Greek Life


Frequently Asked Questions


What is ...???

What is a fraternity or a sorority?

A fraternity/sorority is a group of men and/or women bound together by brotherhood or sisterhood and common goals and aspirations. Women's fraternities are often called sororities.  They are an excellent networking group for later in life. Fraternities and sororities provide "second families" away from home. Together these members learn, grow and their common experience creates bonds that last a lifetime.  Fraternities and sororities help members develop strong and creative leadership skills that will contribute to future success.

What do fraternities and sororities actually do?

Fraternity and Sororities participate in many activities on campus and in the community such as Welcome Week, MLK Day of Service, Relay for Life and Polar Plunge, etc. Some Greek lettered organizations have their own philanthropies in which they donate thousands of dollars to annually.

How do I go about joining a fraternity or sorority?

Recruitment/Intake/Rush is the time when fraternities and sororities seek and recruit new members.  The recruitment events are at different times for men and women. Recruitment is a time when students have an opportunity to visit the groups and see what each has to offer. Going through recruitment and its functions does not commit you to that organization.  Recruitment usually happens at the beginning of the fall and winter semesters. 

Intake is associated with the NPHC chapters, and taking new members depends on each individual organization.

Important Note: Effective Fall 2013, all new members/initiates of Greek Life organizations must have a New Member Records Release Form on file with the Coordinator for Greek Life in the Office for Student Engagement. Your individual membership will not be recognized by the campus until this form has been submitted.

Does it cost a lot of money to be in a fraternity or sorority?

Each organization is self-supported by dues paid by its members. There is a one time assessment fee that is required during initiation which varies for each organization.  There are annual dues that are collected to assist in chapter operations such as a community service, scholarships, intramurals, and many of the social events offered.

What leadership opportunities do fraternities and sororities offer?

Every member will be able to take part in organizational activities as officers, committee chairpersons, or committee members. Fraternities and sororities provide a wide-range of interesting activities. You'll be able to get involved in planning a community service project, a dinner with another fraternity or sorority, a dance or step show, and new member recruitment. The good thing is, you'll learn by doing. You will be able to put your skills to use inside and outside the classroom. The leadership skills you will learn will help you throughout your life.

What about hazing?

Hazing is absolutely forbidden. You don't have to prove yourself to anyone. Each organization does have expectations of members. Be sure that when you are going through recruitment you ask the organization what their expectations are. If you do join an organization and feel that something is not right, contact Office for Student Engagement immediately!

What are the requirements to join a fraternity or sorority?

Requirements for membership vary by organization but commonly include GPA standards and certain enrollment statuses.

Important Note: Effective Fall 2013, all new members/initiates of Greek Life organizations must have a New Member Records Release Form on file with the Coordinator for Greek Life in the Office for Student Engagement. Your individual membership will not be recognized by the campus until this form has been submitted.

I'm not a freshman. Can I still join?

Of course! Many students wait a semester or two to become familiar with campus and meeting members of Greek Life before deciding to go Greek. It is a lifetime commitment, not just for four years.

I work a lot. Are there mandatory events I have to go to?

Each organization holds weekly meetings, typically on Monday nights, as well as other events. However, each organization also has its own attendance policy and is willing to work with you to keep you as involved as possible.

I'm taking a lot of hard classes this semester. Will I be able to keep my grades up?

Academics are extremely important to every Greek organization. Fraternity and sorority members pride themselves on excellent time-management and study skills. To ensure that members stay on top of their education, Greek organizations hold study nights, create test files, book exchanges, professor recommendations and many members take classes together.

Will I have time to do other things besides being in a fraternity or sorority?

Absolutely. Our members belong to sports teams, religious organizations, honor societies, campus communities, and even work on campus in addition to being involved in their own organization. Greek Life is frequently a stepping-stone to becoming more involved as you can meet many student leaders and their organizations.

I'm interested, but I'm still not sure.

Visit the individual chapter websites or contact the Greek Leadership Council or Office for Student Engagement on campus with any questions or concerns. We are here to help and would love to meet you!

Learning the Greek Language

No, the Greek community doesn’t use ancient Greek to communicate, although it may seem like it at first.  Below are definitions for some commonly used terms within the UM-Dearborn Greek community.


Common Terms

ACTIVE MEMBER (often referred to as BROTHER or SISTERS) - A member who has gone through a new-member process and has been initiated, through a ritual, into the chapter.

ALUMNA - Member of a sorority who has graduated.

ALUMNUS - Member of a fraternity who has graduated.

ALUMNI – Plural of Alumnus; often used to denote men and women collectively.  Some organizations confer alumni status after an initiate has been an active member for four or more years

BID – a formal invitation to join a sorority of fraternity.

BID MATCHING –In the conclusion of the fall recruitment process for Panhellenic Council (NPC sororities), each potential new member submits a prioritized choice of sororities they would like to join and each sorority submits a prioritized list of women to whom they are interested in offering a bid. A matching process is used to determine which sorority each participant will be invited to join. Every potential new member may not receive a bid to her favorite chapter since the Panhellenic Council sororities have a maximum number of bids (QUOTA) that they can offer.

BIG BROTHER/BIG SISTER – An active member assigned to be the personal mentor for a new member during their new member period.

CHAPTER – A campus based organization that is part of the larger national or international organization.

CHAPTER ADVISOR – An alumnus/alumnae or faculty/staff member who serves in an advisory role to provide guidance to the organization.

CONTINUOUS OPEN BIDDING ("COB" or INFORMAL RECRUITMENT) – At the conclusion of the fall recruitment process for the Panhellenic Council sororities, those chapters with a membership size less than a specified number (TOTAL) can continue to give out bids via an informal recruitment process.

CROSSING – A term used primarily by NPHC organizations to mark the point when a new member “crosses the sands” and becomes an initiated member of the organization.

DUES – Membership fees collected by each chapter from each active member.  The amount varies by organization; dues may pay for benefits from their national organization, insurance, social events, etc.

FORMAL RECRUITMENT - A series of informational and chapter events that allow potential new members to learn about each other.  Most closely associated with the NPC. 

FRATERNITY - A Greek-letter social or honorary organization.  Most commonly refers to men’s organizations, but may also include women’s organizations.

GREEK – An informal name for a member of a fraternity or sorority.

GREEK WEEK – A week of activities involving all UM-Dearborn fraternities and sororities to promote Greek unity and to raise funds for a charitable beneficiary.

HAZING – Mental or physical abuse, harassment or embarrassment of a member. Hazing is prohibited by university policy, State law, and the policies of national fraternities and sororities.

INITIATION  – A special ritual ceremony during which new members become lifelong members of a Greek organization.

INTAKE – The membership recruitment and induction process for the National Pan-Hellenic Council (historically African-American fraternities and sororities).

INTERFRATERNITY COUNCIL (IFC) – The governing/coordinating student council for the national fraternities (at UM-Dearborn it is Delta Sigma Phi and Tau Kappa Epsilon).  All IFC member organizations are chapters of a fraternity affiliated with the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC).

LINE – Term sometimes used by various culturally-based Greek organizations to refer to the members who join the same semester.

LEGACY – A student who has a brother/sister, mother/father, aunt/uncle, and/or grandfather/grandmother who is a member of a particular fraternity or sorority. Legacies are often granted special consideration in the membership recruitment process but never guaranteed membership

LOCAL – a Greek organization that is not affiliated with any national organization.  Currently, one sorority at UM-Dearborn is a local organization, Kappa Omega Chi.

NATIONAL – The national or international organization to which a chapter is affiliated. Most have a national board of directors, comprised primarily of alumni, and national headquarters with support staff

NATIONAL PANHELLENIC CONFERENCE (NPC) – The national organizing group of 26 women’s (inter)nationally affiliated sororities in North America.

NATIONAL PAN-HELLENIC COUNCIL (NPHC) – The governing/coordinating council for the nine historically African-American fraternities (5) and sororities (4).  At UM-Dearborn, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority inc.,  and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. are NPHC members

NEOPHYTE –  a neophyte (student) is a man or woman who is a new member of an NPHC organization. 

NEW MEMBER – a man or woman who has accepted a bid from a Greek organization but is not yet an initiated member.

NORTH AMERICAN INTERFRATERNITY CONFERENCE (NIC) – The national group of 62 men’s fraternities in North America. 

NEW MEMBER (Some organizations use other terms such as ASSOCIATE, CANDIDATE, OR LINE BROTHER/SISTER) - One who has been accepted as a probationary member of a sorority or fraternity but has not yet been initiated. Collectively, the New Members who join the same semester are called the NEW MEMBER CLASS OR PLEDGE CLASS.

NEW MEMBER EDUCATION PROCESS – The time period in which candidates for active membership (or new members) learn about the organization and participate in brotherhood/sisterhood activities

ORDER OF OMEGA – A national honor society recognizing fraternity and sorority members who excel in academic achievement, Greek leadership and campus involvement

PANHELLENIC COUNCIL - The governing council for the three international sororities at UM-Dearborn.  Delta Phi Epsilon, Phi Mu and Phi Sigma Sigma are members of the Panhellenic Council.

PERSONAL/AP – See Big Brother/Big Sister

PHILANTHROPY: the chapter's specific charitable organization(s) that they donate money and volunteer hours

PIN – The fraternity/sorority badge of membership

PROFESSIONAL FRATERNITY/SORORITY – A fraternity or sorority whose membership is limited to students pursuing a specific profession.  It maintains a mutually exclusive membership in that field and organizes its group life specifically to promote professional competency and achievement within its field -- as well as providing social opportunities for its members.  Alpha Omega Epsilon and Theta Tau are professional fraternities at UM-Dearborn.

PROPHYTE- a neophyte becomes a prophyte (teacher) when he/she has participated in the initiation of new members.

RECRUITMENT/RUSH – a period of the academic year in which events are held by each organization for the purpose of selecting new members.

RITUAL – The traditional and often secret ceremonies of a chapter and/or organization.

THE ROCK – A rock outside of the University Center, painted by chapters to celebrate important dates in their chapter’s history.

SORORITY – A social fraternity for women.


Useful Links:

National Panhellenic Conference 

North American Interfraternity Conference 

National Pan-Hellenic Council 

Association of Fraternity Advisors 

Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values