Mason Formal Recruitment: Learning the Language and Abbreviations of Sororities

The recruitment process is a whirlwind weekend of abbreviations, Greek letters, glitter and chants. This guide breaks down some of the terminology you’ll hear chapter members say:

PNM: Potential New Member

That’s you! Any woman signed up for recruitment and is actively going through the process is considered a PNM. This is how you’re referred to by sisters until the moment you open your bid. Depending on the chapter, you’ll then become a New Member or Future Initiated Sister.

Via GMU Clubs and Organizations


Your weekend and parties you visit are broken down into a coordinated, predetermined schedule. You’ll receive this from your Rho Gamma’s at the very beginning of recruitment weekend. Speaking of Rho Gammas…

Via Giphy


These lovely ladies are your recruitment counselors and chose to temporarily disaffiliate from their chapters to help you find your own home! Their own affiliation is a secret until bid day, so consider them an unbiased source of support throughout the weekend.

Via George Mason University College Panhellenic


This is one of the most sacred and special rounds to each chapter. Sisters will share stories with you, share a part of their ritual and tell you why they love their greek home. This is the last day of recruitment and you usually only attend this for two or three chapters before you submit your own preference list at the end of the night.

Via Pi Beta Phi at George Mason University


This is one of the most important important parts of Greek life to women. Their philanthropy is a charitable cause that they fundraise for and get actively involved in.

Via @masonpanhellenic


This is the golden ticket to your future chapter. Once you open your bid (consider it a formal invitation) then you’ll finally get to run home on bid day and meet all of your new sisters!

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Pin or Badge

Every chapter has their own badge that symbolizes their motto or values. Some chapters reveal the meaning of their badge once you’re an initiated sister.

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This is a weekly meeting held every Sunday to bring together sisters, plan for events and share ideas.

Via @gmualphaphi


Ritual is a ceremony or secret proceedings that embody the most sacred and important parts of the sisterhood. Every chapter has their own unique way of doing it.

Via @gmukappadelta


One of the best parts of the semester! Retreat is generally held early in the semester once recruitment is over and the new members have joined the chapter.

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These are the stitched Greek letter shirts you see around campus. There are ones specifically for a chapter in their signature colors, as well as big/little matching letter shirts. You can even get a set made for you and your best friend! Chapters have different policies on wearing stitched letters before you are an initiated sister. Your big may give you your first pair after initiation.

Via @masonpanhellenic

Panhellenic community

This is the council that oversees all of the sororities on campus going through the formal recruitment process. They are independent of the multicultural fraternities and sororities on campus who have their own governing body. Panhellenic embodies the love of sisterhood across different organizations and the importance of supporting one another. Just because your roommate found her home in a different chapter doesn't mean you can't share some ~Panhellenic love.~

Via @masonpanhellenic


Getting a big is one of the most exciting moments in your sorority experience. They serve as a mentor, guide and friend throughout your entire college experience. The big/little structure also helps build your sorority family within the chapter and provides an even bigger source of support!

Courtesy of Molly Feser

Good luck finding your new home and taking your first step into Greek life, collegiettes!