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Greek Life

Greek Dictionary

Fraternities and sororities can sometimes use terms that are difficult to understand. To try to help with this process, below is a dictionary of common terms used by Greeks.

Greek Alphabet

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Greek Dictionary

Active
A member who has been initiated into lifelong fraternity or sorority membership and is active at the collegiate level.

All-Greek Averages
All Greek averages are the mathematical GPA averages of all the fraternities and sororities put together. These figures are used to compare grades within student populations and to make inferences regarding programming.

Alumnae
Member of a sorority who has graduated.

Alumni
Member of a fraternity who has graduated.

Bid
A bid is a formal invitation to join a fraternity or sorority. Bid’s come in the form of an official bid card that is presented to you by members of the inviting organization. Traditionally, one accepts a bid at the end of the Rush/Recruitment period.  

Chapter
A term used to refer to undergraduate fraternity or sorority students in a particular Greek organization. This term is also used nationally to distinguish one group of students on a particular campus from those on another campus. Many national groups give their chapters names such as a Greek letter, or a combination of letters, or a Greek letter and a state.

Hazing
Washington College does not permit or tolerate hazing. Hazing is contrary to the principles and teachings of Greek Organizations. It is defined as “Any action taken, created, or intended, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule that is directed at new or prospective members of a recognized student organization. Such actions may be perpetrated by an individual, an individual against an organization, or an organization against an individual.” Strict policies and laws exist regarding the mental and/or physical abuse of anyone. For more information on the Washington College Anti-Hazing Policy and Maryland State Law, visit the Washington College Student Handbook, Page 75. 

Initiation
Initiation is a ritual that a fraternity or sorority holds in order to induct their new members into the organization. This also is a private ceremony and is unique to each fraternity or sorority. 

Interfraternity Council (IFC)
The governing body of the Fraternities on campus. All Fraternities are required to be in attendance through their president and their IFC representative, in order to conduct business. Meetings are held in parliamentary procedure and include reports from various IFC chairmen. 

Legacy
A student is considered a legacy if they have a grandparent, parent or sibling in the fraternity or sorority they are looking into.

Meet the Greeks
These events occur at the beginning of each semester and function as informative sessions for non-Greeks to get to know the members of our Fraternities and Sororities. 

National Order of Omega
This is a National Honor Fraternity for Fraternity or Sorority members that maintain a grade point average above the All-Greek average, have distinguished themselves as leaders in the Washington College Greek community, have exemplary character and are either juniors or seniors. These individuals are nominated and voted upon by the university community and then inducted by current members of the Order, at the end of the year. 

National Panhellenic Conference (NPC)
The national group of 26 women’s sororities in North America. Representatives from each national sorority get together to support and promote sororities across North America.

Nationals
Fraternity and Sorority members often refer to their national/international headquarters or offices as “Nationals”. These offices are responsible for making policies for the individual chapters at different colleges and universities. 

New Member
A term used to refer to a new member of a fraternity or a sorority. After the recruitment period, new members learn the history of their national and local chapters, learn the ideals and principles of the group, get to know their fellow new members and get to know the initiated members.

Panhellenic Council 
The governing body of the sororities on campus. All sororities are required to be in attendance through their president and their Panhel representative in order to conduct business.  The meeting follows parliamentary procedures and includes reports from the Panhel committee. Panhel promotes unity, equality, and sisterhood.

Philanthropy
Philanthropy is a cause that a fraternity or sorority supports locally or nationally. A philanthropic event is a community service project held by a fraternity or sorority or both. Washington College Greek students perform a number of these projects each year, and most National Fraternities and Sororities require their chapters to do one large project per year. 

PNM
A potential new member through the recruitment process.

Quota
During the Spring semester, sororities are required to follow very strict guidelines with respect to the number of new members they may accept into their organization in order to produce an equitable sorority system.

Rush / Recruitment
The week long process, beginning with Registration ending with Bid Day, that potential new members of fraternity and sororities attend to have a chance to become a new member of an registered organization.

Risk Management
Risk management is a system for decreasing the chance for injury, accidents and liability. Risk Management policies are to protect our fraternity and sorority members from issues relating to illegal drinking and substance use and abuse, fire code regulations, hazing, legal implications of fraternity and sorority affairs, and social events such as parties and socials.

Rituals
Rituals are activities usually secret in nature, known only to the members of a given fraternity or sorority. Rituals are what make a Greek letter organization unique and so often times these activities and the materials used to conduct these activities are held in the strictest of confidence among members. 

Recruitment Counselors (Rho Chi’s)
During Sorority Recruitment, Rho Chi’s are designated for groups of women for the purpose of guiding them through the Recruitment process. Rho Chi women are specially trained and are unbiased members of the Greek community while the Recruitment period is taking place. As a woman going through Recruitment, you can rely on these guides to provide you with information on the various opportunities available within each sorority. 

Social
An event that is held between a hosting fraternity (or sometimes two fraternities) and a sorority, (or sometimes two sororities). Typically these events have a theme.