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FALL, 2006
Volume 50,
Number 1


Making the grade

Digging history


The University of Iowa

Say what? Translating your student's UI-speak.Although The University of Iowa offers instruction in several foreign languages, many first-year students quickly become fluent in lingo not taught for college credit.

To both effectively communicate and blend in with the general populace, students quickly pick up the UI vernacular. As a result, parents of first-year students who ask their son or daughter “What’s new?” might hear a response similar to this:

“Well, I hit the IMU to buy Bijou tix, then I ran to the library to access ISIS, but I blanked on my new Hawk ID password. Then one of my friends called, wanting to hang out, so I hauled it to the Pentacrest. Oh yeah, then I was supposed to hook up with another friend across campus so I caught Cambus, which rolled up to UIHC in mere minutes. And then, after a lecture at Pappajohn, I returned to Quad, and my roommate’s not feeling well—off to Student Death in the morning, I hope.”

Uh, yeah.

But fear not, Iowa parents. Parent Times is giving you the information needed to translate several common terms used by UI students—well, at the very least, terms that have UI ties. This way, you won’t respond to Bijou with “gesundheit,” and you’ll know it’s OK for your student to consult the “Herdbook” when calling a potential date.


The University’s mascot, born from the creative pen of late UI journalism professor and Iowa alum Dick Spencer, has patrolled the sidelines at Herky at a football gameHawkeye sporting events for more than half a century. Herky not only inspires fans to cheer on the Hawks, but he also has been the muse for Herky on Parade, a public art program in 2004 that  displayed creatively attired statues of Herky around Iowa City. Proceeds from an  auction of the Herky statues helped support the renovation of Kinnick Stadium.


Kinnick Stadium during a football game

Shorthand for Kinnick Stadium (named for Heisman Trophy winner and UI standout Nile Kinnick), Kinnick is where 70,000-plus football fans come together to cheer on the Hawkeyes on many an autumn Saturday. Kinnick’s a hot ticket—all seven home games on the 2006 schedule are sold-out.


Aerial view of the Pentacrest

The Pentacrest, the centerpiece of Iowa’s main campus, includes Old Capitol and the four  buildings that surround it: Jessup Hall, Macbride Hall, Schaeffer Hall, and MacLean Hall.  Jessup Hall houses the Office of the President as well as the registrar’s and cashier’s offices.


Daily IowanShort for The Daily Iowan, the DI is the University’s award-winning, student-run newspaper, which is distributed free to students in  residence halls, Greek housing, and apartments within carrier zones. The news also can be found online at


Cambus on the streetThe black and yellow buses that cruise campus are operated by Cambus, the student-run transit system. Anyone can ride, and you don’t need fare to hop on (student fees pay the operating costs). Your student may use terms such as “Blue” or “Red”—these are names of Cambus routes.

Old Cap

Old Capitol domeOld Capitol was Iowa’s capitol until state government moved to Des Moines in 1857. Since then, Old Capitol has been a University fixture. A disastrous fire in 2001 destroyed the building’s dome, cupola, and bell; renovations concluded with  a grand reopening ceremony in May 2006. For a virtual tour of the building, see


Students lounging in the River RoomThese terms all refer to the Iowa Memorial Union, the University  building that features meeting rooms, event spaces and ballrooms, University Book Store, a number of dining options, a hotel (the Iowa House), and many areas for studying or socializing. Recent renovation has created new space for student offices and studying while upgrading many existing facilities.  To learn more about the renovation,  visit

People playing chess on the outdoor chessboard downtownPed Mall

Downtown Iowa City is home to a pedestrian mall, flush with various dining, shopping, and entertainment choices as well as a spot to play chess. Free music concerts are popular in the summer.



Other terms frequently heard on campus

Bijou–If you want independent, art house, foreign, or classic cinema, look no further than the Bijou Theater, located in the Iowa Memorial Union. For 30-some years, students have run the cinematic operation, and the theater shows nearly 100 films each year.

Carver–Although this is also the namesake of the College of Medicine, most students dropping Carver in casual conversation are talking about Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the 15,500-seat venue for sporting events and music concerts.

Dance Marathon–This student organization lends support to young or pediatric  cancer patients and their families through events such as a 24-hour dance—one of the nation’s largest student-run philanthropic events.

Field House–The Field House is a campus fitness facility with a 50-yard swimming pool, courts for various sporting activities, and a fitness loft with cardio and weightlifting equipment. Not to be confused with the legendary sports bar on the Ped Mall.

Greeks–Members of fraternities and sororities compose the Greek community. UI Greeks take part in numerous community service and social events each year.

Hancher–At the home for performing arts events at the University, students will have the chance to see Rent, Dianne Reeves, and the Aquila Theatre Company, to name a few, during the 2006-07 academic year.

Hawk ID–This unique identification given to each UI student is used to access most online services at the University.

Herdbook–UI student/faculty/staff  directory. Moo.

ISIS–The acronym for Iowa Student Information Services, ISIS allows students to register for classes, check their grades, and access their University bill, among other services.

Pappajohn–Common reference to Pappajohn Business Building.

RA–Short for resident assistant, a student staff member who lives in the residence halls and helps students acclimate to their new home and the University in general.

Student Health–Although sometimes referred to by students as “Student Death,” this campus clinic employs a staff of 11 physicians to provide students with primary medical care for any type of consultation, examination, or treatment. Services also address fitness, nutrition, sexual health, stress management, and substance abuse.

TA–Short for teaching assistant, graduate students who teach courses at the University.

10K–Short for 10,000 Hours Show, a  volunteer effort that rewards participants who work 10 hours for community organizations with admission to a special concert.

UIHC–University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, one of the largest teaching hospitals in the nation.

by Christopher Clair


Published by University Relations Publications. Copyright The University of Iowa 2004. All rights reserved.

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