Speaking Gaiter – A Brief Intro to Bishop’s Slang

Living in the #Ubishops BUbble means that we have our own way of naming things. Our students have put together a guide to help new Gaiters understand the slang on campus!

The Quad
The Quad is the heart of the B.U. campus, framed by McGreer, Johnson, the Library Learning Commons, Bandeen, and NoPo (Norton/Pollack). Your first introduction to the Quad is during Orientation Week, where many events (sign-up, Gaiter Gardens, concerts, etc.) will take place, usually under a large tent. It’s next to impossible to talk through the Quad without seeing someone you know, which can be both good and bad!

The Arches
The Arches are located at the front entrance of the university formed by the indoor connection between the Johnson and McGreer building, and giving entrance to the Quad. “The Arches” is commonly confused with the arches of the Bishop’s Bridge, which links Lennoxville to the Bishop’s campus over the Massawippi River.

Bleed Purple
A phrase used to explain the full impact of our school spirit and Gaiter pride. Purple, one of the school’s official colours (along with silver), is so important to our identity that it becomes part of who we are. It’s not just a colour, it’s a lifestyle. #BleedPurple

Credit: Junru Bian

The Massawippi
Ah, the Mighty Massawippi river, the lifeblood of Bishop’s University! Whether it’s glistening in the low morning sun, or flooding the streets of Lennoxville, the legend remains that the word “Massawippi” is from the ancient Gaiter root word for “home”.

BWH (Bishop Williams Hall)
This is the largest classroom on the B.U. campus, and arguably the most picturesque, due to its high ceilings and stained-glass windows. Don’t be fooled, though. Although this is the largest classroom on campus, a “large” class at B.U. is still only 130 students, and the average is less than 40 in first year!

The Plex
Renovated in 2015, the John H. Price Sports and Recreation Centre, located right behind Kuehner residence and beside Coulter Field, and nicknamed the Plex, contains workout facilities, combative rooms, a dance studio, a pool, gymnasiums, a skating rink, and so much more. And it’s all included in your student fees!


Students’ Representative Council (SRC)
The SRC is a non-profit student-run government to which all students automatically belong. It’s your voice in terms of student-related issues. The SRC also represents B.U. students at provincial and national levels. As a first-year student, your first interaction with the SRC will be Orientation Week, which they plan every summer! Check out their website: http://busrc.com

A “bog” is British slang for toilet or bathroom, a “bog-mate” is someone who you share a bathroom with in the “bog” style residences (Abbott, Kuehner and Munster). There are typically two people in this living situation, and often function similarly to roommates.

The Principal
Most universities have a president, but Bishop’s is one of only three Canadian universities that still use this British title for the head of the university. Our current Principal is Mr. Michael Goldbloom, and you’ll meet him at least once during your first week at Bishop’s, as you serenade him with the school song.


Raise a Toast
Opening lines to the adopted school song repeated everywhere from T-shirts to email signatures. Unofficial slogan of the university, a common greeting, and the easiest way to say “Bishop’s” without actually saying “Bishop’s”.

Dewies, or more formally, Dewhurst Dining Hall, is the hub of life on campus. Whether it’s chatting with new friends over a late-night poutine, getting experimental at the stir-fry station, or downing a coffee and cramming for that midterm, Dewies will get you through life on campus. Also a place of nostalgia for the majority of the upper-year students. To learn more about Dewies, check out our article on the Dewhurst Dining Hall!

One of the main questions you’ll face as a Bishop’s student is “Isn’t it spelled GATORS?” Your answer should be “I know how to spell alligator, thank you very much,” followed by an explanation that we are all named after boot coverings traditionally worn by Bishops of the Anglican Church who founded the school in 1843. But yes, we still have a giant purple alligator mascot.

Study snacks? Covered. Residence essentials? Covered. Purple clothing? Covered. 10% off bus tickets to Montreal? Covered. Doolittle’s is the student-run, on-campus convenience store in the SRC hallway of the SUB. All profits go right back into funding student events and initiatives.

Winterfest occurs in mid-January to welcome all Gaiters back to B.U., in true Canadian style. The weekend includes concerts at the Gait, “Jay Day” (a day of skiing at local mountain Jay Peak), and a day of winter festivities on campus and around Lennoxville – with street hockey in the Quad, community sleigh-rides, poutine eating contests, and the famous B.U. Rail Jam (ski and snowboard competition).

The Lights
“Meet at the Lights?” is probably a phrase you will hear frequently and even come to utter yourself. “The Lights” are literally the only traffic lights in Lennoxville, at the intersection of Queen and College Streets. It is marked by the popular sites such as The Lion pub (Le Lion D’Or), the Lennoxville Library, Subway, and one of Lennoxville’s many churches.

The Gait
Like Doolittle’s, the Gait is student-run, with all of the profits going right back to you. The Gait is the on-campus pub, open for Quiet-Night Tuesdays, Happy-Hour Thursdays, and Gait Night Saturdays, as well as academic wine and cheeses, speakers and other special events.

LLC (Library Learning Commons)
The newly renovated Bishop’s Bassett Memorial Library, now known as the Library Learning Commons is where you will be spending the majority of your time. Whether you choose to book a study room, sit on the steps of the Agora or relax on a couch or bean bag chair, the open concept library has everything you need. Don’t forget to stop by the Library Cafe for all your late-night cravings!


EWP (English Writing Proficiency)
An exam written by all students during their time at Bishop’s that evaluates English writing skills. It is also a graduation requirement. Your first crack at the test is during Orientation Week. The Writing Centre will go over your test with you and help you identify any issues and mistakes if you need to take it again.

Homecoming, or HoCo, is probably a word you have heard before, but may not know what it means. Homecoming occurs over a weekend early in the school year and centres around sporting events and the bring-together of Gaiters of past and present to celebrate all things Bishop’s. Expect to see the campus in its full glory with an ongoing schedule of events for all. Wearing as much purple as possible is a must!

The Student Union Building (the SUB) or, as it is officially known and commonly labelled on maps, Marjorie Donald House, Memorial Hall and Bishop Mountain Building (this had to be Googled because no student has ever heard these names), is the centre of student activity, including the SRC offices, Doolittle’s, The Gait, B.U. Lounge, Gaiter Grill, counselling services, careers office and other Student Service offices.

The shorthand for Orientation Week, it is the first week of activities for incoming students at Bishop’s. Organized by the SRC, Orientation Week includes concerts, academic tours and orientation sessions, a day to meet with the SRC’s 60+ student clubs, and an opportunity to meet the amazing people that you will be sharing your Bishop’s experience with. Meet the gigantic team of Orientation Week Leaders, Judges, and other new students, and let them welcome you into the Gaiter community in style!

To learn more about student life at Bishop’s: https://www.ubishops.ca/future-current-students/student-campus-life/

Related Posts

1 Response
  1. The first settlers in this region were of Amerindian origin. The Abenaki tribe of the Algonquian nation travelled within this region where Bishop’s sits. Massawippi, is an Abenaki word for “a lot of clear water” – NOT home, as indicated in the blog 🙂

Leave a Reply