While the name “New College House” isn’t that attractive, the building sure is. The simple brick and glass, while contemporary, isn’t as architecturally sophisticated as the Quad — but from the inside, it’s hard to argue that the building isn’t spectacular.
College freshman Lucia Kim remembers the first time she entered New College House. “I felt like I was in the ‘Divergent’ movie,” she said. “Everything was so new and high-tech.”
Indeed, you would be hard pressed to find a student who was not wowed by the New College House facilities.
“It’s like living in a hotel,” Wharton freshman Megan Yip said. “It’s been awesome.”
“I really love it,” College freshman Danny Cohen added.
The New College House’s freshman residents all seemed to share a positive sentiment. But some nonresidents don’t look at Penn’s newest dorm in the same way.
Katie Waltman, an engineering freshman living in Kings Court English College House, had strong opinions on the matter.
“I live in a small, two-person room with no air-conditioning,” She paused, letting that sink in. “No. Air-conditioning.” She added, “It was over 90 degrees in my room on move-in day, and then there’s other freshman living in New College House with in-suite TVs and elevators that talk.”
However, Waltman wouldn’t trade her humble English House dorm room for a fancy New College House suite.
“I don’t need to even leave my own room to be in a sauna,” she said, laughing. “But all joking aside, I think the lack of air-conditioning leads to more hall bonding, since people congregate in the air-conditioned lounges and study rooms. I’ve become super close with lots of people in my building.”
A common criticism of New College House is that residents, who live in suites rather than singles or doubles that open up into a long hall, don’t bond much with their hallmates. New College House students, after all, have TVs, air-conditioning and — in some cases — multiple in-suite bathrooms and showers.
Hill College House, which is being renovated this year, was previously known as the least desirable freshman college house — The New York Times even took a shot at it, adding Hill to its list of “Dorms You’ll Never See on the College Tour.”
Upperclassmen who lived in Hill said sub-par living conditions helped them bond, and none seem to be too envious of freshman residing in the New College House.
“I think it’s great for the kids who live there,” College senior Ben Kramer said. “But for me, the Hill experience of bonding in really tight quarters where I could hold hands with my roommate while I was sleeping, and sweat, and share a bathroom with 30 other people, was a true, meaningful freshman experience, and I still have some of my closest friends from my hall freshman year.”
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