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Decoding Sorority Terms

Decoding Sorority Terms


1. PNM’s

This stands for Potential New Member; someone who is able to participate in sorority recruitment.

2. Recruitment Counselor

They might be known as Gamma Chi’s, Pi Chi’s, or Rho Gamma’s. These are the girls who are disaffiliated from their chapters to help PNM’s go through the recruitment process.

3. Bid Day

This is the last day of recruitment, also known as “Sorority Christmas.”  PNM’s who received a bid from a sorority will become a new member of that chapter.

4. Initiation

The process of becoming an active member of a chapter, usually through the traditional ceremony of that specific sorority.

5. Legacy

Typically this is a girl whose mother, sister, aunt, or grandmother is an initiated member of a sorority. Different sororities have different definitions of who a legacy is and being a legacy does not guarantee you a bid.

6. Letters                                                                                                             

             The Greek letters of an organization. 

7. NPC

This stands for the National Panhellenic Conference. It’s the national organization that encompasses all 26 sororities.

8. New Member

This is a girl who has accepted a Bid into a sorority but is not yet initiated into the sisterhood.

9. Quota

This is the number of girls that a sorority can initiate into their chapters. It’s required by PHC that each sorority meets their quota each year. Quota varies depending on the school and the number of girls going through recruitment.

10. Recommendation

This is a letter or form that a sorority member writes recommending a girl for sorority membership. It’s usually someone that is family or a friend. Recommendations are more important on some campus’ than others.    

11. Active

This term is used to describe an initiated, collegiate member of a sorority.

12. Badge

Initiated sorority women wear these. Every sorority has a different badge.

13. Big/Little Sister

The big sister is an older member who is paired with a younger member. The big sister acts as a mentor to her little sister and helps her adjust to the sorority life.

14. COB

This stands for Continuous Open Bidding. Sororities host COB events when they do not meet quota and need to recruit more women. These events are typically more casual than formal recruitment and pledge classes are much smaller.

15. Silence

This is the period of time between preference rounds and big day. Active members and potential new members are not allowed to have any form of contact until bids are distributed.


Written by: Kellyn McMullan


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