AU And DC Lingo Freshman Should Know

You’ve got your class schedule all figured out, you’re starting to make connections with peers and teachers, and hopefully, American University has started to feel more like home. However, for new students, there may still be a few weird words out there that confuse you. Have you ever heard somebody say, “I’m headed to Club Lib” and wonder why they didn’t act happier, or been yelled at for “escalefting” but still not sure what that meant? Well no worries! Here is your ultimate guide to the must know AU and DC lingo.

Escalefting: Let’s start with a really important term that will separate the DC tourists from the pros. When you ascend or descend an escalator, it is common policy to stay on the right side of the escalator if you are going to stand still. That way, people in a hurry can walk past you on the left. Escalefting is when a person stands on the left side of an escalator, preventing others from getting by. This is a mistake that tourists and newbies often make, usually on the metro, and is sure to make any local DC people mad. As a rule of thumb, if you are going to stand on the escalator, stay to the right.

Tenders: A popular meal swipe option here at AU. You can get four chicken tenders, fries and a beverage for one meal swipe at Bene, which is located in the Tavern in Mary Graden Center. Although most people would probably rate the tenders here about a 5/10 on taste, they have kind of taken on a life of their own. Tenders are to AU as apple pie is to America.

Floorcest: A combination of “floor” and “incest.” Floorcest is when you date or hookup with somebody on your dorm floor. Although it seems convenient, floorcest is generally not recommended. If things end badly, you will still have to see that person everyday, and will probably see them when you would least want to (such as walking to the bathroom in your pajamas). 

DMV: No, the DMV does not refer to the place where you stand in line for over an hour to renew your license. At AU, DMV refers to “D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

AdMo: Stands for “Adams Morgan.” Adam’s Morgan is three stops down on the red line and a popular destination for nightlife. It is also home to Tryst Coffeehouse.

Fracket: A jacket that you wear to a frat party. You don’t mind if it gets lost or stained.

The Mall: No, unfortunately, when people say “The Mall,” they aren’t referring to some gigantic shopping mall. They are actually referring to The National Mall, which honestly is a lot cooler than an actual mall. The National Mall encompasses the area between the Lincoln Memorial and US Capitol building. It includes many of the Smithsonian museums, the Jefferson Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the FDR memorials, the Vietnam Veterans Wall Memorial Wall, the WWII Memorial, and the Korean War Veterans Memorial.  

Monumenting: Usually done at night. Monumenting refers to going out (typically with a group) to the National Mall—which we now know is also referred to as The Mall—and sightseeing at the various memorials and monuments.  

Club Lib: No, Club Lib is not some secret, ultra-cool nightclub that everybody goes to. When people say they are going to “Club Lib,” they actually mean the library on campus. #TurnupatClubLib. (Use the Snapchat filter!)

South Side: Refers to the south side of campus, most notably LA Quad (which is where Anderson, Letts and Centennial are located). Also known as the place where freshmen congregate, especially at night. Also known for having a lot of fire alarms. 

Quadding: Refers to hanging out on the main Quad. Quadding is especially popular in the spring when the cold weather finally starts going away and the sun comes out. There is a popular myth out there that all of the “attractive” students disappear during the winter and suddenly appear during Quadding season.

And for those of you who still need help figuring out the different schools here….

SOC: Stands for “School of Communication.” NOT pronounced “sock.” Majors offered: Communication Studies Film and Media Ats, Foreign Language and Communication Media, Journalism, and Public Communication (also known as Strategic Communication/PR).

Kogod: The business school. Also known as the building where its students walk around campus in suits all the time. Majors offered: Business Administration, Accounting, Finance, Business, Language & Cultural Studies, and Business and Entertainment.

SIS: Stands for “School of International Service.” The SIS building is that really cool looking building with the large windows, and is home to AU’s coffee shop The Dav. It is also where President Obama gave a speech over the summer. Although the school literally only offers one undergraduate major (International Studies), more AU students are in SIS than any other school.

SPA: Stands for “The School of Public Affairs.” Where students who want to be President often study. Majors offered: Justice and Law, Law and Society, Political Science, Interdisciplinary Studies. 

CAS: Stands for “The College of Art and Sciences.” Basically where you go if you don’t fall into any of the other schools.


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