Here at Kalamazoo College, we have a LOT of slang: we abbreviate everything and make up nicknames for what can’t be abbreviated. As upperclassmen, we utilize many of these terms every day—therefore, we’ve compiled a vocabulary list that we think all incoming students (and even some current students who haven’t quite got it down yet) need to know.
Behold! You are about to read the essential guide for understanding what all of the students are talking about on campus: the first edition of the Kalamazoo College Dictionary!
K: This is how we all refer to our beloved school. No one calls it Kzoo, and very rarely do people say Kalamazoo College. When off campus, the word College is usually added to the end to clarify for any non-Hornets.
DOGL: stands for Day of Gracious Living, a beloved tradition at K. It started a few decades ago as a volunteer day after a tornado, but has since developed into an annual, impromptu day off of classes in the last few weeks of spring quarter. To celebrate, the majority of students take a trip to the nearby beach in South Haven.
NOGL: Night of Gracious Living occurs the night before DOGL, commencing when DOGL is announced. Students can often be found swarming Walgreens down the road or a nearby Meijer for beach day provisions, and later many students gather to celebrate with friends. There’s no time for homework on NOGL. In recent years, NOGL has turned into a campus-wide event with variety of outdoor games, prize giveaways, and free food taking place on the Quad.
Lib: refers to Upjohn Library. Very rarely do people say this out loud, but it’s often abbreviated on social media, in text messages, and sometimes even on a class syllabus.
Stacks: The Richardson Room is the technical term for this on-campus sandwich shop; however, you’ll never hear anyone call it that. The school’s former food supplier was a company called Stacks, and the name was quickly adopted for the cafeteria alternative. Though the school switched suppliers in 2013, Stacks stuck with us!
Cavern: The basement of the Stetson Chapel. Student volunteers and the Chaplin work here, spiritual/religious groups meet here, and there is always free tea and cookies available for students. Fun fact: this is also the only study space on campus with no wifi!
Caf: The Cafeteria. Enough said.
Quad: the grassy area in front of Hicks Student Center. On nice warm days, many students can be found here studying, eating lunch, or just hanging out with friends. (And when it starts to snow, you can bet that we go sledding!)
Sev-Crissey Lot: the parking lot where most students park their cars. Sev is short for Severn, one of the upperclassmen residence halls.
SIP: Senior Individualized Project; it’s a thesis/very large project completed during a student’s senior year that is required to graduate.
Stress Culture: A term dropped very often by both students and faculty, K students will often compete with each other about who is the most stressed. As easy as it can be to join, DO NOT FEED INTO THIS—you will feel much better if you don’t!
Book Club: The on-campus coffee shop located on the first floor of the library. It’s also a very popular study spot, or a good place to meet for group projects.
FAB: The Lights Fine Arts Building, home to the arts and music departments. You will often hear students saying that they “live in the FAB”, meaning they spend the majority of time there.
OU: refers to Olds-Upton, an academic building that houses the Psychology, Math, Physics, Political Science, and Computer Science departments.
K Bubble: (1) the campus; (2) the mindset acquired from spending time on our small liberal arts campus.
Zoo Flicks: Every Friday night, there is a movie shown on campus, complete with free soda and popcorn. Often, the movies are new releases (sometimes they’re even still in theaters!).
Zoo After Dark: Events held every Saturday night that are organized by different student organizations (examples include laser tag, roller skating, karaoke, comedy nights, mini golf, etc.).
Everything suddenly starts with “K”: If a word starts with a hard C sound, when you get to Kalamazoo, you’ll find you start spelling it with a K instead. If it’s an event that has a generic name, odds are there will be a K stuck in the front of it. (Many students even refer to the school as “Kollege” on social media, or when text messaging.)
K-Plan: What you do with your time at K; it’s the College’s individualized approach to the college education.
Frelon: (1) The on campus dance group—anyone can join, no experience necessary. (2) The shows put on by the Frelon organization every Fall and Spring.
Quarters/Weeks: Instead of a semester system, our schedule is comprised of three 10-week quarters. K students will often measure time by referring to the specific week of the quarter rather than the actual date. Example: “I’m going to present my SIP during the 6th week of spring quarter.”
CCPD: The Center for Career and Professional Development; a resource center that helps students with internship and externship placements, resume building, and many other professional services.
CIP: The Center for International Programs, which is the home for all things related to study abroad or study away. (It is spelled out like C-I-P, to avoid confusion with “SIP”).
Study Away: An additional option for students who want the experience of studying away from K’s campus without leaving the country. Programs are located throughout the United States, and usually involve an internship and/or a large academic project near the end.
Living Learning House: The closest thing we have to Greek life on our campus. Each has a certain theme chosen by the students who live there. Members of each house also put on community events related to their specific themes twice a quarter.
Tender Tuesdays: Another awesome food deal! At the edge of K’s campus is a restaurant called the University Roadhouse: all around awesome food, but their chicken tenders are to die for—and on Tuesday nights, you can get a basket of them for $3!
Sweetwaters: the famous 24/7 drive through donut shop in Kalamazoo. A car is needed to get here (its a pretty far walk, about an hour one way) but every once in a while, teachers will bring them to class. Occasionally, the caf will serve them for breakfast on Tuesday and Thursdays, and you can also find them in the Book Club at least once a week.
The Dungeon: The school’s black box theater, located in the basement of the FAB.
The Playhouse: refers to the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse, where most of the productions put on through the Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo occur (located next to Dow Science Center).
Dalton: refers to Dalton Theater, the largest performance space on campus. It holds the capacity of an average-sized incoming first year class (about 390-400 people, located inside the FAB).
Monte Carlo: The biggest event on campus all year: a winter formal. Students dress up (cocktail party style), and student volunteers (along with faculty and staff volunteers) run “gambling” tables all over Hicks. There’s amazing free food, prizes, and a even a dance floor.
Meal swipes/Munch Money: Purchased with your meal plan at the beginning of each quarter, you use these to eat on campus. Meal swipes grant you access to the Caf, as well as meals in Stacks or the Bookclub. Munch Money is also on your student account, and can be used to buy snacks in Stacks, coffee and food in the Bookclub, and sometimes even used to order delivery from neighboring restaurants.
K-Fest: an annual event held on the quad at the beginning of every school year. All student organizations set up tables so students can add your name to email lists, see demonstrations from clubs, and other fun events. There are also a fair number of organizations from around the community who come to give information to students about off-campus opportunities. (And, again, there are lot of free treats!)
Hicks: The student center: a.k.a., the place that has everything you need to survive at K. Home of the bookstore, the mail center, the cafeteria, Stacks, the health center, the counseling center, the intercultural center, the security office, and student housing (there’s even a game room on the second floor!).
StuDev: Student Development, where all things related to student life occur (e.g. housing and support for student organizations).
ACSJL: The Arcus Center for Social Justice and Leadership, also commonly referred to as “Arcus”. This is the newest academic building on campus (it opened in 2014): it is also a community center for all things social justice related. Its location at the top of the hill, surrounded by a wildflower garden, makes it the ideal place to study.
Art Hop: The first Friday of every month, there is an art fair in the Parks Trade Center (located downtown), Local artists open their studios so members of the community can see (and purchase) everything from paintings to sculptures to metal work. There is also a studio owned by Kalamazoo College, where seniors often display their art SIPs.
The Arb: The Lillian Anderson Arboretum is a large area of land owned by K College: it offers a look into wildlife without leaving the city of Kalamazoo. A car is required to get there, but most people are willing to go so they can around the nature preserve. Be careful! The driveway is hidden and a little hard to find the first time you go (or the second…or every time).
Trow: refers to Trowbridge Residence Hall, one of the first-year residence halls. It is the oldest residence hall on campus.
Well, there you have it—all of the terms you would ever need to know, whether you’re spending an overnight on campus or all four years!
-Izzie Kerivan ’17 and Lauren Landman ‘18