At its most basic level, a fraternity is a group of men who call each other brothers.  Most fraternity members live together in a fraternity house.  They take care of the living space together and vote upon many of the rules and laws that govern their specific fraternity chapter.  Members eat together, study together, attend social events together, and go through ceremonies together.  However, being in a fraternity is more than just a list of activities and events.  To learn what makes fraternities unique, check out “Why Join a Fraternity?”.


Fraternity/Sorority Terms

Here are some terms that you might here when talking to members of the Greek System.  Don’t be embarrassed if you didn’t know what very many of them are.  Many of us didn’t either.

  • Alumnus member – A former student who joined a fraternity or sorority in college.  Membership in the Greek System is life-long.
  • Bid – A formal invitation to join a fraternity or sorority.  Also see “Bid Card” and Recruitment”
  • Bid Card – A small card used when accepting and extending bids.  For fraternities at the University of Idaho, if a man signs the first line of the bid card, he is recognizing that he has been extended a bid by a fraternity.  If he signs the second line, he is accepting the bid and is committing to joining that fraternity.
  • Chapter – A section of a fraternity or sorority at some university.  For example, we are the Idaho Chapter of FarmHouse Fraternity.  Other chapters might uses Greek letters and call themselves something like the “Iota” chapter of “Alpha Beta” fraternity or sorority.
  • Chapter Meetings – Meetings held weekly to handle chapter business and practice chapter rituals.  Often, only members are allowed to attend, however FarmHouse’s chapter meetings are open to others as well.
  • Dry – FarmHouse is a dry fraternity, meaning that we do not allow alcohol in our chapter house.  We believe that this encourages a healthier study environment and a cleaner house.  All sororities are dry.
  • Hazing – In the past, fraternities and sororities have occasionally been associated with forcing people to complete dangerous/embarrassing tasks in order to gain membership.  Today, this is against the law in the state of Idaho.  At FarmHouse, we were founded on respect, and we therefore have a zero tolerance policy toward hazing.
  • Initiation – The formal ceremony in which a new member becomes a full member.  Often, there are events which lead up to this ceremony.  Usually upon completion of a new member education process.  Many initiation ceremonies are secretive, however FarmHouse’s initiation is open to the public.
  • Member – A student who has been initiated in a fraternity or sorority, and has full membership rights (such as attending chapter meetings).
  • New Member – A student in a fraternity or a sorority who has not yet been initiated.
  • Pledge – Term that is outdated.  Please see “New Member”
  • New Member Education – Process where new members learn the details about a fraternity or sorority’s history, rituals, and the meaning behind what they do.  FarmHouse’s new member education process also teaches things like social skills and University of Idaho history.
  • Recruitment – The process where fraternities and sororities go out and look for new members to join their chapters.  The University of Idaho Greek System has an open reciting policy, meaning fraternities can extend bids year-round (sororities can extend bids year-round as well, with a couple of exceptions).  Also see “Rush” and “Bid”
  • Rush – A time when fraternities and sororities formally recruit new members (sororities at the University of Idaho just call this period “Recruitment”).  For the University of Idaho, this occurs every August before school, and is around a week long.  If you want to join a fraternity as an incoming student, you must sign up for rush.
  • Sorority –  A female living group that shares many similarities with a fraternity.  Many of the first sororities were actually called “Women’s Fraternities,” but that term is rarely used today.  The sororities on the University of Idaho campus (as of summer 2014) are: ΑΓΔ, ΑΦ, ΔΔΔ, ΔΓ, ΔΖ, ΓΦΒ, ΚΑΘ, ΚΔ, ΚΚΓ, and ΠΒΦ.