A.B., n. Though called B.A. at most other schools, it’s still your typical liberal arts degree.
adviser, n. 1. Faculty member assigned to freshmen to assist in course selection. Usually a specialist in a field totally unrelated to yours. 2. Faculty member assigned to sophomores with an unclear role. 3. Faculty member assigned to juniors and seniors to provide guidance in writing junior papers and theses.
Alcohol Initiative, n. A trustee-sponsored attempt to reduce alcohol consumption by throwing huge sums of money at undergraduates for alternative activities. Hosts the popular dodgeball tournament in April, when many teams are drunk. Go figure.
Alexander Beach, n. Princeton’s version of a beach. Lacks sand and water but is filled with lots of bodies in bathing suits on sunny spring days. Only place on campus where people wear less than on the Street. Located in front of Alexander Hall.
all-nighter, n. Grim, dusk-to-dawn studying or writing marathon in which sleep is postponed indefinitely. Often procrastination-induced. Usually followed by prolonged periods of hibernation. Welcome to college.
alumni, n. pl. Gosh, do they love the place. Always potential donors. Prone to wearing abominable combinations of orange and black. See “Reunions.”
arch sing, n. Event where a cappella singing groups perform a few of their favorite tunes in campus archways. Good singing and great acoustics, but the novelty can wear off quickly. A large percentage of the audience is made up of group members’ significant others (or wannabe significant others) and roommates.
Band, n. The University scramble band. Odd looks but (sometimes) decent sound. Football halftime shows are occasionally funny and always tasteless. Often uses unconventional instruments, such as plastic pumpkins and stop signs. All in Charter Club.
Beast, n. What spews forth from taps on Prospect Avenue. Otherwise known as Milwaukee’s Best. Though it appears to be watered down, it does the trick.
beer, n. Beverage of choice on Prospect Avenue. Some clubs try to impress potential members by serving such brewhouse delicacies as Killian’s or Yuengling, but the hard-core drinkers keep it real with Beast. See “Prospect,” “Beast,” “boot.”
Beirut, n. 1. A popular drinking game in which players attempt to toss a ping-pong ball into a base-[insert however many cups you can find] array of beer cups. Losers may be “forced” to engage in a naked lap. This game does not involve paddles. That would be beer pong, which is so Dartmouth. Or Tower. So toolish in general. 2. Also, much less commonly, the capital of Lebanon. See “boot.”
Bicker, n. Princeton’s multiple-day equivalent of fraternity or sorority rush for the six selective eating clubs. During Bicker, club members meet sophomores and other upperclassmen to determine whether they are worthy of membership in their eating club. At the end of sophomore fall, prepare to talk about it incessantly. See “sign-in club.”
Blackboard, n. Website used to download course assignments, syllabi and readings. Makes websites from the 20th century look user-friendly.
Blair Tower, n. Former home of despised sophomores who lucked out during residential college room draw and got amazing rooms with amazing views. Now used as classrooms and housing for resident graduate students and a few faculty members in residence.
bomb, v. To do miserably on an exam. Translates to a range between A-minus to actually failing. See “Orgo,” “grade deflation.”
bonfire, n. Princeton tradition of lighting an enormous bonfire on Cannon Green to celebrate the football team’s victory over both Harvard and Yale in a season. Last seen in November 2006 after being absent since 1994.
boot, v. To toss one’s cookies, worship the porcelain god, barf, puke, vomit, ralph, regurgitate, spew chunks, whistle carrots, etc. Usually engaged in as part of a “boot and rally,” with hopes of rejoining the party. Rarely is it that easy.
Bric-a-Brac, n. Princeton’s all-class yearbook. See “Nassau Herald.”
Bridges, nickname. Civil Engineering 102B: Engineering in the Modern World. Counts as an HA for science kids and an ST for humanities kids. Many enroll, few attend. See “P/D/F/.”
B.S.E., n. Though called “B.S.” at some other schools, there’s no b.s. in Princeton’s engineering degree.
Cane Spree, n. Multi-sport competition between freshmen and sophomores held at the end of the second week of classes. Includes cane wrestling, tug-of-war, unscheduled brawls and a barbecue on Poe Field. Popular for the free T-shirts. You’ll get a lot of free T-shirts during your time here.
Carnegie, Lake, n. Five minutes from campus, five miles long. Scenic venue for crew but too slimy for swimming. Gift of Andrew Carnegie so that Princeton could have a crew team, after then-University President Woodrow Wilson, Class of 1879, asked him for money for University construction. Wilson’s reported comment: “We asked for bread, and he gave us cake.”
carrel, n. Four-by-six-by-eight-foot study closet in Firestone Library doled out to some seniors and graduate students. Seniors lock themselves in around February, emerging in April with a 30,000-word thesis. Having sex in a carrel is a classic bucket-lister. See “thesis.”
Chapel, n. Site of religious services and opening exercises at the start of every year. Third-largest university chapel in the world. Contrary to Orange Key legend, it wasn’t built by a Yalie.
clapper, n. Part of the Nassau Hall bell that the incoming class tried to steal each year. The logic behind the age-old tradition is that if the clapper is stolen, the bell signifying the start of classes won’t ring, so classes can’t be held. After Geoffrey MacArthur ‘95 fell from the tower in 1992, the administration decided to remove the clapper permanently.
cluster, n. Where a whole bunch of computers congregate. Features an often-jammed printer. Scattered throughout campus. Busy when papers are due.
Committee on Discipline, n. The University body responsible for investigating academic integrity and other disciplinary offenses.
Community Action, abbrev. CA. Week-long pre-orientation activity built around service trips. Like Outdoor Action, but with showers.
Communiversity, n. All-day festival on Nassau and Witherspoon Streets held in April to promote town-gown unity. Features food, bands and student performances. When the festival ends, tensions between the University and town soon return.
consolidation, n. The Borough and the Township, which both house parts of the University, will merge into a single municipality this January. Following decades of discussion about a potential merger, this is the largest development in local politics in a while.
co-op, n. Upperclass dining alternative in which members share cooking responsibilities. Vegetarians, try 2 Dickinson St.; omnivores, stick to Brown, Mathey or the International Food Co-ops.
Daily Princetonian, The, n. What you’re reading now. Your one true source of information on life, the universe and everything, as well as the only daily newspaper on campus and one of the oldest college dailies in the country. Available for free everywhere. An absolute good. A force for justice in an unjust and cruel world. Administrators cringe before its unquestioned power. Completely independent from the University. Just watch out for the online commenters. Also known as the ‘Prince.’ But, never, ever, the ‘Daily Prince.’
D-Bar, abbrev. Debasement Bar. Sole hang-out for graduate students, located in the basement of the Graduate College. According to reports, highly awkward.
Dead Week, n. Week between end of finals and graduation, when seniors and students employed for Reunions hang out and try to do as little as possible or take group vacations to spots like Myrtle Beach, S.C. See “Reunions.”
Dean’s Date, n. 1. The last day of reading period, when course papers are due. Stress reaches all-time high as students realize the number of pages they have left to write exceeds the number of hours before the deadline. 2. Dean’s Date Theater. Students congregate in McCosh courtyard before the 5 p.m. deadline to cheer on classmates who have truly left their papers to the last minute, an activity that was more exciting in the days before email. 3. Dean’s Date Fairies. Cross-dressing men who pass out candy on the night before Dean’s Date. See “all-nighter.”
Dei Sub Numine Viget, phrase. Latin motto on Princeton’s seal. Translation: “Under God’s Power She Flourishes.” Unofficial version: “God Went to Princeton.”
Dinky, n. Our version of the Hogwarts Express. Mini-train that takes you to Princeton Junction for connections to the real world. Flashpoint of battle between town and University.
eating clubs, n. Eleven large mansions on Prospect Avenue that serve as the hub of upperclassman life. You probably weren’t allowed to ask questions about them on your tour. Biggest reason that Princeton is still considered elitist by the outside world. Find more details about the clubs in this issue’s pullout Street section. See “Street, The.”
entryway, n. Self-contained section of a dorm or classroom building. Only way to get from one entry to another is to go outside and back in again or go through the basement or up to the top floor. Partly because of this system, you may never meet the person who lives on the other side of your bedroom wall. Found mainly in Mathey, Rocky and upperclass housing.
e-reserves, n. Website that catalogues off-centered scans of many required readings. Thank your professors when they offer these in place of Pequod packets. Bow down to professors who are able to photocopy readings not upside down. See “Pequod.”
fall break, n. Week-long vacation immediately following fall midterms. Implemented in the 1970s when campus activists demanded time off before Election Day to campaign for their favorite bleeding-heart liberal congressional candidates. Now a prime road-trip week.
fire inspection, n. Twice-a-semester visit to your dorm room, before which you should frantically hide illegal appliances under your bed to avoid fines.
FitzRandolph Gate, n. Gate in front of Nassau Hall. If you walk out the center gate while an undergraduate, you will not graduate. Of course, that’s just a legend. Try it — we dare you.
Franzia, n. Premier brand of boxed (read: dirt cheap and sickeningly sweet) wine. Comes in both rose and white. Goes down easy, comes back up more painfully. See “boot.”
Frist, n. The campus center. Home of the student government, mailboxes and yummy quesadillas. A fun and relaxing place to socialize and study as long as you don’t take introductory Chinese. See “Late meal.”
fraternities, n. pl. Freshmen, avert your eyes. Groups of males that gather to drink and make lots of grunting noises. As of this year, freshmen are not allowed to rush Greek organizations. Those who do face suspension. Not a big presence on campus, but they may be your ticket into a bicker club.
Frosh week, n. The week before classes, when sophomores and upperclass students reacquaint themselves with campus life and “meet” the freshmen, who are kept busy by an array of University-sponsored activities. Prime time to drink copious amounts of alcohol.
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