N is for Nouns and Native Tongues

UVA is known for many things – but one characteristic that stands out from the rest is our colloquialisms. Some people say we’re pretentious for calling our school’s land “grounds” instead of “campus.” Those people probably go to Tech. Regardless of where you’re from or where you go to school, here is a list of must-know UVA acronyms, sayings, and pronunciations of building names (because we care and don’t want you sounding like an idiot).

You Must be new here

We can all tell. Trust me.

The Basics

  • Grounds – simple. We do not have a campus, we have grounds: Central Grounds, Off-Grounds, On-Grounds, North Grounds. Does it sound like we’re referring to various sectors of an Old English Estate? Perhaps. But that’s what happens when your school’s creator was a founding father of America and its third-ever president.
  • First year, second year, third year, fourth year – You should know by now that we do not use the terms freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior. And yes, this was a thing before J.K. Rowling. Thomas Jefferson believed you could never be a senior in learning, and we respect that.
  • The College – this is the College of Arts & Sciences, not a reference to the university at large.
  • E-School – the engineering school.
  • A-School – the school of architecture.
  • Comm School – the McIntire School of Commerce. I would also accept “the root of all academic evil.”
  • Nursing School – the nursing school (pretty self-explanatory). Could not tell you why it’s not called the “N-School” but that’s just the way of the world.
  • OHill – Observatory Hill dining hall. Not to be confused with the actual
  • The Pav – Pavilion XI (where Chick-Fil-A is). Named as such because there are ten pavilions on the lawn. Not to be confused with “The Pavilion,” which is a concert venue on the downtown mall.
  • Club Clem – Clemons Library. It’s open 24/7, so “late night at Club Clem” is just a better way of saying “I’ve procrastinated the hell out of work and need to stay up working in this godforsaken place until some unholy hour.”

Acronyms and Abbreviations

  • SIS – Student Information Systems. It’s the website through which you pay tuition, schedule your classes, and have academic and financial holds. A necessary evil, emphasis on the evil (the jury is still out on the necessary).
  • SAC – Student Activities Center. It’s on the first floor of Newcomb, and you’ll recognize it by its vibrant teal walls and “modern” decorating style.
  • CIO – Contracted Independent Organization. Our fancy, important-sounding word for “club.”
  • NOVA – Northern Virginia. I only include this because – as an out-of-state student – when I first heard that people were from “NOVA” I was puzzled at why there were so many people here from Nova Scotia. The Lesson: Assume nothing.
  • CAT – Charlottesville Area Transit. Free for students, sometimes referred to as “the trolley” or “the free trolley.”
  • AFC – Aquatic and Fitness Center. Where you work out almost all the time.
  • Mem – Memorial Gym. Used either for its courts or for its weight room if you’re trying to get swoll (said half-facetiously).
  • JPA – Jefferson Park Avenue. Can be referring to the street itself or the apartments on that street.
  • JPJ – John Paul Jones Arena. The basketball arena that also hosts some of the bigger concerts (Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Eric Church, Dave Matthews, etc.)
  • Virg – The Virginian. Charlottesville’s oldest restaurant, it’s been open since 1923. I go there solely for the Mac N Cheese, Bourbon Gingers, and Feeling Like an American.

Building Pronunciations

  • McLeod – “Mick-Cloud.” Like McDonalds, except “cloud” instead of “donalds.”
  • Nau – “Now.” It’s connected to Gibson and has a Starbucks on the first-floor.
  • Cabell – “Cab-bell.” As if the words “cab” and “bell” shared a “b” and you said them back-to-back quickly.

We’ll keep adding more as we think of them – but in the mean time, you will just have to learn as you go.

good luck gif



One response to “N is for Nouns and Native Tongues

  1. Pingback: V is for Volunteering and Giving Back to the Community | First Year ABCs·

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