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Carleton Short-Hand

Ren explains some of Carleton's common short-hand.

Ren explains some of Carleton's common short-hand.

Carleton students have a tendency to shorten everything. Literally, everything. Severance Hall? Do you mean Sevy? Gould Library? Do you mean The Libe?

This can make the transition difficult; to try and mitigate this, here is a list of some of the terms I found most confusing when I first came to Carleton!


This is probably one of the hardest acronyms to learn, because it’s pronounced “trip-see-ee.” I did not know what people were talking about until about halfway through my first year here. “Trip” is the Center for Community and Civic Engagement (unfortunately not an acronym about slipping on the ice). CCCE is Carleton’s center for volunteering, managing programs like the Food Recovery Network (FRN), our Academic and Civic Engagement classes (ACE courses), and Empty Bowls.


Hands Selecting a Bowl at the Empty Bowls Event
Empty Bowls Event, 2020


The GSC is Carleton’s Gender and Sexuality Center! The GSC offers a ton of resources, like their gender affirming (and free!) clothing closet, pronoun pins, queer literature library, and events like the Rainbow Retreat!


OHP = Office of Health Promotion! OHP has the best freebies: stop by their office in Sayles to pick up anything from fidget toys to condoms or lip balm! OHP also has a program called SWA Dogs (another acronym?? SWA stands for Student Wellness Advocate) meaning that you may also see Maisy or Manny when you stop by the office.

SWA Dogs
SWA Dogs!


Feeling sick? Visit SHAC! Sounds pretty ominous, but we promise it’s not. SHAC is our Student Health and Counseling Center, and they provide resources including free physical and mental health services. They are not located in a shack in the arb.


Refers to Carleton’s Dean of Students! People also say “DOSO,” meaning the Dean of Students Office.


Wait… This isn’t an acronym?? Despite being in Carleton’s TRIO program for three years, I just found out that TRIO doesn’t actually stand for anything. I don’t know how I feel about that. TRIO supports students who are first-generation, low-income, and/or disabled, and is a great resource.

About Us
This years’ amazing TRIO peer leaders!


Speaking of support resources, the Office for Intercultural life is another great way to find a community on campus. OIL and ISL (International Student Life) just split into two interest groups to support students on campus.


CSA = Carleton Student Association. They make up our student body government.


Student Departmental Assistants are a few students who know the department very well (usually seniors who are majors or minors in the dept.) that work to help support other students in the department or thinking about going into the department. They are different from TAs (teaching assistants) and LAs (language assistants) because they work to support the departments as a whole, whereas TA’s and LA’s work in specific classes.

Though there are a lot more acronyms, this list is a good starting point. Even if you don’t remember all of these terms, I hope that your main takeaway from this blog is that you can always ask! I thought I was the only one who didn’t know what all of these meant when I came to Carleton, so I never asked. I felt like everyone else just knew things and I didn’t, when really, it takes everyone a while to figure out what people mean when they say they’re going to “Trip.”



Ren (they/them) grew up catching salamanders, recklessly climbing trees, and running around barefoot in the Appalachian Mountains in a small town in North Carolina. They are a junior double major in art history and studio art, and love spending time in the arb, Sayles Hill Campus Center, and the Weitz Center for Creativity. Ren is the co-president of Carleton’s QuestBridge chapter, and also works with other equity programs on campus.