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A Guide to BU Slang

Terms and phrases to know if you want to avoid total confusion while talking to a BU student.

By Siena Griffin

Like any school, Boston University has its share of phrases, slang, and inside jokes that contribute to its unique campus culture. If you’re new to BU, then you’re in luck, they’re pretty easy to pick up; here are a few BU slang terms to keep in your back pocket:

The T: If you've spent even a day on BU’s campus, you’ve definitely heard students say, “take the T.” You might be thinking, what is so significant about a letter? The T is Boston’s public railway system, managed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. The T isn’t exclusive to BU, but if you hop on the Green Line’s B train along Commonwealth Avenue, you’ll run into students commuting to class or venturing to the greater Boston area.

BU Beach: Don’t be fooled, it’s not a real beach. The BU Beach is a lawn facing the Charles River, with Adirondack chairs and picnic tables scattered throughout. Students often go to the Beach to relax, hang out with friends, or do work. Orientation leaders say that if you close your eyes and listen, you’ll hear waves crashing along the shore—the sound is actually just cars passing along Storrow Drive, but it’s fun to pretend.

StuVi: An abbreviation for “Student Village,” StuVi refers to student residences on campus. There are two StuVi buildings, both of them in West Campus: you’ll find StuVi1 on Buick Street behind FitRec, and StuVi2 on Harry Agganis Way behind Agganis Arena. StuVi offers modern, suite-style housing, and is considered to be among the nicer of BU’s housing options.

The Jenga Tower: BU’s Center for Computing and Data Sciences (CDS), set to house the computer science and mathematics program, has been under construction since 2019 and is set to open in January 2023. It stands 19 stories tall, making it the tallest building on campus. Due to the building’s unconventional appearance, intended to resemble a stack of books, plus its extensive construction, CDS has sparked a bit of controversy. As a result, the building has earned nicknames such as the “Jenga Tower” and “Tetris Building.”

College Abbreviations: There are 17 colleges within BU, many of which have three letter abbreviations. You may know that CAS refers to the College of Arts and Sciences, or that COM is the College of Communication. But to some, it’s not immediately obvious what the abbreviations mean. Here’s a list from BU’s Office of the University Registrar to help.

Allston Crawl: The Allston crawl is a familiar activity to those looking to participate in BU’s party scene. Allston is a Boston neighborhood, just west of BU. “Crawl” refers to the trek that students make through the area in search of parties, although actually finding a party to attend is not guaranteed. Nonetheless, the hunt for something to do is a running joke to all who witness hordes of students traversing Allston on weekends.

The Seal: You may have noticed students avoiding the big, bronze seal in the middle of Marsh Plaza like their lives depend on it. It’s a BU legend that if a student steps on the seal, which displays BU’s motto, “Learning, Virtue, Piety,” they won’t graduate within four years. No one knows where the legend originated, but it’s up to you to decide if you believe the crowd, or risk the extra year.


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