highrise

Starting next year, Harnwell College House will be open only to upperclassmen. Currently, about 80 freshman live in Harnwell.

Photo: Stephen Dong / The Daily Pennsylvanian

Starting next year, Harnwell College House will no longer admit freshmen, making it the second all-upperclassman college house on campus.

While 162 freshmen currently live in high rise apartments in Harnwell and Harrison College Houses, that number will be nearly halved next year when about 80 of those rooms are given to upperclassmen during the upcoming application cycle, said Martin Redman, executive director of College House and Academic Services.

Redman said the change was made so that a greater number of upperclassmen, especially sophomores, could receive their first preference of where to live and live in the high rises.


Do you agree or disagree with the decision to exclude freshmen from Harnwell?

“We’re hearing from sophomores there aren’t enough spaces” in the high rises, Redman said. After housing assignments are given, there are usually leftover rooms in the Quad and other freshmen-dominated college houses, he added.

Related: New ‘precinct system’ proposed for Penn college houses

If the changes go over well, Harrison will follow suit, becoming an upperclassmen-only dorm, he said. Rodin College House currently only houses upperclassmen.

Some Harnwell residents, however, feel that freshmen play an important role in the house’s current culture. It currently hosts six residential programs — Ancient Studies, Arts House, East Asia, Franklin Community, International Program and Latin American Program.

Freshmen go to a lot of hall events, which upperclassmen on his floor don’t normally attend, said College sophomore Seung Ho Lee, who currently lives in Harnwell.

“I don’t think that there is a reason why Harnwell should be for upperclassmen,” Lee said. “The culture of hall events … may not exist at all” if freshmen no longer live in Harnwell.

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College freshman and current Harnwell resident Will Gregoire, however, disagrees about the house’s culture.

“I don’t think it’d be a bad idea for freshmen to live in freshmen-only housing,” he said. “I don’t interact with the upperclassmen here, and I think that’s the same for most people.”

“But in terms of it being a rule, I really think there are people here who prefer the quieter atmosphere,” Gregoire added.

College junior Bethany Cam, who has lived in Harnwell since freshman year, is one of those people.

“I really like my privacy — I don’t like sharing my bathroom,” she said.

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However, she added that freshmen “make up such a large community in Harnwell” and that she would be “really disappointed if freshmen weren’t integrated.”

Redman, who heads the college house system, acknowledged that many students who lived in the high rises as freshmen loved their experience. But he pointed out that students from other college houses also said they loved their freshman year dorm.

“We’re trying to make it possible for more students to experience the entire college house process,” Redman said. Many students currently may be upset when they don’t get a room they wanted, he added.

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Turning Harnwell into an upperclassmen-only dorm is just one idea out of several changes that administrators are considering for the college houses. Another possible change is the creation of housing “precincts” — geographical groupings of college houses that would allow for the creation of shared amenities, such as house theaters.

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