Greek Terminology

As a Greek-letter member, I often hear, "What is that?", when talking to some of my non-Greek friends. And I understand what it must feel like for non-Greeks to talk to their Greek friends and hear something like, "Hey, there was this eternal who had the nerve to be up at regionals. But he's still a GDI, so we just laughed at him." What the heck does that mean? Well, I'm about to clear all this up for you.

Active Members
Members who maintain financial status through paying dues. Those who do not are known as Inactive.

Dropping Line
To quit the process of becoming a member, most often linked to the pledge process. This person is considered an eternal.

One who joins the ranks (gets on line) to achieve membership, but never becomes a member because they drop line. According to most rites of passage, this person is lost in the burning sands because they did not endure to the end. They "eternally" wander in the wilderness or in the dessert of the Nubain Sands.

A negative term most often associated with members of Greek Lettered Orgaziations who didn't pledge or go through the process of intense rites of passage. The truth of the matter is a skater is "anyone" who willingly contradicts the oath, principes, etc. of their organization.

Paper or Signer
Another negative term most often associated with members of Greek Lettered Orgaziations who didn't pledge or go through the process of intense rites of passage. This term means that the person filled out their paperwork, took three to five education classes on the organization, and were then initiated. Like the term skater, a paper member is often associated with the duration of that member's process as well as their experiences during that process.

A general, but objectionable term that some Greeks use referring to non-Greeks.

A member of the organization that has graduated from college and coninues to stay acitive with the organization by way of a graduate or alumni chapter.

Grad-Graduate-Alumni Chapter
1) A collective group of graduated members that maintain financial status; 2) The advisory support of the undergraduate chapter.

An abbreviated term for a Greek-lettered organization or member.

Inter-Fraternal Council; the governing body for the predominantly white fraternities.

An informal gathering held by an organization to familiarize people with the members, ideals, and other points of interest. *Note* Non-Greeks should be aware that some Greek members will use functions like these to patronize interested students.

Membership Intake Process; the process adopted by the NPHC and all of its members in the early 1990's to put an end to dangerous rites of passage (known as hazing) and hazing deaths. *Note* Hazing is illegal in our organizations AND in United State's courts of law.

NPHC, or "The Pan"
The National Pan-Hellenic Council; the governing body for the nine Historically Black Greek-Letter Organizations (HBGLO). The organization was founded in 1930 and houses our fraternities and sororities together.

"Nalia", or "Perry"
Two abbreviated terms for paraphernalia. Shirts, paddles, license plates, jewelry, etc. Abbreviations differ regionally.

An abbreviated term for the Greek word Neophyte, meaning beginner. A neophyte is someone who is new to the organization.

Non-, or Un-financially Active
A term unofficially reserved for those members who do not have the means to maintain active status, but continue to dedicate themselves to the organization through physical participation. *Note* These members are not officially affiliated with the graduate or undergraduate chapters and should not be consulted as advisory roles.

National Panhellenic Conference; the governing body for the predominantly white sororities.


To Pledge
1) (old meaning) to engage in a series of various (sometimes harmful-hazing) rites of passage in order to attain membership into an organization; 2) (adaptation) to dedicate one's self to membership in an organization.
A Pledge
A person in the process of joining a Greek-letter organization.
1) (old meaning) Engaging in a series of rites of passage to gain membership in a Greek-letter organization. 2) (new context) Joining in M.I.P. 3) (adaptation) The act of keeping the promises set forth in the pledge you take when becoming a member.

Original version written by Andrea Hatter a.k.a. BombSmile of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
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