Fraternity and Sorority Life Frequently Asked Questions

Joining a social fraternity or sorority can be overwhelming. To learn about the organizations being offered and become familiar with the terminology, the office of Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL) has you covered! Click the drop-down bars below to find more information, learn answers to Frequently Asked Questions and read a Glossary of Greek/FSL terms.

How do I obtain more information about joining?

News will be posted on this site and on our Facebook Page and Instagram pages (both are @AmericanFSL). Please email us at to receive updates about recruitment and Fraternity events.

How much does it cost to be a member of a chapter?

Being in a fraternity does require a payment of dues. This money is used to fund the operations, social events and programming for the chapter. It also allows the inter/national organization to continue to provide resources and support for the chapter. Dues vary between chapters but it's best to contact individual chapters for more info.

How much time does chapter membership take?

Everyone is different when it comes to time management. Many Greek students are able to manage chapter responsibilities, jobs or internships, academics and involvement in other campus organizations. The time commitment for joining a chapter varies, but all chapters have frequent chapter meetings and other mandatory events throughout the year that are planned out well in advance.

What will I get from joining that I would not get from any other student organization?

At AU, we take great pride in membership of a social fraternity or sorority has to offer. Greek membership provides students the chance to enhance their college experience and, unlike other student organizations, fraternities and sororities are values-based organizations and expect their members to uphold the values established by their founders. Joining a fraternity or sorority will allow students to develop leadership skills, achieve academically, and make a difference through philanthropic or hands-on service. Membership offers a sense of belonging and provides students with a home away from home.

I’ve heard that fraternities and sororities haze their members. Is that true?

AU and FSL has a zero tolerance for those who allow and/or facilitate hazing activities. Additionally, each chapter abides by strict anti-hazing policies from their inter/national organization. All AU students and student organizations must adhere to the Student Conduct Code and the AU Hazing Policy (click the links to read more).

If I go through recruitment/intake am I guaranteed an invitation to join a fraternity or sorority?

No, just as you are trying to figure out which organization you fit best with, chapters are determining who would be the best fit for their organization. Many times this is based on specific criteria such as grades or involvement in campus activities or community service. The best thing you can do is maximize your options by attending as many sorority/fraternity events as possible to allow the chapter members to get to know you on a deeper level. Additionally, if you are not asked to join a chapter, you may try again during another recruitment period.

Fraternity & Sorority Life often use specific terminology related to their activities and membership. Here are terms frequently used in FSL.

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

Alumnae: Graduated members of a sorority (singluar is alumna).

Alumni: Graduated members of a fraternity (singluar is alum).

Badge: Also known as a pin, a piece of jewelry given to initiation members worn to identify their membership in the organization. Typically worn to official events, it is only worn while in business like attire, and usually worn over the heart and above all other pins.

Bid: A formal invitation to join a Greek organization.

Big: Short for "big sister" or "big brother" - an active member who serves as a mentor for newer members.

Brother: An active member of a fraternity.

Candidate for Membership/Associate Member: One who has been accepted as a probationary member of a student organization but has not completed the requirements to receive the privileges and responsibility  of (full/active/regular) membership.

Chapter: A local group of the larger national organization.

Chapter Consultant: also known as a "Leadership Consultant" - an alumna or alumnus who works for the national organization and maintains a close advisory relationships with the local chapter. Most of the time, consultants are responsible for chapters in a specific region and travel to chapters to visit and meet with the leadership and/or present/train them.

Colony: A student organization in the final stage before being installed as a chartered chapter of a nationally affiliated organization.

Continuous Open Recruitment/Bidding (COR/COB): A time after formal NPC sorority recruitment when bids may still be extended and accepted. Not all NPC Chapters participate in COR/COB.

Crossing: Ceremony during which new members of multicultural Greek organizations become active, life-long members of their organization.

Deferred Recruitment: The standard process that requires students to delay fraternity or sorority membership until the second semester of their freshman year. For specific requirements of membership, please visit each respective Council's website.

Formal Recruitment: The period of time set aside by the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association for meeting potential members.

Fraternity: The name applied to all Greek-letter organizations. Informally, this name applies to men's groups while women’s organizations may be sororities or female fraternities.

Greek: A sorority or fraternity member.

Greek Week/Weekend: An annual celebration in which chapters participate in educational, social, and service events. It is a time for all Greek organizations to unify.

Initiation: The formal ceremony that brings a new member into full Greek membership. Each chapter has a different set of requirements that must be met in order to be initiated.

Intake: Period where students interested in MGC or NPHC organizations recruit, inform, and initiated new members.

Interfraternity Council (IFC): The governing body of nationally recognized fraternities. IFC oversees the recruitment processes for its member fraternities.

Intercultural Greek Collective (IGC): An umbrella organization at consisting of fraternities and sororities from national umbrella organizations of NALFO (Latix interest), NAPA (Asian interest), and NPHC (historically black) letter organizations on campus.

Legacy: An individual whose mother, father, sister, brother, grandmother, or grandfather is an initiated member of a Greek organization.

Line: The new member class of a culturally based organization within IGC.

Little: Short for "little sister" or "little brother" - a newer member who is mentored by an older member of the organization.

Member: One who has been offered and accepted membership in a student organization and has all the privileges and responsibilities of (full/active/regular) membership.

National APIDA Panhellenic Association (NAPA): a collective group of leaders within the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) community who work together to advocate, collaborate, and educate our members and constituency for the greater good. We represent our member organizations within the fraternal and university communities. For more information, check out their website: NAPA HQ

National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO): National umbrella council for Latino Greek letter organization. There are 24 member organizations, and are members of the Intercultural Greek Collective. For more information, check out their website: NALFO HQ

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC): The governing body of the nine traditionally African American fraternities and sororities, also known as the "Divine Nine." For more information, check out their website: NPHC HQ

National Panhellenic Conference (NPC): An umbrella organization for 26 inter/national women's fraternities and sororities. These groups are members of the Panhellenic Association. For more information, check out their website: NPC HQ

North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC): A governing body of men's fraternities founded in 1909, which includes 66 member national and international fraternal organizations. For more information, check out their website: NIC HQ

New Member: A potential member who has accepted a bid of a fraternity or sorority, but has not been initiated.

Panhellenic Association: Also known as "Panhel" or "PHA" - The governing body for nationally recognized sororities and female fraternities, under the umbrella organization of National Panhellenic Conference (NPC).

Philanthropy: A service project or cause sponsored by a chapter from which donations of goods, money, and/or time are given to charitable organizations.

Pledge: see "New Member"

Potential New Member (PNM): A student who is not yet part of a Greek organization but is interested in joining.

Probate: The introduction of new members of a NPHC or MGC chapter to the Greek and campus community.

Quota: A specific number of women a Panhellenic sorority may offer bids to during Formal Recruitment - determined by the Panhellenic Association.

Recruitment: Formal process where interested students can learn more about Greek organizations and be asked to join.

Recruitment Counselor: An initiated member of a Greek organization who guides potential new members through the formal recruitment process. Most of the time, Recruitment Counselor's will be disassociated from their chapter to help create unbias and a neutral party for potential new members.

Ritual: Private ceremony of a Greek organization. The formal document that contains the secret principles and ideals upon which the organization was founded. Only initiated members are privy to the ritual; learning the ritual is usually a part of the initiation ceremony. Ritual is sacred and unique to each inter/national organization and is the common bond between all members of an sorority or fraternity, regardless of when or where they were initiated.

Rush: see "Formal Recruitment"

Sister: A term used by sorority members to refer to one another. An active member of a sorority.

Soror: A member of an NPHC sorority. This term is usually not used by Panhellenicsororities.

Sorority: A Greek letter organization for women. Many sororities are officially fraternities; however, most refer to themselves as sororities.