An Updated Guide to Swat Slang

A lot can change in five years, including the slang commonly used around Swarthmore’s campus. As such, this post serves as an update of Slang at Swat written by Olivia Robbins in 2018.


We use “Swat” to abbreviate Swarthmore because at the end of the day it sounds a lot nicer than “Swart”.

Swaaathmore or Swarthmore? How do you pronounce it?


Swatties are simply students and alumni of Swarthmore College.


Five years later, this remains the same. Swatties are still a special kind of awkward that many find endearing! However you find it, there will always be those instances when, instead of smiling and waving or saying hello, the acquaintance you’re passing is suddenly entrenched in their phone or incredibly fascinated by the names of the passing plants.

Swat Swivel

Swarthmore is a small school. As such, when conversations that are not intended for the wandering ear occur, Swatties will do a “Swat swivel” to make sure what they have to say does not pertain to anyone in their immediate vicinity. This is especially important when discussing topics such as Ninja Gram recipients, Screw Your Roommate pairings, the upcoming Engineering Department April Fools prank, etc..


Swarthmore opened the first phase of the Dining and Community Commons (DCC) as our brand new dining hall in October of 2022. The Dining Center replaced the old dining hall, Sharples, that is now being renovated to serve as a student center. Saying, “the DCC”, is a bit of a mouthful, so the student body decided to nickname the building Narples, or New Sharples.

Students use the new Dining and Community Commons building on the first full day returning from fall break 2022.

Sharples Sit

A Sharples sit is one of my favorite pastimes. Coined during the age of the old dining hall, Sharples, a Sharples sit is when you stay in the dining hall for at least an hour (though typically much longer) sharing a meal or conversation, working on a paper, binge watching a season of The Bachelor, or whatever else. The longest Sharples sit I have ever embarked on was eight hours long (7:30 AM – 3:30 PM). I was able to start and finish my final paper for Semantics during that time, with two hour-long breaks for meals with friends.

Pass/Fail Mentality

This one may just be a catchphrase of my friends and I, but alas. First-year students at Swarthmore have entirely credit/no credit classes their first semester. Whether it be college academics, extracurricular involvement, making new friends, etc., pass/fail creates the space for the transition to college in all the spheres first-year students occupy. Pass/fail mentality serves as a reminder of the importance of balance between academics and everything else. Even if that balance comes in the form of losing intramural dodgeball, badly.

Aforementioned Intramural Dodgeball

Up the Hill

The large portion of our campus is a hill, with Magill Walk stretching up it. It makes for an incredibly humbling walk to class, but it also makes it so, “I’m going up the hill,” is understood as, “I’m going to the academic side of campus.”

Posted in Uncategorized