New college students quickly learn that each school has its own lingo — acronyms, nicknames or Urban-Dictionary-type terms that are casually thrown around by those who know the campus well. Deciphering and mastering these terms can sometimes feel like learning another language.
Some examples: At the University of Virginia, freshmen are called “first years” (sophomore are second years and so on) and campus is referred to as the “grounds.” The student center at Catholic University, the Edward J. Pryzbyla Center, is known simply as “The Pryz.” Students at George Washington University call the Mount Vernon satellite campus “The Vern.”
At Penn State University, the student-run blog Onward State recently provided new students with a guide for “how to speak Happy Valley.” The list of 50 terms that all true Penn Staters must know included this entry:
“Nittanyville ( noun ): The tent village outside of Beaver Stadium, where students camp out sometimes a week in advance to guarantee themselves front row seats for the Nittany Lions’ home games. Officially founded in 2005, the whole shebang used to be called ‘Paternoville,’ but, well, yeah.”
That blog post prompted me to ask via Twitter and Facebook for more examples of campus-specific lingo. Below are some of the responses that I got — and I encourage you to share more in the comments section.
* Several people commented that the term “dorm” has been banished from their lexicon and they referred to all places where students sleep as ”residence halls.” For the record, I still call them dorms.
* Colgate University also prefers the term “first years” over the old-school term “freshmen.” So do Lehigh University, Pepperdine University and lots of other schools, especially private liberal arts ones.
* Johns Hopkins University is just happy when people remember to put the “s” on “Johns.” (This was the subject of an April Fools Day joke in 2010.)
* At McDaniel College in Maryland, the Baker Memorial Chapel is referred to as “Big Baker” and the Baker Chapel is “Little Baker.”
* At Juniata College in Pennsylvania, there are no majors. Instead there are POEs (Programs of Emphasis).
What else? What’s the lingo for your college? Share away in the comments section below.