Greek Terminology

  • Below is a list of terminology to help you better understand Fraternities and Sorority Life. 
    Ever wondered about those Greek letters and how to pronounce them?  Take a look at the Greek Alphabet


    An initiated undergraduate member of a fraternity or sorority.


    A post-collegiate life-long member of a sorority. Generally, women move to alumnae status after eight semesters of undergraduate study. Plural is alumnae (pronounced alumnee).


    Used to refer to multiple male or female post-collegiate members of Greek organizations. An alternative plural is the combination alumni/ae.


    A post-collegiate life-long member of a fraternity. Generally, men move to alumni status after eight semesters of undergraduate study, but they may continue to pay active member dues up until graduation, if their undergraduate work continues beyond eight semesters. Plural is alumni (pronounced alumnye).


    A formal invitation to join a fraternity or sorority.


    A local branch of a national Greek organization. Each fraternity and sorority at Capital has a unique chapter designation; for example, we are home to the Epsilon Chi chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity.

    Community service

    Time and effort donated toward a charitable cause or community institution to benefit the public. Please note the difference between community service and philanthropy.

    Formal membership recruitment

    The membership selection period held in January/February.

    Informal or open recruitment

    The membership selection period for fraternities and sororities with openings throughout the fall and spring semesters. Legacy A man whose father, brother, or grandfather is a member of a fraternity, or a woman whose mother, sister, or grandmother is a member of a sorority.

    Interfraternity Council

    This governing body oversees our fraternities on campus and ensures community relations, policy compliance, programming, and recruitment.

    Intersorority Council (Panhellenic Council)

    This governing body oversee ours sororities on campus and complies with the National Panhellenic Conference's rules and regulations. This council ensures organizational success through relationships, conduct, programming, and recruitment.

    New member or associate

    Formerly known as a "pledge," this is a man or woman who has accepted an invitation to join a Greek organization, but has not yet been initiated.


    North-American Interfraternity Conference, the national leadership organization for its member fraternities. 

    NIC website 


    National Panhellenic Conference, the national leadership organization for its member sororities. 

    NPC website 


    National Pan-Hellenic Council, the governing body of historically African-American fraternities and sororities. Capital has one member fraternity—Alpha Phi Alpha—and two member sororities—Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta. Membership inquiries for these organizations should be directed to the fraternity or sorority of interest.

    NPHC website 


    Fundraising activities or service projects for charitable institutions, or charitable aid/donations to these institutions. (Please note the difference between philanthropy and community service).

    Potential New Member (PNM)

    A man or woman who is pariticipating in formal recruitment.