BSC Folklore

Campus Expressions

Description:

“Cellar Dwellers”: a nickname used in reference to the students that work or hang out in the Cellar on a nightly basis. This term can also be used to describe someone who studies there frequently.

“The Max”: a nickname for the area in the corner of the café that has booths like the ones in the TV show “Saved by the Bell” where some of the kids hang out.

“The Walk of Shame”: a saying used when a boy or girl is seen walking out of the dorm of the member of the opposite sex wearing the clothes they wore the night before. These students are usually first year students at BSC.

Source

Collected by Jesse Clements, Ingrid Sheaffer, and Jessica Smith during Interim 2003.

Commentary

Folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand writes, “The easiest test of a folk group's existence is to identify a specialized informal vocabulary.” These words and phrases are usually embedded so deeply in their everyday speech that students have a hard time recognizing their own euphemisms, slang terms, and jargon. Through their specialized vocabulary, students are often members of folk groups without even realizing it.

A “walk of shame” is as common a campus feature as the college library, so using this term places BSC students in the obvious, and huge, folk group: college students. “The Max” is more specialized, but it seems unlikely that vocabulary derived from a kids TV show would last very many generations. “Cellar Dwellers,” however, is based upon a campus locale specific to BSC—the lower portion of the building that separates the Margaret and Cullen Daniel dorms. This is the kind of expression that would likely survive for years on the tongues of students across the campus, regardless of gender, major, or Greek affiliation. Unfortunately, the Cellar Coffee House is no longer a coffee house and no longer called “the Cellar.”

Another common practice on this and other campuses is the re-naming or intentional mispronunciation of place names. For example, Food World becomes “Food God” and Munger Hall is pronounced “Muh-Vun-Ger.”

Questions

  • Does the “walk of shame” go by different names or euphemisms?
  • Are there other terms derived from campus locations used to describe people?
  • Is “the Max” still a term that's in use?
  • Other examples of re-naming?

YOUR THOUGHTS?
Email your comments, corrections, or additions to tcowan@bsc.edu.

Bibliography

  • Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Study of American Folklore: An Introduction. New York: Norton, 1998. 79.

  • Anderton, Robin and Jay Desario. The Walk of Shame: A Survival Guide. New York: Penguin, 2005.