A College Students Guide to Greek Terminology

Greek life. It’s a huge part of the college experience. I myself am not involved in my school's Greek life, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t dabble in the crazy language that is sororities and fraternaties. I have compiled a list of all the terms that are used in Greek life because honestly, it made no sense to me the first time.


  1. 1. Recruitment

    The process of meeting and narrowing down the sororities that you want to join. A super complex system. Always told to “trust the process.” Generally rushed(recruited) by all sororities available at your school.

  2. 2. Rush

    Applies more to fraternities. Guys that want to join a specific frat “rush” them, and either get dropped or recruited in after a specific number of rounds. 

  3. 3. PNM

    Stands for 'Potential New Member.' Anyone that is planning on rushing or going through recruitment. The label you have before you join a frat/sorority.

  4. 4. Bid

    An envelope you receive from the sorority/frat at the end of the rush process, which proves that you are now in their organization.


  5. 5. GDI

    Stands for “G*d Damn Independent" (sometimes individual), refers to anyone that is not affiliated with any Greek life organization.

  6. 6. Exec/Board

    Members of a frat/sorority that hold a high position/standing.

  7. 7. Initiation

    Occurs a few months after receiving a bid, officially recognizing you as a member of a sorority/frat. 

  8. 8. Pledge

    The status you have after receiving a bid, before initiation. The couple of months you have that require you to perform specific tasks and understand more about your specific organization before officially initiated.

  9. 9. Letters

    Seems pretty straight forward, it’s basically the Greek alphabet symbols that represent your sorority/frat.

  10. 10. Risk

    Monitoring the socials to ensure that everyone is safe and that nothing gets busted.

  11. 11. Social/Mixer

    Events held where a sorority and a frat party together.

There's definitely a lot more to know, but this is just a basic breakdown of everything you should know if you are planning on getting involved in Greek life. Don’t be scared, be yourself, and remember, trust the process. Happy purging I mean rushing.