Sorority Lingo: How to Speak "Sorority"

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If you are thinking of joining a sorority, you may want to brush up on the sorority lingo. While every campus is different, and also every house on campus is different, these terms are from my experience and will probably translate to your school's greek life also. These term's definitions may vary, but this is pretty standard use of the terms. My next factoid will have terms that are more specific to rush week!

Sorority: sometimes called a "house" although this doesn't always mean the sorority has an actual house. You may also hear a sorority referred to as a "female fraternity". This is because some sororities were founded before the word "sorority" was coined.

Sister: This means a girl that has been initiated into the sorority. Alumnae and pledges are also called sisters.

Pledges: also called "new members" as to avoid the stigma of hazing attached with the word "pledge". These are girls who have accepted a bid, but are not yet initiated.

Alumna: A girl who has been initiated and has graduated from college.

Bid: an invitation to join a sorority.

Rush Week: also called "recruitment week" also to avoid the association with hazing. This is the week that girls attend "parties" at a house to meet the girls. Rush week concluded with the bid ceremony.

Panhellenic: the governing body which controls the sorority on a campus. Also called a "council". Panhellenic has officers who vote on things like letting a new sorority on campus, or kicking a sorority off campus. They also choose the recruitment counselors.

Badge: The pin that sisters wear. Pledges wear a pledge pin which they give back before they are initiated or if they stop being a pledge.

Intramurals (IMs): these are the sports that sororities plan against one another for a trophy.

Philanthropy: the charity event that each sorority or fraternity puts on to raise money for their cause. Fraternities also call a philanthropy event a “derby”.

Socials: also called “mixers”. These is a themed party held by a fraternity or sorority. There are many types of socials. Some are just between one fraternity or sorority. Some are held by a fraternity or sorority and each sister or brother can bring anyone as a date. There are various types such as Formals or Semi-Formals (think prom but with more alcohol), Crush Socials (where it’s a secret who invited you until you show up) or Hayride, Woodser, Barn Bash (the country themed social).

Executive Board: Also called “Leader’s Council”. This is the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Rush Chair, etc.

Nationals: Each sorority has a national authority who governs how each chapter will run.

Chapter: The sorority house at each college. So for example Beta Gamma Iota at the University of West Dakota is a the Delta (or fourth) chapter of the BGI national organization.

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