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Fraternity & Sorority Terminology

Alumnus/Alumna: An initiated member who has graduated from college.

Active: A fully initiated member of a fraternity or sorority.

New Member/Associate/Pledge: A non-initiated member of a fraternity or sorority.

Badge: The pin of an initiated member, received during the initiation ceremony and worn in a designated location.

Bid: An invitation to join a fraternity or sorority.

Brother: A term used by fraternity members when referring to each other.

Chapter: Refers to a fraternity/sorority organization recognized by both the inter/national organization and UC Merced.

Colony: A newly established fraternity/sorority organization with inter/national affiliation that is recognized by the university, but has yet to receive chapter status.

Exchange/Mixer/Function: A social event held between two or more fraternity/sorority organizations.

Expansion:  A student-generated approach to starting a new fraternity/sorority organization, which includes the review of interest groups by the appropriate parties.

Formal Recruitment: The period set aside annually for the structured recruitment period.

Fraternity: A name applied to all Greek-letter organizations, but specifically men's groups.

Fraternity & Sorority Council: The governing body that represents all recognized fraternities and sororities at UC Merced.

Greek: A member of a fraternity or sorority.

Greek Week: An annual celebration held during the spring semester in which chapters participate in athletic events, community service, brotherhood and sisterhood activities, an award ceremony, and various social events.

Hazing: Any activity that has the potential to harm a member physically, mentally or emotionally.

Initiation: The sacred ritual that brings the non-initiated member into full membership.

Interest Group:  A group of students who have registered as an RCO with the intention of becoming a recognized fraternity/sorority organization.

Inter/National Organization/Headquarters/Executive Office: The central organization of a sorority or fraternity.

Legacy: A student who is a daughter/son, sister/brother, or grandchild of a member of a Greek-letter organization.

New Member/Pledgeship/Pledge Period: A trial period of learning about fraternity/sorority history, customs, and ideals.

Philanthropy: Community service or fundraising in the effort to promote human welfare.

Potential New Member: An eligible man or woman who is interested in becoming a member of a fraternity or sorority.

Quota: The number of members to whom each sorority/fraternity may extend bids at the conclusion of formal recruitment.

Recruitment: The process of getting to know about fraternity and sorority life.

Recruitment Advisor (Rho Alpha): A representative from a sorority/fraternity that aids Potential New Members in navigating the formal recruitment process.

Ritual: The traditional, secret initiation ceremonies of a fraternity or sorority.

Sister: A term used by sorority members when referring to each other.

Sorority: A Greek-letter organization for women.