Skip to main content

Your ABC Guide To Vandy

Posted by on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 in Academics, Admissions, Books, Commons, Dining, Food, Freshman Life, Nashville, Student Life, VUcept.

‘Tis the season of college applications! If you’re reading Inside ‘Dores, there’s a 95.27% chance that you have applied or are considering applying to Vanderbilt. Many high school seniors ask me about my time at Vanderbilt, and while I try my best to give them a feel of what it means to be a Commodore, it’s hard not to rely on Vandy lingo that you can only pick up if you’ve been on campus for a few months. If you’re curious about Commodore colloquialism or terms that every Vandy student uses nearly everyday, here’s a special post for all you Inside ‘Dores’ readers!

A| AXLE. This is the acronym for Achieving Excellence in Liberal Arts Education, the core requirements for Arts and Science students. AXLE has many liberal arts requirements, and while you may find certain students complaining about it (why do english majors need to take biology lab?), most students find AXLE a great way to explore the different classes Vandy has to offer. Also, AXLE requirements aren’t that bad. In fact, I’ll be done with them much before junior year.

B| Barnes and Noble. Our official bookstore, Barnes and Noble is the best (and sometimes the most expensive) place to get textbooks. They also sell loads of Vandy gear, so if your family needs to buy a quintessential Vandy shirt, this is where you should take them.

C| Commodore Card. This ID card will be your most prized (and misplaced) possession. You need it for access to buildings, use your meal plans, and miscellaneous things like laundry, printing etc. Don’t lose it as most people do, and get one of those card pockets you can attach at the back of your phones by visiting the Commodore Card office. However, are you really a Vandy student if you haven’t lost your Commodore Card at least once? Nope.

D| Dining. Vandy has so many dining options, from Commons to the Pub at Overcup Oak, so you’ll never be bored of our food. There’s something for everyone, and if you have special needs, Campus Dining can take care of that too. I recommend downloading the Vandy Dining App to check out menus, hours of operations etc.

E| Estrogym. If you’re a first year, I hope you make this gym located on Commons one of your most visited campus locations. The Freshman 15 is real. Not quite sure why it’s called Estrogym. I see many guys there too!

F| Fall. Vanderbilt in the Fall is one of the most beautiful sights on earth. Expect to see a surge in Instagram activity, and Pumpkin Spice Latte consumption.

Credit: Vanderbilt Flickr.

G| Grins. This is the kosher vegetarian place on main campus. Grins has some of the freshest and tastiest food at Vandy, and even if you’re not vegan or vegetarian, I encourage you to try its nutella panini and caprese salad; you will become a fan for life. As a vegetarian, I eat here nearly everyday. The lines are long, but if you avoid the peak rush hour, it’s not that bad.

H| Hustler. Our official student newspaper, the Hustler has many interesting articles about campus life. To be honest, I usually read it just for its (controversial) Opinion column.

I| Ingram Commons. Well, I had already used up C, so I decided to use the official name of Commons, named after Martha Ingram, one of Vandy’s top benefactors. Commons is the living-learning community for first-years, and with 10 houses competing for the Commons Cup, it really feels like Hogwarts. Also, my favorite place on campus, and I’m still sad about moving out of it. It seriously is very pretty.

Credit: Vanderbilt Flickr.

J| Juggling. Vandy takes its academics very seriously, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have other passions. Every student you meet is involved in at least two clubs, and we also like to have fun and unwind. Vandy’s unofficial motto is work hard, play hard, and while this may call for juggling many things at once, the culture at Vanderbilt helps you get good at multitasking in an efficient and productive way. After all, life is all about balance.

K| Kissam. Tour guides will tell you every dorm on campus is great, but as an Inside ‘Dores blogger, I can be frank with you. Not all dorms are created equal, and Kissam (College Halls) stands at the very top. This $150 million living-learning community is by far the best and swankiest dorm on campus. It also has its own dining hall which serves a new international cuisine every week. If you get into Kissam through the random housing lottery, you’re set for life.

L| Lonnie’s. This is not a part of campus, but Lonnie’s is a favorite place to ‘go-out’ for many first-years (and occasional upperclassmen) who are keen to explore Nashville’s night life. It’s a karaoke bar, so be prepared for awkward and funny renditions of your favorite songs.

M| Munchie Mart. If you’re a Vandy student, you will go to the Munchie Mart at least once a day. Located at many different places on campus, this is where they sell frozen food, fruits, junk food, and other supplies such as laundry and toiletries. Some Munchie Marts are better than others. In my opinion, Branscomb, the sophomore residential hall, and Commons probably have the best Munchie Marts.

N| Neely Auditorium. This is the place where Vanderbilt University Theater (VUT), stages all their plays. It is a center for arts and creativity, and if you’re an undergrad, the tickets are free! I try to go to Neely as frequently as possible. Before coming to Vandy, I hadn’t really seen many live theatrical performances before, but after seeing so many passionate students act, many of whom are my classmates, Neely has become one of my favorite places to go to during weekends.

O| Overheard at Vanderbilt. This is the Facebook group to post all the funny (and occasionally not-so-funny) things you overhear or see on campus. Lots of inside jokes on this page which I didn’t get until after coming to campus.

P| Pub at Overcup Oak. One of our most popular dining locations, the Pub is also the only dining hall that serves alcohol to those 21 and above. Styled like a typical English pub, The Pub is renowned for its delicious (and fattening) food. It also has its own Yelp page.

Q| Quake. Commodore Quake, organized by the Music Group, is our fall semester music festival. Last year, we had Iggy Azalea, and this year we had performers like The Band Perry. With so many musicians to choose from, the choice of artists is a hotly debated issue on campus. Rites of Spring is the spring semester equivalent.

Iggy in her element during Quake 2014. Credit: Bosley Jarrett.

R| Rand. This is the main dining hall of main campus, and also the busiest place at Vanderbilt during lunch hour (12-1pm). The food is delicious, and Rand cookies (freshly baked and all that jazz), are to die for. But for someone who hates crowded places, I avoid Rand like the plague during lunch hour. You can always use the Grab and Go option though.

S| Stevenson. A building where nearly all STEM classes are held, Stevenson is actually split up into many parts (math, chem, physics etc). If you’re a Vandy student, chances are that you will have at least one class/exam here before you graduate. It’s built like a maze, and getting lost in Stevenson is one of our rites of passage.

T| Tailgates. Vandy is a part of the SEC, so we take our football very seriously. Whenever we have a home football game, you will find tailgates at every part of campus, with Greek life tailgates being some of the most popular. As an international student, I find this part of American culture very intriguing, and a lot of fun!

U| Undecided. The most popular major for first-year students. Don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to major in, because you have nearly four semesters to choose one if you’re in Arts and Science. That’s why I like AXLE so much. It can really help you discover new passions, and find a new perspective on your old ones. There’s no rush to solidify your academic plans.

V| Visions. I’m a VUceptor, so I HAD to put this on the list. Visions is a semester long weekly program that helps first-years use their upperclassmen and faculty mentors to help navigate Vanderbilt, and get acquainted with various resources. But for this new class of students, do you really need Visions if you’re the class of 2020? Please tell me you got the joke.

W| Wall. This is the area right outside Rand, where you see many student organizations sitting at tables, advertising for fund raisers and other events. I will not lie, but sometimes when I’m in a rush and don’t want sign up for events, I cut through Rand. However, I too have been guilty of accosting innocent students, inundating them with fliers and encouraging them to sign up for events :P

X| Xmas. Ok, this was a stretch (and not even Vandy lingo), but Vandy does a great job of decorating huge Christmas trees, and getting the Christmas spirit in the air weeks before Christmas. Commons dining has the cutest Christmas decorated cupcakes on Earth. You can even hear Christmas music on Greek Row!

Y| YES. This is the acronym for Your Enrollment Services, a website we use to register for our classes. I did a whole post on it!

Z| Zeppos. Our beloved chancellor, Nick Zeppos is one of Vandy’s icons. We should respectfully call him Chancellor Zeppos, but Zeppos seems to have stuck now. An inside joke? Due to the abundance of white tents on campus during Move-In, Homecoming, and Commencement, we say that the chancellor loves white tents, much like Jedis love their lightsabers. In fact, Vanderbilt’s Facebook page made a tent joke on Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you).

Credit: Vanderbilt’s FB page

Vandy is a pretty special place, and with ED 2 and RD deadlines coming up, if you have any questions about campus life, academics and other things, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

Anchor Down!

Tags: , , , , ,