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Sorority recruitment can be an overwhelming time and certainly confusing for those rushing. You’ll likely hear lots of terms or abbreviations that you might not be familiar with and that can be so daunting but let go of your worries because here is the ultimate recruitment dictionary! This will help you be aware of the events that you’re attending and what to expect for the first few moments of your sorority journey. Seriously though, I wish I had a word bank while I went through recruitment so this will be your new best friend. Remember that all sisters are happy and willing to answer any questions that you might have about recruitment, you can reach out to Jade, [email protected], or click here to register for virtual recruitment!


The People

PNM: Potential New Member, this is you!

Actives: An active is a sister who is currently active in chapter. This means that she is taking part in chapter programming and committing her time to AOII.

Big: Your Big is an upperclassman who has requested to mentor or to be a big sister to a new member! You can go to your big for advice, for academic and chapter-related resources, or just to help you feel welcome in chapter while you find your bearings! You’ll get your big after bid day!

Little: There can’t be a big sister without a little sister! Everyone’s a little when they are a new member and they can become bigs after they have been initiated. You will always be your big’s little!

Fam Line: Your fam line, or family line, is your big/little lineage throughout your chapter’s existence. Your family line would include you, your big, your grand big, and so on… This is just another way to bond with your sisters!

Legacy: Someone who is related to an alumnae sister.


The Events

Rush: This is just another word for recruitment week!

Pref/Preference Night: The last day of recruitment, you need to be invited to an organization’s preference night, it’s almost like the “next round” of recruitment before you get a bid!

Bid/Bid Day: A bid is an invitation to join a sorority and bid day is the day where all the PNMs run home to the sorority that gave them a bid.



Panhel/NPC: Panhel is short for Panhellenic Council which is the governing body for sororities who are a part of the National Panhellenic Council. At UW, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Alpha Omicron Pi are members of NPC.

Local: A local sorority is one that is not part of NPC and does not have an international headquarters. At UW, Sigma Lambda Gamma is a local sorority.

Chapter: Think of a sorority as a network… a chapter as an installment of that network! Each chapter governs itself but follows the instructions/guidelines of the greater organization.


Now that your recruitment toolbelt is ready, so are you. Sorority life is amazing and I am blessed to have met women who encourage me to thrive through AOII. Best of luck and remember, have fun.

Hi everyone, I’m Sam and I’m an anthropology student at the University of Waterloo. I am currently working on minors in Indigenous studies and cultural identities as well as a Global Experience certification and a "De-escalation and Protest Organization" certification. I am passionate about human rights, politics and learning about languages or cultures. I love to write about my experiences during my undergrad and hopefully to shed light on situations that will help other women feel seen and heard in this crazy world.
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