A comprehensive guide to Tufts, from A-Z

Welcome to Tufts! You’re now part of a community with enough terms, traditions and inside jokes to warrant a small dictionary. Below is the SparkNotes version, a primer for new Jumbos.

AcornHead: Created by artist Leslie Fry, the “Colossal AcornHead” came to Tufts in 2012 and was the first public sculpture installed on the Medford/Somerville campus. It represents a special connection between humans and the natural world. Though it briefly left Tufts for the 2013-2014 school year, the beloved AcornHead has since returned to its home on the Hill.

Bubs: Short for the Beelzebubs, this is an all-male a cappella group famous for providing the vocals for the Warblers on “Glee” (2009-2015) and taking second place in the first season of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” (2009-present). The Bubs performed for President Barack Obama in 2010 and are celebrating their 54th anniversary this year.

Crafts Center: This is a Tufts Community Union-funded, student-run arts and crafts makerspace located in the basement of Lewis Hall. Possible artsy activities include candle and soap making, jewelry and button making, 3D printing and ceramics. The center even runs free workshops throughout the year, and you can drop by every day except Saturdays. 

The Daily: Formally known as The Tufts Daily, the independent student-run newspaper was ranked the No. 10 college newspaper in the nation last year by the Princeton Review. Tufts is the smallest research university to have a daily newspaper.

Early Decision: Unlike many schools, Tufts matriculates students from not one, but two rounds of Early Decision (ED) applicant pools. The Class of 2020 saw the highest number of ED applicants in Tufts history – 2,070, a 12 percent increase from last year.

Fall Gala: This is one of the first big events open to all students on campus in the fall. Held annually on the Academic Quad, it features a DJ, a live band, a photo booth, food and more

Gifford House: This brick house on Packard Avenue is where University President Anthony Monaco allegedly lives. Each spring, the seniors are invited over to have dinner with him and alumni. On Halloween, the house is decorated while Monaco, sometimes accompanied by his wife, wears a costume and welcomes Tufts students and local children with treats.

Hodgdon On-the-Run: Located in the basement of Hodgdon Hall, this take-out spot has plenty of food options: wraps, burritos, pasta, snacks, beverages and more. The space was renovated during the summer of 2014 and remains open until 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday. It is a great place to grab a meal or a late-night snack. 

IGL: The Institute for Global Leadership aims to help the Tufts community to understand and engage with difficult global issues through their courses and mentorship programs. IGL offerings range from intensive courses on world regions each year (EPIIC) to social entrepreneurship (BUILD) to research (Synaptic Scholars).

Jumbo: Tufts’ mascot, Jumbo the elephant, is the only mascot to appear in Webster’s Dictionary. Jumbo was a male African elephant that belonged to P.T. Barnum. When a train hit Jumbo in Ontario, Canada, Barnum donated the elephant’s hide to be displayed at the university. Following a fire in 1975, Jumbo’s ashes were put in a peanut butter jar, which athletes have traditionally rubbed  for good luck. A new life-size bronze sculpture of the world-famous mascot was unveiled in April 2015 in front of Barnum Hall.

Kosher Deli: Opened in 2014, Pax et Lox Glatt Kosher Deli is located adjacent to the Campus Center and offers a variety of kosher sandwiches and sides for those seeking alternatives to dining hall options.

Loj: Located approximately two hours north of Tufts in Woodstock, New Hampshire, the Loj is a university-owned retreat destination for all members of the Tufts community. It is operated by Tufts Mountain Club (TMC)Over 75 years old, the Loj is primarily used for TMC activities, events and retreats and as lodging for students who want to get away from suburban Medford and go hiking and skiing in the White Mountains.

Moe’s: Started in 2007, Moe’s BBQ Trolly is a popular spot for a quick late-night bite on weekends, where it is parked conveniently at the corner of Professors Row and Packard Avenue. 

Naked Quad Run: Though it was banned in 2011 due to safety concerns, this tradition remains a central piece of Tufts’ history. Every winter, students would gather to run a naked lap around the quads. The popularity of the event grew consistently until it was terminated. Various eyewitness sources confirmed an attempt to revive the tradition last spring.

O-Shows: O-Shows stands for orientation shows, which are put on by Tufts’ student groups during orientation. They showcase what the Tufts performance scene has to offer and welcome many first-years and transfer students to the community. 

Pumpkin-ing: Every year, the night before Halloween, an anonymous group places dozens of pumpkins throughout campus, often on the rooftops of university buildings. “Pumpkin-ing” is over 75 years old, according to the Tufts University Alumni Association, and although members of the Tufts Mountain Club are rumored to be behind the tradition, no student organization has ever taken credit for it.

Quads: Great places for big events like Fall Gala or casual activities like frisbee, the Res and Academic quads are important hubs for student activity, and great places for big events like Fall Gala or casual activities like frisbee.

Rainbow Steps: These are steps at the intersection of Winthrop and Capen Streets — though the bright colors for which they were named have since faded somewhat since their installation

SMFA: The School of the Museum of Fine Arts was established in 1876 in affiliation with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Starting in 1944, a dual-degree program allowed students to receive degrees from both Tufts and the SMFA over the course of five years. As of July 1, 2016, the SMFA became part of Tufts’ School of Arts and Sciences. According to its website, the SMFA at Tufts, as the program is now known, is one of two art schools in the United States that is affiliated with a major museum.

Talloires: The Tufts University European Center is located in Talloires-Montmin, France, a commune of 2,000 residents in the French Alps. The center offers a six-week abroad program each summer called Tufts in Talloires and also hosts conferences that address issues of international and cultural understanding. In 1990, Jean Mayer, then president of Tufts, invited 22 universities to the Talloires campus to create the Talloires Declaration, which calls on institutions of higher education to commit to environmental sustainability.

Uphill: There are two kinds of people at Tufts: uphill people and downhill people. If you find yourself living in Hill or Houston Halls, preferring Carm to Dewick and valuing access to the quads over access to Davis, chances are you’re an uphill person.

Veterinary school: The School of Veterinary Medicine, located at Tufts’ campus in Grafton, Mass., was established in 1978. It was renamed the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts in 2005 when the Cummings Foundation pledged a $50 million donation, and it remains the only veterinary school in New England.

WMFO: 91.5 WMFO is a freeform radio station owned by Tufts and run by both students and volunteers from the Medford and Somerville area. It broadcasts music of many genres, humor shows and political and social commentary. Its website says the station started in 1970 and broadcasts 24/7, every day of the year.

(e)X-College: The Experimental College — Ex-College for short — offers a host of interdisciplinary classes not offered in the traditional departments. The courses are often taught by Tufts students, faculty and other experts from the Boston area. This year, course offerings cover topics such as guerilla performance art, sexual education and the history and literary representation of witches in the U.S. 

Yoga: Yoga, Zumba and Pilates are just a few of the fitness classes offered by Tufts Student Resources (TSR) on a weekly basis. Classes are student-taught and are held in the Hill Hall Aerobics Room.

ZIP code: Our campus is split between two ZIP codes. Depending on where you are, you could be in 02155 — Medford — or 02144, which means you’re in Somerville. While this distinction is important when it comes to registering to vote, it matters a lot less for mail: all students who live in dorms ship their packages to Tufts Mail Services, which uses the 02155 zip code. 

Editor’s note: This article contains information used in previous Matriculation issues.

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