This resource page is a collaboration between Associated Students Trans & Queer Commission and Resource Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity. Please reach out to us if you would like to suggest any edits!

This resource page was created by LGBTQIA+ people in Fraternity & Sorority life to help other Queer & Trans* (QT*) folks feel more comfortable with navigating Fraternity & Sorority Life--a system that continues to cause harm to the LGBTQIA+ community, rigidly enforces binaries and has historically excluded low-income, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQIA+ students.

Although its reputation discourages many QT* folks from joining, it is still possible to find an LGBTQIA+ community in Fraternity & Sorority life as well as gender- and sexuality-inclusive chapters. The only way to find out whether it could be a good fit for you is by attending as many chapters’ Rush/Recruitment events as possible to talk to their members.

The purpose of this resource page is to give you an idea of what to expect at Rush/Recruitment events, how to find out if a chapter is supportive, and which resources are available to you for various situations.

Fraternity & Sorority Councils

At UCSB there are five Fraternity & Sorority Councils, each council has different Greek-lettered organizations that differ in pillars/principles, size, cost, Rush/Recruitment process, and timeline, founding purpose and history, and the demographics that they attract. We encourage you to check out all councils’ websites, social media, and Rush/Recruitment events to make a more informed decision!

Council Directory

Fraternity & Sorority Life Vocabulary

The following list of vocabulary includes common Fraternity & Sorority life terminology that you will come across at tabling and Rush/Recruitment events. Understanding these terms in advance may help you prepare questions that you want to ask, but do not hesitate to ask Members directly if you forget these terms because most students do not know anything about Fraternity & Sorority life before joining. It is completely normal to feel nervous or confused at first, but there should be no obligation or pressure to join at all during the Rush/Recruitment period.

*Different councils’ language may vary. If you come across a term that is not listed below, feel free to reach out to us for more terms to be added here.

Glossary of Terms


A member of a Fraternity/Sorority who is enrolled in the university

Active Body

A collective noun that refers to all the Actives in a chapter


A member of a Fraternity/Sorority who has graduated from college.


a formal invitation to join a Fraternity or Sorority extended to you, usually after Rush/Recruitment, to which you choose to accept or decline.


a mentor/mentee relationship that many Fraternities/Sororities offer.


An informal way for Actives to address each other.


A yell used mostly by NPHC organizations. Non-members are not permitted to use this.


the local collegiate branch of a fraternity or sorority. Many Fraternities/Sororities on this campus are not only at UCSB! They have chapters on different campuses across the United States, some even in other countries. 


The official document and approval granted by the governing body of the Chapter (e.g. an Advisory Board, National Board, etc.) that allows for the creation of a Chapter.T


a new Greek-lettered organization awaiting official recognition of chapter hold by the governing body of the Greek-lettered organization (e.g. an Advisory Board, National Board, etc.)

Continuous Open Bidding (COB)/Informal Rush

a less formal rush/recruitment period that allows chapters to continue to get more members past the end date of the original rush/recruitment schedule.


this is what represents the organization. These have hidden, secret meanings behind them that only members know!


a membership fee that will cover sorority and fraternity activities and operations.

Founders' Day

the anniversary of the day that the Chapter was founded. This day is celebrated annually by many Fraternities/Sororities.


The University of California, Santa Barbara defines hazing as any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them regardless of a person’s willingness to participate. In addition, any requirements by a member which compels another member to participate in any activity which is against university policy or state/federal law will be defined as hazing.

House Director/House Mom/House Manager

a person hired to live in a Chapter facility and supervise chapter members. All CPC Sororities have one.


A traditional ceremony that gives a student membership to a Fraternity/Sorority. Once you are initiated into a social Greek-lettered organization under CPC, NPHC, IFC, or USFC, you are ineligible for membership in another social Greek-lettered organization under those councils.


this is when a person is related to someone in the Fraternity/Sorority. For example, if your older sibling is in a fraternity or sorority, you as the younger sibling would be considered a legacy since you are joining the same organization as them.


a group of students who join the Fraternity/Sorority at the same time.

Neophyte (Neo)

someone who has recently joined an organization.


events held by Fraternities/Sororities that raise money for a cause.


the most important values that a chapter is founded upon. The chapter’s events and programming usually revolve around each of these values.


this is someone who has been in the organization before you. 

Prospective Member/Rushee

a student that is in the process of joining a Fraternity/Sorority.

Rho Gamma

a sorority member who serves as a guide during CPC recruitment.


a series of tabling and events where students would attend to get to know different Sororities or Fraternities on campus. Some orgs rush for a week and others for longer; some require a fee and others are free. This is a time to go out to as many Fraternities/Sororities as you would like, get to know their members, and ask any questions or concerns that you may have!


sibs are those who are picked up by your Big but they crossed at a different time or are in another Fraternity/Sorority. 


many chapters set up a table between Davidson Library and Girvetz Hall or in front of the UCEN and the residence halls during Rush/Recruitment to pass out flyers and mingle with students who are potentially interested in coming out to their events.


someone from your same line that has the same big as you.


Questions to Ask at Rush/Recruitment

Rush/Recruitment is a series of tabling and events where students will get to meet and hang out with each chapter and its members. The Rush/Recruitment schedule varies for each chapter, and some require a fee paid by a certain deadline, so don’t be afraid to reach out via Direct Message or emails on their websites before Rush/Recruitment to get more details.

Each Chapter is unique, and every year’s Active Body is unique (because some join and some graduate), so it is important to get all of your questions answered during Rush/Recruitment in order to make an informed decision on which chapter(s) to commit to. Fraternity & Sorority life is all about making genuine connections that will stick around for a long time, so here is a list of questions to get you started by figuring out whether a chapter is inclusive of LGBTQIA+ students.

  • Are there LGBTQ+ members in your organization?
  • Can non-binary, trans*, genderfluid, or genderqueer people join?
  • Where does your organization stand on folks from the LGBTQ+ community joining?
  • Does your organization require your members to attend workshops related to the LGBTQIA+ community and/or Ally Trainings?
  • Does your organization offer gender-inclusive alternatives in your language?
  • Do you have any dress code for Rush or any sorority/fraternity events? Is there any flexibility?
  • What does your organization do to make sure that LGBTQ+ people, including closeted folks, feel safe in predominantly cisgender and straight spaces?
  • What is your policy for when LGBTQ+ folks get discriminated against by a member of your organization?
  • Does your organization have any leadership or scholarship opportunities for LGBTQ+ folks?
  • Do you have any resources or projects that prevent or actively fight discrimination against LGBTQ+ folks?
  • How has your organization contributed to Gay, Queer, and Trans* Liberation?
  • Do you as an organization recognize Pride Week, Trans Day of Visibility, etc?

LGBTQIA+ Steps for Greek-Lettered Members

  • Always introduce yourself by name and then pronouns. Including pronouns in your verbal introduction, website, name tags, email signatures, at Rush, and at Zoom events, shows that knowing others’ correct pronouns is important to you. 
  • Reflect the language that folks use to identify themselves!
  • Use flags! When students see pride flags at your table or event they feel seen and accepted. 
  • Stay away from tokenism! At times, organizations believe that they are inclusive just because they have people in their organization from different communities, especially different marginalized communities; however, that is not always the case. It is not enough to have people in your organization that have multifaceted identities. It is up to the organization to actively have conversations about inclusion that center different communities but do not put the labor on those specific community members to educate everyone else in the Chapter. 
  • Always strive for more accessibility. Accessibility can include but is not limited to, providing live captions or hiring sign language interpreters for virtual events, having multiple languages on your website for parents, promoting awareness about both visible and invisible disabilities, making sure that your event venues are easy to get to or navigate, having gender-neutral bathrooms, educating your members and potential new members on different accessibility needs, and amplifying the voices and efforts of activists and organizations that advocate for students with disabilities. 
  • Plan fundraisers and community service events that contribute to causes that benefit LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities. 
  • Check-in with LGBTQIA+ people in Fraternity & Sorority Life often by holding events and closed LGBTQIA+ spaces that are limited to active and alumni members of your organization where they can find community and empower each other, especially in times of crises. 
  • Call in members every time a microaggression occurs, and ensure that all members get the education they need to become inclusive of marginalized genders and sexualities. 
  • Set up a zero-tolerance policy, and keep all members accountable. A strict policy will make a huge difference in the way LGBTQ+ students see your organization.
  • Be mindful of who your organization tends to draw in. As a Chapter, reflect on your inclusivity in all aspects. If there is no diversity in your organization, ask yourselves why your organization does not draw others in or how your organization may have been unconsciously excluding groups of people during Rush/Recruitment. It is difficult but essential to step into an unbiased perspective and look at your organization from the outside.
  • Collaborate with more diverse and inclusive campus organizations to open your members’ world up to having events with different groups of people. At the same time, recognize the harm that Fraternity & Sorority life has historically done to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ folks and be mindful of the space you take up when collaborating with non-Greek-lettered organizations.