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The ultimate sorority life glossary, C-E | mazi + zo sorority jewelry

Never mind the Greek, Sorority speak is a whole other language!

Do you know what a charter sister is? Dirty Rush? What C.O.B. stands for?

Article: The Ultimate Sorority Glossary: C-E

The Ultimate Sorority Glossary: C-E

Candle Lighting or Candle Passing: A traditional ceremony to celebrate the engagement of one of the sisters in the chapter. Chapter Members form a circle, hold hands, and sing as they pass a candle around the circle until the newly engaged sister blows out the candle. Technically, the rest of the chapter doesn’t know who’s being celebrated until she blows it out, so it’s a dramatic reveal. As you might guess, Candle Passing happens much less frequently than it did during the founders’ days.


Collegiate Chapter Advisory Board (CCAB): A dedicated team of volunteers who mentor and counsel the officers of a collegiate chapter. The number of CCAB members varies based on chapter size, ranging from as few as a single advisor for smaller chapters to 18 or more advisors matched one-on-one with officers at larger chapters. Advisors need not have been initiated into the chapter they advise. In fact, some organizations require a 3-4 year buffer after graduation to avoid overlapping with recent members they knew as students. Advisors who remain with the same chapter for many years provide invaluable continuity and guidance honed from experiencing major events like recruitment 10 or more times. Their deep expertise and skilled troubleshooting abilities, cultivated over years of service, offer irreplaceable mentorship.


Chant: A shared song or call-and-response series that members sing together to express pride in their sorority and make their voices heard as a unified group. These are especially relevant during Panhellenic or all-Greek events where the chapter wants to stand out, and during formal recruitment to welcome potential new members (PNMs) with one voice.


Chapter: This term is used in two ways, and neither relates to books.

The first definition refers to an individual collegiate group of a larger inter/national organization, designated by a specific Greek name. For example, an active member might belong to Alpha Omicron Pi International and more specifically to the Nu Beta chapter at the University of Mississippi. Most parent sororities name their chapters with Greek letters, starting with Alpha, so an Alpha chapter is likely at the school where the sorority was founded. “Nu Beta” would occur when the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet have been used, and they restart with “Alpha Alpha,” “Alpha Beta,” and so on. You can see this if you look up any sorority’s list of chapters on Wikipedia.

The second way sororities use the term “chapter” is as an abbreviation for their weekly “chapter meeting.” So you might hear, “I have chapter tonight,” or “Let’s bring that up at chapter.”


Chapter Advisor (CA): The mentor who shapes the leadership and direction of the chapter. This role is not about supervision, rather, it's about empowering the members, ensuring they uphold the values and traditions of the sorority while navigating the complexities of college life. Think of the CA as the older friend who’s been through it all and is there to provide support and a steady hand, ensuring the chapter not only thrives but evolves with integrity and purpose. If the chapter has more than one advisor, the CA is the head of that group or board.


Charter: The official document that grants a group the authority to form a chapter under the inter/national sorority's name. It's the foundational blueprint, symbolizing the chapter's legitimacy and connection to the national organization. Think of it as the birth certificate, marking the beginning of a chapter's journey and its commitment to the sorority's values and mission.


Charter Sister: A member of a sorority who is part of the founding group that establishes a new chapter at a college or university. Charter sisters are the pioneers who help to organize, develop, and solidify the chapter's presence on campus and within the national or international sorority.


Continuous Open Bidding (COB): An informal process for sororities to accept new members throughout the year. Chapters which have not reached their quota may participate. A chapter might be under quota because members graduated early or transferred schools or because they didn’t max out their new member class during formal recruitment. COB is also valuable for potential new members who transfer to a school after formal recruitment is complete, who weren’t into the idea of formal recruitment, or who did not receive a bid during formal rush. PNMs cannot count on COB, though-- if all of the chapters are at quota, they won’t extend bids until the next formal recruitment period. 


Colony: A newly formed sorority organization on campus that is working towards being recognized by the inter/national organization with a charter. It’s the startup phase, where members are laying the groundwork, navigating challenges, and proving their dedication to earn full chapter status, setting the stage for future growth and success. 


Composite: An oversized framed set of individual portraits, one of each active sorority member for that year. The photos are aligned in rows, and the piece also includes the chapter name, sorority crest, and year. Chapters have a new composite created annually and hang each year's composite in the sorority house to provide a sense of history and tradition.

Alumnae love finding their composite shots when visiting their former college sorority house. 


Collegiate Panhellenic Council (CPC): The governing body that oversees all the sororities on campus, coordinating recruitment, events, and policies. The goal of the CPC is to ensure fair play, unity, and collaboration among the sororities, fostering a supportive and thriving Greek community.


Crush Party: A party hosted by a sorority when members invite one or two crushes or love interests, and the crushes don’t know who invited them until (or unless!) the member gets the nerve to tell them. Crush parties are fun but there’s always a risk that your crush will vibe with someone else at the party.


Cut: When a sorority does not invite a potential new member (PNM) back to participate in the next round of formal recruitment, or the PNM does not go back to a house she was invited to.


Dangle: An achievement ”charm” that is added to a sorority member’s badge and guard. Dangles represent things such as leadership positions held and academic achievements.


Date Party: An informal social event where members invite dates to join them for a night of fun, often with a specific theme. It's a chance to dress up, bond, and enjoy memorable experiences together. 


Deferred Recruitment: When formal sorority recruitment takes place in January or February, often dubbed Spring recruitment—even if there's snow on the ground! While most formal recruitments happen in August or September, some schools opt for Spring recruitment to give first-year students time to settle into college life and focus on their studies. It’s about easing the transition, letting new students find their footing before diving into the dynamic world of Greek life. It’s a thoughtful approach that prioritizes academic and personal adjustment before the whirlwind of sorority events begins.


De-Pledge: When a Potential New Member (PNM) decides to terminate her sorority membership before the official Initiation. It’s a big decision, often made after realizing the fit isn’t quite right or due to other personal reasons. This step is about recognizing that sometimes the journey isn’t meant to continue, and that’s okay. It’s about owning your choices and staying true to what feels right for you.


Dirty Rush: Recruitment tactics that violate formal recruitment rules. Formal recruitment is designed to give fair and equal access to both Potential New Members (PNMs) and sororities, explicitly forbidding dirty rush tactics. Some chapters, however, can’t resist going around the rules to engage desirable PNMs. If caught, they can face fines and other penalties that negatively impact their ability to recruit through the official process.

Dirty rush tactics include inviting PNMs to off-the-record events outside of recruitment and unofficial meetups or coffee dates. Bid promising of any kind—when a sorority says something like “You’re definitely getting a bid from us,” “I can’t wait to see you on bid day,” or “We’re saving a spot for you”—is another form of dirty rush.

During a chapter’s recruitment training or workshops, the chapter’s VP of Membership Recruitment will spend a lot of time covering what’s okay and what’s not okay to say to PNMs to avoid any appearance of dirty rushing. PNMs are encouraged to report if they experience any dirty rushing, but realistically, we can’t imagine a PNM would risk damaging their chances with a chapter by turning them in!


Disaffiliate: In sorority life, "disaffiliating" refers to the temporary or permanent separation of a member from their sorority or a sorority from the inter/national organization. Disaffiliation can occur in a few different contexts.

The most frequent instance of disaffiliation is when a sorority member temporarily disaffiliates from their chapter during the formal recruitment period to serve as a recruitment counselor (also known as Rho Gamma, Rho Chi, or Pi Chi) to an assigned group of potential new members (PNMs). This means the members remove all signs of their sorority affiliation (like not wearing letters or attending chapter events) to present an unbiased image. This helps their advisees feel comfortable discussing any concerns about a sorority without worrying about offending the counselor. The counselors are not allowed to discuss recruitment with their own chapter and are not part of the membership selection process.

Another type of disaffiliation is when a member decides to leave the sorority permanently. Reasons for permanent disaffiliation can vary, including personal conflicts, financial issues, or a change in priorities. In this case, the member formally gives up all rights and privileges associated with membership, and this must be approved by the inter/national organization. No one wants to see a member disaffiliate permanently, and the chapter will usually work with the member to see if there’s any way to retain them.

The rarest kind of disaffiliation is when an entire chapter withdraws from the inter/national organization. This might happen if the chapter has serious disagreements with the overarching leadership or its policies.


Divine 9 (D9): The nine historically Black Greek-letter organizations that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). These sororities and fraternities have a rich legacy of promoting community service, academic excellence, and cultural unity within African American communities. Established in the early 20th century, they continue to play a vital role in fostering leadership, social justice, and lifelong brotherhood and sisterhood among their members. We don't have official stats, but we've seen that our NPHC friends are much more engaged as alumni compared to our NPC friends. The Divine 9 truly stay connected for a lifetime!


Door Stack: When the door of a sorority house swings open and members are arranged from top to bottom to welcome Potential New Members (PNMs) to a recruitment event. It creates an impressive first impression! Chapters also pose in "stair stacks".


Drop: To withdraw from formal recruitment or discontinue membership with a particular sorority chapter.

During recruitment, a potential new member (PNM) may choose to "drop" a sorority from her list of options. This means she has decided not to pursue membership with that specific chapter, often because she doesn't feel it's the right fit for her. Usually, a PNM will drop sororities when required to do so because she was invited to return to more than the maximum number of options that round. In some cases, PNMs who are not required to do so drop houses and choose not to attend as many houses as they can. We don't advise this — we think it's smarter to keep your options open, and you'd be surprised by how many members find their home in places they never expected!

Even after being initiated as a full member, a member can still "drop" or resign from her sorority, and the formal term for that is "disaffiliating," which is defined above.

Dues: The fees paid by members to the sorority organization. Dues must be paid in full to remain in “good standing” with the chapter. Sororities will provide information about their dues during recruitment and it’s a good idea to ask questions about what’s included and not included in those numbers so you’re not surprised. Some chapters include full meal plans and socials in dues and some have lower dues and charge fees for formals and other events. Some sororities offer scholarships but you should make sure you can afford the dues before you join because those scholarships aren’t guaranteed. If a member’s financial situation changes, most chapter treasurers will work with that member to create a doable payment plan. One other thing to note is that first semester or first year dues are usually higher than those initiated members pay. Those extra fees cover a bunch of one-time fees to cover new member education and activities, new member pin, and administrative costs associated with joining the sorority.


Early Alum: The process by which an sorority member leaves collegiate status prior to her actual college graduation. Reasons for going early alum include: graduating the upcoming semester, transferring to a campus where there is no chapter, transferring but not affiliating with a new chapter, leaving school completely, engagement, marriage or pregnancy. Early Alum allows a member to retain their membership when active participation is not an option.


Exec: In sorority life, "exec" is short for the executive board, which is the leadership team responsible for running the chapter. Think of it as the heart and brain of the sorority, making sure everything operates smoothly. These are the ladies who plan events, handle finances, manage membership, and keep everyone on the same page.

Who's on the Exec Board?

This varies by sorority; an exec board typically includes:

  • President: The head honcho who oversees everything.
  • Vice President(s): They handle various areas like membership, philanthropy, and academic excellence.
  • Treasurer: The money guru who manages the budget and finances.
  • Secretary: The organizer who keeps track of meetings and records..
  • Social Chair: The planner behind all the fun events and socials.

Why is Exec Important?

The exec board is crucial because they ensure the chapter runs efficiently and meets its goals. They are elected by the members and serve as the voice of the sorority, making decisions that impact everyone's experience. They also provide leadership and opportunities for personal growth, both for themselves and the chapter members.

Being on exec is a big responsibility but also a fantastic opportunity to develop leadership skills, build close relationships, and have a real impact on your sorority's success.


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