October 5, 2010

Terminology Tuesday – Statuses of Membership

Welcome to Terminology Tuesday on the Alpha Phi Blog!

Each Tuesday we will blog about some commonly misused terms within the Fraternity. It’s our hope that you take some time to read, laugh, smile, and then use the information to alter your word choices. We also hope you challenge yourself and those around you to make changes in our everyday speech to come more in line with the correct terminology. We kicked off last week with "I ain't no baby".

Today we focus on some common misnomers related to membership statuses within Alpha Phi. Here is a brief summary of our options for membership:

New Member: These women have just joined a collegiate chapter and have yet to be initiated. As you read last week, using the term "babies" or any similar terms such as "Phi Babies", "Baby Ivy", etc. is inappropriate. If you are a current collegiate member, you were in middle school when all 26 NPC organizations stopped using the term pledge. (Please note that "pledge" is still used appropriately as verb, as in "The chapter pledged 34 new members.").

Collegiate Member: These women have been initiated, are current dues paying members and are enrolled full time on campus as defined by your chapter’s by-laws.

  • Associate Status is granted only by the Chapter Advisor and is used sparingly for extreme situations where a collegiate member is unable to participate (i.e. an internship in a neighboring city, student teaching, etc.)
Any member who is no longer enrolled at your school (transfers, drops out, takes a break) does not need to resign her membership or be terminated. The chapter president must however complete the Membership Status Change Form,found on the Officer Portal.

Alumna: A woman who has graduated, completed four years in the chapter or was properly initiated through the alumnae initiation process. Who was the first Alpha Phi alumna initiate and when? (hint: her birthday was not long ago) Look for a future Terminology Tuesday post on this term.


  • Terminated: Any initiated member who is no longer associated with the Fraternity. Chapters request the termination of a member; the International Executive Board is the only entity that can terminate a woman’s membership in Alpha Phi.
  • Resigned: Any initiated member who voluntarily discontinued her membership with the Fraternity.

Some statuses we don’t have include: pledge, inactive (there is no inactive status), and early alumna.

Let’s also take a look at some other terms that are commonly heard but are incorrect:

Activate/Sister Up
Resigned or Terminated
Sister or New Member
Doesn’t exist

You may be called many different things throughout your lifetime of membership in Alpha Phi, from New Member to Collegian to Alumna, it’s important to be mindful of the correct terms. Make a little effort to help correct word usage and role model this behavior. It won’t take long to develop a common vernacular.

J.D. Louk is the Director of Collegiate Operations at the Alpha Phi Executive Office. Collegiate Membership Status changes are under his department. He can be reached at jdlouk@alphaphi.org.

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