Glossary


The Greek letter community involves quite a bit of lingo that others might be unfamiliar with. As such, we've included a list of common terms and their definitions below!

Active

A member who has been initiated into lifelong fraternity or sorority membership and participates in chapter activities at the collegiate level.

Alumni/Alumnae

Initiated fraternity or sorority members who have graduated from college.

Badge

The pin of an initiated member.

Bid

A formal invitation to become a member of a particular sorority.

Bid Day

The last day of recruitment, when potential new members receive bids to join chapters and become new members. Each chapter will usually host a Bid Day activity to help the new members get to know each other and the rest of the chapter, like bowling or roller skating. Click here to read more about the recruitment process. 

Big Sister/Big

An older member who serves a mentor to a younger member, who is referred to as the little sister or little.

Chapter

A local group of the larger Greek organization, designated by a special Greek name.

Continuous Open Bidding/COB

An informal recruitment process that Panhellenic sororities use to recruit new members outside of the designated formal recruitment period to reach quota and/or Panhellenic Total

Dues

The payments active members make to the organization that they belong to. 

Fraternity

The name that applies to all Greek letter organizations characterized by a ritual, badge and strong ties to friendship and moral principles. A women fraternities may also or instead call themselves a sorority.

Initiation

The formal ceremony that marks the beginning of active membership. Each chapter has a different set of requirements in order to be initiated.

Initiated Member

Any member who has completed the new member process and has gone through the initiation ceremony.

Legacy

The brother or sister, son or daughter, or grandson or granddaughter of a fraternity or sorority member. Each Greek letter organization has its own policy regarding legacies.

MRABA

Membership Recruitment Acceptance Binding Agreement. If a PNM would like to join a sorority, they sign a MRABA after the end of Pref night. The purpose of the MRABA is to ensure a PNM's awareness of the commitment they are making when they submit their final selections. Before a PNM signs the document, a representative of the College Panhellenic Association will go over each section.

Essentially, the MRABA states that if a PNM receives a bid from a chapter they list and later chooses not to accept the bid or not to be initiated, the PNM may not join another NPC chapter on that campus until the next primary recruitment period, which is approximately one year from when they signed their MRABA. If the PNM is not initiated and transfer schools, they can participate in recruitment at the first opportunity.

Mutual Selection

The process through with potential new members, PNMs, become new members of an organization during recruitment. Both the PNMs and the individual sororities are making choices. New members prioritize with chapters they'd like to revisit, while chapters prioritize which PNMs they'd like to invite back. When a PNM and a chapter both prioritize one another, they might see each other again at the next round of recruitment. 

National Panhellenic Conference/NPC

The over-arching organizational body for 26 women’s fraternities and sororities. Click here to visit their website. 

New member

A person who has accepted a bid from a sorority but is not yet an active member of that chapter. Chapters will have some sort of new member process during which the new members learn more about the sorority and are preparedfor initiation. 

Orientation

An opportunity for PNMs to learn more about recruitment and to register if they have not yet done so. Click here to read a detailed explanation of what orientation is. 

Philanthropy

A charitable cause sponsored by an organization. Most chapters have a local and national philanthropy.

Potential New member/PNM

A woman who is eligible to participate in recruitment and/or who is participating in recruitment.

Preference Night/ Pref Night

The last round of recruitment, also known as Round 3. Click here to read a detailed description of Pref Night. 

Quota

The number of potential new members to which each chapter can offer bids during recruitment. This is determined with a formula involving the number of chapters and the number of women participating in recruitment. 

Recruitment

The mutual selection process that prospective members and chapter members go through to get to know one another.

Recruitment Councillor/RC

A sorority member who is disassociated from her sorority to serve as a recruitment guide. Each PNM will be assigned a recruitment counselor during formal recruitment. Some schools may refer to RCs as Rho Gammas. 

Ritual 

The private traditions and practices of a sorority deeply rooted in the shared values and purpose of the members. Ritual serves as a reminder to each member of her responsibilities and inspires her to fulfill them. Rituals connect the past with the present and the future.
 

Round 1, 2, & 3

The different rounds of recruitment. Click here to see a detailed explanation of what they entail. 

Snap Bidding

An option available to chapters that did not fill quota. Chapters may offer bids to potential new members whose preferences were not matched, meaning they would not be extended a bid by chapters they listed on their preference rankings after preference round. This process takes place before bids are distributed, and a potential new member would receive a phone call or other contact by a sorority offering her a snap bid. If she chooses to accept, the new member would participate in normal Bid Day activities. 

Total 

The maximum allowable chapter size on a campus, as determined by the College Panhellenic Council, including new and active members. Chapters that fall under total may be allowed to participate in continuous open bidding until they reach total. 

Unanimous Agreements

Agreements between the 26 NPC member groups that concern fairness and equality between the groups. Several of these agreements have to do with recruitment procedures. Click here to read more.