Fraternity & Sorority Terms

Fraternities and sororities often times use Greek-letters for their names. This stems back from the studies of the classics in the late 1700s and the introduction of fraternities and sororities to college campuses.


Active: an initiated man or woman who is a current student.

Alumna/Alumnae: an initiated member of a women's fraternity or sorority who has received her undergraduate degree.

Alumnus/Alumni: an initiated member of a fraternity who has received his undergraduate degree.

Balloting: a informal ceremony where fraternity potential new members select the organization they wish join.

Bid: a formal invitation given by an organization asking a prospective member to join their organization.

Big Brother/Big Sister: an older member assigned to assist a new member in his/her college transition

Brother: term used by fraternities for its members when referring to members.

Call: audible sounds used by members to acknowledge or gain the attention of the other members.

Chapter: the local group collegiate members of an inter/national Greek Letter organization.

Chapter Total: the maximum number of members to which a sorority chapter can recruit.

Colony: a fraternal membership which is in a trial period with their inter/national organization and the University before becoming a fully recognized chapter.

Formal Recruitment: a designated membership recruitment period during which IFC and PHA hold a series of organized events. It is a mutual selection process.

Fraternity: a Greek-letter sisterhood or brotherhood.

Greek: any member of a Greek-letter organization (fraternity or sorority).

Hand Sign: symbol or gesture made with the hand(s) that signify membership in a particular organization.Hand signs should not be replicated by non-members.

Hazing: any activity which causes undue stress placed on any member that can be emotional, mental or physical.

Informal/Open Recruitment: the unstructured recruitment process by which IFC and PHA take members.

Informational: a forum for individuals interested in seeking more information about a particular NPHC fraternity or sorority.

Initiation: the formal ritual ceremony that brings new members into full membership of the sorority or fraternity.

Interfraternity Council (IFC): the governing body for all Appalachian State University fraternities.

Legacy: a potential new member whose grandparent, parent or sister/brother is a member of a particular fraternity/sorority organization.Legacy stipulations vary by chapter/organization.

Mixer: Sorority and fraternity members meeting together socially to get acquainted.

Membership Intake: the process by which interested persons become members of most NPHC Organizations. Generally characterized by an informational meeting, an application process, an interview or series of interviews and an educational process.

National Pan-Hellenic Council at Appalachian State University (NPHC): the governing body for all Appalachian State University sororities and fraternities in the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

New Member: a woman or man who has accepted a fraternity sorority bid (invitation), but has not been initiated.

New Member Pin: a distinctive insignia worn on the chest designating a new member of a particular fraternity or sorority for the period of time between bid acceptance and initiation.

New Member Program: a period of educational programming during which new members learn the history and values about the fraternity/sorority, its members and activities.

Panhellenic Association (PHA): the governing body for all Appalachian State University sororities in the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC).

Philanthropy: a charitable service project sponsored by a fraternity or sorority.

Pin (also badge): a distinctive insignia worn on the chest designating a member of a particular fraternity or sorority.

Potential New Member: a person participating in recruitment/intake.

Rho Gamma (Recruitment Guide): a PHA or IFC member who has disaffiliated with their organization during recruitment to assist in the recruitment process.

Sister (Soror): a term used by members of women's fraternities or sororities when referring to one another.

Sorority: a Greek-letter sisterhood.

Contact Us!

Phone: (828) 262-6252
Fax: (828) 262-6502

Office Location
Fraternity and Sorority Life
Office of Campus Activities 
Plemmons Student Union
Suite 244

Mailing Address
Fraternity and Sorority Life
Office of Campus Activities
ASU Box 32034
Boone, NC 28608-2034

FedEx/UPS Address
Fraternity and Sorority Life / Office of Campus Activities
Plemmons Student Union, Suite 244
263 Locust Street
Boone, NC 28608

If a business would like to be involved with Greek Life, please email
Please note that the university does not give out contact information for students. This includes emails for Chapter Leadership.
We are sorry for the inconvenience.
Please do not call the McCaskey Center with solicitations, you will be referred to the above email.

Contact Us

Rm. 244, Plemmons Student Union
263 Locust Street
Boone, NC 28608