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LGBTQIA+ Fraternity & Sorority Life

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.

Below, you will find the websites of all the Fraternity & Sorority Councils at UCSB, basic Fraternity & Sorority life terminology, questions to ask during Rush/Recruitment processes, tips for Greek-lettered organizations to strive for more inclusion, and relevant campus resources.

LGBTQIA+ Fraternity & Sorority Life

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!

Collegiate Panhellenic Council: National Women’s Sororities

The Collegiate Panhellenic Council (CPC) is the governing board for the 9 sororities at UC Santa Barbara. The CPC, as well as the Chapter Presidents, Delegate Board, and Fraternity & Sorority Life Advisors, meet weekly to discuss the betterment and growth of the Fraternity & Sorority Life community. They are here to answer any questions you may have throughout your Fraternity/Sorority experience as well as guide you through the recruitment process.


Instagram: @ucsbpanhellenic

Interfraternity Council: Men’s Fraternities

The Interfraternity Council (IFC) is the governing board for the fraternities composed of seven executive officers working in conjunction with the president of each member fraternity.  Our goal is to lead the Fraternity & Sorority Life community at UCSB to new heights, to support members who strive for academic success, to promote brotherhood, and develop leaders for humanitarian rights in our community.


Instagram: @ucsbifc

United Sorority and Fraternity Council: Interest & Culturally-based Fraternities and Sororities

The United Fraternity and Sorority Council (USFC) is the governing body for cultural-based sororities and cultural-based fraternities. USFC chapters pride themselves on diversity, unity, and a commitment to academic achievement, political awareness, and service.

Culturally relevant fraternities and sororities – Asian American, Pacific Islander, Latina/o/x, and Multicultural interest – provide members a co-curricular experience that is centered in heritage, personal identity development, and cultural appreciation. Each culturally relevant fraternity and sorority has a specific cultural basis, which is the defining quality of the United Sorority & Fraternity Council. The membership of organizations that are part of  USFC is not exclusive to one specific cultural identity.


Instagram: @ucsbusfc

National Pan-Hellenic Council: Historically Black & African Fraternities and Sororities

The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) is the governing body for the 9 internationally recognized historically Black Greek-lettered fraternities and sororities known as the Divine 9. NPHC promotes interaction through forums, meetings, and other mediums for the exchange of information and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions.


Professional Fraternities and Sororities Council 

The fraternities and sororities in this council are founded upon a shared interest and emphasis in an academic field, professional path, or major.

The Professional Fraternity Council (PFC) started in 2013 with just a few dedicated professional fraternities. The Council now works with 12 PFA recognized fraternities to put on events that benefit the professionally-minded Gauchos. We host socials, workshops, and service events every quarter to foster a sense of unity and fellowship.

As of 2016, the Council is in the process of crafting and ratifying a constitution and getting recognized by the Professional Fraternity Association


Instagram: @ucsbpfc


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.

Active - 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.

Alum/Alumni/Alumnae - A member of a Fraternity/Sorority who has graduated from college.

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

Big/Little - a mentor/mentee relationship that many Fraternities/Sororities offer.

Brothers/Sisters/Siblings - An informal way for Actives to address each other.

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

Chapter - 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. 

Charter - 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.

Colony - 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.

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

Dues - 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.

Hazing - 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.

Initiation - 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.

Legacy - 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.

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

Neophyte (Neo) - someone who has recently joined an organization.

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

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

Prophyte - 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.

Rush/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!

Rho Gamma - a sorority member who serves as a guide during CPC recruitment.

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

Tabling - 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.

Twin - 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?

Steps to Take to Embrace Gender and Sexuality Inclusivity (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. 

Additionally, even though you know each other, continue to introduce yourself with name and pronouns just in case anyone has changed their name or pronouns.

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. 

If you would like to learn more about the different LGBTQIA+ Pride Flags, please visit the RCSGD’s Pride Flags Glossary

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. Check out UCSB Disabled Students Program for more relevant resources.

Plan fundraisers and community service events that contribute to causes that benefit LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities. This can be done by collaborating with different LGBTQIA+ BIPOC departments and organizations like the RCSGD, the Multicultural Center, La Familia de Colores, Black Quare, and MUJER, to name a few. If you want to learn more about the LGBTQIA+ student organizations on campus, visit the RCSGD’s Student Organizations website.

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.



Here is a list of on-campus and nearby resources that are available for you in alphabetical order. Some departments may require you to schedule an appointment to meet while others have the capacity to get back to you more quickly. Feel free to reach out to us at and/or for any advice or support!

Acacia Counseling & Wellness

The mission of Acacia Counseling & Wellness is to provide college students a safe, supportive space in which they receive quality and consistent mental health care that is highly accessible, affordable, specialized, and culturally sensitive.

Associated Students Trans & Queer Commission (TQComm)

TQComm is a formal group under UCSB Associated Students that provides funding and advocates for trans & queer students and their communities on campus and beyond. They believe that education, representation, and community work can combat oppression and lead to the safety and comfort of all people.

Bias/Incident Report Form 

At UCSB we strive to maintain an environment that is welcoming and safe for every member of our community. In the event that a hate crime or incident does occur, the Bias Incident Response Team serves at the campus reporting point and can work with the impacted parties in coordinating a response.

Campus Advocacy, Resources & Education (CARE)

The CARE: Campus Advocacy, Resources & Education office at UCSB provides confidential advocacy and support to students, staff, and faculty impacted by sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and stalking. 

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)

The mission of Counseling and Psychological Services is to assist Student Affairs and the University in helping the student body achieve academically, socially, and personally through culturally responsive mental health services. 

Resource Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity

The RCSGD exists to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and questioning, intersex, and asexual students have the support they need to succeed at UC Santa Barbara.

UCSB Mental Health Peers

The Mental Health Peer Program at Counseling and Psychological Services is designed to serve as a resource for students, who hope to learn new coping strategies to more effectively deal with the stresses of daily life.

UCSB Student Engagement & Leadership: Fraternities & Sororities

This is a guide to Fraternity & Sorority Life from Student Engagement & Leadership (SEAL). Here you will find the different chapters within each council, except the Professional Fraternities and Sorority Council, ways to get involved, standards of excellence, programs, the Advisors, conduct and so much more!