Skip to main content

Carlingo: A Rundown on Carleton Jargon

Kai provides a crash course on some of Carleton's most popular colloquialisms.

Kai provides a crash course on some of Carleton's most popular colloquialisms.

You’ll quickly realize upon coming to Carleton that our community has a way with words. And no, I don’t just mean that there are a lot of good writers on campus here (although there are). We have a way of coming up with terms for everything, shorthands we use to get our points across efficiently. Whether it’s merely shortening the Recreation Center into “The Rec” or referring to Satisfactory/Credit/No Credit classes into “SCRUNCH” classes (sorry, I know, there’s no U or H in S/Cr/NC, but it works), it’s just the way we are. That said, here is a quick rundown of the jargon we use at Carleton so when you arrive on campus, you’ll be a pro. Check out Fatima’s two-part series from last fall, covering some of her favorite acronyms (Part 1 & Part 2)!

Carlingo: Translating Carleton lingo into regular folk speak

Common Terms

Carls – Carleton students

Profs – Professors

Comps – Senior Integrative Exercise (capstone “comprehensive” final project to earn your degree in your major)

“Scrunch” – classes that do not count toward your GPA, which earn you a “Satisfactory” or “Credit”  or “No Credit” in the course and meant to encourage academic exploration

Prio – registration “priorities” for when you sign up for classes

Academic and Residential Buildings

Anderson – honestly, any building within the “Integrated Science Complex” (yes, this includes Anderson, Olin, and Hulings Hall, but they’re all connected anyways…)

LDC – the Language and Dining Center, first floor housing one of two dining halls on campus, the second and third floors home to offices and classrooms of the language departments’

Sayles – Sayles-Hill Campus Center is where you go to see and be seen, as it is home to a cafe, bookstore, study rooms, pool and foosball tables, etc.

Sevy – Severance Hall, traditionally a senior-only dorm which is part of…

The Complex –  a group of interconnected dorm buildings linked to Sayles, including Burton (home to a Burton Dining Hall + Dorms), Davis Hall, and the aforementioned Sevy (both upperclassmen dorms)

Muss – affectionately used term for Musser Hall. Floor life in Muss is unparalleled for first-years, which leads them to incorporate living in Muss as part of their identity

goodhue walk
A glimpse of Goodhue Hall, located right by the Arb, the Rec Center, and the Lakes!

The Hue – Goodhue Hall, where first-years (and some sophomores) living in “the Hue” bond over living on the other side of the Lyman Lakes

The Libe – Gould Library, our beloved library unique for its four floors each representing a acceptable noise level (you enter on the fourth and “loudest” floor)

Outdoor Spots

The Arb – Carleton’s beautiful, 880-acre Arboretum

The Lakes – the scenic Lyman Lakes

Overview of Lyman Lakes and Campus
A stunning aerial view the Lyman Lakes and campus.

The Islands – Mai Fete (popular bonfire spot) and Stewsie Islands in the Lyman Lakes

Three Oaks – Hill of Three Oaks, another popular bonfire spot located by the Rec

Sports & Recreation

Bell – Bell Field, home to the Carleton Soccer field and the best sledding hill in Northfield

Bell Field from Photo Resources
Bell Field!

Cowling – not to be confused with the Cowling Arboretum, Cowling Gym is home to varsity soccer’s locker rooms, plus a basketball court, swimming pool, dance studio, indoor tennis court, and varsity head coach offices.

Stadium – refers both to Laird (Football and Track) Stadium and the varsity-athlete only weight room located beneath the stands #keepStackin

The Rec – Recreation Center, the multipurpose hub of student recreation at Carleton.

The Mel – Mel Taube Baseball Field, my beloved home field

West – West Gym, home to Carleton’s Basketball, Volleyball, Swim & Dive teams. We also play our intramural basketball games here!


Town – Downtown Northfield! Usually used in the context of “let’s go into town”

Part of Northfield's skyline
The main street of downtown, Division St.

Townies – The friendly residents of Northfield

The “Cities” – The Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis (duh), just ~45 minutes away from campus!

This is just the start; there are also a ton of acronyms for various offices (ex. SHAC for Student Health and Counseling) and clubs that are commonly used. If you come to Carleton, you’ll quickly pick up all these terms and more!

Kai is a sophomore from Charlottesville, VA, who probably spends too much time enjoying meals (and desserts) with friends in the dining halls. He is a prospective double major in Political Science and Psychology, potential Public Policy Minor as well. He loves volunteering for Project Friendship, playing piano at the Weitz, hanging out at Sayles, taking walks around the Lakes or in the Arb, and pitching/playing infield for the baseball team. Meet the other bloggers!