Speak Greek

Do you feel like students in fraternities and sororities are speaking 'Greek'?  What are these "dues" and "bids" and "initiations"?  Below are several common terms used among students affiliated with fraternities and sororities to help you better understand our community.


CHAPTER: An individual colony which comprises a larger, national fraternity or sorority.

RUSH: The process in which potential new members attend recruiting events held by the various organizations on a given campus.  Held each spring.

ISC/IFC: A panel of elected students charged with governing and promoting cooperative actions within the Greek life community.

GREEK COMMUNITY: The confluence of individual fraternities and sororities in Sewanee in which Greek members and organizations comprise a greater, non-exclusive community whose value and impact extends for beyond the confines of individual chapters.

NEW MEMBER:  An individual who has accepted a bid to an organization but has not yet been initiated.

ACTIVE: A current, initiated member of a fraternity or sorority.

DUES: Semester payments to one’s organization.

SHAKE DAY: The day in which individuals offered bids choose to accept one such bid and become a new member.  Shake Day occurs immediately following the last day of rush.

FORMAL HOUSE VISITS: The part of rush in which recruits visit all fraternities or sororities in order to familiarize themselves with each chapter, its members, and its values.

UPPERCLASS RUSH: The period of rush for non-freshmen which is held each fall.

BID: An invitation from a fraternity or sorority for an individual to become a new member.

INITIATION: The formal date in which new members become actives within an established organization.

RITUAL: An event in which a chapter’s traditions are executed and exhibited as part of new member education.

BIG BROTHER/SISTER: The active member whom is tasked with guiding and advising a new member.

LITTLE BROTHER/SISTER: The new member whom is the responsibility of a big brother or sister.

HAZING: Hazing is defined as any form of coercion which is meant to elicit physical or mental compliance on the point of any member of a Greek organization.