Office of Student Leadership and Engagement

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a 'Greek' organization?

A: There are actually several different types of fraternities and sororities, sometimes referred to as Greek-letter organizations; social, honorary, service, and pre-professional are all examples. Our office represents 30 social fraternities and sororities. 

Fraternities and sororities were founded on the ideals of leadership, sisterhood/brotherhood, scholarship, and service. The Greek letters that represent these organizations are meant to remind members of their founding ideals. All of UNCW's fraternities and sororities are chapters of social (inter)national organizations. 

Q: What Fraternities and Sororities are at the University of North Carolina Wilmington?

A: All of the fraternities and sororities at UNCW are chapters of inter/national organizations. Most of our chapters fall under one of three governing councils: National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), Panhellenic Council, and Interfraternity Council (IFC). We have two additional organizations  To see a full listing of social Greek-letter organizations at UNCW, click here.

Q: How do I join a fraternity or sorority chapter?

A: The process in which you would join a fraternity or sorority at UNCW is based on the council/chapter process. Learn how to join here!

Q: What are the benefits of joining?

A: For students joining a fraternity or sorority chapter during their first year, membership can aid in their transition into UNCW by supporting them in developing brotherhood/sisterhood, enhancing leadership, encouraging academic success, and promoting philanthropy and community service efforts. Students who join a fraternity or sorority often feel as if they have found a home away from home. All members receive academic support, opportunities for leadership and personal growth, and experiences specifically created to provide an opportunity to give back to the community. After graduation, students have access to alumni networks to support their post-college transition.

Q: What is the difference between a service or academic/honors fraternity and social fraternity/sororities? Can I be in both?

A: Yes! You can hold membership in any of the honor/service fraternities, as well as a social fraternity or sorority; however, our office only oversees social chapters.

Q: When can I join? Can I join my freshman year?

A: Yes! Students with at least 2.5 undergraduate GPA and second semester freshman status are eligible for most NPHC organizations and Alpha Psi Lambda. A 2.7 high school GPA and full time enrolled status are eligible to join an IFC or Panhellenic organization. Please keep in mind that each governing council/chapter has a different recruitment and membership process. 

Q: What is the financial obligation to join a Fraternity/Sorority?

A: The cost to be a member of a fraternity or sorority varies by chapter.  Dues go toward inter/national fees, chapter operating costs and much more. New members should expect to pay a bit more their first semester due to one-time fees such a initiation and badge fees.  Many organizations offer payment plans to assist their members.  Be sure to ask about chapter dues as you learn more about each organization. 

Q: What does a pledging/new member process/intake look like?

A: All fraternity and sorority members experience a period of orientation that lasts about 2-8 weeks. During this time new members will participate in weekly meetings to learn about the university and fraternity/sorority history, be part of leadership retreats, community service projects, and activities designed to build friendships among new members (pledges/associates/candidates) and the initiated members. We encourage students to ask questions of the person responsible for their education to better understand the process of joining.

Q: What is the time commitment involved with membership in a Fraternity/Sorority?

A: All fraternities and sororities require an investment in time, including weekly chapter meetings, new member meetings (first semester of membership), participation in community service hours, and philanthropy and social events. In addition, many members serve on chapter committees or hold leadership positions, which increases the time commitment. However, the time commitment is what you choose to invest. Some students put all of their time into the fraternity/sorority, while others spend some time in their chapter and some time experiencing other opportunities on campus. There are some required events, but students can generally choose the events in which they’d like to participate.

Q: Will my academics be compromised if I join a Greek chapter?

A: Academic achievement is the number one priority for students in fraternities and sororities. When students join a Greek letter organization they become part of a larger group of students who value their academic goals at UNCW. All fraternities and sororities set minimum academic expectations to join and remain a member in good standing. Our fraternity and sorority members consistently maintain GPAs at or above unaffiliated students. Please visit the Resources page to learn more about fraternity and sorority academic success. Additionally, every fraternity and sorority has scholarship initiatives to encourage high academic achievement.

Q: What role does hazing play in a students' experience?

A: The University of North Carolina Wilmington has a zero-tolerance policy regarding hazing that is consistent with North Carolina antihazing legislation. Visit the Hazing Prevention Education and Resources page to read specific definitions of hazing to which students are expected to abide by chapter, University, and State level.  If you sense a student may be participating in inappropriate activities as a result of membership in a fraternity or sorority, we encourage you to to complete a report online or call our office at 910.962.3877.

Q: Does UNCW have Fraternity/Sorority Housing?

A: Each of our 10 Panhellenic chapters have one pod in the University Suites, designated with their letters on the outside of the building.  Each pod houses 10 students who share a living room, dining, room, kitchenette and bathroom. This is the only on-campus housing for our Fraternities/Sororities. 

Fraternity and Sorority Terminology


Active: a member who has been initiated into lifelong fraternity or sorority membership and is active at the collegiate level

Alumna/Alumnae: an initiated member of a women's fraternity or sorority who has received her undergraduate degree

Alumnus/Alumni: an initiated member of a fraternity who has received his undergraduate degree


Badge: the pin of an initiated member

Bid: a formal invitation given by an organization asking a prospective member to join their organization

Big Brother or Sister: an active member of a fraternity or sorority who serves as a sponsor, advisor and special friend to a new member, guiding him/her through the new  member program and initiation

Brother: term used by fraternities for its members when referring to members


Call/Chant: audible sounds used by members to acknowledge or gain the attention of the other members. Calls may vary regionally within organizations, and some organizations may use more than one call

Chapter: a membership unit of an (inter)national organization i.e. the uncw chapter of xx fraternity

Chapter Meeting: a weekly meeting held to discuss sorority or fraternity business

Collegian/Collegiate: an initiated member of a fraternity or sorority currently enrolled (Also known as active)

Colony: a new organization that is awaiting official recognition from their inter/national organization

Continuous Open Bidding (COB): process of extending bids on an individual basis that is outside of the formal recruitment process.

Crossed: The same as being initiated. The term means different things to different groups, but generally means crossing over from being a pledge to being a full member. Most groups record this time to the second. Term also refers to "Crossing the Burning Sands". Typically a term used by NPHC fraternities and sororities.


Depledge: To terminate one's fraternity or sorority membership before initiation; those who depledge a sorority may not pledge another sorority until the next formal recruitment period

DOP/DPThe membership educator. Short for Dean Of Pledges an old term that some groups still use. ADOP/ADP would be the assistant dean.



Financial: Term used to refer to an active member. (ie. someone paying dues.)

Frater: A term used to refer to another member of the same fraternity. Sometimes they will refer to someone as simply Frat.


Gamma Ch (Recruitment Counselor)a recruitment counselor. Gamma Chi's are like orientation leaders for sorority recruitment. The Gamma Chi's and Panhellenic Executive board disaffiliate from their own chapters to serve as unbiased advisors for potential new members. They will rejoin their chapters on Bid Day.

Grad/Alumni Chapter: The graduate chapter of a NPHC or Multicultural organization. Usually the local grad chapter advises/oversees the operations of the undergraduate chapter.

Greek: Any member of a social Greek letter organization

Greek Week: An annual celebration held annually in which chapters participate in athletic events, community service, and brotherhood and sisterhood activities.


Hand sign: Used to identify members of the same organization; a ritualistic symbol. Most have a deep meaning to that organization.


Informational: Recruitment event for culturally based groups.

Intake: The process National Pan-Hellenic Council chapters perform to recruit, interview, choose and educate new members.

Interfraternity Council (IFC): the governing body of 14 of our social fraternities on campus. Most, but not all, are affiliated with the North-American Interfraternity Conference. 

Initiate: a person who has recently learned the ritual of a fraternity or sorority and is a full member

Initiation: a ceremony in which a new member is brought into full membership. Each chapter has a different set of rules in order to be initiated

InterestTitle of a potential new member who the group knows is interested. Sometimes these students will band together and form an interest group




Lavaliere:A pendant with a fraternity or sorority's Greek letters on it

Legacy: a potential new member whose grandparent, parent or sister/brother is a member of a particular fraternity/sorority. Legacy stipulations vary by chapter/organization.

Line Name: The name given to a new member group of a fraternity/sorority. Some groups number their lines by Greek Letters (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc.) or by the semester they were initiated (Spring 16) but may have a descriptive name as well that is specific to characteristics of the group.

Line (Ship)The members of a cultural Greek organization new member class that join in the same semester

Line Sister/Line Brother (Link): Someone who went through the membership intake process in the same semester


Membership Recruitment: The mutual selection process that prospective members and chapter members go through during the recruitment period to get to know one another.


Neophyte (Neo)A new member of a cultural Greek organization

New Member: a potential new member who has accepted a bid from a fraternity or sorority

New Member Presentation (Probate, Rollout)A formal presentation of a new line to campus. Usually done in a public forum after members have been initiated into a NPHC organization.

NIC: North-American Interfraternity Conference, Inc. is the trade association representing 66 International and National men's fraternities. 

NPC: National Panhellenic Conference, the umbrella organization for 26 inter/national sororities

NPHC: National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc. is the governing body of the 9 traditionally African American fraternities and sororities, also known as the Divine Nine

Number: The number you are assigned based on the chronological order you are in on your initiation line (often members of other culturally based organizations identify or relate to one another by distinguishing that they are the "same" number)


Order of Omega: an honor society for fraternity/sorority members who demonstrate outstanding leadership and academic achievement


Para (aka "Nalia"): Short for paraphernalia. The different items of Greek clothing or items someone is wearing

Philanthropy: activities or events that are specific to the chapter's specific charitable organization(s) and to which they donate money

Pinning: A ritual ceremony that designates the start of a new member process

Potential New Member (PNM): an individual interested in becoming a member to a fraternity or sorority

Preferencing: During the last part of Panhellenic sorority recruitment, a potential new member determines which particular sorority she is willing to join. The potential new member lists three sororities in her order of preference

Prophyte: Term used to refer to an older brother/sister from your chapter. Usually a NPHC term.


Quota: The specified number of potential new members to which each Panhellenic sorority may extend a bid


Recommendation (Rec): A personal letter of reference provided by an alumna of a sorority to the chapter of her sorority on campus advocating for a pnm to recieve a bid. Letters of recommendation do not guarantee an invitation to membership from any sorority.


Sands (aka Parallel): A member of your organization or another culturally based organization that was initiated at the same time you were.

Sister: A term used by sorority members to refer to one another.

Social (Mixer): A get-together event with another Greek organization.

Soror: Term used to refer to a sister in a NPHC or Multicultural organization.

Stepping: A historically black tradition characterized by synchronized hand and foot movements, along with singing, dancing, chanting, and acting. Many Latino/Latina and Multicultural groups participate in stepping as well.

Stroll (aka Party Walk, Party Hop): A line dance done by members of cultural Greek organizations; usually done at a party or step show.


TeeKee: The large necklace worn with large Greek letters on them. Similar to a lavaliere but much larger and often made out of wood.

Total: Total is the allowable chapter size, including both new and initiated members, as determined by the Panhellenic Council.






Yard: A NPHC term used to refer to the particular campus or university a chapter is located.