My informant is a member of USC’s co-ed film fraternity DKA. In this fraternity there are many hidden rules and customs not known by the general public. She has a part of this fraternity for over a year now and is well versed in most of these customs. In this interview the term “active” is used. An “active” of DKA would be someone who is currently a part of and involved with the fraternity.
Her: Oh! I can tell you about DKA. We have a lot of customs for instance we have chapter every Monday. Actually, I’m going to talk about something else. If an Active says assay then everyone around who is an active in DKA responds with “DKA.” Its kind of a rhythm thing. Then everyone recognizes that their attention needs to be called and normally its only the president or hte vice president or someone on the board who says it. You can’t just call it out because then it loses its officialness.
Me: I’m sorry what do you guys say.
Her: Assay. A S S A Y.
Me: Okay. Could you just give me a hypothetical situation in which this would be used.
Her: Well like if we were throwing a party and our neighbors complained about noise then we should all say Assay DKA and then we could tell everyone that the party is over.
This seems like a pretty standard way of getting people’s attention. It seems somewhat militaristic in that a figure of authority says something and then everyone under him or her is expected to respond and listen. I believe that this custom stems from practicality as it seems to be used primarily at parties when it would be hard to gather the organization’s attention. By having this unwritten rule, the organizers of the party or event can quickly determine who is a part of their organization and gather their attention in an efficient manner.