The ABCs of Greek rush

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Greek rush begins this weekend! You’d better school yourself in fraternity and sorority vocab if you want to get ahead of the game. For your reference, the Clog compiled a list of helpful terms that might come up during recruitment. Here are the ABCs of Greek rush:

A (Alpha)

Active: a student who is already a member of the fraternity or sorority.

B (Beta)

Bid: a formal invitation to join the fraternity or sorority. Later in the year, a bid means an invitation to a party.

Γ (Gamma)

Game Day: a day on which fraternities are the place to be, when Cal has a home game. Expect burger grilling, outdoor couches, ping pong tables and guys in bro tanks.

Δ (Delta)

Date party: It’s like prom for college students. You invite a date and spend the night dancing at a cool venue. Both fraternities and sororities have them.

E (Epsilon)

Exchange: when a fraternity and a sorority have a social event together. Usually, there is a theme.

Z (Zeta)

Zombie: what you feel like at the end of rush week.

H (Eta)

Eat: Rush week is delicious. During the week, sororities will serve baked goods such as croissants, pigs in a blanket, cupcakes, cookies, biscotti and lemon bars. Fraternities will host barbecues and serve burgers, tri tip and hot dogs.

Θ (Theta)

Thirteen: the number of sorority houses affiliated with the Panhellenic Council at Cal. There are more than 30 official registered fraternities at Cal.

I (Iota)

Initiation: a ritual that is house-specific. When you join a Greek house, you are still a new member until you are initiated. Then, you become an active member. Usually, there are traditions and ceremonies associated with initiation.

K (Kappa)

Kickback: a casual hangout with the brothers of a fraternity house, often hosted during rush week.

Λ (Lambda)

Legacy: You are a legacy if someone in your family was once in the fraternity or sorority. Some houses prioritize this when deciding on bids, while others don’t. 

M (Mu)

Meeting: There are usually informal house meetings every week or so for each house. There are formal meetings less frequently.

N (Nu)

National Panhellenic Council: the organization that leads affiliated sororities across the country.

Ξ (Xi) 

(e)Xecutive House Boards: a committee usually consisting of a president, vice president, social chair, recruitment chair and house manager. They are in charge of recruitment and administrative duties within the house.

O (Omicron)

One: At the end of rush week, you will end up in one house.

Π (Pi)

Pledge: In fraternities, after you receive a bid, you are invited to become a pledge. It is a semester-long process in which you bond with the the other members of your house.  

P (Rho)

Recruitment Counselor (Rho Chi): members of sororities who are disaffiliated during recruitment week. They help potential new members go through the process of recruitment.

Σ (Sigma)

Sperry: Sperry Topsiders are a type of boat shoe many frat guys love to wear. 

T (Tau)

Tours: One of the days of recruitment is house tours day.  If you are rushing, you’ll get a tour of all of the sorority or fraternity houses. Generally, it is a more formal day for sororities than it is for fraternities.

Y (Upsilon)

Unity Day: the first day of sorority rush week, when potential new members visit all of the houses.

Φ (Phi)

Philanthropy: Each fraternity and sorority has a specific cause it sponsors. They will throw events, raise money and volunteer for this cause.

X (Chi)

Chapter: the individual Greek house specific to Cal. A chapter is part of larger national organization. Gamma Gamma Gamma, for example, might be the Nu chapter at one college and the Alpha chapter at another.

Ψ (Psi)

Pseudonym: Most houses refer to each other by shorter, abbreviated names.

Ω (Omega)

Outings: Once you are a member of the house, you will go on various social outings with your fellow Greek brothers or sisters. You might visit a zoo, go camping, go skiing or see a performance in the city. 


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Daniela Grinblatt is an assistant blog editor. Contact her at [email protected].