Olé Weekend at a Glance

What you may have forgotten during orientation

New student orientation is a whirlwind of new information that is often quickly forgotten with all of the excitement and chaos of the new school year.  After several days of lectures and instructions, it’s no wonder that some of that important information has already been lost. Here is a quick recap of some of the most important information to keep in mind as the new year kicks off.

Know the lingo 

Many of the popular buildings on the beautiful USD campus have acronyms to abbreviate the long names. However, when one is unfamiliar with these buildings and also still trying to navigate a new campus, these acronyms can easily complicate things. 

The first and arguably most important building on campus is the Student Life Pavilion, or SLP for short. This is where most meals are eaten and student clubs and organizations meet. Connected to the SLP is the UC, or University Center. The UC is where One Stop, the Multicultural Center, Parking Services, and more organizations and services are located. The SLP and UC pump much of the life and energy into the school’s community.

The Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, better known as the KIPJ, is located at the very west end of campus. Known for the most beautiful views on campus, the KIPJ is a great place to check out a beautiful sunset after a long day of classes. It is also home to many classrooms, the Political Science, International Relations, and History departments, lecture halls, and even several unique art displays. 

Finally, the Jenny Craig Pavilion, referred to by students as the JCP, is on the complete opposite side of campus next to the baseball fields. The JCP is a great place to get a good workout in or better yet, to go to a volleyball or basketball game.    

Meal Plans 

Another complicated but important concept often glossed over during orientation is the explanation of meal plans. All new students receive the same basic meal plan. However, there is an option for a bigger meal plan if desired. There are three basic components within the plan: swipes, dining dollars, and meal equivalencies. 

Swipes are used only at the SLP during dinner-time (4:30-10 p.m.) or weekend brunch (10 a.m.-2 p.m.). A swipe gets you unlimited entrances to the buffet for the evening or brunch. There are also two guest swipes per semester that may be used to help out a friend, visitor, or an upperclassman without a meal plan. Dining dollars are used at Tu Mercado, La Paloma, Bert’s Bistro, Aromas, La Gran Terraza, and Mission Café and work similarly to a debit card where you pay per meal. 


    For many first-year college students, doing laundry is a daunting task. Once you have finally built up the courage, and the dirty clothes can no longer pile up in the corner of your room, it is time to pay a visit to the laundry rooms. This year, USD is implementing a new laundry system that is expected to be available to students by September 28. Due to unavailability and construction, laundry in the residential halls will be free until the installation is completed.

    The new system will no longer require a laundry card and users will be able to pay for loads with a credit card. Hopefully, this will make the laundry experience much less intimidating for first-timers. 

LLCs, Preceptorials, Scholastic Assistants – Oh My!

While you spend most of Olé Weekend with your LLC and preceptorial class, it is completely okay to still be a little confused about what it all means. 

The LLC, or Living Learning Community, is the umbrella grouping of people living in your dorm or at least in the general area. There are typically several activities during the semester held for each LLC to bond over similar interests and passions such as comminuty service. 

More importantly, the preceptorial class is whom you will spend a large sum of time with in the first year. Within your LLC, you are placed into a class with people who also live directly around you. This way, you immediately find familiar faces where you live and while walking around campus.

In the spring semester, you will be automatically enrolled in another class with your preceptorial group. Unlike the fall semester, you are allowed to drop this class for whatever reason you want. The LLC and preceptorial program are something that makes the first year at USD so memorable.

Another resource to making the new transition as smooth as possible is developing a relationship with your Resident Assistants and Scholastic Assistants. The Resident Assistants (RAs) are student staff members who live in each dorm and assist the students in their designated hall. It is their duty to enforce community standards, pay attention to safety standards, and offer any necessary resources to residents such as advice on joining clubs and organizations, working through roommate troubles, and general help adjusting to dorm life.

Scholastic Assistants (SAs) are assigned to an LLC preceptorial class and support first-year students in their academic endeavors. SAs serve as  mentors to help students develop and establish a successful academic path to be fulfilled in years to come.

Torero ID Cards

Finally, your student ID card will quickly become one of your most valuable assets to navigating life on campus. First and foremost, your ID is used to access your dorm room and residential area. Each ID card is programmed so that only residents of specific dorms or halls may have access to that area.

You also use your card in dining halls for both meal swipes and dining dollars. Additionally,  dining dollars are accepted at certain off campus locations including Olive Cafe, Sushi Freak, Rubicon Deli, and Pita Pit to name a few. It is important to keep track of your student ID as it is the key to getting around campus (literally!); however, if it does manage to get lost, you can replace it at Card Services in the University Center for a fee of 15 dollars.

Orientation is incredibly useful for learning the basics of what new students need to know in the first few months.However, it is completely normal to have lingering questions and confusion about how things work. The USD campus and community is there to help with any further assistance, so never be afraid to ask!

Abby Gentry | Feature Editor | The USD Vista