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University Lingo

It's time to bring out the orange and blue and learn the lingo! Along with your student, you will be learning a lot about UVA over the next several years. Take a moment now to study up on the words and terms used every day by members of the UVA community.

A-School: Short for the School of Architecture.

Academical Village: The community of UVa students, faculty, and staff, the Academical Village is the basis of Thomas Jefferson’s idea that living and learning are connected. The Lawn is built around this concept with faculty living in the Pavilions and students in the Lawn rooms, with the Rotunda — formerly the University library — at its heart.

AFC: Short for the Aquatic & Fitness Center, the AFC is located across from the Alderman Road residence area. The facility features cardiovascular and weight-training equipment, an indoor track, basketball court, group exercise rooms, an enormous hot tub, and an Olympic-size pool, among other amenities. See Recreational Facilities.

Arts$ or Arts Dollars: A portion of the Student Activity Fee gives each full-time, degree-seeking student the opportunity to reserve one complimentary ticket online for various arts-related events around the Grounds. This includes most events presented by the Department of Drama, McIntire Department of Art, McIntire Department of Music, Fralin Museum of Art, and the Virginia Film Festival. Arts$ also enable students to register for a free student membership to the Fralin Museum of Art. For more information, please see

Association Dean: First-year students who enroll in the College of Arts & Sciences are assigned an association dean for academic advising based on where they live or the program in which they are enrolled (Echols, for example). The association dean’s primary responsibilities are to advise on academic matters, to help with an academic plan, and to provide resources for other avenues of assistance. Students keep the same association dean for as long as they remain in the College. See Advising Resources.

Beta Bridge: Bridge on Rugby Road that students frequently paint to publicize events or display messages.

Carr’s Hill: The home of UVA's president, located across Rugby Road from the sports field known as “Mad Bowl,” was finished in 1909 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. Following an extensive renovation and systems upgrade, the home will reopen in 2019.

The CD: a.k.a. The Cavalier Daily or The Cav Daily, The CD is the University’s newspaper run and produced by students. Sign up to receive the email edition at

CIOs: Contracted Independent Organizations. Most student organizations at UVA are CIOs, existing independently from the University. These organizations do not have official University advisors, and the University does not supervise, direct, or control the CIOs’ activities. This means that anything students do in conjunction with or for the organization, they are doing on their own authority, and thus, they are individually responsible for their actions. The students learn from their own experiences and from one another.

COLAs: COLA courses are one-credit, graded seminars that meet once each week for 75 minutes in the fall semester. Enrollment is capped at 18 first-year students, all of whom are assigned to the instructor for their lower-division advising. (For College of Arts & Sciences students only.)

Collab: UVaCollab is the University’s online course management software. Students use it to access their course syllabi, share resources, and do many other class-related activities. They also may use Collab to create a shared web space for project teams, research groups, and organizations. Instead of Collab, the School of Education and Human Development uses Canvas.

The College: The College of Arts & Sciences, often abbreviated as CLAS or ASU (in SIS).

The Colonnades: Situated behind Lambeth Apartments (Lambeth Field is the grassy area), the Colonnades have been restored and are the namesake for several formal dances that were used to fund the restoration. Some club sports play here.

Comm School: Short for the McIntire School of Commerce, the undergraduate business school.

The Corner: Located on University Avenue, the Corner is the strip of restaurants and shops that is a favorite spot for food and drink for UVa students.

E School: Short for the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

ELAs: Available to students in the College, Engaging the Liberal Arts classes give students the opportunity to focus on study skills, leadership, College resources, and making the most of a liberal arts degree.

Final Exercises: UVA's term for commencement. The ceremony for students in the College of Arts & Sciences takes place on Saturday of Finals Weekend. On Sunday, the ceremony is held for students in the other 11 schools. Finals Weekend refers to the entire weekend, encompassing events on Friday. They include Valediction, Donning of the Kente, Joint ROTC Commissioning Exercises, and more. See Events for Parents and Families.

First-Year, Second-Year, Third-Year, Fourth-Year: Instead of freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, students are referred to by their year of study at the University. Why? To be a “senior” implies that a person has reached the final phase of learning, a feat that Mr. Jefferson believed impossible, arguing instead that education is a lifelong process.

“Good Old Song”: UVa’s alma mater. It is sung to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne.”

Grounds: The term used by students, faculty, and alumni to refer to the University. “Campus” is never used.

JPJ: John Paul Jones Arena, home of UVA men's and women's basketball, and the venue for major concerts and many special events.

Lawnie: Refers to students who live on the Lawn. Selection of Lawn residents, a peer process, is by application and is based on GPA, activities, and service to the University. Students can apply to live on the Lawn during their final year of undergraduate study at the University. Spartan by today's standards, none of the 54 single, nonair-conditioned Lawn rooms has bathroom facilities. All except one (50 East Lawn) have fireplaces.

Mad Bowl: The sunken field across the street from the Rotunda on Rugby Road. Some club sports teams use this space for games. Mad Bowl is a great place to study, play Frisbee, or have a snowball fight!

Mem Gym: The shortened name for the University’s oldest gym facility, Memorial Gymnasium.

Nova: The term that most students hailing from Northern Virginia use to describe where they are from. Instead of saying, “I am from Alexandria or McLean,” students more often will say, “I am from Nova.”

Pav: The term given to Pavilion XI, the food court located on the first floor of Newcomb Hall.

The Record: This online publication details student regulations and policies, both academic and nonacademic. Both an undergraduate and graduate version are published each year, and students should be familiar with the contents. Find The Record at

Rugby Road: Rugby Road is often used to refer to the home of fraternity and sorority life at UVa, although there are houses located on other streets as well.

SIS: The Student Information System, used by students to register for classes and to maintain academic records and student accounts. Students connect to SIS by going to

Third-Year Ceremony: Held in conjunction with Family Weekend, this ceremony brings together third-year students and their families for a celebration of their time at the University. Students who have purchased UVA rings receive them during the ceremony.

Use of the title “Dr.”: There is an ancient academic custom, in Western Europe and in the United States, that only persons holding the M.D. degree are addressed as “Doctor”; holders of the Ph.D. thus are addressed as “Mr., Ms., Mrs., or Miss.” The University of Virginia is one of the few schools in this country still holding to this custom.

USEMs: University Seminars are small classes for first-year students only. They are capped at 18 students each and are taught by various prominent faculty from an array of disciplines.

UVAPay: The University’s e-billing and payment system. Billing statements for tuition and other charges are generated electronically; paper bills and tax forms are not sent to the student or parent. Students can set up their parents or guardians as authorized users in UVAPay. (See Financial Topics).

VIRGO: The University Library’s online search catalog, available at

Wahoos and Hoos: An alternative name for the Cavaliers or the students at the University of Virginia.

Zs, Ravens, 7s, IMPs, Purple Shadows, P.U.M.P.K.I.N., etc.: These are just a few of the societies on Grounds, most of which are philanthropic organizations. In some instances, members are known, but in others, members’ names are kept secret.