I admit it. I’m a new employee at BSU. I started back in August and while I’m becoming more comfortable and confident around campus with every passing week (are we really in the Spring semester already?); every now and then little reminders of my “newness” pop up. These reminders usually come in the form of BSU’s famous – and infamous – acronyms.
I’ve worked many places that have their own shorthand – abbreviations for plans, offices and departments throughout campus. After all, acronyms and abbreviations are all part of the saga of an organization. An organization’s saga is a collective understanding and is made up of the language, stories, history and mission of the organization. According to Burton Clark, believers in the saga give loyalty to the organization and take pride and loyalty from it. But that’s for another posting. . . . .
Within days of my arrival to campus, a strange language, all its own, emerged. Some acronyms were easy to decipher. BSUPD and A&F were somewhat simple to decode as BSU Police Department and Administration & Finance – both extremely important offices to know as a new director on campus.
Other acronyms were not so obvious. I learned that I should introduce myself to OSIL, CESO and MAHPLS. It took me a bit to figure out that MAHPLS did not involve pancakes. I was told to familiarize myself with the LTERP and perhaps stop by the RCC. LTERP sounded more like a military maneuver rather than the Long Term Equipment Replacement Plan for the Thornburg Fitness Center. Fortunately, my deductive reasoning realized that the RCC wasn’t Roxbury Community College but rather the Rondileau Campus Center. Within my first week on campus, I learned that the Director of the CMA was leaving BSU. I didn’t even know that BSU was affiliated with the Country Music Awards – oh wait – that was the Center for Multicultural Affairs. During Homecoming Weekend (yes, it really did take that long), I learned that the mascot for BSU had an unusual name – BRISTACO – and it was based in the history of the University BRIdgewater STAte COllege. VERY creative.
These acronyms are embedded in the language of BSU. To the faculty, staff and students of BSU, they roll off their tongues easily and without effort. They are all part of the collective consciousness – and organizational saga – of the University. To the uninitiated or visitor, they might as well be on a foreign exchange program at times! However, I must admit, I am actually becoming more comfortable and confident with BSU acronyms. I have even been known to tell Sue Chaves “I’m off to the BDR at the RCC” and she knows exactly what I mean and where I’ll be.
But just when I think I’m achieving a new comfort level, another acronym pops up. I just recently figured out the FMP is what I’ve been calling Physical Plant. Perhaps the bookstore has a Rosetta Stone package I can get.
Dr. Marybeth Lamb is the Director of Athletics. You can find her in the Tinsley Center (or the ATC!)