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Below are definitions of commonly used Greek terms:


Active - A member who has been initiated into lifelong fraternity or sorority membership and participates in chapter activities at the collegiate level.  This member must also be in good standing academically and financially within the organization.


Alumni - Members of a Fraternity who have graduated (singular is alumnus).


Alumnae - Members of a Sorority who have graduated (singular is alumna).


Alum - An abbreviation for alumni, alumnus, alumnae, or alumna.


Badge - Also known as a pin, this is an item of jewelry that is given to members upon initiation. Usually worn over the heart.


Bid - A formal invitation to continue on to the new member education process for a sorority or fraternity.


Big (Brother or Sister) - An active member of a sorority or fraternity who serves as a mentor to a new member, guiding her/him through the new member education program.


Brother - Term that fraternity members call each other.


Call/Chant - Audible sounds used by members to acknowledge or gain attention of, to identify, and to greet other members.  Calls may vary regionally within organizations and some organizations may use more than one call. Non-members are not permitted to use the call.


Chapter - A local group of the larger organization designated with a Greek Name (ex: Alpha Beta Gamma, Alpha Chapter).


Chapter Meeting - A weekly meeting held to discuss sorority or fraternity business.


Charter - A new organization that is waiting for official recognition from their Nationals to establish a chapter at a campus.


Crest - Insignia used by sorority and fraternity members. Each crest has specific hidden, secret meanings behind it. Also known as a shield or coat of arms.


De-Pledge - When a new member elects to, or is asked by actives, to discontinue the new member education program.


Drop Letters - Formal process of disassociation from a sorority or fraternity. This person would be able to pledge another organization in the future should she/he wish to.


Dues - The charge for joining a fraternity or sorority.


Founders Day - An event celebrated by fraternities and sororities to highlight the founding of their organization and celebrate its history. This is not necessarily held on the exact day the organization was founded.


Fraternity - The name that applies to all social Greek organizations that are characterized by a ritual, badge, strong ties to friendship and moral principles, and mutual interests. Generally thought of as a group of men, but also refers to co-ed organizations, and some sororities are officially fraternities.


Greek - Not the Nationality, but a member of a sorority or fraternity.


Greek Council - The self-governing body of the social Greek Community at SUNY Delhi.


Greek Week - A week of organized events meant to unite all social Greek lettered organizations.


Hand Sign - A specific arrangement of the hands that identify members of the same organization. Most have a deep meaning to that organization, or a ritualistic symbol.


Handshake - A special handshake unique to an organization that only initiated members will know. Also known as a grip.


Hazing - Any act performed by a member of any organization that is likely to cause harm, danger, causes public embarrassment or shame, compromises a person's dignity, causes the person to be the object of ridicule, causes psychological harm, or is illegal. Hazing is against the law in all states, and is against the principles of all sororities and fraternities.


Inactive Member - A member who has elected to not be active within their organization. They will not be able to hold positions within the organization.


Informational - A recruitment event mostly used by culturally-based organizations to inform potential new members on their organization. 


Initiation - The formal ceremony that marks the beginning of active membership (crossing over from a pledge to a full member). Initiation ceremonies are private and different to all organizations. Most groups record this time to the second.


Intake - see New Member Program.


Interest - Title of a potential new member who the group knows to be interested.


Legacy - The brother or sister, son or daughter, or grandson or granddaughter of a fraternity or sorority member. Each (inter)national organization has its own policy regarding legacies. Legacies in no way guarantee a bid from the organization they are a legacy to.


Letters - The first Greek letter of each Greek word that makes up the name of the fraternity or sorority are often displayed on clothing. For example, Alpha Tau Chi's letters are ATX. Some organizations don't allow new members to wear letters (only the name spelled out), while others do.


Little/Lil - Nickname for a Big's new member that they mentor.


Line - The members of an organizations new member class. Lines are often given names.


Local - Organizations that have only an Alpha Chapter at one particular institution.


National - Organizations that have chapters throughout the country at various institutions.


Neophyte aka NEO - A new member of an organization.


New Member - After receiving and accepting a bid, the person becomes a new member. Formerly called a pledge.


New Member Pin - A distinctive badge worn on the chest designating a new member of a particular fraternity or sorority for the period of time between bid acceptance and initiation. Most organizations require the new member to return the new member pin at initiation in exchange for their member pin.


New Member Class - The group of new members that will be going through the New Member Program and Initiation together. Formerly called a pledge class.


New Member Educator - The liaison between the new members and the chapter, they are responsible for implementing and monitoring the new member program and preparing the new members for initiation.


New Member Presentation - A formal presentation of a new line to campus. Usually done in a public forum after members have been initiated. Also known as a Probate, Coming Out Show, or Rollout.


New Member Program - The time period where the new member learns about their new sorority or fraternity before initiation. Lasts from Bid day until Initiation. Formerly called pledge period and also known as Intake.


Number - the number you are assigned based on the chronological order you are in on your initiation line (often members of other culturally-based organizations identify or relate to one another by distinguishing that they are the "same" number).


Paraphernalia AKA Para - The different items of Greek clothing or items someone is wearing with their Greek letters or crest.


Philanthropy - A charity or fundraiser that the fraternity or sorority supports. Can be national or local or both.


Potential New Member(PNM) - A person who is interested in joining a Greek letter organization, and will participate in rush, intake, or recruitment.


Prophyte - Term used to refer to an older brother/sister from your chapter.

Regional - Organizations that have multiple chapters in a particular region.


Rush - A series of social events and gatherings that allow prospective and current fraternity or sorority members to get to know each other.  This is prior to the new member education program.


Sands - A member of a different organization that initiated in the same semester as you.


Sister - A term used by sorority members to refer to one another.


Sorority – A Greek organization for women. Many sororities are actually fraternities, as many were created before the word sorority was coined. Despite this, most will call themselves sororities.


Stepping - A historically black tradition characterized by synchronized hand foot movements, along with singing, dancing, chanting, and acting. Many Latino/Latina and Multicultural groups participate in stepping as well.


Stroll - A synchronized line dance done by members of cultural Greek organizations; usually done at a party or step show. Also known as party walk, party hop.


TeeKee - A large necklace worn with large Greek letters on them. Often made out of wood.


Yard - The term used to refer to the particular campus or university a chapter is at. 

Student Activities

222 Farrell Student
and Community Center

P: 607-746-4565
F: 607-746-4342


Joliana Hunter-Ellin 
Greek Life Advisor

219 Farrell Student
and Community Center

P: 607-746-4841


Recognized Greek Organizations

ΔΩE - Delta Omega Epsilon (DOE)
KΣE - Kappa Sigma Epsilon (KSE)
ΛAΥ - Lambda Alpha Upsilon (LAU)
ΛIΥ - Lambda Iota Upsilon (LIU)
TΔΧ - Tau Delta Chi (TDX)
TKE - Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE)
TRI  - Tri-Atelier Fraternity (Tri-At)

BΔE - Beta Delta Epsilon (BDE)
- Zeta Delta Tau (ZDT)
KΩI - Kappa Omega Iota (KOI)
MIΥ - Mu Iota Upsilon (MIU)
OΞΩ - Omicron Xi Omega (OXO)
ΣΩE - Sigma Omega Epsilon (SOE)

Co-Ed Fraternities
BKΞ - Beta Kappa Xi (BKX)
ZΦΩ - Zeta Phi Omega (ZPO)
ΥΔE - Upsilon Delta Epsilon (UDE) 

Last Updated: 6/21/17