With its glassy exterior, pristine facilities and suite-style living, New College House differs highly from other dorms, such as the Quadrangle, which is the oldest and most iconic dormitory at Penn.
Although New College House lacks over a century of history and tradition compared to the Quad, it is making an effort to establish the same tight-knit sense of community that other freshman dormitories on campus are known for.
There are mixed opinions about whether the new suite-style enhances or inhibits the ability to form close communities within the dorm. The dorm’s Traditions Committee wants to bridge this gap for New College House students.
“You have to be more active in looking for people because of the suite-style structure. You have to get out of your comfort zone,” College freshman Dana Hackett said.
“The point of the Traditions Committee is to establish meaningful traditions to foster a sense of community at New College House,” College freshman and committee member Mercedes Morgante said. “We want to create a legacy that will outlast our stay at this new Penn residence, and there’s no better way to do that than create events that people will enjoy for decades to come.”
Wharton freshman Sonia Huang, who is an international student, compared living in New College House to her experience at The Taft School, the New England boarding school she attended before coming to Penn.
“I would compare NCH to Vogue, which is a relatively new dorm at Taft. I think NCH is trying a bit harder than Taft did to establish traditions by hosting floor events every week. They’re trying so hard to make things traditions, but in the end these are still new events for people,” she said.
One event that the Traditions Committee organized was “Hot Seat,” a game in which a different person on each floor is in the spotlight. Other residents on the floor ask the person various questions to get to know him or her better. Other events organized by the Traditions Committee include floor mixers. Frequently, each room has different types of food ranging from s’mores to chips to cereal, which promotes mingling in between rooms.
“Initiatives such as house logos, house mottos and the other events put on by the Traditions Committee are trying to establish a sense of community. But in the end, the community will develop it’s own traditions naturally,” College freshman and House Council Member Grace Bridy said.
“For example, one of the floors decided to decorate one of its alcoves,” she said. “The people downstairs beneath them thought of it as a competition, so they started to decorate their own alcoves, and that prompted me to decorate our own door as well.”
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