aha ha ha


Columbia is a weird place full of unusual terms (not to mention the people).  To help you out, we’ve written out a guide to the most-used abbreviations at this fine school.

The Schools

  • CC – Columbia College, the largest and oldest undergrad school at Columbia.
  • SEAS – School of Engineering and Applied Science. Note the absence of an “s” at the end of “Science” and realize that if you ever call it “Fu” or “Fu Foundation,” your friends will never let you live it down.
  • CE – Columbia Engineering. SEAS tried to rebrand itself as “CE.” Don’t worry though, it will always be SEAS.
  • GS – General Studies, Columbia’s undergraduate school for “nontraditional” students, people who are usually more worldly than you. Dean Peter Awn explains it best here.
  • BC – Barnard College, the all-ladies college across the street from the main campus.
  • TC – Teacher’s College. They train teachers.
  • JTS – Jewish Theological Seminary. JTS’ List College offers joint degrees with Barnard and GS, so you’ll probably mingle with these guys.
  • UTS – Union Theological Seminary. Another theological school affiliated with Columbia. Also houses a killer theology library, the biggest one in the Western Hemisphere.
  • SoA – School of the Arts. Offers the MFA degree and, formerly, James Franco.
  • SIPA – School of International and Public Affairs.
  • GSAS – Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
  • GSAPP – Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Columbia offers landscape design degrees. You can take a class on plants. How bout that?
  • CUSSW– Columbia University School of Social Work for the do-gooders.
  • CUMC – Columbia University Medical Center. Even farther north, this collection of medical and health schools is located up in Washington Heights, about 50 blocks north from the main Morningside Heights campus. Intrepid pre-meds take note.

The VIPs

  • PrezBo – President Lee Bollinger. But you knew that already.
  • Deantini – James Valentini, Dean of CC, and also the namesake of a surprisingly strong cocktail.
  • DMC — Mary Boyce, Dean of SEAS, probable badass
  • MMA – Michele Moody-Adams. Former Dean of CC and VP of Undergraduate Education. Also acceptable: MiMoo.

The Government

  • CCSC – Columbia College Student Council. Represents CC (let’s see how fast you learn) students.
  • ESC – Engineering Student Council for SEAS.
  • SGA – Student Government Association for Barnard.
  • GSSC – General Students Student Council for GS.

The Bureaucracy 

  • ABC – Activities Board at Columbia. Governing board that makes it rain for (non-political, -spiritual, or -activist) student groups on campus. Controlling funding is a big deal, so befriend board members to keep your club afloat. Just kidding, it’s not that corrupt.
  • SGB – Student Governing Board. Funds everything else (“religious, spiritual, political, ideological, humanitarian, or activist in nature”).
  • CCE – Center for Career Education. Located in the bowels of East Campus, CCE will get you employed.
  • CSA – Center for Student Advising. Housed in a fancy new facility in Lerner, the CSA is where your advisors dwell. (Yes they do exist, and can be quite helpful).
  • IGC – Inter-Greek Council. Governing board for the fraternities and sororities, which can’t be overseen by the ABC or SGB.

The Lifelines

  • CPS – Columbia Psychological Services. With main headquarters on Lerner 8 and satellite offices all over campus, CPS offers free therapy to anyone who has paid the Health Services fee.
  • CAVA – Columbia Area Volunteer Ambulance. Also known as Columbia University Emergency Medical Services (CUEMS), CAVA is  known for helping your super drunk friends. “Getting CAVA’d” is seen by some as a right of passage in Carman and CAVA’s number, 212-854-5555, is worth programming into your phone. Do it now.
  • RA – Resident Adviser. Consult these people for your daily needs (vacuum, getting sexiled, condoms, etc.). They are generally lovely, so be civil in return.
  • CA – Community Adviser. A sort of “super RA,” CAs sit towards the top of the housing hierarchy, appropriately on a higher floor in the dorms.

The First Bonds

  • NSOP – New Student Orientation Program. Happens the week before classes start and the old folks trickle in. For some, a week forever blurred by alcohol. For others, The Most Fun Ever. For most, it’s a little awkward and you want college to start already.
  • COÖP – Columbia Outdoor Orientation Program. Composed of three outdoor pre-move in programs: COHOP (hiking), COROP (river canoeing), and COBOP (biking). Vshow 116 caricatured the COÖP cult: summoned by a conch call, COÖPers worshiped a frisbee. We know it was the single greatest experience of your life, ever. Now, ssshhh.
  • CUE – Columbia Urban Experience. Another pre-move in program, though CUE-ties stay in the city and don’t talk about poop as much.

The Neighborhood

  • EC – East Campus. A primarily junior/senior residence hall with coveted townhouses, EC offering ample suite space for Saturday night shit shows. Party-goers are plagued by indecision. EC’s far from the physically nicest senior housing, but still, it’s the most fun, provided you’re okay with vomit in the elevators.
  • IAB – International Affairs Building. Home to SIPA. Some people incorrectly refer to the building as SIPA when IAB is its actual name; debate ensues. Check out the roof for one of those transcendent “I love Columbia” moments.
  • LLC – Living-Learning Center. Comprised of Hartley and Wallach Halls, the LLC has a mandatory application process for prospective residents (except for freshmen). It’s known for having a stricter noise and alcohol policy than most other dorms, but that doesn’t really stop people from getting crazy.
  • NoCo – Northwest Corner Building. Refers to the shiny microwave building next to Pupin that opened in January 2011. Joe the Art of Coffee is here with many mustachioed baristas, as well as the NoCo library with massive monitors.

The Education

  • CC – Contemporary Civilization (not to be confused with Columbia College). Part of the Core; essentially a “Greatest Hits of Philosophy” course. CC students take this in their second year. It can be a truly incredible experience.
  • CULPA – Columbia Underground Listing of Professor Ability. Offers students a space to review professors and classes.
  • NINJa – Columbia’s network of printers. See our guide to read about how to take the most advantage of them!
  • TA – Teaching Assistant. Responsible for grading, proctoring, and other things actual professors don’t want to do.
  • UW – University Writing. A semester-long writing course that is taken by all students in their first year.
  • SSOL – Student Services OnLine. Web portal for students to take care of anything non-academic (replenishing Flex, ordering transcripts, seeing how much you owe the school). Don’t confuse this with CourseWorks, which houses strictly academic information pertaining to your classes.

The Entertainment

  • CMTS – Columbia Musical Theatre Society. They put on musicals throughout the year. Columbia has several students with serious Broadway creds and other talented performers, so prepare to be pleasantly surprised.
  • CTV – Columbia Television. Television run by Columbia students with original programming as well as a news show. We just don’t know anyone who watches it…except when they’re high…but still not so much.
  • CUFP – Columbia University Film Productions. The school’s film club. They make movies.
  • CUMB – Columbia University Marching Band. Columbia’s scramble band that plays during football games and other events. They are best known for Orgo Night, when the band marches into Butler 209 the day before the Orgo final and puts on an irreverent comedy show.
  • CUPAL — Columbia University Performing Arts League.  Like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but for theater.
  • NOMADS – New and Original Material Authored and Directed by Students. They produce original works throughout the year, and your NOMAD pals will make you go.
  • KCST– King’s Crown Shakespeare Troupe. Known for their awesome outdoor spring show and innovative interpretations.
  • TIC – Ticket and Information Center. The booth in the Lerner lobby where you can buy discounted tickets for shows and movies. Movie ticket prices in NYC are astronomical, so TIC will save you serious dough.
  • WKCR/WBAR – Not really acronyms, but rather call signs for the radio stations run by Columbia and Barnard, respectively.

The Community

  • CCO – Columbia Community Outreach. Sponsors a day when Columbia students volunteer to help the greater New York community. A lot of Columbians volunteer on other days too; many just don’t talk about it.
  • CQA – Columbia Queer Alliance. A place for the LGBTQ community.
  • CPU & CPR – Columbia Political Union & Columbia Political Review. Non-partisan political organizations that is probably most known for publishing their magazine, the Columbia Political Review.
  • IRC – Intercultural Resource Center. Located on Frat Row, the IRC houses students pursuing, according to the website, self-discovery and intercultural exchanges.
  • OMA – Office of Multicultural Affairs. Does what it sounds like it does.
  • Q House — A special interest community for the LGBTQ community
  • ROOTEd – Respecting Ourselves and Others Through Education. Under the OMA, this group is dedicated to exploring issues related to diversity in the U.S.
  • SIC — Special Interest Community, a housing space for people dedicated to a single cause.

And they’re a billion other religious and cultural groups with punchy acronyms. Check out this list! Go crazy!

Things That are NOT Acronyms

  • Bwog – It’s actually a portmanteau. You know, French and shit.

Did we miss any? We’ve tried to cover the major ones here, but feel free to add more in the comments!

Bwog’s brain, visualized, by Shutterstock