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Fraternity and Sorority Terminology 101

Bid – The term some fraternities and sororities use to refer to a formal invitation to membership in the organization.

Big Brother/Big Sister – Some organizations designate initiated members as mentors to newer members and use this title to identify them. For short, these pairings may be referred to as “bigs” and “littles.”

Chapter – The local group of a national or international fraternity or sorority. Inter/national organizations often give chapters a name to designate it from other chapters inter/nationally. This name may be a single Greek letter or combination of Greek letters, and sometimes includes the state.

Chapter Advisor – An alumna/alumnus who establishes and maintains a close advisory relationship with a chapter and serves as a teacher, mentor, and coach to members, particularly guiding the officers of the chapter. Chapter Advisors are appointed by the organization at the national or regional level. Chapter Advisors are generally located in proximity to the chapter and have frequent face-to-face interaction with the members at meetings and events.

Colony/Establishing Chapter – A term used to describe a group of undergraduate students starting a new chapter of an inter/national organization on campus. The first group of member initiated into this group are called founding members.

Faculty/Staff Advisor – Often referred to as an On-campus Advisor at Monmouth University, this is a member of the Monmouth community who serves as a mentor and liaison to the chapter for academic and programming support.

Informational Meeting – A meeting held by a chapter for prospective members who are seeking more information about the organization and how to join. An informational is typically the first step in the Membership Intake Process for culturally-based fraternities and sororities. Often referred to simply as an “informational.”

Initiated Member – This term is used to designate those members who have completed their new member education process or membership intake.

Inter/National Organization – A common way to refer to the overarching fraternity or sorority represented by a chapter on campus. When referring to business center of these organizations Headquarters, Central Office, or Executive Office is appropriate.

Legacy – A student whose family member (typically parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt or uncle) is a member of an organization. Each organization defines who is a considered a legacy with respect to their membership process. This is not determined by the University.

New Member – A student who has accepted an invitation to membership (bid) to join an organization and is taking part in the new member education/intake process.

Philanthropy – A nonprofit organization, usually chosen by the inter/national organization, in which chapters educate others, raise funds, or donate items.

Potential New Member (PNM) or Aspirant – A student interested in joining a fraternity or sorority.

Ritual – A ceremonial event unique to each organization that demonstrates the ideals and principles of that organization. The content of these ceremonies is administered by the inter/national organization and most are private to members only.