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Here's a list of vocabulary that will help you survive your first year at Penn.

Credit: Carson Kahoe

It only makes sense that a culture as unique as Penn’s has its own lingo. Here’s a crash course to help you learn the words and phrases that Penn students throw around every day.

Your campus

Reading Lounge: The sixth floor of Van Pelt Library is one of the most popular study spots on campus. It boasts an amazing view of College Hall and Fisher Fine Arts Library, brand new couches and near perfect silence. Great locale for grinding out serious work.

GSR: Group study room. Rooms available to reserve for several people (or just one if you’re feeling aggressive) in Huntsman Hall and Van Pelt. Snagging one during finals season is very competitive, and only Wharton students can reserve them.

Stommons: Starbucks under 1920 Commons. The only Starbucks on campus that takes Dining Dollars.

The Button: The white button sculpture outside of Van Pelt. Popular meeting point.

The Tampons: Large red sculpture past the bridge on Locust Walk. Although it’s actually titled “Covenant,” the installment brings to mind a pair of dueling tampons. Students often meet each other “by the tamps.”

DRL: David Rittenhouse Laboratory. The center for many science and math classes, this large building at 33rd and Walnut is almost universally hated for its depressing atmosphere and far distance from practically every other classroom building.

Steiny-D: Steinberg-Dietrich Hall. The Wharton building on Locust Walk between 36th and 37th where many introductory classes like economics are held.

The Compass: The large compass built into the brick of Locust Walk at the 37th Street intersection before Pottruck Health and Fitness Center. The superstitious say freshmen who cross it will fail their first midterms.

KCECH: Kings Court and English Houses.

Radian: The off-campus apartment building on 39th and Walnut that is a popular housing option for many sophomores and juniors.

VP: Van Pelt Library.

Fisher: Fisher Fine Arts Library.

Your classes

PPE: Philosophy, Politics and Economics

BBB: Biological Basis of Behavior

HSOC: Health and Societies

OPIM: Operations and Information Management

BEPP: Business Economics and Public Policy

M100: Management 100

Orgo: Organic Chemistry

Your social life

BYO: Bring-Your-Own (drinks). Count yourself blessed to live in a city that has many restaurants that permit you to bring whatever alcohol your heart desires (even hard liquor and boxed wine) to dinner without showing ID. It’s a favored way for students to eat and drink casually.

Spring Fling: The sweet release that is half a week of pure fun in mid-April. Students take advantage of the warm weather to attend parties that start mid-morning, a concert and student group performances in the Quad.

Homecoming (Hoco): Sarcastically (or maybe not so much) referred to as the only day of the year students show any school spirit. Attend the football game and then head to outdoor parties during the day.

MERT(ed): The Medical Emergency Response Team — an official group of student EMTs who take emergency calls on campus. To be MERTed is to require emergency help from this team.

Sceney: A term used to refer to Penn students who are in on the “scene.” For instance, a sceney person might very regularly go to expensive dinners in Center City or attend Thursday night downtowns.

Darty: A party that is held during the day — popular during NSO, Fling, HoCo and St. Patty’s.

DFMO: Dance floor make-out.

Apes, Theos, Owls, OZ, Crows, Fiji, St. A’s, St. Elmo’s, Castle, Sammy, Pike, Phi, OAX: Greek organizations — some on-campus, some off-campus — that aren’t known by Greek letters.

SABS-ing: To “see and be seen.” There are several locales on campus where one can SABS, including the tables outside Tortas Frontera, Capogiro and Stommons.

Late Night: A party held by a fraternity after 1 or 2 a.m., for those who want to keep going.

Smokes’: Smokey Joe’s. A popular bar on 40th Street. Ambitious freshman who try to enter must pass strict bouncers.

Harvest: Located next to Smokes’, this spot is known for providing a healthy-ish meal alongside Long Island ice teas.

The ratio: The ratio of girls to guys you need to enter any given party.

Hill brunch: Held in Hill College House from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. With a smorgasbord of brunch options, it is widely known as one of the best ways to use a meal swipe.


Frogro: Fresh Grocer. The only on-campus grocery store, located at 40th and Walnut.

OCR: On-campus recruiting. Wharton students will sprint down Locust in suits and tweed skirts to get a position for after graduation at a reputable company.

SWUG: Senior Washed-Up Girl. A girl in her last year who is just over it.

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