In order to completely slay the recruitment game there are a few things you MUST know. And if you thought you escaped vocab lessons in the eighth grade, you are wrong! 🙂 Recruitment is literally a different world that has its own language. This article is for PNMs and for mamas!
You may begin to hear these terms during your college orientation or as you begin to secure your recs. We are covering the basics for you so you are prepared in advance of recruitment!
Active – An active is a sorority woman who has been initiated and is in good standing with her chapter. An active cannot write a rec for a PNM. They can, however, send an email to the rush chair to introduce a PNM to the chapter.
Alumna/Alumnae– An active sister in good standing becomes an alumna after graduation. The plural of alumna is alumnae. Alumnae can write formal recommendation letters for PNMs.
Big/Littles- After you accept your bid, there will be a mutual selection process in which you are assigned a “big sister”….you (the new pledge) become her “little” or little sister. Your big will guide you through your first year and help you transition from being a pledge into becoming an initiated sister and lifelong membership.
Bump- (Ahh….this is where you really begin to learn the ins & outs of the process.) When you enter a house during party rounds you may find yourself speaking to one sister, then another sister interrupts and takes over. The original sister moves on and “bumps” a different conversation. Bumping is good! Sisters do this strategically so as many girls as possible in their chapter can meet you.
Chapter– A chapter is a branch of a national sorority that is established on a college campus.
Continuing Open Bidding– This is often referred to as COB. When a sorority does not meet their membership total during formal recruitment to make quoto, they may hold informal recruitment to pass out bids.
Cuts- A mutual selection process where PNMs and sororities eliminate one another to make room for houses/girls that are the best fits.
Dues– Pledges and sisters are required to pay dues as members of the organization.
Gamma Chi/Rho Chi Groups– These terms are interchangeable, it depends on which school you go to. Your group is who you will travel with to the various houses with. Depending on the school, it will be done within your dorm or within the whole group of girls going through recruitment (in this case it’s done alphabetically). Regardless, you’ll be stuck with these girls for a week so make friends. One really important thing to know is that when you arrive at each house, you’ll be required to line up alphabetically within these groups.
Ice Water Teas- The first two rounds of rush are oftentimes referred to as Ice Water Teas. I literally have no idea why, so don’t ask. It makes no sense because ice water and teas are not the same thing so like??? But anyway, these rounds of rush are the shortest and run about 25 minutes per house. Absolutely everyone is required to go to every house. The scary part (cuts) come after these rounds.
Initiation- A provisional member who meets the criteria to become a sister does so thru a process called initiation. This will include learning the meanings of the organization’s secret rituals and other elements.
Legacy- A legacy is the daughter of an initiated mother and/or grandmother alumna. For example, if your mama was a Pi Phi then you (as her daughter) are a Pi Phi legacy. Legacy PNMs are not guaranteed bids to their legacy house. Each chapter treats legacy PNMs differently.
Nationals– Each chapter is connected to the national organization, often referred to as “nationals”. The national office sets the policies, rules and regulations that all chapters must adhere to in order to remain in good standing.
OOS- This is an acronym for Out Of State and typically references girls that are going through recruitment who live in a state other than the university they are attending.
Party Card– Each day (after the ice water teas or first rounds) you will receive a party card. Your party card is the list of houses you will visit the next day and lists the sequence of houses you will visit. It is literally so important that you don’t skip any parties. Even if you hated the house still show up, you can deal with it for 30 minutes. If you skip a party the active sisters will know and they will talk– to girls in different sororities. AND, you may find yourself liking the house after all!
Philanthropy– Each sorority has a national non-profit charity that they support with their time, talent and treasure.
Pledge- A potential new member who accepts a bid from a sorority becomes a pledge member of that organization. Pledges are provisional members until they become initiated into the sorority.
PNMs- This is an acronym for Potential New Member and is used to reference a girl who is not in a sorority but has signed up for formal recruitment. In other words, if you are going thru rush, you are a PNM.
Prefs or Pref Party– The preference party is the last of the party rounds during formal recruitment. PNMs will typically have one, two or three pref parties depending on their university’s Panhellenic rules and the mutual selection process. Prefs are the most formal of the parties that PNMs attend and are longer in duration. It is a serious time when PNMs get a glimpse as to what sisterhood in that chapter would mean to them.
Provisional Member- A potential new member who accepts a bid to a sorority becomes a provisional member (oftentimes referred to as a pledge) of that chapter. After initiation, the provisional member becomes a sister and a lifelong member of that sorority.
Quota- The quota is the number of new PNMs a chapter can take during formal recruitment. The quota is set by the university’s Panhellenic board and is based upon many factors.
Rec or Recommendation- A rec is a letter/form that a sorority alumnae submits to a chapter recommending you as a PNM for potential sisterhood. Alumnae submit these on your behalf; PNMs do not sent them in to the chapter. Learn all about recs and how to secure them right here.
Ritual– Ritual is a secret ceremony that bonds the sisters to the national sorority. Only initiated members participate in ritual.
Rush Bag- A rush bag is a tote that PNMs take with them from house to house during party rounds. They contain essentials you will need during a long day of parties. Typically, your Gamma Chi will keep rush bags on the side walk while PNMs are inside the houses.
Standards– Standards are rules of behavior to be upheld by both PNMs and active members. Chapters will have a Standards Committee to make sure its members uphold the standards of the chapter to keep them in good standing with nationals.
Tent Talk– Essentially, tent talk is gossip between PNMs as they make their party rounds.
Good luck and GO GREEK!