Learn some of the key terms we tend to throw around in Greek Life!


Active: A person who has been initiated into a lifelong membership of a fraternity or sorority and is in good standing with their organization.

Alumnus/Alumna: A fraternity or sorority member who is no longer a member of a collegiate chapter.

Alumni/Alumnae: More than one fraternity or sorority member who are no longer members of a collegiate chapter.

Badge: The symbol worn by initiated members of a Greek-letter organization (see also: Pin).

Bid: A formal invitation to join a sorority or fraternity.

Big: Short for "Big Sister" or "Big Brother," an active member who serves as a mentor for new members.

Brother: An initiated member of a fraternity.

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

Chapter Consultant: An alumna or alumnus who establishes and maintains a close advisory relationship with a chapter and serves as a teacher, counselor, and advisor.

Colors: The official pair or triad of colors that represent a specific Greek organization.

Deactivate: The formal process by which an initiated member disaffiliates their self from the chapter.

Dry: Term used to describe events where alcohol is forbidden. All recruitment and new member education events are dry events.

Extension/Expansion: The process of establishing a new chapter of a national organization on a collegiate campus.

Formal Recruitment: The official recruitment period of the school year (held in September for women, and in September and February for men).

Founders' Day: The date celebrating the original founding of a Greek-letter organization.

Fraternity: A Greek letter sisterhood or brotherhood.

Good Standing: A status reached upon the fulfillment of all financial, scholastic, and behavioral obligations to a chapter.

Greek Week: An annual week of events and friendly competitions held in the spring semester that celebrates the positive aspects of belonging to a Greek-letter organization.

Hazing: Any willful act or practice by a member directed against a member or associate member, which is likely to: cause bodily harm or danger, offensive punishment, or disturbing pain; compromise his/her dignity; cause embarrassment or public shame; cause him/her to be the object of malicious amusement or ridicule; cause psychological harm or substantial emotional strain; impair academic efforts. Hazing is forbidden within the Greek Community at Marietta College and is against Ohio state law.

House: A chapter's physical facility.

Inactive: A member attending the same institution where their chapter is located who has no material participation in chapter activities.

Informal Recruitment: A continuous, open recruitment period with no council-organized events or activities.

Initiate: A member who is undergoing or who has undergone the initiation ceremony.

Initiation: A ritual/ceremony during which new members receive lifelong membership privileges.

Interfraternity Council (IFC): The cooperative campus organization of collegiate members of men's fraternities.

Lavaliere: A piece of jewelry with the letters of one's chapter.

Lavaliering: The practice of a fraternity member giving his lavaliere to a woman, signifying their committed relationship.

Legacy: A member whose mother, sister or grandmother was a member of the same sorority, or a member whose father, brother or grandfather was a member of the same fraternity.

Letters: A specific group of Greek letters chosen to represent the specified Greek organization.

Little: Short for "Little Sister" or "Little Brother"

Local: A sorority or fraternity without guidance from or affiliation with any national organization.

New Member: A woman or man who has accepted a sorority or fraternity bid but is not yet an initiated member.

Panhellenic Council: The cooperative campus organization of collegiate members of women's fraternities/sororities.

Pin: The symbol worn by initiated members of a Greek-letter organization; also another name for a badge.

Pledge: A promise made by a new member.

Potential New Member (PNM): Unaffiliated women or men who are eligible to join a campus fraternity or sorority.

Recruitment: A period of time during the school year in which events are held by each Greek organization for the purpose of selecting new members. Formal recruitment occurs every September for women and every September and February for men.

Ritual: The sacred ceremonies practiced by every chapter of a Greek-letter organization.

Sister: An initiated member of a women's fraternity/sorority.

Sorority: A Greek letter sisterhood.