Common Terminology


  • Potential New Member – someone looking to join a fraternity or sorority. 
  • (What not to say: pledges) 

Rho Gamma 

  • Recruitment Counselor who stands by PNMs and helps offer counseling and support throughout the whole recruitment process and beyond. She disassociates from her chapter and hides her letters in order to serve PNMs in an unbiased fashion. 
  • (Common Nickname: RhoGam, mom) 

Bid Day 

  • The final day of recruitment when PNMs are given bid(membership) cards inviting them to join a chapter they visited during Preference round. All PNMs start with a ceremony on Zoom led by the Panhellenic Council, and end the day meeting their new sisters/siblings. Most chapters will have a hybrid virtual/in-person plan, but all chapters will be sure to follow all University of Iowa guidelines regarding COVID19. Each chapter has different themes, but PNMs will not prepare for these themes since they will not know which chapter they are joining ahead of time. 

Single Intentional Preference (SIP) 

  • When a PNM writes down only one chapter on her Membership Recruitment Acceptance Binding Agreement (MRABA) at the end of Preference Round. 
  • (What not to say – Suicide Bid) 

Membership Recruitment Acceptance Binding Agreement (MRABA) 

  • A form PNMs sign indicating they will accept an offer from the chapters they list. The Panhellenic Recruitment Team will tell you all about what you are signing and help answer questions on the day of Preference Round. 


  • A PNM who has a relative who was a member of a specific chapter. Difference chapters require different relationships in order to be considered a legacy, for example XYZ may only accept mothers and sisters, while ABC may allow any cousin, stepsister, aunt, grandma, etc. If you know of relatives who are legacies, you can enter that information in CampusDirector. Being a legacy can be viewed as a positive thing and can influence the chapter’s membership decisions but is not a main factor. 


  • This is the number of how many membership invitations (bids) a chapter can offer. This number is set by the Panhellenic Council and takes many things into consideration. 

Letter of Recommendation  

  • Members of a chapter (alum and active) can write letters to that chapter describing why a specific PNM is fit for membership. Different chapters have different requirements and weigh these letters differently, but overall, they will not hurt your chances of gaining membership into a specific chapter. 
  • (Also called Rec Letters) 

No Contact Period 

  • This is the time between the conclusion of Preference round until bid cards are opened on bid day, when PNMs may not discuss their decision with active members or Rho Gammas, and chapter members may not speak to (online or in person) any Potential New Members. This is put in place to protect the PNMs decision and aim for an unbiased and uninfluenced choice. 


  • Members in sororities are paired up with a Big (typically a member of the previous pledge class) and a Little (typically a member in the newest pledge class) to support each other. These can grow into “families” with littles, bigs, grandbigs, great grandbigs, cousins, twins, aunts, etc! 


  • The private traditions and practices of a sorority deeply rooted in the shared values and purpose of the members. Ritual serves as a reminder to each member of her responsibilities and inspires her to fulfill them. Rituals connect the past with the present and the future. PNMs may get to experience a small portion of the chapter’s ritual during the Preference Round ceremony. 

Active Member 

  • Someone who has been initiated into a chapter. Also called lifetime members. 


  • This can be used to refer to the national organization a chapter supports, or the events they host in order to gain awareness and funds for those causes. Each chapter has a different national cause and many also have local branches they support. PNMs get to learn all about each chapters’ philanthropy during Round 3 of Recruitment. 

Dirty Rushing 

  • This is something we never hope happens. This refers to chapter members using their influence to sway opinions of PNMs in one direction or another. It also can refer to chapters seeking out PNMs and urging them to be close minded and only focus on their chapter during recruitment. If a PNM, chapter member, or Rho Gamma believes dirty rushing is happening, please report it to the council immediately. 

Bid Promising 

  • This is when a chapter member promises something she cannot follow through on, such as a direct invitation to the chapter. This can show up in direct ways like a member telling a PNM “you will get into my chapter” or “I will make sure you get a bid” but it can also be more subtle. Less obvious bid promising can sound like “we better see you back here tomorrow” or “we hope you choose us tonight!” If a PNM, chapter member, or Rho Gamma has reason to believe Bid Promising is happening, please report it to the Panhellenic Council immediately. 

Primary Recruitment 

  • The time each fall when PNMs sign up to meet all 14 Panhellenic chapters and go through the process, until they are matched with a chapter at the end. This is the best way to know where a PNM fits! 
  • (What not to say: Rush) 

Secondary/Spring Recruitment 

  • The time at the start of spring semester when chapters who are eligible may take more new members. Not all chapters will participate, and events will be scattered throughout the months of January and February. Eligible chapters will only be given a certain number of bids they can offer. 

Continuous Open Bidding (COB) 

  • This is a time when chapters can extend bids following the commencement of Primary Recruitment. Chapters who have less members than the total (which is determined by the Panhellenic Council) may offer PNMs bids. Chapter members who joined through the COB process may also refer to themselves as a COB, and their pledge class may be called “winter 2021” instead of “fall 2021” to distinguish when they joined the chapter. Continuous Open Bidding is never guaranteed to be an option and should not be relied on to join a chapter. Primary Recruitment is the best way to meet all the chapters and find the best fit for a PNM. 

New Member 

  • A person who accepted a bid from a chapter but has not yet been initiated. Most chapters have an 8-12 week “New Member Period” in which new members will learn about the history, values, and teachings of their chapter. 
  • (What not to say: babies, pledges) 


  • A special secret ceremony each chapter preforms in order to transition people from new members to active/lifetime members. This is a very special ceremony, and each chapters’ is unique. This is usually where members are given their pins are celebrated with flowers and typically a fun meal. 

Live Ins 

  • Members who live in the chapter structure. 

Live Outs 

  • Members who do not live in the chapter structure. 

Greek Alphabet: 

  • Alpha 
  • Beta 
  • Gamma 
  • Delta 
  • Epsilon 
  • Zeta 
  • Eta 
  • Theta 
  • Iota 
  • Kappa 
  • Lambda 
  • Mu 
  • Nu 
  • Xi 
  • Omicron 
  • Pi 
  • Rho 
  • Sigma 
  • Epsilon 
  • Phi 
  • Chi 
  • Psi 
  • Omega 
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