Gettysburgians on campus

How fluent are you in Gettysburgian?

Exceptional places have a distinct culture that begets an equally distinct vernacular. Gettysburg College is no exception. We have lakes that aren’t lakes, apples that are actually buildings, and a beach…somewhere.

As we prepare to welcome accepted students to campus for Get Acquainted Day, we wanted to pull the curtain back and share some of the meanings behind our lingo.

Apple refers to the residence hall, not the fruit.


Apple Hall was named after John Apple, class of 1919 and former member of the Board of Trustees, but we often just call it Apple. When the building was constructed in 1968, it housed 160 men and contained an innovative internal communication system, as well as a recreation room with ping pong tables and a laundry room. The building has undergone a few changes in the past 50 years—it’s now a co-ed dorm and also houses both the LGBTQA Advocacy and Education office and the Women’s Resource Center where the rec room once belonged. No worries, it’s across from the Jaeger Center and still has the laundry rooms.

Speaking of apples…


There are three spaces on campus named for the Emma G. Musselman Foundation—Musselman Hall, a residence hall housing sophomores and juniors, Musselman Library, and Musselman Stadium. While the Emma G. Musselman Foundation is connected to the Biglerville-based cannery we all know and love (think applesauce!), it is the philanthropic arm of the company.  This organization made frequent donations to the College between 1945 and 1985 in support of everything from scholarships, music, and theatre arts to the aforementioned spaces that have become integral to campus life.

Ice House isn’t an old time-y freezer, either.


It’s an upperclass housing option that was acquired by the College in the 1990s. The site has been actively used since 1786 and has housed everything from a Presbyterian Church and cemetery, a livery, shirt factory, carriage making complex, blacksmith shop, a wood-works plant, a cutlery, a bottlery, two brewing companies, an ice cream factory, an ice and cold storage facility, a roofing business, and personal residences and office spaces before being turned into student housing by the College. But don’t take our word for it—check out the plaque at the entrance to this complex.

Stine Lake isn’t actually a lake.


There are a few theories as to why we call it Stine Lake, the most pervasive having to do with flooding that occurred prior to the installation of a drainage system in the 60s. The nickname stuck even after the field dried up, just don’t go kayaking or fishing there on a rainy day.

And Muss Beach isn’t a real beach.


Muss Beach refers to the field between Musselman Hall and Christ Chapel, where—when the weather is nice—students like to study or read books, play Frisbee or wiffle ball, or lounge with friends and enjoy the sun. While there may not be an ocean, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy this beach!

The Tiber isn’t anything like the river in Rome.


While just as majestic in our minds, the creek that runs along Constitution Avenue is actually called Stevens Run Creek. The stream is affectionately called the Tiber by students, faculty, and administrators alike, with references dating back to the early days of the College’s history. Keep an eye out for the fall edition of the Gettysburg Magazine to hear more about this origin story.

The Sentinel is nothing like a Civil War soldier.


The Sentinel is a stone sculpture between Glatfelter and Pennsylvania Halls commemorating the 150th anniversary of the founding of the College. It’s the centerpiece of the College’s extensive outdoor sculpture collection and holds a rather prestigious international legacy. Just don’t confuse it with a Civil War soldier standing guard over the battlefields!

Don’t look for old stuff in our Attic.


The Attic is a student-designed nightclub where students can hold concerts, DJ dance parties, formals, sports parties, and special events. On an average night, students can enjoy more casual events sponsored by the Attic Advisory Board, taking advantage of the space’s pool tables and large screen TV.

Our Bullet Hole is not a remnant from the Civil War.


It is a fast way to grab meals between classes and campus activities, though! In addition to their daily rotating entrée, Bullet Hole serves soups, sandwiches, wraps, personal pizzas, burgers, and more! Yum!

Servo is nothing like an Australian gas station.


Our students who come from Australia may wonder why our dining hall has the same name as one of their nation’s popular gasoline franchises, but our Servo is all about some of the best campus food in the U.S.

The name is from Servo mation—the food services company and computer system that was previously used to check students in and out of the dining hall. This company and its system was first employed in the 70s, but has not been used since the 1980s. Looks like old habits die hard!

Thanksgiving Dinner is…well, this one is pretty accurate.


It’s a timeless tradition where students get together with their friends and are served a full-course Thanksgiving dinner by faculty and administrators. There’s nothing better than getting together with friends who have become family to celebrate the holidays!

There are so many more terms, acronyms, and traditions unique to our campus culture. Start brushing up now by checking out the Gettysburg Dictionary or our traditions website, and let us know if we’ve missed one of your favorites!

Thanks to Musselman Library's Special Collections and College Archives with research into the history behind some of these ubiquitous nicknames and terms!

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Kasey Varner, assistant director of communications, 717.337.6806

Posted: Mon, 22 Aug 2016

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