From A to Z

Your unofficial guide to Brownspeak

Friday, September 3, 2004

A capella: Literally, “by voice.” If you live in Wayland or Mo-Champ, you might want to invest in some soundproofing your room now.

A.B.: Everyone else calls it a B.A. Brown is special and calls it something else. The Bachelor of Arts degree most of you will leave with.

A.B.-Sc.B.: The five-year program that will get you two – count them, two! – degrees before you leave.

ADOCH: A Day on College Hill. A lot of you probably came to that. It’s in the spring, right after acceptance letters go out to prospective first years. We all act happy and cheery for a few days to convince you to come to 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.

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.

Berman, Chris ’77: “Boomer” is one of ESPN’s most visible and popular stars, for those not “in the know.” He concentrated in history at Brown – stick THAT in your pipe and smoke it, econ majors! – and got his broadcasting start covering baseball for WBRU-AM. (See BSR.)

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. And if we may say so, a darn good place to get a bagel and cup of coffee in between classes. Those steps at Faunce House with picnic tables at the top lead up to the Blue Room. Great soups, too. They don’t take meal credit, but you can use your Flex Points there.

BOLT: Brown Outdoor Leadership Training is a unique opportunity to simultaneously learn 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 better than whatever you had planned for the last week of summer 2005.

Brown Band: Much like your high school marching band, if you went to a large high school with a marching band full of nerds. Except without the focus on marching. Or music, that matter. But they are the only college band that does shows on skates during hockey season.

Brown Daily Herald, The: The finest independent student newspaper in this fair Republic. Published since 1866, daily since 1891, The Brown Daily Herald is financially and editorially independent from the University and is always looking for new talent.

Brown Democrats: It’s tough being a democrat at Brown. Uh-huh.

Brown Republicans: Could all fit in the empty space in a Perkins triple.

BSR: Brown Student Radio, WELH 88.1 FM. WBRU-FM’s estranged hipster cousin broadcasts in the evenings, six days a week. But the signal doesn’t really reach into most Brown dorms, so you’re better off listening on the Web site, (See WBRU.)

BTV: Brown Television, home to “Brown Date,” 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. Enjoy it before they start renovating the Ratty.

Bus Tunnel, The: Technically the “Rumford Bus Tunnel.” It goes through College Hill (literally), from next to Starbucks to the intersection of Waterman and North Main streets. Don’t try walking through the tunnel.

Buxton: International House, tucked away on Wriston.

Cable Car, The: Just down College Hill, The Cable Car doubles as a cafe and a cinema showing great independent and foreign films. Plus, it has loveseats.

Campaign: not for president, but for the minds, hearts, and cold hard cash of your parents, grandparents, and great-aunt in West Palm Beach

Campus Market, The: Small venue stashed underneath the Blue Room. Clearinghouse of elderly frozen burritos and ginger beer, as well as gum, Nutter Butters and paper towels. Staffed entirely by student workers, the Campus Market has a 32 percent chance of having what you’re looking for. But they take Flex Points.

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.

Carter, Amy: We know President Jimmy Carter’s daughter started here. We know she didn’t graduate. The facts end there.

Cianci, Vincent , a.k.a. “Buddy”: The world-renowned former mayor of Providence. Now the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history, he was elected in 1974, reelected in 1978 and 1982, resigned in 1984 after pleading no contest to assaulting his wife’s lover with a fireplace log, hosted a radio show for a few years, was then reelected in 1990 and hadn’t lost since – until he was convicted of federal crimes in 2002. He’s now in New Jersey carrying out his prison sentence for racketeering. Legend has it Buddy used to ride up to Brown frat parties on a white horse during his first term. Cianci attended Brown’s home football games and could often be seen playing cymbals with the Brown Band.

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).

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 450 pages’ worth of time.

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. You can’t take it this year, though.

College Hill: You are standing on it.

Concentration: In the rest of the world, these are called “majors.”

Corporation: Grow out the dreads and practice with that protest drum, because 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.

Covered Lot: One of the only parking locations for students, located on Power Street between Thayer and Brook streets.

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 you have, either in addition to a letter grade or to supplement an “S” in an S/NC class. (See S/NC)

Credit/Meal Credit: Once you’ve gotten into Brown, the intellectual battle has only been halfway fought. It’s not in your upper-level bio classes that you’ll meet your greatest mental challenge, however; it’s in deciding how to purchase food on campus most effectively. This year, the credit system has been revised so that you get more than $200 back for giving up half your food. But eating stuffed peppers only half the time still isn’t worth it.

Dating: To cop a few lines from a review that ran in the New York Times Book Review last month of a college guide: “It will happen a lot, yet not enough. And it will happen to other people more.” If you live in Perkins, you might not date your unitmates, but you are statistically doomed to marry one of them.

Donkey: Last spring, there was a three-story photograph of a donkey in a boat on the side of the SciLi. He sailed away over the summer. This was probably the most important thing to happen at Brown in our lifetimes; sorry you missed it. You can probably catch a glimpse of upperclassmen gazing wistfully at the SciLi’s Thayer Street façade.

Due Date: It is always flexible. Even when the professor swears otherwise. (See Extension)

EMS: EMS stands for Emer-gency Medical Services. It also stands for Eastern Mountain Sports. Call the wrong one and instead of a stomach pump, you’ll be wearing a woollen sweater with a thermos in your right hand and a handheld GPS that you’ll be gripping on the way to hell in your left.

Endowment, small: The reason behind most of the University’s financial problems … in bed.

Extension: You will most likely ask for at least one of these in your time at Brown. Make up a good reason, and you will probably get it, too. Even when the professor says at the beginning of the year that he or she never gives extensions. (See Due Date)., The: Every-thing is trashier on the Internet, especially this dirty little cyber-clone of the paper facebook. Just be careful what you wish for, girls and boys, when you tell all 259 of your new friends that you like piccolos, “Lolita” and “whatever you can get.”

Federal Hill: Providence’s “Little Italy,” they like to say. Since it’s only really one street (Atwells Avenue), it means you can great pasta e fagioli, delicious cannoli and vengeance for your brother’s murder all in one place.

First-years: Everybody else calls them “freshmen.”

First-year seminars: Take one while you can, you lucky bastards.

Fraternity: These might be considered hip or cool at some places. Make your own decision about Brown.

Front Green: Official the College Green. A good place for reading or making out on pleasant days. Not for Frisbee playing.

Gate, The: The couch-infested rec room of Pembroke Campus. Simply OK 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 $20 to become a member, and you get a free drink on your 21st birthday. But don’t even try to go before then. They card. Really.

George Street Journal: The University’s equivalent of your grandmother’s Christmas newsletter.

Graduate Center: Grad Center has the appeal of a sterile bunker – but without the sterility. Home to many of Brown’s sophomores, this four-building sprawl 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.

Gut: An easy class. A really easy class. Most of them are really good, too, but if you are looking to free up more time in your schedule, take one of these.

Housing lottery: For some, the housing lottery inspires feelings of dread and angst. To others, it’s pure schadenfreude.

Hutchings-Votey Organ: Located in Sayles, it’s the largest one in the world! We suspect there are only three in the world.

IMP: 1. Inter-national Ment-oring 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.”

Infant Lab: It’s in the basement of the old Metcalf Chemistry Lab, across from the greenhouse, and seems vaguely evil. (See Whispering Arch.)

Ivy League: Now that you’re in the Ivy League, some may start to get you to think we have rivalries with schools like Harvard and Yale. They are wrong. Harvard and Yale have a rivalry with each other in which they all wear white, frequently poke each other in the chest and make bar-graph comparisons of their endowments. Our football stadium is two miles off campus, and we like to keep it that way.

Jäger Hall: Slated for completion in 2008, this building – also known as Sidney Frank Hall – will house the cognitive and linguistic sciences department and an auditorium. And a fountain flowing with Jägermeister and Grey Goose vodka, the cash cows of the man who is funding the building.

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: 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 Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection of toy soldiers and the University Archives, for you Brown history buffs.

Jolt: 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? What is the solution to the Crimson Room? And how often does gay hookup guy get laid, anyway?

Kennedy, John Fitzgerald ’83: We’re glad he broke the family trend of Harvard attendance. Yes, he kept a pig in his dorm.

Leung Gallery: Pro-nounced “lee-ung.” The big gallery above The Blue Room, on the third floor of Faunce. Now home to large parties thrown by student organizations.

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. After World War II, it was the site of the Veterans’ College. Before that, it was a swamp.

LiSci: The big hole in the ground between main campus and Pembroke Campus will, at least in theory, become the Life Sciences Building in 2006. Until then, it’s just a big hole in the ground that will wake Em-Wool residents at 6 a.m. with the sounds of trucks in reverse.

Magaziner, Ira ’69: The New Curriculum was his brainchild while he was an undergraduate. He also had a big role in President Bill Clinton’s failed universal health care proposal in 1993. One out of two ain’t bad.

Magic Bars: One of the few delicious desserts at the Ratty. Chocolate, coconut, cookie – most cleverly titled dishes at the Ratty are to be avoided, but these are the exception.

Main Green: If you haven’t figured out where this is, go home.

Manning Walk: The beautiful walkway from Soldier’s Arch through Sciences Park up to Barus and Holley.

Meiklejohn: Pronounced like “nickel-john,” but with an “M.” Alexander Meiklejohn was a professor of philosophy. Meiklejohns are now your upperclass counselors who tell the straight truth about professors of philosophy (and anything else you need to know about academics at Brown).

MCM: The Department of Modern Culture and Media, once home to all the eccentrics you came to Brown to witness in their natural habitat, now full of poseurs with pink hair who think they’re part of the counter-culture because they’re sitting in a film class watching Godard.

MPC: Minority Peer Counselor. The counselors who are specially trained to advise first-year students on minority issues. They are assisted by MPC Friends during TWTP.

Naked Doughnut Run: On the last night of reading period, dedicated scholars in the Absolute Quiet Room in the Rock and on the SciLi Mezz get a special treat: doughnuts!

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 35 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. The two buildings contain upperclassmen suites, often coveted living space for juniors. Building A is home to Josiah’s, a campus snack bar, and the Donald L. Saunders ’57 Family Inn at Brown University.

New Pembroke: Allegedly built in 1970 by a disgruntled Brown student with a vendetta 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 last semester, 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. Where you go to try to keep off the “freshman 15.” Your high school gym had more and better equipment. But the two new athletic facilities that are opening this year in Keeney and Emery halls will ease the crunch of overgrown athletes keeping you off machines in the OMAC.

Orientation Week: 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 last year’s top-to-bottom staff changes, students can hopefully look forward to an Office of Student Life that’s a little more student-friendly.

Page 2: Post-‘s most widely read page, because it features a nearly-naked guy and girl getting their 15 minutes of hipster fame.

Parking Space: Something you’ll never find in Providence, anywhere. And certainly not for more than two hours.

Patriots’ Court: An extension of Wriston Quad. A bit quieter. Otherwise unremarkable.

Pawtucket: A city bordering Providence, which is pronounced “puh-TUCK-et,” not “PAW-tuck-et.” The locals tend to get rabid if you say it wrong. The movie “Outside Providence” took place here.

Pembroke: The northern part of Brown’s campus used to be Pembroke College, an all-female coordinate to Brown. The merger occurred officially in 1970, though there had been plenty of under-the-table sexiling for several years. Legend has it that if you step on 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. We can’t remember.

Perkins: 1. A beloved pancake restaurant that has not yet made it east of New York, to the dismay of many late-night cravers of the legendary “Tremendous 12.” 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 do.

PLME: Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education lets you go straight into the Medical School without ever taking the MCATs. Only available to students admitted as PLMEs, and also the only reason to go to Brown for med school.

Post-: The Herald’s witty, interesting, and beautifully designed arts & entertainment magazine. Post- includes music, film, theater and dining reviews, interviews and scintillating feature stories. It comes out in The Herald every Thursday.

Potato Head, Mr.: You don’t have to look hard to find this Hasbro toy and his bucket of parts in Rhode Island. In an outdoor “art” exhibit similar to the cows littered around the streets of New York and Chicago, the smallest state in the union brought the giant spuds in 2000 to proclaim Rhode Island as “The Birthplace of Fun.” His carbohydrate-laden spirit is still with us today.

ProJo: The Providence Journal. Rhode Island’s largest daily newspaper gets very excited when big things happen in this little 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 paper has also won some Pulitzers.

Protests: They happen. Frequently.

Providence Place Mall: One of the crowing achievements of the previous mayoral administration (see Cianci, Vincent), this behemoth provides almost everything you need within a long walk of campus. As long as everything you need can be found at upscale chain stores, a multiplex and a food court.

Queer Alliance: The current name of the LGBT 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 education and social programming. And one or two huge parties.

Ratty: The Sharpe Refec-tory. Saying things like, “Let’s meet at the Sharpe Refectory” will usually get laughs from the easily amused. According to legend, the full name got shortened to “Rat Factory,” and lazy Brown students took the name a step farther. Trust us, soon you won’t wonder where the name came from.

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 persuade you not to vomit on yourself (or your roommate) after your first trip to Wriston. (see Spring Weekend)

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.

Registrar: Michael Pesta. Nice guy. But the office takes a week to do anything and will mess up your registration at least four times while you’re here – the last school in the industrialized world where you still have to register in person. Keep copies of everything they give you.

Rhode Island: Officially the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations … Little Rhody, the smallest state in the nation with the longest name, and your home.

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, with an overheated but recently upgraded computer cluster, miles of poorly lit stacks and decidedly non-ergonomic study carrels.

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 it 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: 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 only SciLi users can understand – of books primarily in foreign languages. You’re supposed to have sex on the 13th floor (we hear there’s a nice view of the city up there). The top of the SciLi is the highest point in the state of Rhode Island. Hey, it’s a little state and we’re on a hill.

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.

Segal, David: Say what you will about the Green Party, but it has a representative on Providence City Council with this Columbia University alum, whose Ward One includes much of Brown’s campus. He was ushered into office in 2002 on a single issue: making it easier for people to park their gas-guzzling, internal combustion engine-based, smog-creating vehicles in the city. Ralph Nader would have been proud, if Segal had done anything in the last two years to bring his plans to fruition.

Sexile: What happens to you if you have a roommate who wants to invite a special friend over to spend the night.

Simmons, Ruth: Brown’s 18th president and the first African American president of an Ivy League school. She has a Plan for Academic Enrichment that, if executed (read: funded), will give this year’s first-years everything we never had. (See Campaign.)

Spoons: That Assassins-type game every freshman unit ends up playing. You can identify first-years for several weeks because they’re carrying around plasticware.

Spring Weekend: In a good year, the much-ballyhooed Spring Weekend means big-name bands playing on our very own Main Green, couches on Wriston, lots of drinking and casual sex. The weather was perfect last year, though, so we’re due for another drizzle-filled weekend of debauchery this spring. Fo’ drizzle.

Stadium: It’s over a mile away. Isn’t that a bit ridiculous? Also where poor, poor sophomores used to get stuck parking, until these spaces were eliminated, preventing them from parking altogether.

Stockpot: This monthly newsletter from BuDS is perhaps the only campus publication to rival The Brown Daily Herald in journalistic ambition and integrity.

Store24: Don’t be fooled! Despite the name, Thayer Street’s convenience store is only open until 1:47 a.m. each night.

SunLab: Located on the first floor of the CIT, the SunLab is filled with Sun workstations for computer science students. Good luck trying to get a computer on the night before a big project is due. Or Friday and 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 is home to a plethora of eclectic shops, a roving motorcycle gang, panhandlers and, oddly enough, a Starbucks.

Tom & Tom: The “Juice Guys” of Nantucket Nectars fame are indeed dedicated Brown alums. Tom Scott, who has just started a TV network broadcasting only in upscale vacation spots, comes back every year to talk to Engin 9 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.

Turner, Ted: Started his college career at Brown before getting thrown out for (depending on whom you believe) either poor grades or “fraternizing” with a female student back when those things were against the rules, wink wink. Now look at him.

UCS: The Under-graduate Council of Students, which tries really hard to be an effective student governing body. Emphasis on “tries.”

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 Café, where proceeds go to Oxfam.

Unitcest: A merger of the words “unit” and “incest.” It’s when you hook up with someone in your unit. It makes things really, really complicated. Trust us.

University Hall: Register for classes here and talk to deans. The oldest building on campus, on the National Register of Historic Places, and home of the president’s office.

V-Dub: The Verney-Woolley Dining Hall. The junior member of Brown’s dining halls, smaller, more intimate and widely viewed as serving better food.

Watson Institute: The Thomas J. Watson Jr. Center for International Studies. Home of the International Relations concentration and world-renowned research. The former home of Elmo, a now-deceased Dutch Elm tree.

WBRU: 95.5 FM, one of the largest radio stations in southern New England; plays “modern rock,” whatever that means. Run entirely by Brown students.

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 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 Square for its bookstores. Pick your poison.

Williams, Roger: Founder of this great state, proponent of religious freedom, and now Nike-wearing giant statue in Prospect Park.

Wood, Gordon: A Brown professor. A pretty well-known guy in the world of American history. He teaches hard courses on the American Revolution and colonial America. He’s a tough professor and a bit boring, but he knows his stuff. Conspicuously name-dropped in Ben Affleck action flick “Good Will Hunting.” How do you like them apples?

Writing Fellows: Writing Fellows suck the pain out of throwing together a paper the night before it’s due by labeling said effort a “draft” and requiring that it be “edited” by a fellow student with “superior” writing talent. Having an extra week for every Writing Fellows assignment is great. But then again, feigning interest while a biology major critiques the arguments in your “Introduction to Shakespeare” paper is guaranteed to be one of the more awkward experiences in your four years at Brown.

XYZ: This list was S/NC, so these letters don’t really matter anyway.

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