• Terminology


    Active: A fully initiated member of a fraternity/sorority. 

    Alumnus: A member of a men’s fraternal organization who is no longer an undergraduate. Plural: Alumni.                                                                                                                                           

    Associate Member: A person who has accepted a bid but is not yet initiated into a sorority or fraternity. See also “New Member” 

    Badge: A “pin” worn by fully-initiated members of each fraternity or sorority that carries its official insignia. 

    Bid: An invitation to join a fraternity. 

    Brother: An active or alumni member of a fraternity. 

    Brotherhood: The common term for the bond between members of the same fraternity. 

    Chapter: An established membership unit of a national or international sorority or fraternity. 

    Charter: The official document drafted by an Inter/National fraternity or sorority that allows for the creation of a local chapter that is affiliated with a college or university campus. 

    Class or “New Member Class”: A term used to name new members of a Interfraternity Council organization who all joined during the same semester. 

    Colony: Known as a “trial period” for a new organization that is awaiting official Chapter Status recognition from their national to establish a letter chapter on their campus. 

    Crest: Insignia used by fraternity members. Most Greek organizations reserve the crest for initiated members only. Each crest has hidden, secret meanings behind it. Also known as a coat or arms, shield or armorial bearings. 

    Dues: The monetary costs of membership in a fraternity or sorority. These fees are used to cover the costs of operation, formal events, social activities, and other events, depending on the organization. 

    Fraternity: The name applied to Greek organizations including both men’s and women’s organizations. There are several types of fraternities at UO, including social fraternities, service fraternities, professional fraternities, and honorary fraternities. The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life works with governing bodies directly; Interfraternity Council (IFC), National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and National Panhellenic Council (NPC)

    Founders: The founding members of a Greek Letter organization.

    Governing Council: Also known as an umbrella council, generally supports and acts as a voice for organizations within it, including being the official sponsored student organization as liaison between the university and the members of the member organizations.

    Greeks: Members of a fraternity or sorority. The term "Greek" is used because a majority of fraternities and sororities use Greek letters to distinguish themselves. 

    Hazing: Any willful act or practice by a member, directed against a member or new member, which, with or without intent, is likely to: cause bodily harm or danger, offensive punishment, or disturbing pain, compromise the person's dignity; cause embarrassment or shame in public; cause the person to be the object of malicious amusement or ridicule; cause psychological harm or substantial emotional strain; and impair academic efforts. In addition, hazing is any requirement by a member which compels a member or new member to participate in any activity which is illegal, is contrary to moral or religious beliefs, or is contrary to the rules and regulations of the sorority/fraternity, institution of learning, and civil authorities. 

    IFC: The abbreviation for the Interfraternity Council, which is the governing body of the fraternities who belong nationally to the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC).

    Initiation: A ceremony during which new members receive lifelong membership privileges into the organization they have chosen to be a part of. 

    Interfraternity Council (IFC): The UO-based “chapter” of the North-American Interfraternity Conference. A student-led governing body that supports 18 of the men’s fraternities. IFC strives to provide communication between the fraternal organizations and connects organizations to the local Eugene and UO community.

    Legacy: Each organization has its own definition of a "legacy." It is generally defined as an immediate family member of an initiated member, such as a sister/brother or daughter/son. Some sororities also recognize extended family members as legacies as well. 

    Letters: The first Greek letter of each Greek word that makes up the motto of a particular fraternity or sorority; these are generally displayed on clothing and other Greek paraphernalia. 

    National (no “s”): 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 organizations at all of colleges and universities where their organization recruits members. 

    North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC): A national organization comprised of over 70 fraternal organizations, each of which is autonomous as a social, Greek-letter-society of college men. 

    New Member: A person who has accepted a bid but is not yet initiated to a sorority or fraternity. 

    New Member Educator: The liaison between the new members and the chapter, they are responsible for implementing and monitoring the new member program and preparing the new members for initiation. 

    New Member Program: The time period where the new member learns about their new fraternity before initiation. This time frame lasts from Bid day until Initiation. Formerly called pledge period (and still called this in some fraternities).

    Officers: Initiated members who currently hold positions within their Greek organization or governing body.

    Open Recruitment: A designated recruitment period during which each of the men’s fraternal organizations in the IFC host recruitment events at their own houses. This type of recruitment is considered “informal” because potential members need not follow a designated schedule. 

    Philanthropy: This is a community service project/s held by a fraternity, sorority, or both. UO Greek students perform a number of these projects each year, and most Inter/National Fraternities and Sororities require their organizations to do one large project per year.

    Pin: (2 types) the active pin or badge, a distinctive insignia worn on the chest designating an active member of a particular fraternity. The pledge pin, an insignia used to designate a pledge of a particular fraternity.

    Pledge: A person who has accepted a bid but is not yet initiated to a sorority or fraternity. This term is believed to be outdated by some and can be offensive. See also “New Member” 

    Potential New Member: A person who is interested in joining a Greek-letter organization, and will participate in rush, intake, or recruitment; often abbreviated to PNM. 

    Recruitment: The process through which fraternities get new members. Potential New Members meet members of each chapter, are invited to different events and choose the new members for their organization (students seeking membership in a fraternity or sorority “rush,” while the Greek organizations “recruit” new members). 

    Ritual: The traditional rites and ceremonies of a fraternity or sorority; these are almost always private and known only to initiated members of a fraternal organization. 

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