Brown A-Z (Part I): A Capella to the Front Green!

As an incoming freshman last year, I found it incredibly difficult to learn all of the names and terms used to refer to everything in Brunonia, and often found myself wondering who Dave Binder was or why naked people were handing me doughnuts.  Thankfully, our friends at Post- Magazine compiled an essential list of terms necessary for any Brown student to know to survive.  As we enter into our first weekend of the school year, we figured we would post the A-Z list in three parts, A-F today, G-O tomorrow, and P-Z on Sunday.  If any one can think of any terms we left off, please feel free to add them in the comments.  So enjoy, because this is likely the only list of terms you will be given without a subsequent test.

A capella: An oversubscribed on-campus vocal activity. If you live near the Wayland or Mo-Champ arches, you might want to invest in soundproofing your room.

Absolute quiet room: Tucked on the bottom floor of the Rock, this room is just as serious about silence as its name suggests. Friendships and romances have literally ended after one party had the audacity to talk in there.

A.B.: The bachelor of arts degree most of you will leave with. Everyone else calls it a B.A.

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

ADOCH: A Day on College Hill. A lot of you probably came to this spring event right after acceptance letters went out. We eschew homework for a day, act all cool and collegiate and cheerful, and throw parties unusually large for Tuesday nights. This is not necessarily indicative of life at 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.

Banner: The new computerized student record system that replaced Brown’s venerable pink-and-white course registration forms. The interface makes AOL dial-up circa 1996 look like an iPhone. (See Mocha)

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.

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, basically.  After being temporarily relocated due to renovations going on in Faunce, it has returned to its rightful home in all of its previous glory (and more), offering sandwiches, a parfait station, Kabob and Curry, and sushi.

BOLT: Brown Outdoor Leadership Training is a unique opportunity to learn simultaneously 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 probably better than whatever you had planned for the last week of summer 2010.

Brown Band: Much like your high school marching band. Except without the focus on marching. Or music, for that matter. But they use profanity, their uniforms have flair, and they’re the only college band that does shows on skates during hockey season.

Brown Daily Herald, The: The finest daily publication in this fair republic. Post-’s older, wiser, slightly more serious older sibling, in an Ashley-to-our-Mary-Kate kind of way. Published since 1866, daily since 1891, the Herald is financially and editorially independent from the University, is available free all over campus, and covers university and city news, opinion, arts and sports. Plus, Sudoku!

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

BTV: Brown Television, home to the brilliant student-produced comedy “Campus Liquors,” along with 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. Also, inventors of the (in)famous Polynesian Ratatouille.

Bus Tunnel, The: Technically the “Rumford Bus Tunnel.” It goes through College Hill (literally), from Starbucks to the intersection of Waterman and North Main streets. Don’t try walking through the tunnel. Just don’t. You will never be heard from again.

Campaign for Academic Enrichment: Brown’s crusade for the minds, hearts and cold, hard cash of your parents, your grandparents and your great-aunt in West Palm Beach. Also known as “Boldly Brown.” (See Plan for Academic Enrichment)

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. (See Jo’s)

Cianci, Vincent a.k.a. “Buddy”: The renowned, longest-serving former mayor of Providence who just got out of the slammer. First elected in 1974, he resigned in 1984 after pleading no contest to assaulting his wife’s lover with a fireplace log (!), proceeded to host a radio show for a few years, and was then reelected in 1990 — until he was convicted of federal crimes in 2002. Legend has it Buddy used to ride up to Brown frat parties on a white horse during his first term. He could often be seen playing cymbals with the Brown Band at football games. Recently, his exploits have been documented in a number of ways, including The Prince of Providence, a book by ProJo reporter Mike Stanton (see ProJo); BUDDY-The Rise and Fall of America’s Most Notorious Mayor, an Emmy-award winning documentary; and lets not forget “Buddy” Cianci: The Musical.

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). First elected as mayor in 2002 and re-elected in 2006, he’s running for congress this year.

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 $30 worth of time. (Computer Science concentrators, expect to spend closer to $200,000 worth of time here.)

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.

Coffee Milk: The official state drink of Rhode Island and offered on tap at the Ratty, it’s basicaly chocolate milk made with a sweet coffee-flavored syrup. It’s fucking delicious and scarcely available outside of the state, so drink up while you still can.

College Hill: You’re standing on it. Or sitting. Whatever.

College Hill Independent: College Hill’s weekly news rag, but more importantly the Herald’s chief kickball competitor. Also the de-facto headquarters of Brown’s hipster population.

Concentration: In the rest of the world, this is called a “major.”

Corporation, The: 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.

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

Cranston: Rhode Island’s third-largest city, but you’ll probably never go there. Most notable for serving as the inspiration for Quahog of “Family Guy.”

Credit/Meal Credit: Getting into Brown is only half the intellectual battle: figuring how to purchase food on campus most effectively in the face of Brown’s byzantine and utterly illogical meal-plan setup makes Orgo look like a game of Go Fish. One meal credit will get you into the Ratty or the V-Dub, or $5.75 worth of food at Jo’s or the Gate. Some plans offer a lot of points with fewer meals, whereas others will give you a set number of meals per week and fewer points. (See Flex Point)

Dating: If you live in Perkins, you might not date your unitmates, but you are statistically doomed to marry one of them. The rest of you are just doomed.

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

EMS: EMS stands for Emergency Medical Services. It also stands for Eastern Mountain Sports. Call the wrong one and instead of getting a stomach pump, you’ll be getting a thermos and a GPS system to help you stumble home.

Endowment, small: The reason behind most of the University’s financial problems … in bed. Prepare for many similar jokes over your next four years, especially after our endowment shrank by about $8 mil in the wake of the recession.

Extension: You will most likely ask for at least one of these in your time at Brown. Make up a good reason, and you’ll probably get it. Even when the professor says at the beginning of the year that he or she never gives extensions. (See due date). Making stalking easier than ever.

Fall weekend: Pretty much everyone else calls this Columbus Day. We Brownies aren’t so keen on Christopher and his colonizing ways, so we have the terribly vague “Fall Weekend.”

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

Fish Co: The off-campus bar with a Brown night. No fish, but lots of alcohol.

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

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

Flex Point: These little beauties come as part of your meal plan — or can be purchased from BuDs for $1 per point. All on-campus eateries take them,

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

Frank ’42, Sidney E.: Liquor magnate associated with Grey Goose, Jagermeister and sexual harassment lawsuits. He only studied here for one year, but after he gave more than $100 million for financial aid and the Life Sciences building (which bears his name), the University retroactively gave him his degree.

FriSC: Unveiled in Jan. 2007, the Friedman Study Center is a 24-hour haven for procrastinators. It’s housed in the basement of the SciLi and decorated in a sort of sixties-futuristic style. In other words, lots of lime green and weird-shaped furniture.

Front Green: Also, Quiet Green. A good place for reading or making out on pleasant days.

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