Stanlang 101: Crash Course in Stanford’s Lingo

Posted by at 4:47PM

Stanford foiled me once again, Class of 2015. I was really pumped to be teaching you all the in’s and out’s of Stanford’s quirky language but I sadly did my research and realized that our dear university beat me to it:

AD – Academic Director. Professor advisor with an office in your residence who is a key resource for you during your pre-major years.
All Nighter (to pull an…) – A common phenomenon, especially when it’s time for final exams.
ASSU – Associated Students of Stanford University – the student government.
The Axe – The symbol of rivalry between Stanford University and our traditional rival, U.C. Berkeley (Cal). The Axe is awarded each year to the school winning the Big Game.
Axess – The student information system for registering, reviewing grades, changing addresses and other administrative tasks.
BART – Bay Area Rapid Transit. A subway system which carries passengers throughout the San Francisco area.
Big GameThe annual football matchup against rival Berkeley. Traditionally it’s the last, most highly anticipated football game of the season.
BollardsThe metal and wooden posts strategically placed on campus to: 1) keep cars out; and 2) impale hapless bikers.
CaltrainA commuter rail system running between San Francisco and San Jose. Don’t have a car? This is your best bet to get to “the City”.
CardinalStanford’s mascot: The color, not the bird!
The CityKnown as San Francisco to non-Bay Area residents, it’s the cultural center of the Bay Area and popular with students when they want to get off campus.
The ClawNickname for the fountain in White Plaza, between the Bookstore and Old Union.
The Co HoThe Coffee House (or CoHo) in Tresidder Union is a popular student hangout for studying, socializing, and sipping java.
The DailyStanford students’ independent newspaper.
Dead WeekThe week immediately preceding finals week. It is intended that students study feverishly during this week.
DinkDinkelspiel Auditorium. Located between Tresidder Union and the Braun Music Center, this is a popular venue for musical events and other performances.
The DishThe 150′ radio telescope in the hills behind Lake Lagunita. Also short-hand for the popular open space area in which this radio telescope is located.
DolliesThe five spirited women who accompany the Stanford Band with dance routines.
The DrawThe ultimate in Spring Quarter stress. This hair-raising process decides students’ housing fate for the coming year.
EANABsEqually attractive non-alcoholic beverages. Required at campus parties serving alcohol.
The FarmCampus nickname, derived from the days when horses rather than students roamed in what previously was the farm of university founders Leland and Jane Stanford.
FlicksA stress-relieving movie screening on Sunday evenings.
Flo MoFlorence Moore Hall, a dormitory complex.
Fountain HoppingA common activity after football games.
Fro So CoFreshman-Sophomore College, a housing option for freshman and sophomores.
GaietiesThe student-written, student-produced musical performed the weekend before Big Game.
Hoo TowHoover Tower, erected in honor of Herbert Hoover. An elevator ride to the top provides an outstanding view of campus and the Bay Area.
IHUMIntroduction to the Humanities. A program of introductory humanities courses which all freshmen must take in order to satisfy a graduation requirement.
IMsIntramurals. Sports tournaments ranging from football to inner-tube water polo that are expressly for dorm teams. A source of good-natured dorm rivalries.
Lake LagA wide basin at the corner of campus. Don’t expect to actually find water here, however, as it remains dry for a good portion of the year. The trail surrounding it is popular with joggers.
LSJUMBThose merry masters of madcap melody, the truly incomparable Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band!
MargueriteStanford’s free shuttle system.
Mem AudMemorial Auditorium, the largest on campus.
Mem ChuMemorial Church, located prominently in the Quad.
OskiThe Berkeley Golden Bear — and the nemesis of Stanford’s Tree.
The OvalThe large grassy elliptical area at the end of Palm Drive that’s perfect for an afternoon of Frisbee or volleyball.
PAAPeer Advising Associate. An upperclass mentor who, in tandem with a PMA (see below), advises freshmen on course selection and other academic interests.
PMAPre-Major Advisor. A faculty, staff, or alumni advisor who takes a small group of freshmen under his or her wing until they declare a major and helps them select courses, choose a major and navigate academic life at Stanford.
Primal ScreamTradition of stress alleviation for students. Listen for it at midnight the Sunday night of Dead Week.
The QuadAn enclosure of buildings housing some of the classroom space on campus and many departmental offices.
RAResident Assistant. The truly dedicated upperclass student who lives in dorms and serves roles ranging from dorm activity coordinator to advisor, confidant and friend.
RCCResident Computer Coordinator. A human guide to computers that comes with every dorm.
The RowMayfield Avenue, location of numerous upperclass houses and fraternities.
Tres ExTresidder Express. Stanford’s rendition of a 7-Eleven, located in Tresidder Union.
The TreeThe Stanford Band’s mascot.
White PlazaThe large plaza surrounded by Old Union, the Bookstore, the post office, and Tresidder Union. It is a central hub of student activity on campus, especially during the spring.
The ZooKZSU, 90.1 FM, Stanford’s student radio station.

The list was surprisingly exhaustive. Although a bit of the facts were out-of-date (like fountain hopping after football games…..people fountain hop but I have never seen anyone do that after a game, when its cold. And dark. Also, I have never met a PAA.) it’s actually a good fact sheet. But there are a few key ones I would have liked to see:

RF– This is a resident fellow. Although you should have been given a brief introduction to them in your housing letter, an RF is a member of the staff or faculty living in an apartment in your dorm. Although they won’t watch over you every second of every day, they are there as an added live-in campus resource and to help your residential staff handle bigger issues.

TAP – Also known as the Axe and Palm, this is one of Stanford’s many campus eateries. This particular one will be your best friend if you find yourself staying up late to study in Old Union.

PA – For all you fellow East Coast kids, the second you hit campus this abbreviation no longer stands for the proud state of Pennsylvania but the tech-infused town of Palo Alto.

EastFlo– Also referred to as East FloMo, this is the home of Stanford’s SLE students. Consisting of one freshman dorm and two four class dorms, this part of FloMo is not to be mistaken for the following:

WestFlo– These four dorms in FloMo Hall are consistently consistently lumped together with the SLE dorms. As SLE is a unique freshmen experience, upper class who draw into these dorms and freshmen who are placed there do not necessarily know anything about the program.

SLE – This is the Structured Liberal Education program. Although you can find out more information here the main thing you need to know is that these students fulfill their IHUM and PWR requirements in one year due to this program.

So in order to still be an effective instructor I’ve decided to create a quiz to both expand upon your newly gained knowledge and help you remember a few things!

CORRECTION: A Dollie is....

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Our school mascot is...

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You can see SanFran from Hoo Tow...

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We no longer have the pleasure of swimming in Lake Lag because...

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Are there any other acronyms that the class of 2015 should familiarize themselves with? Are any of my questions (or answers…..) wrong? Let me and next’s year freshman class know!

(Answers:1-1,2; 2-4; 3-True; 4-1)


10 Responses to “Stanlang 101: Crash Course in Stanford’s Lingo”

  1. Brad says:


    I’m kidding. But it really is Dollie.

  2. Brad says:

    Also, our mascot is not specifically the Evergreen Tree.

    Stanford doesn’t have a mascot. We have a nickname, the Cardinal. And we have a de facto mascot– the Tree– which is actually the mascot of the LSJUMB. Which is not always an evergreen tree. This last year it was a deciduous tree. And in many previous years was a palm tree. Therefore, tree would be the better answer.


    We cannot swim in lag not because of the pesky salamanders. We do it for conservation reasons: “so we do not routinely fill it to the brim because of water conservation reasons” from

    The pesky salamanders however, are the reason why we know longer have Big Game Bon fire rally, where the student body would surround the dry lake and we would light a giant structure in the middle on fire. Salamanders thrive in water. We wouldn’t *not* fill it with water to protect the salamanders. We would however protect them from gallons upon gallons of gasoline and searing flames.



  3. Crystal says:

    @Brad Oops. I had no idea that the singular form of the Dollies was Dollie rather than Dolly.

    As for an explanation to the difference between the Tree and Cardinal, I think this is a good description:

    Also, I think you gave an excellent explanation of what I meant by “pesky” salamanders. I was honestly referring to the fact that it couldn’t be filled since they’re a protected species. I learned a little more in finding out that we could potentially harm them with the water but I was hoping to make the freshmen curious:
    Anyways, thanks for keeping me informed!

  4. Concerned Student says:

    Honestly, can we once and for all agree that nobody uses Hoo Tow to actually refer to Hoover Tower?
    That’s the only one that really bothers me.

  5. Sasha says:

    ^ AGREED. No one EVER says Hoo Tow.

  6. DeanJulie says:

    We said HooTow back in the day. I still say it. Don’t be a hater.

  7. JC says:

    I definitely use “HooTow” ironically.

  8. Olivia says:

    There are also terms that are only used in one dorm or residence hall. Like “flove” in FloMo.

  9. PK says:

    As an alum from (ahem) a few years back, I’m mostly surprised at terms that were common then but aren’t used now. The ones that come to mind are “red hot” (for a pre-med) and “mick” (for an “easy A” class).

    And, of course, UGLY isn’t on the list, but as I understand it, UGLY (the library) isn’t long for this world anyway…

  10. K.B. says:

    Personally I like this one a little bit better, just because it has a kick of extra sass to it (see: rolling out)


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