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For any University of Virginia student or anyone else familiar with the university, you’ve probably encountered at least a few names or words that didn’t make sense when talking about the school. At the University of Virginia, we have some phrases or words for things that no or few other universities use, and it can seem daunting and confusing at first. Once you get familiar with it, however, it really isn’t that bad. Plus, you’ll feel more like a real wahoo when you start using the right lingo!

1. Grounds, not campus

At most universities, the area that the university is on is called campus. For anyone that knows someone that doesn’t go to UVA, this is obvious. At UVA, students alumni and faculty all call it grounds instead of campus. This is simply something that was started when the school was founded and has carried on as a tradition in order to distinguish us from other universities.

2. 1st-4th years, not freshmen-seniors

The story behind this goes all the way and directly back to Thomas Jefferson’s philosophy about learning. He believed that learning never stopped. It didn’t stop when you graduated high school, it won’t stop when you graduate college. It’s also about his goal to empower his students to be life-long learners and continue to undertake endeavors that will help them continue to learn even long after they have left the university.

3. Croads, not crossroads

The Crossroads is a store in the first floor of the O-hill dining hall near new dorms. It is home to a burger and quesadilla store as well as burritos, snacks, toiletries, and any other essentials that university students might need. We call it Croads as sort of a joke that has simply been carried from year to year. It is an abbreviation of the actual name, and people mainly say it because their upper-class friends say it, and thus the tradition continues.

4. TJ, not Thomas Jefferson

This nickname is out of affection and admiration towards the university’s founder. He is generally well-regarded across grounds, and comes up a lot in conversation, so people call him by his initials to simplify conversation.

5. Clem 2, not the 2nd floor of Clemson Library

The Clemson library is one of the many libraries on grounds, and one that many students find themselves preferring to study in. It lies next to Alderman library and behind the special collections library and is 4 stories tall. There is a special name for the second floor of Clemson Library because it is so popular among students. The atmosphere is fun and lively, with many areas to either study in seclusion or in groups, offering opportunities for students of all kinds to study the way they want.

6. Wahoos, not cavaliers

This one is especially weird, because UVA students don’t consider themselves cavaliers as much as they do Wahoos (or Hoos for short) even though the cavaliers are our official mascot. It is so prevalent that the nickname is present in the Good ‘ol Song which is sung at special events and whenever a sports team scores, but nowhere is cavalier mentioned. It stems from a rivalry dating back to the 1890s during which there was an intense baseball rivalry between UVA and Washington & Lee University. The W & L fans would call UVA fans wahoos, and the name stuck.

7. The Pav, not Pavilion XI

This one is merely another simplification of a commonly-used place on grounds. Pavilion XI (11) is home to fast-food restaurants like Chick-Fil-A, Subway, and Five Guys. Because of these attractions, many students go here to study and eat with friends. It is so popular that people simply call it The Pav instead of its full name.

8. The Lawn/Academical Village, not the Quad

Thomas Jefferson is also the root of this interesting naming scheme. This area is called the Academical Village because it houses both professors and students. This was key to Thomas Jefferson’s way of making of a university. He believed that the professors and students should live together and as equals in order to better foster a learning environment. The lawn is the grassy area that divides the two halves of the academical village.

The more time you spend at UVA the more you will realize that it is unlike any other university in the country. Our way of advertising that to the world is by using this fancy lingo, and once you learn to use it, you’ll feel more like a true Wahoo.


Austin Jennings

Hi y'all, I'm a first-year at the University of Virginia majoring in physics. As you can tell from my profile picture, I am also a passionate unicyclist and love to make people smile. I try and incorporate some humor into all of my posts because I believe that theres almost no situation that some light-hearted jokes can't fix. I'm also a swimmer and YUGE Apple and Tesla fan!

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