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Fraternity & Sorority Definitions

Alumni: sorority or fraternity members who are no longer active members of a collegiate chapter and have left in good standing with organization

Associate/New Member: an uninitiated member of a fraternity or sorority that is in the process of joining a chapter

Badge: the fraternity or sorority membership insignia

Bid: an invitation to join a fraternity or sorority

Big Brother/Big Sister: active member assigned to be the personal mentor for a new member

Chapter: a campus-based organization of a national or international sorority or fraternity

Charter: documentation that an individual chapter is recognized and operates according to the national organization

Colony: a newly formed affiliate of a national organization that has not yet received its charter; the organizing members of a colony are often referred to as founders

Continuous Open Bidding (COB): process of extending bids on an individual basis that is outside of the formal recruitment process

Formal Sorority Recruitment: a membership recruitment period during which a series of organized events are held by each National Panhellenic Conference sorority; organized and implemented by the Panhellenic Leadership

Fraternity/Sorority: a group of men or women who are bound together by ritual ties, beliefs, common goals, and values

Fraternity and Sorority Life: a department of Virginia Tech that advises four governing councils: Interfraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, Panhellenic Council and the United Council of Fraternities and Sororities

Initiation: a traditional ritual that brings an associate/new member into full membership of the fraternity or sorority

Intake: the membership recruitment and induction process for the National Pan-Hellenic Council and some of the United Council of Fraternities and Sororities 

Interfraternity Council (IFC): the representative governing body of all men’s North-American Interfraternity Conference fraternities

Legacy: someone whose mother, father, sister, or brother is a member of a particular Greek-letter organization

Line: term sometimes used by various culturally based Greek organizations to refer to the members who join during the same semester

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC): the representative governing body for the nine traditionally African-American fraternities and sororities

National Panhellenic Conference (NPC): the conference composed of 26 national women’s fraternities, each of which is autonomous as a general, Greek-letter society of college women, undergraduates, and alumnae

New Member Educator: a liaison between the new members and the chapter who is responsible for implementing and monitoring the new member program and preparing the new members for initiation

North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC): the trade association representing 75 international and national men’s fraternities

Panhellenic Council (PHC): a council of elected officers and delegates from Virginia Tech’s National Panhellenic Conference sororities; the Panhellenic Council governs the Panhellenic Association

Philanthropy: charitable projects connected with local or national causes

Potential New Member (PNM): a student who is not yet affiliated with a chapter as either an associate/pledge or initiated member

Recommendation/Reference: a letter of form written by an alumni/alumna member recommending a Potential New Member to a fraternity or sorority; recommendations are generally not required at Virginia Tech

Recruitment: process of recruiting new members

Ritual: the beliefs and standards of a fraternal organization, which governs their purpose; some ritual activities may be closed to non-initiated members

United Council of Fraternities and Sororities (UCFS): the council that governs our multicultural and special-interest fraternities and sororities