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Talk the Talk: A Guide to "Sorority Speak"

Sunday, February 01, 2009

If you are thinking about joining a sorority in college, you need to know the language. Let's start with the definition of a sorority, which is a group of women who have joined together to share experiences and values. The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) is the umbrella organization for 26 inter/national women's fraternities and sororities. Your college or university probably will be home to some of these groups, as they are on over 650 campuses.
 
A candidate for membership in a sorority is known as a potential new member before she officially joins. The campus-based group of members that is affiliated with an NPC inter/national organization is referred to as a chapter. Once a potential new member accepts an invitation to membership from a chapter, she becomes a new member. When she completes the new member orientation and education process, she is initiated and is an active member of her chapter. Upon graduation, she is known as an alumna.
 
Your school may have a College Panhellenic Association, the organizing group for NPC chapters on campus. The College Panhellenic guides the membership selection process, called recruitment. If you don't have a College Panhellenic on your campus, the Office of Greek Life or Student Activities will run this process. Recruitment may be an informal process of making friends where potential new members are offered invitations to socialize with a chapter, or it may be a more formal process that occurs during a time set aside especially for all the women who are interested in knowing more about the NPC sororities on a campus.
 
Each campus is different, but there are a few people who will make you sorority experience easier. Recruitment counselors work with potential new members to help guide them through the recruitment process. The fraternity/sorority advisor or Panhellenic advisor is the campus staff person who is responsible for sorority life.
 
Check out the Web page for the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life or the Office of Greek Life at your campus to learn about sorority life on campus, the recruitment dates and guidelines and the expectations for members of sororities. Sometimes this information can be found under the Student Affairs or Student Activities departments of the college or university.

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