The UBC Dictionary

So, you’re a first year student. You’ve memorized your classrooms and schedule and are ready to show up bright and early for your very first class on your very first day.

But wait, what is this? No class on the first day of school? Imagine Day? What the hell is that?

And, for that matter, what’s IKB? Which Buchanan is Buchanan D? (Eventually you will learn how to spell it right) Why does everyone say they’re going to drink at Koerner Library?

An even better question is, how the hell did you get on

Chances are that you’re NOT a first year student and you already know EVERYTHING there is to know about UBC lingo. But, on the off-chance that with a fresh batch of freshmen comes a fresh new audience, here are some UBC words that you first years ought to know:

Imagine Day – the First Day of School

But you don’t actually GO to class (Imagine that, eh?)! Instead, you’ll be with a group of other first-year students, walking around campus and get all pumped-up, pep-rally style. Clear lines will be drawn between the faculties and, from your very first day onwards, you’ll be able to recognize the red-jacket’d Engineers and the suit-wearing business-card-trading Commerce students and you’ll only see Forestry students once in a blue moon.

After lunch and all the “rah-rah, go faculty” comes what is probably the best part—Free Swag! Bring a backpack and visit as many Clubs Booths as you can. Seriously, for the entire year, I have survived on pens, pencils and folders that I got for free on Imagine Day. Oh, and free condoms! and ice cream floats!

Storm the Wall – Huge Student Event and University Bonding Experience

You won’t hear about this until near the end of the year, but if you hang out by UBC Rec long enough, it’ll be sure to come up in a conversation. In the middle of March, there will be a giant wooden wall placed right in front of the SUB. And on Storm the Wall Day, people will climb it.

Oh, and there’s a triathlon that you do before you climb the wall. They kinda forget to emphasize that. You can brave the race on your own, but for most, it’s the most fun with a bunch of friends who are as fit (or not) as you are. If you aren’t extremely unfit and you have friends, it should definitely be on your to-do list. It’s the campus bonding experience that alumni fondly remember, long after they graduate.

AMS – Like Student Council, but Bigger

The UBC version of your high school student council. Except they have mo’ money and mo’ problems. There’s srs bsns council, with “motions”, “agendas” and “budgets. And then there’s fun and silly council, with in-jokes, good times and Twitter. Lots of Twitter. 

Chances are that you will hear about the AMS once a year, when someone somewhere gets upset with something the AMS did. It happens like clockwork. Expect to read about it in December’s Ubyssey.

The Ubyssey – Student Newspaper, now 100% more Shiny

Journalism occurs there. Filled to the glossy-paged brim with campus news and campus events, topped off with a healthy dash of humour and a pinch of university-branded snark. If you want to stay in the loop with what the heck is going on around UBC, you can never go wrong with the Ubyssey.

Buchanan Tower.

It was in that X-Men movie. But in real life, it’s a lot of offices for Arts professors. You’ll probably go there for office hours. It’s tall, and near Buchanan.


That’s us. We do stuff like this, you vote for us, we get money. When there is money to be won, anyway.

The Honour Roll.

Sushi in the basement of the SUB. It’s got a pun for a name, so you KNOW it’s gotta be good.

Wreck Beach.

It’s a beach. Clothing optional. But it’s not always the good kind of clothing optional. I don’t know, I’m not the best authority on Wreck Beach.

The 99 B-Line.

Urban legend says it was named after a very fast bee. Possibly will be replaced with a UBC Line. But you know, Translink. Hurrdurr jokes.


Arts County Fair. It was a legendary party, or so I’ve heard. But it’s not around anymore, for one reason or another. Probably something to do with funding, or something to do with alcohol. No one talks about it much anymore, but for some, it will always be referred to as the “good old days”. It’s like an extreme UBC in-joke. If you can namedrop ACF into a conversation, then you’ve officially become 100% UBC.

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