Ultimate Guide to Sorority Lingo

With the Spring Semester approaching, many Sorority women are preparing for spring recruitment. At some colleges, this means formal recruitment with door stacks, chanting and hours of conversation. On the other hand, sororities at other schools participated in this type of recruitment in the fall and some chapters choose to participate in some version of informal recruitment. This type of recruitment usually consists of more casual and spread out events before bid day. While talking about this with a friend who is still in high school (and knows only a little bit about Fraternity & Sorority Life) I realized there are so many things I'll say and she has to ask for clarification. That's where the inspiration for this blog post, defining sorority lingo, came from.

Active - an initiated member who is a current student and member of a chapter.

Alumnae - an initiated member of a chapter who has since graduated, transferred schools, or otherwise left the chapter with alum status. Chapters often grant alumna status to members who get married or have other special circumstances. This is different from dropping the chapter.

Badge - purchased by active members, it is a pin worn at formal/ritual events.

Bid - an invitation received by a women to join a chapter.

Big - or "big sister", a mentor. Each sorority women is paired with a big, the process is different depending on the chapter.

Continuous Open Bidding (COB) - any recruitment outside of formal recruitment. This includes spring recruitment, if formal recruitment takes place in the fall.

Exchange - an event with another chapter, often fraternities, held for members to get to students outside of their chapter. These are often planned prior to Homecoming or Greek Week for teams to socialize.

Executive Board - elected officers that govern the chapter, including President and Vice Presidents.

Greek Week - similar to Homecoming, but only involves the Fraternity & Sorority Life community. There are competitions all week, usually centered around a dance or singing competition at the end of the week.

Lavaliere (Lav) - a necklace bearing the letters of a sorority or fraternity. Sorority lavalieres are common gifts but to be "lavaliered" by a fraternity man signifies that he is putting you above his brothers.

Legacy - a woman who's mother/grandmother/sister (some other relationships, like aunt, are recognized depending on the chapter) is an alumna of the sorority she joins.

Little - sophomores and older members take littles, and become a big, they usually guide them through the initiation process and develop a strong and unique bond.

New Member - a woman who has accepted a bid from a chapter but is not yet initiated. Sororities do not use the term "pledge" to describe members. 

National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) - an organization that oversees all 26 national sororities.

Paddle - a wooden plaque decorated and given as a gift.

Panhellenic Association (PHA) - the governing board overseeing sororities at a given university.

Philanthropy - every Fraternity or Sorority has a philanthropic focus. Many host events and raise money to benefit a national and local philanthropy.

Pi Chi/Rho Chi (Panhellenic Counselor/Recruitment Counselor) - an active member of a sorority who disaffiliates for recruitment in order to guide PNMs through the process. She must remain unbiased.

Pomp - there are several different styles of pomping. Essentially this is the tissue paper on Homecoming floats. Members spend an incredible amount of time and money on pomp during Homecoming.

Potential New Member (PNM) - any woman eligible to go through the recruitment process.

Preference Round (Pref) - this is the final round of formal recruitment. It is a very sentimental day for active members, especially seniors. On this day, PNMs get a look into the deeper aspects of a sisterhood.

Quota - the number of women a chapter can extend bids to during formal recruitment. This is determined through a formula that considers the number of chapters on a campus and number of women going through the recruitment process.

Recruitment - the process in which a chapter hosts events welcoming women into their houses (or rooms, if the university does not have chapter houses). Recruitment is focused on developing a connection based on values with women who could receive a bid.

Ritual - a ceremony, or ceremonies, that are unique to each chapter. Rituals were developed by founding members of sororities and fraternities and reveal secrets about the chapter only initiated members know.

Total - the maximum number of women a chapter is allowed to have as active members. Chapters often participate in continuous open bidding if they are not at total.

Twin (Twiddles) - two littles with the same big. This happens when the number of women in a new member class is higher than those available to take littles or when a member takes a second little as a junior/senior.

I hope this clears up some confusion for those of you considering joining a sorority! Please let me know, by leaving a comment, if there are any terms I should add!

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1 comment :

  1. Love this post! My rush councilors were called Rho Gammas. I've also heard Gamma Chi as well. Keep up the good work :)