Glossary of Terminology

A formally initiated member of a fraternity or sorority.

A sorority member who has graduated from college.

An all-encompassing and plural form used when referring to multiple members of a fraternity or sorority that have graduated from college.

A fraternity member who has graduated from college.

The fraternity/sorority insignia, worn only by the members.

A formal invitation to join a Greek-letter organization. 

The last day of recruitment where new members are welcomed into the organization. 

A term referring to an older mentor member or a Greek Organization. 

A term that is used to refer to another member of a Greek organization. 

A yell used to identify and greet brothers and sisters. 

A college or university. 

The term for the local organization, typically assigned Greek letters. An example would be the Epsilon Beta Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity at Grand Valley State University. 

An alumnus/alumna or faculty member who serves in an advisory role to provide guidance to a chapter. 

An award system used by the Fraternity and Sorority Life team to acknowledge chapters who meet and exceed our expectations related to programming, academics, and philanthropic events. 

Office documentation that an individual chapter is recognized and operates according to the national organization. 

A newly formed affiliate of a national organization that has not yet received its charter. The members of a colony are referred to as "founders". 

A coat of arms or other symbolism that represents the organization and its principals. 

A term to denote when a person was initiated, typically used by culturally based greek-letter organizations. 

A fraternity or sorority that has aspects of specific or multiple cultures incorporated into its ritual, purpose, and ceremonies. 

A term referring to a mentee member of an organization. 

A member of an organization that chooses to no longer be a member of that organization. They are removed from membership. 

The Division of Student Services is comprised of departments, programs, facilities, and services supported by more than 150 professional and graduate staff. The Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students serves as the university's senior student affairs officer and provides divisional leadership. 

A student who withdraws from a chapter after accepting bid or being inducted, but before initiated, typically used by culturally based Greek-letter organizations. 

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

A membership recruitment period during which a series of organized events are held by the National Panhellenic Council sorority, held in the Fall semester. 

An advisor for a student organization that also works for the host institution in some capacity. In Fraternity and Sorority Life, the advisor is also often affiliated with a Greek organization. 

A Greek-letter organization for men or a co-ed organization. 

A student executive board comprised of member of each governing council that does not have a judicial capacity. 

A member of a fraternity or sorority. 

The on-campus community of fraternities and sororities. 

A student executive board, usually an extension of a National governing council, which functions as overseeing multiple chapters. These executive boards have judicial authority over the chapters they work with. 

The local law enforcement located on Grand Valley's campus. 

Located within the Dean of Student's Office that handles all student and organizational conduct for the university. 

Symbol or gesture made with the hand(s) that signifies membership in a particular organization, typically used by culturally based Greek-letter organizations. 

A special handshake unique to each organization. Only initiated members will know the handshake. 

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, the institution of learning, and civil authorities. University policy, State law, and the policies of national fraternities and sororities strictly prohibit hazing.

A local extension of the North American Interfraternity Conference, a National umbrella organization that represents 70+ fraternal organizations. 

A member of a fraternity or sorority who is usually in their last semester of college and elects to no longer be active status. 

A meeting held by a chapter for prospective members who are seeking general information about the organization. 

A group of individuals on campus in the first stage of the process leading to installation as a chapter of a Greek-letter organization. 

A formal meeting held by the organization for potential members that detail the application process and rules of the organization generally geared to potential members who have a serious interest. 

The membership recruitment and induction process for NPHC. The process is very discreet, and the interested person usually knows which group they want to pursue before attending any of their events. 

The business center of the Greek-letter organizations based around the country. 

The traditional ritual, which brings the new member into full membership. The private ceremony in which a new member becomes a fully initiated member. Initiation ceremonies and rituals are private and secret and may only be attended by initiated members or those to be initiated. 

A way for Panhellenic potential new members to claim their new sisterhood. Each new member receives her bid and then gets on stage and announces which organization they are joining and jump off the stage to run to their group of new sisters waiting for them. 

LakerLink is the official registration program for all registered student organization at GVSU. LakerLink is your way to connect to organizations, communicate with members, and explore your community. 

A prospective member who has a family member in the same Greek organization. 

A term referring to a mentee member of a Greek organization. 

People who are members of the same intake class, typically used by culturally based Greek-letter organizations. 

The numerical designation given to a member according to the place they occupy in the line or organization. Commonly worn on the back of a jacket or T-Shirt, typically used by culturally based Greek-letter organizations. 

The local governing body for the multicultural Greek-letter organizations located on Grand Valley's campus. 

A term referring to a mentor member of a Greek-letter organization. Commonly used by MGC organizations. 

A national umbrella organization for 16 Latino Greek-letter organizations. 

A national umbrella organization for 18 Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Greek-letter organizations. 

A newly initiated member of a Greek Organization. The Neophyte period is usually a year or until the next line/class of new members comes through the organization. Sometimes referred to as "Neo", typically used by culturally based Greek-letter organizations. 

A member who has not been initiated. A person who has been accepted as a probationary member of a Greek-organization and is in the process to become a full member. 

People who are members of the same new member class, sometimes referred to as "pledge class". 

The chapter member who is responsible for educating the newest line/class of new members. 

Upon receiving a bid, this term is used to refer to the time during which an associate is in process of becoming a full member. Depending on the organization, this can be anywhere from 48 hours to 10 weeks. 

A show used to introduce new members of the organization. The new members are usually kept a secret until they are revealed. Typically used by culturally based Greek-letter organizations. 

The national umbrella organization that represents 70 fraternities, including multiple NPHC and MGC fraternities. 

The national umbrella organization that represents 26 national sororities and women's fraternities. 

The national umbrella organization for the nine historically African-American fraternities and sororities, sometimes referred to as the "Divine Nine". 

The Office of Student Life of Grand Valley State University is the central office for student activities related to registered student organizations, leadership, University events and traditions, and more. The OSL is located in Kirkhof Center. 

The Panhellenic Association is a local extension of the National Panhellenic Conference, with an executive board that has judicial authority over the chapters it represents. 

A mentoring relationship between a new member and an established chapter member; can be used regionally to describe a person going through intake who shares the number of an initiated member. Commonly used by NPHC. 

A charity or community service. Each organization has their own specific national charity that they donate to and some organizations have an additional charity individualized for their chapter. 

A non-affiliated individual interested in fraternity and sorority life. 

A specific number of women to which each Panhellenic Council sorority may extend membership during a formal (fall) recruitment period. 

Student organizations that have gone through the process to be officially recognized by the university. 

A resource guide and policy manual for officers, members, and advisors of Grand Valley State University student organizations. 

Page last modified February 19, 2021