Talk Like a Wildcat

Northwestern Slang

Know the slang, know the school. The following is a list of things you really need to know before coming to Northwestern. The more of these words you know, the better off you’ll be.

Blackboard – Blackboard is where professors post up information about classes, including syllabi, powerpoints shown in class, homework assignments, grades, and other announcements. Blackboard is an essential part of your student life, check it daily and make sure you know what is going on in your classes!

CAESAR Computer system that you register for classes on. Also allows you to keep track of your transcript and monitor financial aid.

CCI – The best place on campus. CCI stands for Ayers College of Commerce and Industry.

CTECs – Course and Teacher Evaluations. Read up on student ratings of professors before you commit to taking a class with them. After every quarter, you will be required to submit CTEC evaluations of the classes you took. It’s a great way to get insider information on classes.

Lakefill Area of campus bordering Lake Michigan that has bike paths, a fire pit, and fields.

North Campus Generally considered north of Foster-Walker Complex, housing mostly the fraternity quads and science students. The largest building on campus, Tech, is located up North.

Plex Foster-Walker Complex, a large dorm that features mostly single rooms. Plex is one of the more desired dorms to live in.

Points – Units on your meal plan that allow you to buy foodstuffs at Norris University Center, Tech Express, Lisa’s Café, and University Café. Every point is equivalent to a dollar. Each meal plan comes with at least 30 points.

Primal Scream – On the Sunday night before Finals starts at 9 PM, all NU students open their windows or go outside and scream out all the frustrations accumulated from studying.

Reading Week – Possibly the best invention known to mankind. Students of WCAS (Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences) get 1 week off before finals to study. This means that no classes are allowed, only review sessions. For the most part, the first 3 days of reading week are spent procrastinating, sleeping, and playing video games… but the last couple days are a great chance for hardcore studying and cramming for finals!

The Rock – Touchstone of campus that students paint to advertise or philosophize. Before painting the rock, students must guard it for at least 24 hours, and then paint it overnight. The rock is painted on an almost-daily basis.

South Campus – South of Foster-Walker Complex; home to the sorority quads and more theater, music, and journalism students. South Campus is very close to downtown Evanston, and also contains the main library and Norris University Center.

SPAC Sports Pavilion and Aquatic Center, the largest workout facility on campus. It is right next to CCI!!

Tech Refers to the Technological Institute, the largest building on campus that every student will have at least 1 class in while they are at Northwestern. Many large lecture halls, all science labs, and various other events occur in Tech. Tech is about a 3 minute walk from CCI.


Fishbowl – The large room right off of the CCI Main Lounge that has glass for walls, making the room similar to a fishbowl because you can see whatever is happening inside. Every night many students study in the fishbowl Thursday night.

Resboard – Resboard is a dorm-wide meeting every Sunday night at 7:30 PM in the CCI Main Lounge where the exec board updates members on dorm and campus-wide events. Speakers sometimes come to give updates about specific campus activities as well. You earn 2 points for attending resboard, and it’s vital to being active in CCI dorm life because this is where it all happens! Resboard is always followed by munchies.

Munchies – Munchies are snacks that are offered after Resboard in the Fishbowl. First come first serve, so come to resboard in order to get munchies afterwards. 2-3 CCI residents volunteer to purchase munchies every week and are reimbursed by the CCI Treasurer. In other words, you get $130 of free amazing snacks to help in your Sunday night studying!

Exec Board – The executive board of CCI is an 11-person team that is voted on late Winter Quarter, and they serve CCI from Spring Quarter to Winter Quarter. The exec board positions include President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Internal Affairs Chair, Social Chair, Philanthropy Chair, Academic Affairs Chair, Technology Chair, University Relations Chair, and Corporate Affairs Chair.

listserv – A listserv is basically an email list. All student groups have listservs, Northwestern has multiple listservs, and CCI residents have their own listserv. To manage the various emails your Northwestern account is bombarded with, I recommended using gmail labels for each listserv (Ex: NU Groups, CCI, Math Class, CSA Club, etc)

Fireside – Firesides are casual events hosted by Residential Colleges that are meant to teach residents something interesting. In the past CCI has hosted informal firesides like a Salsa Fireside, Origami Card Making Fireside, Soulja Boy Dance Fireside, and also more formal firesides with speakers like NU professors and professional business men and women.

Newsletter – The CCI Secretary sends out biweekly newsletters to every CCI Resident. These newsletters convey important information about dorm wide and campus wide activities. Residents can also send events from student groups they are involved in to the secretary, who will include them in the newsletter.