A capella: An oversubscribed on-campus vocal activity. If you live near the Wayland or Mo-Champ arches, you might want to invest in soundproofing your room.
Absolute quiet room: Tucked on the bottom floor of the Rock, this room is just as serious about silence as its name suggests. Friendships and romances have literally ended after one party had the audacity to talk in there.
A.B.: The bachelor of arts degree most of you will leave with. Everyone else calls it a B.A.
A.B.-Sc.B.: The five-year program that will get you two — count ’em, two! — degrees before you leave.
ADOCH: A Day on College Hill. A lot of you probably came to this spring event right after acceptance letters went out. We eschew homework for a day, act all cool and collegiate and cheerful, and throw parties unusually large for Tuesday nights. This is not necessarily indicative of life at Brown…
Annmary Brown Memorial: The creepy building next door to Health Services is an actual tomb. Like, with bodies. The future site of a flash mob.
Banner: The new computerized student record system that replaced Brown’s venerable pink-and-white course registration forms. The interface makes AOL dial-up circa 1996 look like an iPhone. (See Mocha)
Barus and Holley: Then: the horrifically ugly home of the physics and engineering departments. Now: the horrifically ugly home of the physics and engineering departments with a beautiful new foyer and eight state-of-the-art classrooms.
Binder, Dave: A Spring Weekend tradition. He sings mediocre but endearing covers of bachelorette party favorites to hordes of drunken Brown students every year. (See Spring Weekend.)
Blue Room, The: Brown’s version of Starbucks, basically. Up until this year, it was a student hub and favorite meeting spot, but the renovations of Faunce have temporarily shunted it to the basement and limited its food offerings.
BOLT: Brown Outdoor Leadership Training is a unique opportunity to learn simultaneously how to tie a trucker’s hitch, avoid the sophomore slump and bury your poop with a trowel. Five days in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with nine total strangers — it’s probably better than whatever you had planned for the last week of summer 2010.
Brown Band: Much like your high school marching band. Except without the focus on marching. Or music, for that matter. But they use profanity, their uniforms have flair, and they’re the only college band that does shows on skates during hockey season.
Brown Daily Herald, The: The finest daily publication in this fair republic. Post-‘s older, wiser, slightly more serious older sibling, in an Ashley-to-our-Mary-Kate kind of way. Published since 1866, daily since 1891, the Herald is financially and editorially independent from the University, is available free all over campus, and covers university and city news, opinion, arts and sports. Plus, Sudoku!
BSR: Brown Student Radio, WELH 88.1 FM. WBRU-FM’s estranged hipster cousin broadcasts in the evenings, seven days a week. The signal doesn’t really reach into most Brown dorms (they’re that underground, yo), so you’re better off listening on their Web site, bsrlive.com. (See WBRU.)
BTV: Brown Television, home to the brilliant student-produced comedy “Campus Liquors,” along with second-run movies and endless replays of the last big speaker to hit Salomon.
BuDS: Brown University Dining Services tries with corn husking competitions and dining hall theme days to be as adorable as its acronym. Sometimes it even succeeds. The food isn’t as bad as people say, nor as good as you’ll want it to be. Also, inventors of the (in)famous Polynesian Ratatouille.
Bus Tunnel, The: Technically the “Rumford Bus Tunnel.” It goes through College Hill (literally), from Starbucks to the intersection of Waterman and North Main streets. Don’t try walking through the tunnel. Just don’t. You will never be heard from again.
Campaign for Academic Enrichment: Brown’s crusade for the minds, hearts and cold, hard cash of your parents, your grandparents and your great-aunt in West Palm Beach. Also known as “Boldly Brown.” (See Plan for Academic Enrichment)
Carberry, Josiah: Brown’s legendary professor of psychoceramics (the study of cracked pots). He does not exist. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. He also has the only double chicken patty sandwich available at a Rhode Island fast food restaurant named after him. (See Jo’s)
Cianci, Vincent a.k.a. “Buddy”: The renowned, longest-serving former mayor of Providence who just got out of the slammer. First elected in 1974, he resigned in 1984 after pleading no contest to assaulting his wife’s lover with a fireplace log (!), proceeded to host a radio show for a few years, and was then reelected in 1990 — until he was convicted of federal crimes in 2002. Legend has it Buddy used to ride up to Brown frat parties on a white horse during his first term. He could often be seen playing cymbals with the Brown Band at football games. Recently, his exploits have been documented in a number of ways, including The Prince of Providence, a book by ProJo reporter Mike Stanton (see ProJo); BUDDY-The Rise and Fall of America’s Most Notorious Mayor, an Emmy-award winning documentary; and lets not forget “Buddy” Cianci: The Musical.
Cicilline, David ’83: Providence’s gay, Jewish, Italian mayor who’s also a Brown alum. He’s trying to separate City Hall from its corrupt past (see Cianci, Vincent). First elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006, he’ll be running for round three next year.
CIT: The Thomas J. Watson Center for Information Technology. If you don’t have a printer, you’ll be spending a lot of time here. But only $30 worth of time. (Computer Science concentrators, expect to spend closer to $200,000 worth of time here.)
City Politics: PS 22, a focal point of controversy among those who like to argue on campus. This chronically over-enrolled class is taught by the charmingly hyperactive Professor James Morone as an overview of things that interest him.
Coffee Milk: The official state drink of Rhode Island and offered on tap at the Ratty, it’s basicaly chocolate milk made with a sweet coffee-flavored syrup. It’s fucking delicious and scarcely available outside of the state, so drink up while you still can.
College Hill: You’re standing on it. Or sitting. Whatever.
College Hill Independent: College Hill’s weekly news rag, but more importantly the Herald’s chief kickball competitor. Also the de-facto headquarters of Brown’s hipster population.
Concentration: In the rest of the world, this is called a “major.”
Corporation, The: In October, February and May, the cabal of rich men and women who really run Brown meet in Sayles to decide our future. You don’t know who the members of the Brown Corporation are, and that’s probably just how they like it.
CPR: 1. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. 2. Course Performance Report, a narrative evaluation of your performance in a class. You can request one of those from any professor, either in addition to a letter grade, or to supplement an “S” in an S/NC class. (See S/NC)
Cranston: Rhode Island’s third-largest city, but you’ll probably never go there. Most notable for serving as the inspiration for Quahog of “Family Guy.”
Credit/Meal Credit: Getting into Brown is only half the intellectual battle: figuring how to purchase food on campus most effectively in the face of Brown’s byzantine and utterly illogical meal-plan setup makes Orgo look like a game of Go Fish. One meal credit will get you into the Ratty or the V-Dub, or $5.75 worth of food at Jo’s or the Gate. Some plans offer a lot of points with fewer meals, whereas others will give you a set number of meals per week and fewer points. (See Flex Point)
Dating: If you live in Perkins, you might not date your unitmates, but you are statistically doomed to marry one of them. The rest of you are just doomed.
Due Date: It is always flexible. Even when the professor swears otherwise. (See Extension)
EMS: EMS stands for Emergency Medical Services. It also stands for Eastern Mountain Sports. Call the wrong one and instead of getting a stomach pump, you’ll be getting a thermos and a GPS system to help you stumble home.
Endowment, small: The reason behind most of the University’s financial problems … in bed. Prepare for many similar jokes over your next four years, especially after our endowment shrank by about $8 mil in the wake of the recession.
Extension: You will most likely ask for at least one of these in your time at Brown. Make up a good reason, and you’ll probably get it. Even when the professor says at the beginning of the year that he or she never gives extensions. (See due date).
Facebook.com: Making stalking easier than ever.
Fall weekend: Pretty much everyone else calls this Columbus Day. We Brownies aren’t so keen on Christopher and his colonizing ways, so we have the terribly vague “Fall Weekend.”
Federal Hill: Providence’s “Little Italy,” they like to say. Since it’s only really one street (Atwells Avenue), it means you can get great pasta, delicious cannoli and vengeance for your brother’s murder all in one place.
Fish Co: The off-campus bar with a Brown night. No fish, but lots of alcohol.
First-years: Everybody else calls them “freshmen.”
First-year seminars: Take one while you can, you lucky bastards.
Flex Point: These little beauties come as part of your meal plan — or can be purchased from BuDs for $1 per point. All on-campus eateries take them,
Fraternity: These might be considered cool at some places. Make your own decision about Brown.
Frank ’42, Sidney E.: Liquor magnate associated with Grey Goose, Jagermeister and sexual harassment lawsuits. He only studied here for one year, but after he gave more than $100 million for financial aid and the Life Sciences building (which bears his name), the University retroactively gave him his degree.
FriSC: Unveiled in Jan. 2007, the Friedman Study Center is a 24-hour haven for procrastinators. It’s housed in the basement of the SciLi and decorated in a sort of sixties-futuristic style. In other words, lots of lime green and weird-shaped furniture.
Front Green: Also, Quiet Green. A good place for reading or making out on pleasant days.
Gate, The: The couch-infested rec room of Pembroke Campus. Simply decent pizza becomes stellar when you can buy it with meal credit instead of actual money.
GCB: The Graduate Center Bar, an actual bar buried in the basement of Grad Center. A good place to go on a weeknight to split a pitcher of beer and a game of pool. It’s $30 to become a member, but if you’re an illegal young’un you’ll have to stick to Fish Co. — they actually ID.
Graduate Center: Grad Center has all the charm of a sterile, riot-proof bunker — but without the sterility. Home to many of Brown’s sophomores, this five-building abomination has been plaguing the campus aesthetic since it was constructed, or by some accounts, assembled from Lincoln Logs. The only valuable thing about this structure is the land it is currently devaluing.
E. Gordon Gee Lavatory Complex: For the past three Spring Weekends, a sign has graced a bunch of Port-a-Potties to commemorate Brown’s shortest-tenured president. It is the only thing named after him on campus. Ever.
Hutchings-Votey Organ: Located in Sayles, it’s the largest one in the world! We suspect there aren’t many H-V organs in the world.
IMP: 1. International Mentoring Program to help first-year international students adjust to studying and living in the United States. 2. The wee folk who work long into the night in the bowels of the Ratty to make us delicious “magic bars.” (See magic bars)
Inside Brown: The University’s equivalent of your grandmother’s Christmas newsletter.
IPTV: We can watch TV on our computers now. But we can still complain that there are too few channels. It’ll replace regular cable someday.
Jo’s: Technically “Josiah’s,” the snack bar of choice for residents south of the Main Green. Located on the ground floor of New Dorm A, it’s the home of wraps, snacks, and fried foods — especially the Carberry. Mmmmm.
John Hay Library, The: One of those very collegiate libraries in which you feel like you shouldn’t touch anything. But it’s really nice inside. The Hay has many rare collections and is home to the University Archives, for you Brown history buffs.
Jolt, The Daily: You probably already know about the Daily Jolt, Brown’s own little Craigslist on training wheels. So instead, we’ll give you a few points to ponder next time you’re obsessively hitting the “refresh” button on the forum: Are the professor quotes real? Who are those randos in the forums? Do they even go to Brown? And how often does gay hookup guy get laid, anyway?
Kennedy Jr., John Fitzgerald ’83: We’re glad he broke the family trend of Harvard attendance. Yes, he kept a pig in his dorm.
Lincoln Field: The green between Sayles and Thayer Street. The upper section is perfect for studying, while the lower part is often the site of football and Frisbee games.
LiSci: The glass and steel behemoth between main campus and Pembroke Campus, formally known as the Sidney E. Frank Hall for the Life Sciences. The logical extension of The Walk runs through it.
Loui’s: A Brook Street restaurant you will inevitably discover at 5 a.m., and hopefully you’ll remember it, too. Try the grilled muffins.
Magaziner, Ira ’69 P’06 P’07 P’10: The New Curriculum was his brainchild while he was an undergraduate. Now he’s the mastermind behind the Clinton Foundation.
Magic bars: One of the few delicious desserts at the Ratty. No, they don’t have weed in them. But they do have coconut, chocolate, graham cracker, and probably enough trans fats to kill a small animal. Tasty.
Main Green: If you haven’t figured out what this is, go home.
Manning Walk: The beautiful walkway from Soldier’s Arch through Sciences Park up to Barus and Holley. (See Sciences Park)
Meiklejohn: Pronounced like “nickel-john,” but with an “M.” Alexander Meiklejohn was a professor of philosophy. Meiklejohns are now the upper class counselors who dish straight truth about anything you need to know about academics at Brown.
MCM: The Department of Modern Culture and Media. Also the kickball roster for the College Hill ‘Dependent and the site of many a pretentious discussion of Godard.
Mocha: After the advent of Banner, the smarties over in CompSci created their own, much more user-friendly scheduling site. Using it during registration will make your life infinitely easier.
MPC: Minority Peer Counselor. The counselors who are specially trained to advise first-year students on minority issues.
Naked Doughnut Run: On the last night of reading period, dedicated scholars in the Rock and the Sci Li get a special treat: doughnuts! Made doubly delicious by the awkward nudes that hand them to you.
New Curriculum: This is what allows you take whatever classes you want, and what allows you potentially to have zero grades when you graduate. It’s 40 years old, but we still call it new. Go figure. (See New Dorm.)
New Dorm: Not so new anymore, the former Thayer Street quad is officially called Vartan Gregorian Quad…but don’t call it that. The two buildings contain upperclassmen suites, often coveted living space for juniors. Building A is home to Jo’s, a campus snack bar, and the Donald L. Saunders ’57 Family Inn at Brown.
New Pembroke: Allegedly built in 1970 by a disgruntled Brown student with a vendetta against the university and a penchant for riot-proofing. It’s all a concrete jungle except for the metallic pipe bear face viewed most clearly from the terrace of NP1. Residents of “da Broke” will also be privileged to the ups (CVS and East Side Pockets) and downs (drag racing motorbikes and screaming drunks) of living on Thayer Street. A 24-hour study space opened a couple years ago, making NP life just a little more tolerable.
9 a.m.: Too early for class. Don’t even ask about AB hour.
OMAC: Olney-Margolies Athletic Center. Your high school gym had more and better equipment, but the satellite gyms in Keeney, Emery halls and Grad Center will ease the crunch of overgrown athletes keeping you off machines in the OMAC.
Orientation: Used to be a week. Is now shorter or much longer, depending on how you look at. Enjoy this while it lasts. Being overscheduled will never be this relaxing again.
Orwig: Underused but beautiful music library; only open until 10 p.m.
OSL: The Office of Student Life bills itself as a “talented and compassionate group of professionals deeply committed to programs and services which support the education of Brown students.” Do not be fooled. When not actively trying to destroy beloved programs (residential counseling, BOLT), OSL runs its own version of Orwell’s “Room 101,” also known as the disciplinary system. Fortunately, regime change begins at home, and after the top-to-bottom staff changes of a couple years ago, students can hopefully look forward to an Office of Student Life that’s a little more student-friendly.
Pacifica House: Brown’s one and only secret society. So secret, in fact, that you can visit their Web site.
Parking Space: Something you’ll never find in Providence, anywhere. And certainly not for more than two hours.
Patriot’s Court: An extension of Wriston Quad. A bit quieter, in theory. Otherwise unremarkable.
Pawtucket: A city bordering Providence, which is pronounced puhTUCKet, not PAWtucket. The locals tend to get rabid if you say it wrong. The movie “Outside Providence” takes place here.
Pembroke: The northern part of Brown’s campus used to be Pembroke College, an all-female coordinate to Brown. The official merge occurred in 1970, though under-the-table sexiling had been going on for years (See Sexile). Legend has it that if you walk over the seal on the steps leading up to the college, your next sexual encounter will result in impregnation. Or you’ll meet the person you’re supposed to marry here at Brown. Or both. We can’t remember.
Perkins: 1. A beloved pancake restaurant that has not yet made it east of New York. 2. A first-year dorm that is nearly as far away as the nearest Perkins Restaurant. We hope you guys brought mopeds.
Plan for Academic Enrichment: Ruth’s vaguely sinister-sounding plan to ensure that your kids have a better Brown experience than you. (See Campaign for Academic Enrichment)
PLME: Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education lets you go straight into the Medical School without ever taking the MCATs. Pronounced phonetically, like “plee-me.”
post- : You’re holding it. We come out every Thursday, cover music, film, theater, food, politics and campus culture, and are always looking for new talent.
Power Street Garage: Formerly one of the few lots where students could park; now, thanks to development, a place to gaze wistfully as a shuttle whisks you to your car in a new lot far, far away.
ProJo: The Providence Journal. Rhode Island’s largest daily newspaper. They get very excited when big things happen in this tiny state. Remember that “Survivor” guy Richard? Yeah, the one from Newport. He was on the cover of the ProJo for four days straight. Oh, and the’ve won some Pulitzers.
Providence Place Mall: One of the crowning achievements of the previous mayoral administration (see Cianci, Vincent), this sprawling shopping center provides almost everything you need in a 15-minute walk from campus. As long as everything you need can be found at chain stores, a multiplex and a food court.
Queer Alliance: The current name of the LGBTQ student organization. One of the most visible student groups on campus, it focuses on making Brown a more positive space for queer students by providing a variety of educational and social programming. And one or two huge, risque, highly publicized parties that are sometimes attended by Fox News producers (see Sex Power God).
Ratty: The Sharpe Refectory. According to legend, the full name got shortened to “Rat Factory,” and lazy Brown students took it a step further. It has road signs for easy navigation, but watch out for bottlenecks and congestion. Love it; it loves you.
RC: 1. The black sheep of the cola family. 2. “Resident Counselor,” the dedicated individual who will guide you through Orientation, help you adjust to college life, and give you (almost) free condoms, then persuade you not to vomit on yourself (or your roommate) after your first trip to Wriston Quad.
Reading period: Ten days off between when classes end and final exams begin. You’re supposed to finish up your work, but you’ll end up drinking a lot.
Rhode Island: Officially the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations — for now at least. Though the state never had slavery, a recent push from activists and lawmakers to rid the state of the second part of its name (and all the icky connotations it carries) has gained momentum and is slated for a state vote next year. But until then, Lil’ Rhody is the smallest state in the nation with the longest name, and now, your home.
RIPTA: The bus. You can ride it for free!
RISD: Rhode Island School of Design. Brown students can, at least in theory, take advangtage of classes at RISD, but the lack of storage space and the wildly different schedule RISD runs on hinder most Brown students from heading halfway down College Hill. But those who make it into classes at RISD find them to be well worth the trouble.
Rock, The: The John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library. The main humanities library on campus where students spend more time hitting the books than they ever thought possible, probably more because they get lost in the cryptic, dimly lit stacks and less because they’re motivated. Be warned of the ear-piercing, closing-time bell — and remember, if you’re there to hear it, you’ve been working too long.
Roommate contract: This document governs your interactions with your bunkmate-to-be and lays down important ground rules concerning his or her interactions with others. Sounds positively Big Brother, but can make a difference in your life if you take the time to look at it, fill it out, sign it and turn it in. (See Sexile.)
Sc.B.: Everyone else calls it a B.S. We should.
S/NC: Satisfactory/No Credit. The option to take any class “Pass/Fail.” One of the beauties of the New Curriculum. (See New Curriculum).
SciLi, The: The Sciences Library. Fourteen stories, color-coded according to the pH system (“The books get more ‘basic’ as you go higher up”), of books primarily in foreign languages. You’re supposed to have sex on the 13th floor before you graduate (we hear there’s a nice view of the city up there). Also home to the Friedman Study Center (see Frisc).
Sciences Park: The little area between the SciLi and McMillan. Nobody but tour guides calls it this.
Seekonk: A beautifully trashy municipality directly across the border in Massachusetts, with three multiplexes, strip malls, suburban paranoia and every chain store you could ever need. Only 10 minutes away by car/cab.
SexPowerGod: Queer Alliance’s annual, insane fall party. Four years ago, a producer from the O’Reilly Factor managed to get himself inside and shoot footage, and produced a segment calling Ruth and other university leaders “pinheads.”
Sexile: A merger of the words “exile” and “sex.” This is what happens if you have a roommate who wants to invite a new friend over to spend the night. You end up sleeping on the floor in the lounge. If you even have one.
Simmons, Ruth: Brown’s 18th president and the first black president of an Ivy League school. She and her red power suit have a cult-like following among students and her Plan for Academic Enrichment will give this year’s first-years everything we never had. (See Campaign, Plan for Academic Enrichment)
Smitty B: Otherwise known as Smith-Buonanno Hall, it’s one of the main academic buildings on Pembroke.
Spoons: The Assassins-type game every freshman unit ends up playing. You can identify first-years for several weeks because they’re carrying around plasticware. Also a delicious cafe in Wayland Square
Spring Weekend: In a good year, Spring Weekend means big-name bands playing on our very own Main Green, couches on Wriston, lots of drinking and casual sex. In a bad year, expect lots of reverb inside the hockey arena.
Stadium: It’s over a mile away. This would be a huge pain if anyone besides alumni went to football games.
SunLab: Located on the first floor of the CIT, the SunLab is filled with high-powered workstations for computer science students. Good luck trying to get a computer on the night before a big Comp Sci project is due. Or on Friday or Saturday night, for that matter.
T.A.: Teaching Assistant. They teach some intro-level language classes, as well as some courses in math and other departments. Some are helpful. Some are useless. Some will end up dating your roommate.
Thayer Street: Serving as the DMZ between Brown and its real-world neighbors, this avenue was formerly home to a plethora of eclectic shops and a roving motorcycle gang. Now it’s a glorified food court. But Chipotle might be coming soon!
Tom & Tom: The “Juice Guys” of Nantucket Nectars fame are indeed dedicated Brown alums. One of the two Toms comes back every year to talk to Professor Barrett Hazeltine’s management classes.
Trolley, The: A bus disguised to look like a trolley, run by RIPTA, which goes from Thayer Street to Kennedy Plaza and Federal Hill. The other route goes, um, somewhere else. (See RIPTA)
UCS: The Undergraduate Council of Students, which tries really, really hard to be an effective student governing body.
Underground, The: An on-campus bar, located in Faunce House. It used to be easy for under-21s to get drinks here, but after an administrative crackdown and an unpleasant debacle involving local high school students, there’s not much of a reason to go here instead of the GCB. During the week, it’s the Hourglass Cafe, where proceeds go to Oxfam. Not open a lot.
Unitcest: A merger of the words “unit” and “incest.” It’s when you hook up with someone in your unit. This is why “It’s Complicated” exists on Facebook.
University Hall: Come here to meet with deans or visit Ruth during her office hours. The oldest building on campus, it’s on the National Register of Historic Places.
Van Wickle Gates: So important that they’re only open twice a year. (Well, and for most of this summer. But they’re still really important.)
V-Dub: The Verney-Woolley Dining Hall. The junior member of Brown’s dining halls, it’s smaller, more intimate, features a Now That’s What I Call Music! soundtrack, and tends to draw mostly athletes and freshmen.
Warwick: Second-largest city in the state. The airport is here. Not much else.
Watson Institute: The Watson Institute for International Studies. Home of the International Relations concentration and world-renowned research.
WBRU: 95.5 FM, one of the largest radio stations in southern New England and the oldest college radio station in America. Purported to be “the original alt-rock.” We’re not arguing. (See also BSR)
Whispering Arch: At the entrance to the Infant Lab, there’s a stone arch. Station a friend on one side of it, then go to the other side and whisper into it. They’ll be able to hear you as if you were blowing in their ear. (see Infant Lab)
Wickenden Street and Wayland Square: These are two other commercial districts within walking distance that aren’t Brown-related. Wickenden is famous for its head shops and pubs. Wayland is known for its bookstores. Pick your poison. Or mix and match.
Williams, Roger: Founder of this great state, proponent of religious freedom, and now a giant statue in Prospect Park.
Writing Fellows: Writing Fellows suck the pain out of throwing together a paper the night before its due by labeling said effort a “draft,” and requiring that it be “edited” by a fellow student with “superior” writing talent.
Writing Center: Staffed by graduate students in a variety of disciplines, a place you can go to get one-on-one help editing or writing papers.
ZipCar: Short-term rental cars available in the Minden lot, as long as you’re over 21. Kind of lame-looking but actually pretty useful. And no, that ID you use to get into Fish Co won’t work.
Update: Store 24 removed as it is now Tedeschi on Thayer Street (9/8/09)
Further Update: Leung Gallery and Campus Market removed as they were apparently victims of the Faunce Renovations. Uhhh, our B. (9/9/09)