Word Graphic of UAlbany Terms

parkingDay One:

You call ahead to find out where to park. “Not in the circle; students park in Gold Parking,” says a voice on the other end. Super. Too bad you have no idea where either are. When you arrive, you find an empty spot close to campus because you have arrived early. What a relief. You look over your schedule one last time; it’s a strange LC number, but no buildings say ‘LC’ on the outside. A student, who looks a little more experienced than you, tells you to take the tunnels to the L Sees, or  you can ask the students at The Podium. There is no sign for either anywhere and the UAlbany map looks more like a small city rather than a school. Everyone tells you that you will get used to it after day one, but then day one comes to a close and you find a warning on your car about your parking. Apparently that wasn’t Gold Parking.  

Parlez-vous UAlbanese?

Sometimes we take for granted that we are speaking UAlbanese, using institutional lingo that gets lost in translation. Here are  some explanations of just a few terms to help ease your transition into UAlbany: 

Intended and Declared Majors 

When students are accepted into UAlbany, they may not be accepted into their majors unless they meet all of the respective requirements. At this point, they have an “intended” major. Once the requirements are met, they can be declared into their major. Most students with intended majors are advised by the Advisement Services Center. Students who have declared majors are advised by their respective departments.   

L Sees (LCs)

Lecture Centers

The Lecture Centers that surround the main fountain are usually referred to as the “LCs.” There are also some offices in the LCs; they are all numbered. You will often here someone speak of a class in “LC-18” or “LC-12.” Here’s a hint: anywhere you see a stairs going down—in front of library, in middle of campus, in front of the Performing Arts Center—take them. You will arrive at the doors of the LCs. 

Whatever you do, watch out for the smallest staircase at UAlbany!


DARS refers to your degree audit which outlines everything that you need to take in order to graduate from the University. If your major, major concentration or minor is missing from your audit or you are an intended-Business major, your degree audit may not outline everything that you need. If you are undecided about the major you want, it may be useful to have your advisor add some potential majors to your degree audit so that you may see what would be required if you selected them. 

You should know your degree audit better than anyone on campus, including your advisor, so if you have no idea what it is, go an ask your advisor to show you ASAP! If you are an incoming Transfer Student we will show you when we meet with you, in-person.

The Podium

You will learn that the podium is not a building or the name of a cool UAlbany hill. It is, essentially, the main academic area of the main campus. When you are on the Podium, you are on a rectangular, concrete structure that houses many of our academic buildings. You are able to look down on the main fountain. On a spring day, you can venture down to the courtyard near the science buildings to study by the cherry blossoms. In the summer, you can sit on the steps facing the circle (see the next term) and watch kids play in the main entrance mini geysers. There used to be a term, “podiate,” which simply meant hanging out on the podium. May you make many happy memories podiating at UAlbany. 

 circle.jpgThe Circle 

The Circle of life? A Healing Circle? What is the Circle? The Circle refers to Collins Circle, the main entrance into UAlbany. It is a humongous traffic circle. It faces the Podium. There is a large circle of grass where you can find the ultimate Frisbee teams when it is warm and students playing in the snow in the winter. The Circle is one big circle. 

The PAC 

The Performing Arts Center is also known as the PAC. Local, student, and international artists perform throughout the year. Many of the performances are free or discounted for students.   

The Tunnels 

When the temperature is -4 degrees Fahrenheit and you realize that you like the snow less than you thought, then you will fall in love with the tunnels. Explore the tunnels when you have time. There are maps down in the tunnels, but you don’t truly learn the tunnels until you practice a few times. The tunnels allow underground access to buildings on the Podium, University Hall and the Business Buildings. Speaking of snow, click here to check out what UAlbany Alumni had to say about their winters here.  


Where is it? Is it scary? What happens in Downtown Albany? Downtown is the heart of the Capital Region. You can explore the Capitol buildings, go to the museum, eat incredible food, and yes, get lost. Downtown can be scary if you do not know your way around, but there are many off-campus and Downtown campuses resources who are willing to help you navigate. There is also a bus that leaves the main circle in the front of the school—Collins Circle—to take students Downtown. Once you explore Downtown—in the daytime—you will become more comfortable with the area and its residents. 


Your academic advisor gives you your Advisement Verification Number (AVN) after meeting with you to discuss your plans for the upcoming semester. Without it, you cannot schedule your courses or alter your schedule. 


The SEFCU Arena is where all the UAlbany games go down, and it is where you can find the campus rec center. The SEFCU Arena is located behind the main campus. You have to walk or drive to the arena to get there. Fortunately, the campus has a walking, biking and jogging path the encircles the campus, as well as a road that does the same. You can get to every building surrounding the main campus via the path or the road. 

SEFCU is also a major credit union in the Capital Region (What we call Albany and its surrounding communities). There is a full-service branch located on the lower level of the Campus Center.


DSC_0014.JPGIs it a building? Yes! Is it the name of two buildings? Kinda – Yes! 

This Business Building (Massry Center for Business) is not to be confused, but will repeatedly be confused, with the Business Administration Building. The Business Administration Building is on the Podium, whereas the Business Building is in front of the Business Administration Building (not on the Podium). It is a new edifice and houses the School of Business which leads us to the next few explanations. 

Is it a major? Yes! 

Business is a restricted major with several concentrations including, Entrepreneurship, the Financial Analyst Honors program, Information Technology Management (ITM), Management (only when combining this concentration with another one on this list), and Marketing. 

 Is it a school at UAlbany that offers other majors? Yes! 

The School of Business offers several graduate and undergraduate programs. Since this is an ASC Chat Lounge post, we will focus on the undergraduate offerings: Business (see above), Accounting, and Digital Forensics. 

Is it a minor?  Yes! 

Our minor in Business, unlike the major, is not restricted. You cannot, however, take business-related course you want to fulfill the minor. There are three core business courses that everyone must take (with few exceptions) and then students may choose three out of six, upper-level business courses to fulfill the minor. You cannot, for example, take 6 marketing courses to fulfill the minor. For more information, click here:



carss.jpgIf you are taking Chemistry, Physics or upper-level Biology courses, you may hear the word “cars” thrown about over and over again. What your advisor, instructor, friends, and teaching assistance are referring to is actually “CARSS”, an academic support program. Let us let them speak for themselves, shall we? 

The Center for Achievement Retention and Student Success (CARSS) is a support service that was created to provide free academic assistance to intended or declared science majors. Many very smart students are able to increase their grades by receiving highly tailored and structured assistance in challenging biology, chemistry and physics courses from peers who have already taken and performed well in those courses.  

Click here for more information about CARSS: http://www.albany.edu/carss/  



blackboard words.jpg

black·board       blakbôrd/
noun: blackboard; plural noun: blackboards 
a large board with a smooth, typically dark, surface attached to a wall or supported on an easel and used for writing on with chalk, especially by teachers in schools. 

Blackboard is an electronic service or portal that allows instructors and students to communicate. It is possible to have discussion groups, online quizzes and exams, and much more using this tool. Depending on how an instructor sets up Blackboard for your class, it may be easy to use or really cryptic. When in doubt, ask someone (your professor, teaching assistant, a librarian, your advisor) how to navigate the site. Although many instructors use Blackboard, there are many who do not.  

8 Week 1/8 Week 2 

8 Week 1 and 2 refer to our quarter-term courses. 

My Involvement 

If you want to join a club or see what is out there, visit My Involvement. At least that is what everyone you talk to will tell you. What they leave out is what the heck that even means. Is it an office? Is it a website? My Involvement is the main portal for student groups on campus, events and volunteer opportunities. You can find the MyInvolvement link on  the UAlbany website. To make it easier, simply type it into the search engine. When you click on the link, you can register for a My Involvement page. This is where you can find groups that are approved by SA (see below for a translation of “SA”). 

Esss Say (SA) 

Speaking of SA. No, it is not a slang term for your friend. SA is the Student Association. SA is the group on campus that fosters student involvement and outreach. Recognized groups on campus go through a process with SA for approval. From paintball and intramural soccer to volunteering and Alzheimer’s awareness, there are many opportunities for students to get involved and spend time with others who have similar passions. 

Social Science Bus 

There are two bus stops on campus: one in the main circle (Collins Circle) and on near the Social Science building. To find the Social Science bus, locate the Social Science building. Directly behind it is where you will find the bus stop. Many shuttles and buses leave from this area, depending on where you need to go. If you need to go to the Counseling Center or the Health Center, these shuttles will get you there.  


Our mascot is a great dane, so of course, PAWS means library research assistance. That was not what came to mind? It stands for Personalized Assistance with Searching.  When Jamie mentioned this one, I was stumped. Although I am a UAlbany 1997 alumna, I had only a vague memory of the term PAWS. I had to look it up. When you need help finding sources for your research, help is available. If you type “PAWS” in the www.albany.edu search box, the PAWS appointment request screen will be your first link. 

 The 518 

On your first day, you will see students and staff walking around with snacks and Green Mountain coffee cups. Where did they find these goodies? The 518 market on the lower level of the Campus Center.  


If you are living on campus, you may or may not live on a quad. When the uptown campus was built, there were 4 dormitory spaces: State Quad, Indian Quad, Dutch Quad and Colonial Quad.

Five Quad

ambulance-148747_960_720Taken from the Five Quad website: Five Quad is a New York State certified ambulance agency that is run and operated by  University at Albany students. Five Quad is successfully able to provide Basic Life Support 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the fall and spring semesters. Each semester, Five Quad has between 50-90 active members (including actively participating alumni), 20-30 members-in-training, and two functional ambulances. Our active membership is composed of CPR certified attendants, New York State Emergency Medical Technicians, Drivers, and Crew Chiefs. Find out more about UAlbany’s Five Quad Service here:  http://www.albany.edu/~fivequad

This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a start. If you think that a term should be added to this list, feel free to add the term and an explanation in the comments. Future students will thank you!

Revised from the August 29, 2016 Original Post
  • Jamie Frankenfield: UAlbany Student, Former Transfer Transition Leader, Non-Traditional Student Advocate and blogger
  • Rachel Moody: Director of International Academic International Partnerships and International Academic Advising, Former Assistant Director of the Academic Support Center

Established in March 2015, Project MyStory is a community building effort to help students better acclimate to UAlbany and to work more effectively toward their goals. We began in UAlbany’s Academic Support Center (ASC), where you will see many of the posters featured above. We are now co-housed in ASC and in the Center for International Education and Global Strategy (CIEGS).

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