Clearing up Greek life mysteries for freshmen and GDIs

Not in Greek life? Whether you’ve always wanted to know the difference between pledging and bids, date parties and mixers, or even wondering why you should care at all, we tried to answer some pressing questions.

What does “GDI” mean? Who uses it?

GDI stands for “God Damn Independent” – a person who is not affiliated with a Greek chapter. A lot of GDIs use the term to proudly to assert their unaffiliated status.

What does “pledging” a Greek organization mean? How does it differ from being offered a bid?

“Pledging” is a Greek organization’s version of purgatory. A pledge can see if they actually fit into the sorority or fraternity in a real-life setting, as opposed to the mass orchestration that goes on during formal recruitment. A pledge can also drop because of financial concerns during this time. But, mostly in fraternities, a pledge can also be nixed. Nothing is a done deal until initiation.

Why are there such specific dress codes to events? Are there actually consequences to not following these?

On a daily basis, sororities and fraternities don’t usually mandate what members wear, although you may be “strongly suggested” to during pledging. Sorority members will usually wear matching outfits before recruitment to market their chapters. During recruitment, each sorority has a specific dress code to follow to help potential new members (PNMs) keep track of each sorority, but members are not required to wear a specific shirt, dress or skirt, just certain colors.

What is the difference between a crush party, date party and a mixer?

A crush party is a theme party hosted by a sorority when members can “crush” friends and love interests, usually hosted at a club or other off-campus venue. Invite two crushes and see who you end up with, but don’t be mad if your sister ends up with your date. A date party is a less formal event which each member of a sorority can invite one person to, often at a restaurant or similar place. Semi-formal is a dance in the fall semester and formal is a dance in the spring semester which is a formal event that members each invite one person too, also. A mixer is a closed party between a fraternity and sorority.

What do you get fined for in a sorority?

Plenty of things. You can be fined for not attending recruitment, philanthropy events or chapter. Chapters use hefty charges to motivate members to attend these events instead of coming up with excuses. Even if you provide excuses as to why you cannot attend an event, a chapter can decide to fine you anyway. Don’t try the “I have work excuse.” It usually doesn’t work.

Can sororities really not have alcohol in their houses but frats can?

That’s true. Sororities and fraternities are all governed by national organizations which have rules they must follow in their house. Most sororities are not permitted to have alcohol in their houses, but fraternities are.

How does getting wasted in University Yard amount to philanthropy?

Why do people serve wine at charity auctions? Greeks consider drunk activities philanthropy because you donate money in order to participate in the event and continue to donate money throughout the week. Think of it this way – if an organization raises $60,000 dollars and got drunk along the way, did they still raise $60,000 dollars?

And here’s Greek life leaders answering more questions:

Greek Life Questions from The GW Hatchet on Vimeo.

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