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Greek Life

Fraternity and Sorority Vocabulary

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

Alumni/alumnae – an initiated fraternity or sorority member(s) who have graduate from college. A female graduate is referred to as an alumna.

Associate/New Member - a person who has gone through the recruitment process and is in the process of becoming an initiated member of the organization.

Badge - the pin worn by initiated members of Greek organizations.

Bid - A formal invitation to become a member of a Greek Letter organization.

Big Brother or Sister – an active member of a fraternity or sorority who serves as a mentor to a new member, guiding him or her through the new member program and initiation.

Bro Chi – a member of a fraternity who serves as a guide through IFC recruitment.

Brother – a term used by fraternity members to refer to one another.

Call/Chant – audible sounds used by member to acknowledge or gain the attention of other members. Calls may vary regionally within organizations, and some organizations may use more than one call.

Chapter - The local campus group of an Inter/national Greek Letter organization.

Colony - A newly-organized sorority or fraternity working towards an official charter from their national organization.

Continuous Open Bidding (COB) - The process the Panhellenic Association uses to give bids outside of formal recruitment. Groups can only COB if they have spaces available after recruitment.

Crossed – the same as being initiated. The term means different things to different groups, but generally means crossing over from being a pledge to being a full member.

Dry Recruitment - Refers to the period before and during the recruitment process where the serving and/or presence of any alcoholic beverages at a recruitment event is considered illegal; all recruitment events at Hofstra are dry. Dues - Fees paid to a Greek organization for membership, they are often paid per semester.

Emerging Greek Leaders (EGL) – a program to educate new members on fraternity and sorority life at Hofstra University, responsibilities of being members of a fraternity or sorority, and current issues facing college students.

Formal Recruitment - The major recruitment process employed by the Panhellenic Association; occurs at the beginning of the spring semester.

Founders - The founding members of a Greek Letter organization.

Frater – a term used to refer to another member of their fraternity. Sometimes groups will refer to someone as simply Frat.

 Fraternity - a term used for men's Greek organizations; several women's Greek organizations are identified as fraternities in the official names.

Grad/Alumni chapter – the graduate chapter of NPHC or Multicultural organizations. Usually the local grad chapter oversees the operations of the undergraduate chapter.

Hand Sign – used to identify members of the same organization; most have a deep meaning to that organization or ritualistic symbol.

Hazing - Hofstra University has an absolute prohibition on hazing. The University's strict definition may be found in the Policies section of our website or on page 10 of this packet.

IFSC - The Inter-Fraternity Sorority Council is composed of the three Greek umbrella organizations; Multicultural Fraternity and Sorority Council, Interfraternity Council, and Panhellenic Association. It serves as the main programming and advocacy body for fraternity and sorority life at Hofstra University.

Informal Recruitment - An open recruitment period where bids may be extended and accepted at any time. This practice differs between councils.

Informational - Opportunity for interested students to gather more information about MFSC fraternities and sororities.

Initiation - The formal ritual ceremony when an individual is accepted as a full member.

Intake - The process used by NPHC, MGC, NALFO, NASPA, and other culturally-based fraternal organizations to accept new members.

Interfraternity Council (IFC) - the governing body of 11 fraternities at Hofstra University. IFC operates under the affiliation requirements with the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC).

Junior Panhellenic – an organization of new members and new initiates of sororities that helps develop an early understanding of Panhellenic spirit, unites new member classes, and coordinates activities.

Lavaliere - a pendant with a fraternity or sorority’s Greek letters on it.

Legacy – The sibling, child, or grandchild of a fraternity or sorority member. Each inter/national organization has its own policy regarding legacies. Students with questions regarding a specific organization’s legacy policy should consult the national organization website or call with questions.

Line – the members of a culturally-based organization new member class.

Local - A local organization is located on a single college campus. Usually, it is where the organization was founded, and it never chose to expand to a national organization. Local organizations are not tied to a national affiliate organization, which makes dues less than those of national organizations. At Hofstra University, the local organization participates in formal recruitment and all Greek events, represent philanthropies, participate in community service projects, and have members actively involved in the school community just like the other Greek organizations on campus. Locals have the potential to expand into national organizations if they join another organization or start another chapter on another campus.

Membership Recruitment – the mutual selection process that prospective members and chapter members go through during the recruitment period to get to know one another.

Membership Recruitment Acceptance Binding Agreement (MRABA) – a binding agreement signed by a potential new member following the final preference event she attends during full structured or partially structures recruitment. A potential new member agrees to accept a bid from any chapter she lists on her MRABA. If she receives a bid to a chapter she lists and declines it, she is ineligible to join another organization on that campus until the beginning of the new primary membership recruitment period. If she does not receive a bid to membership, she is eligible for continuous open bidding.

Multicultural Fraternity and Sorority Council (MFSC) – the council at Hofstra University to which all NPHC, MGC, NALFO, NAPA, and other culturally-based fraternities and sororities belong. At Hofstra, there are 10 chapters belonging to the MFSC.

National Association of Latin Fraternal Organizations (NALFO) – the representative body governing historically Latino/Latina Greek Letter Organizations. At Hofstra, NALFO member groups belong to MFSC.

National Panhellenic Council (NPC) – the umbrella organization for 26 women’s fraternities. NPC supports its chapters by promoting values, education, leadership, friendship, cooperation, and citizenship.

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) – a national organization composed of four sororities and five fraternities whose membership is historically African-American; sometimes referred to as The Divine Nine. At Hofstra, NPHC member groups belong to the MFSC.

New Member – a man or women who accepted a bid from a fraternity or sorority but is not yet an active member of the chapter. As a new member, s/he receives education about the organization’s values and history to prepare for initiation.

New Member Period - The time from Bid Day until initiation.

Order of Omega National Greek Leadership Honor Society – limited to the top 3% of members in the fraternity and sorority community at Hofstra University. Member must have a GPA at or greater than the all fraternity/sorority GPA, be a junior or senior, hold significant leadership positons on campus and perform regular community service.

Panhellenic Council (PHA) – the collegiate-based council for member groups of the NPC on a college campus. At Hofstra, PHA is the governing board for 7 sororities.

Philanthropy - a cause for which a particular organization may raise money or volunteer time.
Potential New Member (PNM) - someone who could potentially be a new member of a Greek organization.

Preference – during the last round of Panhellenic sorority recruitment, a potential new member determines which particular sorority she is willing to join. The PNM will list 2 sororities in her order of preference.

Probate – the show or presentation of newly initiated members of a NPHC or culturally-based fraternity or sorority.

Probation – organizations on probation will be limited to hosting only operational chapter meetings and may be required to meet additional sanctions/requirements before being removed from probation. Chapters will be prohibited from participating in any social functions, including campus-wide programming. Chapters on probation will still be expected to attend council, President’s and SLE meetings and retreats. Further violations occurring during the probationary time period may result in additional sanctions. Exact parameters for probation will vary from case to case; chapters should refer to their sanction letter for exact guidelines.

Prophyte – term used to refer to an older brother/sister from you chapter.

Quota – the specified number of potential new members to which each Panhellenic sorority may extend a bid.

Recruitment - the formal period during which Greek organizations are actively seeking new members. However, in many councils, it is ongoing.

Release Figure Methodology (RFM) – a process by which sororities determine the number of potential new members to invite to events. The process is implemented on campuses by trained NPC volunteers known as RFM specialists.

Rho Chi – a recruitment guide that helps women during the Panhellenic Association's formal

Ritual - that which is revealed during initiation; the secret meaning that binds an organization.

Sands – a member of your organization or another culturally-based organization that was initiated at the same time you were.

Social Probation – refers to a sanction placed on an organization that prohibits said organization from participating in any social functions, including but not limited to, chapter formals, Fall Festival, Greek Week, Hofstra Celebrates the Holdiays, mixers, step shows, cook outs, and other social events. Chapters on Social Probation may have additional educational requirements to complete. Further violations occurring during the Social Probation time period may result in additional sanctions. Exact parameters for Social Probation will vary from case to case; chapters should refer to their sanction letter for exact guidelines.

Soror – term used to refer to a sister in a NPHC or multicultural organization.

Sorority – a Greek-letter organization comprised solely of women.

Snap bidding – an option available to chapters that did not match to quota during bid matching. This process takes place before bids are distributed. Snap bidding is not intended to fill spaces in the chapter total and is limited to any woman who participated in at least one event during primary recruitment.

Stepping – a historically NPHC tradition characterized by synchronized hand/foot movements, along with singing, dancing, chanting, and acting. Many latino/a and multiculraul groups participate in stepping as well.

Stroll – a line dance done by member of cultural-Greek organizations; often done at a party or step show.

Suspension – a total loss of privileges and registration for a defined period. Suspended organizations are disallowed from any affiliation with Hofstra University, direct or indirect, and are not allowed to re-activate as an organization without prior written permission from Student Leadership and Engagement. A suspended organization must apply for reinstatement following the term of suspension by submitting a letter of intent to the Assistant Director of Student Leadership and Engagement. Further violations occurring during the suspension time period may result in additional sanctions. Exact parameters for suspension will vary from case to case; chapters should refer to their sanction letter for exact guidelines.

Tiki - the large necklace worn with large Greek letters on them. Similar to a lavaliere but much larger and often made out of wood.

Total - total is the allowable chapter size, including both new and initiated members, as determined by the Panhellenic Council.

Unanimous Agreements – agreements between the NPC member organizations that provide for fairness and equality among the organizations. The UAs are passed unanimously, ratified by each member organization’s inter/national president and binding on all NPC member organizations and their members. Each College Panhellenic (or the equivalent organization) and Alumnae Panhellenic must incorporate the NPC Unanimous Agreements into its governing documents.

Yard – the term used to refer to the particular campus or university a chapter is at.

Greek Alphabet

Alpha A
Beta B
Gamma Γ
Delta Δ
Epsilon E
Zeta Z
Eta H
Theta Θ
Iota I
Kappa K
Lambda Λ
Mu M
Nu N
Xi Ξ
Omicron O
Pi Π
Rho P
Sigma Σ
Tau T
Upsilon Y
Phi Φ
Chi X
Psi Ψ
Omega Ω