Navigating campus was probably among my top worries when I was a freshman, especially considering I have the navigational skills of a rock, a fact exemplified by my ability to still get lost on campus, as a rising junior while stone-cold sober. But as a freshman, I was even more hopeless, and the lack of explanation about the various abbreviations on campus led to some serious tardiness on my part.
Unfortunately, not even my student fellow was terribly clear about what most of the abbreviations and acronyms meant, for buildings and otherwise, so I have outlined some of the building codes and other Vassar-isms in the hopes of helping others where I was lost, both figuratively and literally.
ACDC: It stands for the All Campus Dining Center, but I have never heard it called anything but ‘the Deece.’ This is where those of us on meal plans get our all-you-care-to-eat dining. Sometimes called the Students’ Building, the Deece houses Up-C, the late night smoothie bar, as well as a student center on the second floor.
AFC: This is the Athletics/Fitness center. Here one can find athletes as well as the healthier among us working out in the 5,000 square foot gym, as well as a gymnasium and other fitness related spaces. Many of the physical education classes are held here, as well as In-the-Pink fitness classes, such as yoga, pilates and self defense.
BH: Blodgett Hall is the home of Anthropology, Economics, Psychology, Religion and Sociology Departments. Blodgett is a gorgeous building near the Wimpfeimer Nursery School with an infamously confusing floor plan. Good luck figuring out how and why this building was put together the way that it was.
CH: Chicago Hall is the place to be for most languages on campus. This lasagna roofed building houses the Foreign Language Resource Center, which screens foreign language films, as well as most of the language departments. The various departments each have their own lounge where students can congregate, watch foreign language television and meet with language fellows.
DF: This is the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film, a 19th century brick building. The 330-seat Martel Theater is part of this complex which was renovated in 2003.
EH: The Geography Department, a geography museum as well as some studio art spaces all call Ely Hall their home. In addition to classroom spaces, Ely Hall houses the Aula, a student space often utilized by the ballroom club as well as other organizations for guest speakers and other events.
KH: Kenyon Hall and its improbably difficult to handle doors was named for Helen Kenyon, the first woman on Vassar’s board of trustees, and has dance performance studios, a weight training room and a volleyball gym along with other sporty facilities. The classroom portion of Kenyon houses classes from a variety of departments including History, Cognitive Science.
Mid-C: It’s not a thing. Don’t try to make it a thing.
MC: Mudd Chemistry Building is, as the name suggests, the center for chemical research on campus. While it is scheduled for demolition once the new science center is completed, it remains a distinctive part of the academic quad for the time being. Occasionally, the chemistry department serves liquid nitrogen-made ice cream here.
OB: The Vassar College Observatory is where the more hands-on sort of astronomy happens on our campus. The observatory has two large reflecting telescopes, one 20 inch, and one 32 inch, the latter of which is one of the largest telescopes in the state of New York.
OH: Olmsted Hall is fairly easy to spot, since it is a huge, hulking mass of a building straight from the 1970s that sits just past the academic quad. Olmsted currently houses the biology department and will eventually become a part of the new science center being built.
OLB: Usually only home to computer science students, the Old Laundry Building will also house the various multidisciplinary programs while their usual building, New England, is renovated.
RH: Rockefeller Hall, much more likely to be referred to simply as “Rocky,” is where one can find all the early morning math classes one could possibly want, as well as the philosophy and political science departments.
SC: English majors often find their home in Sanders Classroom, another building on the academic quad. SandIers Classroom also houses the Greek and Roman Studies Department as well as the Chinese and Japanese Department.
SH: Skinner Hall, a neo-Gothic building on the edge of campus, is home to the music department and the music library. In addition to a spacious recital hall, Skinner has a variety of classrooms as well as practice rooms available for student use.
SP: Recently renovated, Sanders Physics is home to both the Astronomy and Physics Departments.
SW: Swift Hall was originally the campus infirmary before being converted into its current use as the home of the history department in 1941.
T: Taylor Hall, which doubles as Main Gate, is where one can find the Art department’s offices and classrooms.
Womp-Womp: Seriously, it’s just a groundhog/woodchuck. I’ve heard it said that if you see an albino womp-womp you’ll have good luck for all of finals week, but I would not put too much stock in old folk tales.