Not (A)Lone Pine: A Guide to Dartmouth Terminology
Two writers revise Katy Perry’s song “Firework” to provide insight regarding the commonly used terms on Dartmouth’s campus that might otherwise befuddle members of the Class of 2027.
This article is featured in the 2023 Freshman special issue.
Due to centuries of tradition and its isolated location, Dartmouth is home to what feels like its own language. Words that are unique to or repurposed by Dartmouth students can be disorienting for new students as they arrive on campus for the first time. By remixing Katy Perry’s 2010 classic hit single, “Firework,” we hope to provide members of the Class of 2027 with a helpful guide to popular Dartmouth lingo. Bear with us as we try our best to match our lyrics to the beat of the song!
Do you ever feel like you’re facetimey
Wanting to make new friends, out in Blobby?
At Dartmouth, one is considered “facetimey” if they seem to know every single person on campus, and others struggle to keep track of all the organizations this person is involved in. You see them everywhere. Literally, everywhere.
Blobby stands for Baker lobby, or the lobby of Baker-Berry Library. As you stroll through this part of the library, you might see groups meeting here to complete projects, people conducting Zoom meetings or students socializing. This part of the library leads to FFB — First-Floor Berry — and the stairs that go to 2FB, 3FB and 4FB. The level of talking is said to have an inverse relationship with the increase in library level, so be absolutely silent on 4FB, or an upperclassman might shush you. We’ve all been there. Baker-Berry also contains the Stacks, an absolutely silent location — the temperature here tends to be low, which provides extra motivation to manage your time wisely. Sanborn Library and Rauner Special Collections Library are also treasured library spots, boasting magical atmospheres that make you feel like a true college student.
You don’t have to count … your swipes
You’ll have enough
Just keep your eye
On your D … B … A
Because baby you’re on unlimited
Go to light side, then dark at night
Tell your friends @, @now
You’ll share mini tacos, a delight!
Meal swipes are one way to pay for your meals on campus. All first-year students are enrolled on the Ivy unlimited plan, but after your first year, you have freedom to choose the plan that best suits your needs. DBA refers to the dining dollars allotted to you each term to use at various locations, such as Foco (officially known as the Class of 1953 Commons), Novack Cafe, Collis Cafe, Courtyard Cafe — located in the Hopkins Center for the Arts, or the HOP — and less-frequented locations like The Fern in the Irving Institute or Ramekin in Anonymous Hall. Foco is characterized by two seating areas –– light and dark side –– but during late night, open from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. every night, you can munch on your delectable food at the tables located in the latter. To signal you’re ready to do something right away, you say or text “@now.”
Does the frat ban ever bum you out,
Dreaming about tails or doing Ledyard, bonding out and about?
For the first few weeks of fall term, first-year students are not allowed into Greek organizations under the frat ban, unless the organization is dry and open to campus on a particular night. The frat ban can provide a way for first year students to build community among their class in addition to serving as a risk management mechanism. You also cannot rush a Greek house until your sophomore fall, allowing you to experience Dartmouth without Greek systems potentially affecting friendships or other involvements during your first year. We believe it isn’t worthwhile to break the frat ban — sweaty frat basements will be waiting for you after it’s over.
Once you are allowed into Greek spaces, these houses host “tails,” short for cocktails. These are invite-only gatherings, often with a theme, that occur in the hours before houses become “open to campus.” “Supers” are just tails with several houses invited rather than only one or two.
The Ledyard Challenge is a Dartmouth tradition in which students don their birthday suits and swim across the Connecticut River before making a mad dash back to campus — and their clothes. The rumor says that stripping is only illegal in Vermont and streaking is only illegal in New Hampshire, so the Ledyard Challenge slyly sidesteps the law on both sides of the river — although don’t come to us for legal advice if Safety and Security catches you partaking in the challenge.
‘Cause baby, you’re a lone pine!
Don’t let anyone take your ones or dim your shine.
The lone pine is an iconic Dartmouth symbol and an apt one for the College’s location near the woods: There are so many opportunities to be involved with nature during your time in the Upper Valley, such as taking Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC) trips or just a simple walk around Occom Pond (known as a Woccom).
Pong, Dartmouth’s take on the drinking game known elsewhere as beer pong or Beirut, is the central fixture of the basements of many Greek organizations on campus. A chimera of traditional ping pong and beer pong, many members of the student body are eager to show off their skills each weekend, and will wait in lines to play. When you’re up next to play on a table, you have the coveted ones, or first dibs to play. First-years, beware: You may be in danger of being tree-ed in some of your first games of pong — a devastating loss in which you are unable to sink any of your opponents’ cups. If you find yourself looking for someone to join you in pong or any other activity, perhaps in a game of spikeball or at the docks in a canoe, you can say you need one — add @now if applicable!
You just gotta spice up your blitz
And send the flitz
Just ask for ones
And you’ve already won
Blitz is the name of Dartmouth’s former email server, and some still refer to emails as blitzes. If there is someone special in your life, you might blitz them using flirty rhymes, gifs and colorful fonts — this type of email becomes known as a flitz, or a flirty blitz. A flitz is a cute way to ask someone on a date.
Do you ever wish you were sunriking
Instead of sitting in your drill for German 3?
A sunrike is a hike that occurs as — you guessed it — the sun rises. Popular among both DOC and non-DOC folks alike, Gile Mountain is the go-to location to catch a sunrise with your friends before classes. If you aren’t lucky enough to be at the top of a mountain when the sun rises, you might find yourself at drill instead — here, another student acts as a drill instructor to practice fast-paced language skills, and they often start at 7:45 a.m. — before most students have woken up for the day.
‘Cause baby, you’re a lone pine!
Don’t be afraid to learn and try.
Best of luck with your first year at Dartmouth!
You’ve probably heard this enough times, but we’ll say it again: There is so much to do at Dartmouth, and there will always be new things to try. This is simply a guide to some of Dartmouth’s lingo to help you navigate the quirks and traditions that make Dartmouth so special. Though the lingo may be confusing at times, we hope this guide helps make you feel a little bit more at home at this truly special College on the Hill.