Aerial view of campus

Learn the lingo: A reference guide to CWRU

Editor’s note: This article originally ran in 2016, but to help the university’s new students acclimate to Case Western Reserve University—and because of its popularity each year—it’s appearing in The Daily again—with a few updates.

Arriving on campus for the first time, in a brand-new city and knowing few people, can be intimidating. Throw in a few acronyms, unfamiliar phrases and interesting names, and you might feel—and actually get—lost. Even those who have been on campus for years still are learning the intricacies of Case Western Reserve University.

So we’ve complied a list of important places and phrases often referenced by CWRU (that’s C-W-R-U or sometimes pronounced “crew”) students, faculty and staff to give you a head start.

By no means does this list cover everything, but our hope is that the first time someone says “meet me at KSL,” you won’t end up on the wrong side of campus.

This list isn’t only for first-year students—it’s for faculty, staff and even upperclassmen who are looking for a refresher or just want to learn something new.

First things first, let’s get the school names—and their commonly used acronyms—straight:

  • Case School of Engineering (CSE);
  • College of Arts and Sciences (CAS);
  • Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing (FPB);
  • Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (MSASS; pronounced em-sass);
  • School of Dental Medicine;
  • School of Graduate Studies;
  • School of Law;
  • School of Medicine (SOM); and
  • Weatherhead School of Management (WSOM, or simply Weatherhead).

But those aren’t the only acronyms that will come in handy. Here’s a short list of departments and organizations you might come across with commonly used acronyms:

  • Center for Civic Engagement and Learning (CCEL)
  • Graduate Student Council (GSC)
  • International Student Services (ISS)
  • Student Activities and Leadership (SAL)
  • Undergraduate Student Government (USG)
  • University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS)
  • University Program Board (UPB)
  • University Technology ([U]Tech)

Now that you’ve got all that down—let’s go on a tour around campus.

North side of Euclid

We’ll begin on north side of Euclid Avenue, home to the North Residential Village (NRV), Kelvin Smith Library (KSL) and Mather Quad.

In NRV is Wade Commons, where residence hall dwellers can pick up their packages after receiving a message from everyone’s favorite CWRU email buddy, HARLD (Housing and Residence Life Database).

Not far from Wade Commons, almost every undergraduate has met with his or her orientation leader or student group beneath “The Start” (though some claim walking under it is bad luck). Never heard of “The Start?” You’re more likely to know it by its informal moniker, “The Ugly Statue,” a sculpture featuring silver, yellow and red connecting bars.

“Merging,” also known as “the wet-dry fountain.”

Moving west, you’ll pass the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences and the Peter B. Lewis Building (PBL), the architectural landmark made of stainless steel siding that is home to the Weatherhead School of Management.

Next you’ll find Mather Quad, a collection of buildings on the former campus of the Flora Stone Mather College for Women. Here you’ll also notice “Merging” (often referred to as the wet-dry fountain), the bronze, stair-like fountain in the middle of Mather Quad.

Other features on the north side of Euclid include:

  • The Tink—the Tinkham Veale University Center, home to and meeting place of many student organizations (and Melt University’s famous grilled cheese);
  • Freiberger Field—a large open area beside The Tink and behind Kelvin Smith Library, often used for campus events;
  • The Spirit Wall—wooden boards lining the walkway alongside The Tink; students can paint the wall to advertise organizations or events; and
  • Thwing (pronounced Twing) Center—home to The Jolly Scholar, an on-campus sit-down restaurant (you’re certain to have a meeting, and a milkshake, here at some point).

South side of Euclid

Moving to the other side of Euclid Avenue, you’ll see Adelbert (pronounced ah-DEL-burt) Hall, a historic building that is home to many administrative departments and offices, and a tall building on the Case Quad named Crawford Hall, which, among many other offices and departments, houses Access Services on the bottom level.

An RTA bus
An RTA bus

Access Services is where you’ll go to get a new CWRU ID card and information about parking permits, among other important details. Access Services also handles passes for Cleveland’s Regional Transit Authority (RTA). With your student ID, you can hop aboard The Rapid (a train with stops in Little Italy and the south side of campus) or any of the buses that run through campus, including the Health Line, which goes along Euclid Avenue. (Where are you headed via RTA? Why not check out local favorites, such as Murray Hill—a brick street in Little Italy that’s home to many upperclassmen; Coventry—a street lined with off-beat stores and restaurants; East 4th Street—a pedestrian street downtown filled with restaurants and nightlife; and Tower City—a mall downtown that includes a variety of stores and a movie theater.)

Further down Adelbert Road, just past some of the University Hospitals (UH) Cleveland Medical Center buildings, you’ll find the Health Sciences Quad, home to the research locations for the medical, nursing and dental schools. For academics, you’ll need to head west on Euclid Avenue toward Cleveland Clinic, to the new Health Education Campus (HEC), where interprofessional education (IPE) flourishes for dental, nursing, medical, physician assistant and social work students.

Elephant stairs
The Elephant Stairs in South Residential Village.

But back to Adelbert Road: Farther south of the Health Sciences Quad, you’ll find the South Residential Village (SRV), home to many second-year students and close to Little Italy. SRV is separated into two areas—“top of the hill” on Carlton Road and “bottom of the hill” on Murray Hill. Connecting the two are the elephant stairs—named for each step’s massive proportions.

Other important features on the south side of Euclid include:

  • Van Horn Field—an open grassy area outside the Veale Athletic, Recreation and Convocation Center where students can gather to play catch or throw around a Frisbee;
  • Larry Sears and Sally Zlotnick Sears think[box]—a makerspace where the community can come together to innovate and collaborate;
  • Grab-it—a spot in Sears Building to grab a quick bite to eat between classes.

And don’t forget: If you need to get from one side of campus to the other, you can always catch a “Greenie,” the shuttle that goes around University Circle (but is actually not green).

What’d we miss? Let us know in the comments.