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Campus vocab

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A

AHSUM

An acronym for Applied Health Sciences Undergraduate Members – a student society that organizes activities and provides services for students in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.

Associate

At Conrad Grebel College, you can be a part of the Grebel community whether you still live in the residence or not. Associates don't live in residence but they can participate in all of the great residence events and activities.

ASU

Waterloo's Arts Student Union organizes activities and offers a number of services for students in the Faculty of Arts.

B

The Bombershelter Pub

Also known as the Bomber, this on-campus pub located in the Student Life Centre is a popular spot to hang out. The Bomber features a full kitchen, bar, and patio and is known for its "Legendary Wednesdays" when line-ups start as early as 7:30 p.m.

BUGS

The Biology Undergraduate Society (BUGS) is a student-run club whose main purpose is to foster a positive academic and social environment for Biology students at Waterloo. Student-professor nights, tutoring sessions, and infamous Fudge Fridays are a few of the events they run.

Bursary

A bursary is a sum of money awarded to a student and is similar to a scholarship in that you're not expected to repay it, but it's awarded based primarily on financial need rather than on academic achievement.

C

C&D (Coffee Shop)

A short-form for "coffee & doughnuts," this term is typically used to describe the student-society-run food outlets that sell a variety of food and drinks, often at discounted prices.

CIF

The Columbia Icefield is an athletic facility with an ice rink, gym, racquetball court, and varsity therapy centre.

Campus Rec

You don't have to be a pro athlete to get involved in sports on campus. Waterloo's Warrior Recreation program has a ton of clubs, classes, and recreational and competitive leagues that you can join.

Centre for Career Action

The Centre for Career Action provides career education, motivation, and support to students and alumni via workshops, events, individual appointments, and career resources.

Colleges

Each of Waterloo's 4 University Colleges is a smaller community with its own character and distinctive programs where you can get involved and contribute. You can live in residence or take courses in the University Colleges – or both!

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D

Daily Bulletin

The Daily Bulletin is an online news source for students, faculty, and staff at the University of Waterloo.

Dean’s list

Used to recognize outstanding academic achievement each term, the designation "Dean's Honours List" is awarded to exceptional undergraduate students.

Distance education

Also called online learning – through the Centre for Extended Learning, you can complete credit courses online without attending on-campus classes. The courses are prepared by a Waterloo instructor, and you can study when and where it's most convenient for you.

Dons

Dons are upper-year students who live in residence and are there to help you with your 1st-year transition. You'll find Dons in every one of our residences, and if you're living off campus, be sure to look up our Off-Campus Dons.

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E

Elective

An elective is a course that's not specifically required for your degree but counts toward it. Depending on your program, you can choose your electives either from a specified group of courses or from almost any course offered at Waterloo.

You can use your electives to explore other areas that interest you or to add a minor, option, or specialization to your degree.

ELPE

All Waterloo students are required to complete the English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirement to demonstrate that they have the necessary skills to communicate and learn in the university classroom. 

EngSoc

The Engineering Society organizes activities and provides services for students in the Faculty of Engineering. EngSoc is also responsible for running the Engineering C&D.

Environment Courtyard

A great place to meet, read, or study, the ENV Courtyard is an enclosed area – with plenty of skylights – in the Environment 1 building.

ESS

The Environment Students Society (ESS) organizes activities and provides services for students in the Faculty of Environment. ESS is also responsible for running the ESS C&D.

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F

FEDS

The Federation of Students (FEDS) – Waterloo's student government – provides services, represents the student body, and runs a number of student-oriented businesses.

Food Services

Waterloo's main on-campus food provider. If you live in one of the UW Residences and purchase a meal plan, you'll buy your meals at Food Services locations on campus.

Full-time student

To be considered full-time, you must be taking at least 60% of a full course load. At Waterloo, 5 courses (2.5 units) is considered a full course load; therefore, 3 courses is the minimum required for full-time status.

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G

Graduate studies

Graduate studies are for students who have already completed an undergraduate (Bachelor's) degree. Students at the graduate studies level are typically pursuing a Master's or Doctoral (PhD) degree.

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I

Imprint

The Imprint is the official student newspaper of the University of Waterloo.

Interconnecting room

You'll find interconnecting rooms in Village 1 and Renison. These rooms are separated by a wall so that you and your roommate each have your own sleeping and study space when you need it. Interconnecting rooms in Renison also include a semi-private bathroom.

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L

Lab

A type of class usually held in rooms with special facilities where you’re typically guided by a lab instructor.

Lecture

The most common type of class where you get together with the other students in your course and the instructor talks about the subject at the front of the room.

Living-Learning Community

A community in residence where you'll live with a cluster of students who are enrolled in the same academic program. In a living-learning community, you'll be surrounded by students who are going through the same experiences as you are, and you'll have a chance to enhance in-class learning by participating in academic and social events facilitated by your Peer Leader.

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M

Major

Your major is the main focus of your studies; it will appear on your diploma. Each faculty specifies the requirements for majors, including the number and type of courses.

In some programs, such as Software Engineering, your program is already your “major.” In others, such as Honours Arts, at the end of your first year you select and apply for a major, such as History.

Market-style

Shop for the meal you want at the Bon Appetit Food Fair in the Davis Centre, Brubakers in the Student Life Centre, or at Mudie's in Village 1.

There are several outlets that offer different dishes so you can combine food from each place to suit your tastes.

MathSoc

The Mathematics Society organizes activities and provides services for students in the Faculty of Mathematics.

MathSoc is also responsible for running the Math C&D – the largest student-run C&D on campus.

Meal plans

A meal plan is the term used to describe the arrangement you make to buy food at Waterloo. Each residence has a specific meal plan option, and some are mandatory. There are also meal plans available for students who live off campus.

Minor

A minor is an optional, secondary focus of your studies; it will appear on your diploma. Each faculty specifies the requirements for minors, including the number and type of courses. Generally, fewer courses are required for a minor than for a major.

To fulfil the requirements for a minor, you use your elective courses that are not required for your major. In some programs most of your courses are required, and a minor is not a possibility.

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N

Needles Hall

Needles Hall is the University’s administrative headquarters. Inside are the offices of Waterloo’s top administrators, such as the president.

In addition, you’ll find the offices of the Registrar, Student Awards & Financial AidGraduate StudiesCounselling Services and AccessAbility Services.

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O

Off-Campus Dons

Often shortened to OCDs, these upper-year students, organized by the Feds, arrange events and provide support to first-year students living off campus.

Online learning

Through the Centre for Extended Learning, you can complete credit courses online without attending on-campus classes. The courses are prepared by a Waterloo instructor, and you can study when and where it's most convenient for you.

Option

An option or specialization is a specified combination or grouping of courses which gives you the opportunity to add an additional area of study to your program.

The area of study may be in another academic subject or in a career-oriented area and will appear on your diploma. Generally options and specializations require fewer courses than a minor.

Some are available only within your program while others are available to students in any faculty.

Orientation

Waterloo Orientation is an amazing opportunity to meet people, learn about your faculty, get accustomed to campus, and find out what it means to be a Waterloo Warrior – all while having a blast at events run by upper-year Orientation leaders.

OSAP

The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) provides eligible Ontario residents with various types of assistance based on financial need. You’ll find details on our financing website and on the OSAP website.

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P

PAC

The Physical Activities Complex is home to Athletics and Recreational Services. Waterloo’s male and female varsity teams – the Waterloo Warriors – are based here. You’ll also find Warrior Recreation, which offers more than 100 clubs, leagues, and instructional programs for all Waterloo students.

Part-time student

Your status is part time if you take less than 60% of a full course load – at Waterloo that's 1 or 2 courses.

POETS

A coffee shop by day and pub by night. POETS is an on-campus pub often frequented by Engineering students.

Porcellino

The name of the wild boar in front of the Modern Languages building. This statue of Porcellino is one of a few replicas of the one in Florence, Italy, and he is the mascot of the Faculty of Arts.

Campus legend has it that rubbing Porcellino’s nose will bring good luck. His nose gets very shiny during exam time!

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Q

Quest

Waterloo's online enrollment system, through which you can track the progress of your application, select your classes, view your fee schedule, view your grades, and update your personal information.

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R

Regular system of study

Studying under the regular system means that you’ll be in school from September to April and will have your summers off each year. You might choose the regular system of study if you’d like to finish your degree more quickly, or if you’d like the continuity of studying for the same period every year so you can take a more active part in campus activities.

Residence Council

A student leadership group made up of 80 floor representatives from all 4 first-year residences. The council organizes and supports various events to improve the community atmosphere within residence.

Residence suite

An apartment- or townhouse-style residence where each unit includes a kitchen, bathroom(s), and a living room. Suite-style residences include Mackenzie King Village and UW Place.

ResNet

Internet access through the University of Waterloo campus computer network (ResNet) is available in all residence rooms and is included in your residence fees.

Ring Road

Ring Road is the street that encircles the buildings of the main campus; on the outside of Ring Road, but still part of the south campus are the University Colleges, Health and Safety, Fed Hall, and the residences. You’ll often see joggers “running the Ring Road.”

RO/Registrar's Office

The Registrar's Office, located in Needles Hall, is responsible for student records, starting with applications and offers of admission through class schedules, transcripts, scholarships and bursaries, and ensuring you meet the requirements to graduate!

Rock Garden

The Peter Russell Rock Garden is located between the Biology and Mathematics & Computer buildings on the University campus. It contains more than 25 specimens of Ontario rocks.

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S

Scholarship

A scholarship is a sum of money awarded to a student in recognition of academic achievement; you do not have to repay a scholarship. Most Waterloo entrance scholarships do not require a separate application.

SciSoc

The Science Society organizes activities and provides services for students in the Faculty of Science. SciSoc is also responsible for running the Science C&D.

Seminar

University courses can be comprised of lectures, seminars, and labs.  The seminar portion is a teaching session that is typically less formal and involves a smaller group of students than a lecture.

Shuttle Service

One of many safety resources on campus, the Shuttle Service is available to students who need a ride after dark. It will meet you at designated stops on campus and deliver you to your destination.

SLC

The "living room" of the University, the Student Life Centre is the best place to hang out between classes, read the paper, get the latest about clubs and events, or grab a bite to eat. It’s also the place you’ll find the Turnkey desk as well as the offices of the Federation of Students and the Imprint.

Specialization

An option or specialization is a specified combination or grouping of courses which gives you the opportunity to add an additional area of study to your program. The area of study may be in another academic subject or in a career-oriented area and will appear on your diploma.

Generally, options and specializations require fewer courses than a minor. Some are available only within your program while others are available to students in any faculty. (See Interdisciplinary Programs).

Stream

The term “stream” refers to the sequence of study and work terms in a co-op program. If your first co-op work term begins in January of your first year, you’re in a "stream 4" program; if your first work term begins in May of your first year, or later, you’re in a "stream 8" program.

Student Success Office (SSO)

The Student Success Office helps students excel both in and out of the classroom. With programs like Orientation, the SSO can help you transition from high school to university.

If you’re an international student, SSO advisors can help you adjust to living in Canada. At any point during your university career, you can look to the SSO for help in improving your studying habits, sharpening your writing, developing your leadership skills, or getting advice on your business idea.

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T

TA

A Teaching Assistant (TA) is an upper-year or graduate student who works closely with your professor to help teach your course. A TA may mark essays or tests or teach a tutorial.

Term

At Waterloo, the school year is divided into 3 terms, each lasting 4 months: Fall – September to December, Winter – January to April, and Spring – May to August.

Tuition

Tuition is the money you pay to the University for your classes and administrative costs related to the operation of the University. In addition to tuition, there are smaller amounts, called incidental fees, that you’ll find on your fee statement. Some of these incidental fees are refundable; others are compulsory.

The total amount you pay, also called fees, depends on your program. 

Turnkey Desk

Need an answer? Just ask the friendly staff at the Turnkey Desk located in the Student Life Centre (SLC). They know just about everything there is to know about what's going on around campus and in the community, and they’re open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Tutorial

A type of class where you’ll meet in smaller group sessions and are expected to participate in discussions and ask questions, and for which you might have assignments.

Tutorials are usually associated with other classes for the course, called lectures.

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U

Undergraduate student

An undergraduate student is working toward a Bachelor's degree, which is often called an undergraduate degree – the first level of university you enroll in after completing high school, such as a BA (Bachelor of Arts), BSc (Bachelor of Science), BMath (Bachelor of Mathematics), etc.

An undergraduate degree is usually required before you can continue your studies as a graduate student to work on a Master’s (MA) or Doctoral (PhD) degree.

University Plaza

Located right next door to Waterloo, near the southeast corner of campus, is a shopping plaza full of convenient places to eat, shop, and hang out.

Uptown

Uptown Waterloo is the equivalent of most cities' downtowns; however, since Kitchener-Waterloo is practically one big city, the locals distinguish between the 2 downtown cores by calling one "uptown" (Waterloo) and the other "downtown" (Kitchener).

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V

Varsity team

Varsity athletes represent Waterloo in competitions with other universities. Waterloo has 32 men’s and women’s varsity teams, called the Waterloo Warriors.

Competitive athletic leagues within Waterloo, such as those among residences, are called intramural teams, and are available through Warrior Recreation.

W

Warriors

Refers to the Waterloo Warriors, Waterloo’s athletic teams – and also all Waterloo students.

WatCard

Your WatCard is the most important piece of I.D. you'll have as a student at Waterloo. Bring your fee bill and a valid piece of government-issued photo I.D. to the WatCard Office in order to pick up your card.

You can use your WatCard so that you can participate in Waterloo activities, sign books out of the library, and get great student discounts!