Greek Beat: It’s all Greek to me

Mackenzie Broderick, Columnist

Greetings, culture lovers.

As The Current continues to evolve to better serve and entertain the filthy masses of Northwestern — that would be you, gentle reader — we’ve added a new column. There is a good chance that you, or someone you know, or someone who knows someone you know, is affiliated with a Greek organization. Fraternities, sororities, honor societies — the jumble of Greek letters can seem confusing and alienating.

But, as the administration likes to remind us as they ask for yet more money, we are One Northwestern. This will be a space for both those affiliated and not. I myself am someone who never imagined becoming part of Greek life, and yet here I am, writing Greek Beat. Go figure.

Before we begin our journey of discovery and reconciliation, however, we must familiarize ourselves with a few key terms.

Alphabet: the Greek letters used to signify various fraternities and sororities because I guess people in the 19th century had too much time on their hands. You probably learned some of them in eighth-grade geometry.

Bid: an offer to join a Greek organization. Or, you’ve accidently wandered into a silent auction.    

Crush party: a social event, usually with a theme, wherein you secretly invite your guests. You will never be able to find an outfit to fit said theme. Ever.

Formal: like high school formal, but classier. Hopefully. You’re probably having a hard time finding a date.

Greek life: what you’re reading about.

Interfraternity Council: the governing body that oversees the male fraternities in NU. Known to lure potential pledges with Jimmy John’s and chicken wings.

Multicultural Greek Council: the governing body that oversees the nine multicultural Greek organizations, including the Latina/o and Asian sororities and fraternities.

Pledge family: a series of complex and tenuous relationships that you are supposed to form after pledging. This can include a pledge spouse, pledge parents and that one chick who deactivated so I guess she’s technically your pledge aunt?


Panhellenic Association: the governing body that oversees the 12 sororities. Known for their ability to immediately sense when a by-law is about to be broken.

National Pan-Hellenic Council: the governing body that oversees the historically African-American fraternities and sororities.

Philanthropy: a chosen organization (sometimes multiple) that your chapter will buy many, many dollars-worth of food to support.

Recruitment: the process of deciding which Greek organization is the best fit for you. Every organization has a different process, but we all know who comes out on top. #RushTheDaily

If you want to publicize your Greek event, or file a complaint, or bestow a compliment (hey, it could happen), please contact me at [email protected]. Follow me on Twitter @BadBroderick, because Medill told me I need to make myself a marketable brand.