Fraternity and Sorority Life 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. At Furman, these are offered in the beginning weeks of the spring semester, or to upperclassmen males wishing to join a fraternity in the fall.
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 national and inter-fraternity or sorority.
Formal Recruitment: A structured period in January where potential members and chapters participate in a mutual selection process to match potential members with IFC and Panhellenic chapters.
Initiation: The formal ritual that brings new members into full membership of the sorority or fraternity. Through initiation, members learn and commit themselves to uphold the ideals of the sorority or fraternity.
Interfraternity Council (IFC): The collegiate governing body of all North-American Interfraternity Conference fraternities.
Legacy: A prospective member whose parent, sibling, or grandparent is an alumni or active of a sorority or fraternity.
Membership Intake: The process of acquiring membership into a National Pan-Hellenic Council 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.
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 Council: 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. Note: this is different from community service.
Potential New Members (PNMs): A person participating in recruitment.
Recruitment Counselors (Pi Chis): Pi Chis are experienced sorority women who choose to dedicate their time and talent to potential new members participating in the Recruitment process. These women provide personal guidance to PNMs from registration to Bid Day, thus playing a fundamental role in educating Potential New Members about the Panhellenic community and cultivating their interest in sorority life. Well-trained Pi Chis with sincere interest in the welfare of their PNMs enhance the entire collegiate Panhellenic Community and help ensure that the Recruitment process is a mutually satisfying experience for both sororities and PNMs.
Sister: A term used within sororities when referring to other members.
Soror(s): Used to refer to an NPHC sorority woman.
Step Show: A Black Fraternity and Sorority Life function characterized by synchronized hand and foot movements, along with singing, dancing, chanting, and acting.
Strolling: Coordinated movements done in a line by NPHC organizations to show unity. It is often demonstrated at social gatherings or during step shows.