Navigating the sea of acronyms

The Queen’s Pub (QP) is a popular on-campus bar.
The Queen’s Pub (QP) is a popular on-campus bar.

Flashback to three summers ago: my Mom and I made the trip up to Kingston for our very first visit to Queen’s. Somewhere between the campus tour, the purchase of my brand new Queen’s hoodie, and my giddiness about my new home away from home, my Mom astutely exclaimed, “There sure are a lot of acronyms here!” She was right, as mothers so often are. It took me months to fully understand what the hell everyone was talking about.

University is confusing enough without having to figure out the difference between AMS and ASUS, so we’ve put together a little vocabulary primer to make your arrival at Queen’s a little easier.

Class of 2009, welcome to your first university lecture: What Do All Those Crazy Words Mean?

Alfie’s—A newly renovated campus bar, located off University Avenue in the basement of the John Deutsch University Centre (see “JDUC” below). Alfie’s is a great campus destination on Friday nights—it has a great lounge-y feel, delicious martinis and excellent music. Very classy, even if you’re passing on

the martinis.

AMS—the Alma Mater Society. The AMS is the undergraduate student government at Queen’s, and operates a wide variety of services on campus—the Queen’s Pub, Alfie’s, the Common Ground coffee shop, Walkhome, the Tricolour bus service, and a used book store, to name a few. It also oversees a smorgasbord of clubs and committees, and everything is student-run. Their offices are housed in the lower level of the JDUC.

ASUS—the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society. ASUS is the Arts and Science faculty society, and its staffers can be found in the Core (183 University Ave). Other faculty societies include EngSoc (the Engineering Society), ComSoc (the Commerce Society), CESA (Concurrent Education Students’ Association), NSS (Nursing Science Society), and PHESA (Physical and Health Education Student Association). Every faculty society offers a variety of ways to get involved; see their websites for more details. However, ASUS definitely offers the best opportunities for “cheeky” puns.

Ceilidh—Pronounced “kay-lee,” this Gaelic word means “meeting place.” The Upper and Lower Ceilidhs are found in the JDUC, and house the Queen’s Pub, the Print and Copy Centre (a.k.a. the P&CC, the AMS-run photocopying outlet), the AMS offices and comfy reading chairs.

CFRC—Queen’s very own radio station, which broadcasts at 101.9 FM and on the web. It’s a great station for those of you who are into cutting-edge music, want to hear some campus bands, or are just getting your hipster quotient filled for the day. You can also excise your audio cravings by volunteering here.

Clark—the Clark Hall Pub. Located above the Campus Bookstore, Clark is operated by EngSoc. Clark is the site of many a Queen’s tradition, such as Queen’s Players (a musical comedy show that has become a Queen’s staple) and Ritual (see below).

Commies—Thinking of hammers and sickles and Karl Marx? Think again. At Queen’s, anyone enrolled in Commerce is referred to as a Commie. Oh, the irony.

FRECs—These lovely ladies and gentlemen will likely greet you on move-in day. FRECs are engineering frosh leaders who dye themselves purple, give themselves—and their frosh—crazy haircuts, and love to intimidate people by slamming their engineering jackets on the ground. Don’t get psyched out by them—if they start ganging up on you, remember they’re the ones who are half-naked, screaming and purple. ’Nuff said.

Gaels—Your uber-friendly Arts and Science frosh leaders. Gaels usually wear painted coveralls, stylishly altered frosh shirts, and quasi-maniacal smiles. One of the most common sounds of Frosh Week will be Gaels shouting “Hey Group 35: How do you feel?” The answer is always, always the following: “I feel so good, oh I feel so good, oh!” accompanied by wild pelvic thrusts. Yeah baby.

The Ghetto—The colourful term used to describe the student housing area around Queen’s campus. Although the administration would prefer it if everyone called this area the “Student Village,” when you consider the shabby houses, the garbage-littered streets, and the rowdy student occupants, “the Ghetto” just seems to fit a wee bit better. Regardless, the Ghetto is home to many upper-year students who wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

GPAs—The acronym stands for Golden Party Armour, and the name refers to the purple-dyed golden leather jackets sported by 95 per cent of the engineers on campus. Jackets play a significant part in engineering traditions—when you order one, it arrives plain yellow (or gold, allegedly), and it’s off-limits for wear until December exams have been completed. Then you gather with your fellow frosh to dye your jackets purple and slam them violently on the ground. It’s a sight to see.

The Grad Club—A campus pub located at the corner of Union and Barrie streets that’s not just for graduate students. The cozy bar has an eclectic selection of beers on tap—for those of you whose IDs allow it—and it’s a great place to see live music.

The Hub—The intersection of Princess and Division Streets. The Hub is home to such fine Kingston establishments as A.J.’s, Stages, and a myriad of restaurants and fast-food outlets, including Bubba’s, renowned for its poutine, a true after-bar delight. Although the Hub is a pretty lively spot at any time of day, it’s generally busiest between the hours of 1 and 3 a.m. JDUC—The John Deutsch University Centre, located at the corner of University and Union Streets. The JDUC is the site of a lot of the University’s activity, and is home to many AMS services. It’s also a popular area for hanging out and socializing between classes; if you sit in the JDUC long enough, chances are you’ll see about 67 per cent of the people you know at Queen’s.

Mac-Corry—Mackintosh-Corry Hall. You will get lost in Mac-Corry at least once. It’s a fact. Accept it. The design of the building is baffling, but it’s home to a cafeteria that’s become a popular study spot. A word of advice about Mac-Corry: if you have a class there, give yourself an extra 10 or 15 minutes to find the room. Nothing says “good first impression” like walking into your first class 10 minutes before it’s finished because you were stumped by the maze that is Mac-Corry.

Oil Thigh—The Queen’s school song, sung to the tune of “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Although the Gaelic words—“Oil thigh na Banrighinn a’Banrighinn gu brath,” meaning “the College of the Queen forever”—look like gibberish to you now, but by your second day here they’ll be ingrained in your memory. The Oil Thigh is also accompanied by what the Queen’s Online Encyclopedia hilariously calls a “low-kicking sort of can-can dance.” Although it all sounds pretty insane, don’t worry—soon you’ll be doing the low-kicking can-can with the best of ’em. PEC—The Physical Education Centre. Although everyone loves to complain about the facility’s dungeon-like atmosphere and aging fitness machines, the PEC is an excellent place to stave off that Frosh 15. The PEC is equipped with several gymnasiums, a pool, and all the fitness amenities needed to keep you looking sharp. For the more coordinated among us, there are also free kickboxing, aerobics, step classes and body sculpt classes from which to choose. What more could you want? Windows? Oh. You’re out of luck there, friend. This is why Queen’s got the worst grade for recreational facilities in the Globe and Mail’s University Report Card 2004.

QCSWG—The Queen’s Centre Student Working Group. This body of elected student representatives and students at large was established in 2004 to ensure student opinions on the new facility were and are being heard. The group has been involved with the Queen’s Centre project through the design phase, the negotiation of the student contribution and the current allocation of space in the future building. These are the folks trying to make sure your $71 fee isn’t getting pissed away for something that won’t ever benefit students like you.

QP—The Queen’s Pub, located in the Upper Ceilidh of the JDUC. A favorite campus hangout, the QP is a great place to relax with friends over a pint—or a root beer, depending on your tastes. They have a great atmosphere, an affordable lunch menu, and a delectable selection of “Autofry” food: namely, deep-fried pub-grub. Who knew fried jalapenos and pickles could be so tasty?

Ritual—Yet another engineering tradition. Ritual takes place on Friday afternoons at Clark Hall Pub. When tired students have finished their Friday classes, they head to Clark to, um, unwind. Hilarity and debauchery ensue.

SHRC—The Sexual Health Resource Centre. Located on the second floor of the JDUC, these friendly folk offer resources and advice—they don’t call themselves ‘sexperts’ for nothing! The SHRC is also the place to go if you’re in the market for condoms, sex toys and Divacups sold at cost. What’s a Divacup, you ask? Sounds like it’s time for a visit to the SHRC!

Tricolour—A multi-purpose term here at Queen’s. Tricolour primarily refers to the three colours of the Queen’s flag (red, yellow, and blue), but can also refer to the Tricolour Express, the cheap bus service offered by the AMS for Queen’s students. But don’t worry, Class of ’09—now that you’re armed with your handy vocabulary primer, we doubt that you’ll ever be confused about any Queen’s terminology again. Now, if we could only demystify PSYC 100 for you ...

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