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University Lingo


Wondering why they are first-years, not freshmen? Want to find the Corner? If you hear your UVa student speaking a new language, this guide may help with the translation.

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.

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 Music, 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.

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. Carr’s Hill is located across Rugby Road from the sports field known as “Mad Bowl.”

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

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.

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.)

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 occasionally.

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.

Ed School: Short for the Curry School of Education.

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.

Gusburger: A University tradition: one hamburger patty with a fried egg and bacon, served at a favorite Corner spot.

Lawnie: The term referring 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. Each of the 54 single, nonair-conditioned Lawn rooms is furnished with a bed, desk and chair, sink, bookcase, wardrobe, rocking chair, and fire tools. 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.

QuikPay@UVA: 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 as authorized payers in QuikPay@UVA (see Financial Topics).

The Record: This online publication details student regulations and policies, both academic and nonacademic, and it includes course descriptions for each school. Two versions are available: The Undergraduate Record and The Graduate Record. Find The Record at

Ring Ceremony: Held in conjunction with Family Weekend and the awarding of Intermediate Honors, the Ring Ceremony brings together third-year students and their families for a program celebrating their time at the University.

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 abbreviation for the Student Information System, which is used by students to register for classes and to maintain academic records and student accounts. Students connect to SIS by going to

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.

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.