the way. There is a very special bond between a Big Sister and her Little Sister.
  • Chapter – The local group of a national fraternity associated with a particular college or university.
  • Continuous Recruitment – An informal period following Recruitment and extended throughout the academic year where sororities invite young women to parties/events to meet the chapter.
  • Fraternity – The name that applies to all Greek letter organizations characterized by a ritual, pin, and a strong tie of friendship. Generally all male Greek letter organizations are referred to as fraternities, however, all Greek letter organizations are Fraternities.
  • GLO – Greek Letter Organization, referring to all fraternities and sororities.
  • Greek – A general name applied to all fraternity and sorority members.
  • Greek Week – An organized week of activities including games and competitions. This is a fun time for all the sororities to get together to promote Panhellenic goodwill.
  • Initiation – The formal ceremony conducted to introduce a new member into the rituals and traditions of a sorority. A new member becomes an initiated member.
  • Lavalier – A necklace with a fraternity or sorority’s Greek letters on it.
  • Legacy – A daughter, sister or granddaughter of an initiated member of a sorority.
  • National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) – A national organization in which 26 national sororities have membership. NPC acts as a 26-member Congress. It is the governing body for NPC-member sororities. Panhellenic unites every sorority woman regardless of individual affiliation. Panhellenic was designed to establish common goals and to promote the assets of sorority membership.
  • New Member – A young woman who has accepted a bid from a sorority.
  • New Member Period – A period of time in which new members learn the history, traditions and goals of the sorority.
  • Panhellenic – Is formed from two Greek words Pan meaning “all” and Hellenic meaning “Greek.” Panhellenic is the governing body for sororities.
  • Quota – The number of new members a sorority may invite to join during the Recruitment process.
  • References – Are letters/forms sent to sororities by their alumnae on behalf of young women attending their college. References do not determine membership in a sorority. You are not required to find your own references to each sorority. If a sorority requires a reference, it is responsible for finding one – not you.
  • Recruitment – Formerly known as “Rush”, it is a formal schedule of events organized by the sororities on each campus to meet collegians who have registered for membership recruitment. Recruitment consists of 3-4 rounds of parties/events, lasting anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the number of chapters on campus and the number of women registered for Recruitment.
  • Recruitment Counselor / Greek Counselor – A Panhellenic representative who is responsible for a group of potential new members, sometimes referred to as “Gamma Chi’s”. They are Greek women who have agreed to not associate with their own sorority during formal Recruitment. They are available at all times to assist with any questions or concerns during Recruitment.
  • Sister – A sorority woman who has been formally initiated by her chapter.
  • Sorority – Informally, women’s fraternities are called sororities. Sorority means “sisterhood” in Latin.
  • Sorority House/Lodge/Floor/Suite – A designated house, floor or suite for each chapter on a campus.