If you go to school on a college campus where Greek life is big, you may notice that the Greeks have a whole language of their own. If you’re wondering what the heck their talking about or if you’re planning to join a sorority or fraternity and want to sound like an old pro, here is a primer on some of the terms that you might hear thrown about in the sorority and fraternity houses on your campus.
Bid Night – This is the night when sororities and fraternities officially invite their desired new members to join the house with a bid.
Greek Week – A week when frats and sororities celebrate being a part of the Greek system. This is usually acknowledge with a week of parties and special events that all Greeks can attend.
Bigs and Littles – Upon joining a house, you are assigned to an older member of the sorority and they are meant to serve as a guide or mentor. This person is known as your big or little.
Date Party/Exchanges – These are events when a sorority and fraternity partner up to through a party for the membership of both houses.
Initiation – Initiation is the formal process of joining a Greek organization. This usually involves some sort of ritual that is specific to each sorority or fraternity.
Improptu – These are short notice date parties or exchanges. Guests will have 48 hours or so to quickly arrange for a date to attend the party.
Lavalier – This is a necklace bearing the Greek letters of a fraternity or sorority. Person can be “lavaliered” if they are dating someone and that person wishes for them to wear the letters of their sorority as a symbol of their bond.
Legacy – A legacy is someone that has family members that have belonged to a sorority or fraternity in the past, meaning that they have an edge on also being initiated into the sorority.
Paddles – These wooden paddles are emblazoned with the Greek letters of a house and are given as gifts to new initiates.
Pledge Families – On some campuses bigs and littles are also known as pledge moms and pledge dads. Often a pledge mother from a sorority and a pledge dad from a fraternity will join up and become a pledge family, giving the new initiates that they are mentoring a familial connection to a sister or brother sorority or fraternity.
Pledging – The act of actually committing to join a sorority or fraternity and completing all of the activities that that involves.
Preffing – This is the process during the rush period where houses discuss which rushees they would like to accept into the house and what their order of preference is in the mix. Likewise, this can also refer to rushees deciding which houses they prefer over others that they have rushed.
Rush – Rush is the formal process of choosing a fraternity or sorority.
Ritual – This is whatever secret practices a house puts in place to perform certain tasks amongst the membership. This can include initiation as well as formal chapter proceedings.
Suicide – When a rushee determines that there is only one house that they wish to join and does not preference any other houses during the preffing phase.