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We're rather upset about this. We're the residents of Stouffer College House; that's right, we live on top of the Wawa and damn it, we like it there. I'll have graduated before the demolition crew comes for Stouffer. So why do I care? I happen to feel a rather strong attachment to the place. It isn't just my house, it's my home. My plans for the year 2002 include many a visit back to Stouffer to visit the friends, faculty and graduate students who are like family to me now. In fact, most of us here in Stouffer feel a strong tie to the place; a bunch of this year's freshmen were already talking about staying here for all four years. They've read all of the new brochures about the college house experience -- being provided with wonderful, close communities, and being able to graduate as a house. Now the university is expecting them to live happily together for three years and then disperse just as happily when their home gets trashed. Maybe you're wondering why we care so much about Stouffer. Maybe you don't feel similarly attached to your dorm. This is exactly why there's something special about Stouffer. Penn is tearing down the one building on campus that is their ideal college house, in addition to blatantly disregarding the community that calls Stouffer home. Stouffer was a college house before the term became trendy. The building design is perfect for fostering community. Instead of floors, rooms are arranged in small clusters which are part of larger sections arranged around lounges, and all of the sections are gathered around the central patio. The new plan involves rearranging the high rises to make them more like Stouffer on the inside. So why level the place that already works? Penn has a history of leveling residences without regard for the residents. Previously, entire neighborhoods were leveled for the construction of the University City Science Center and Superblock. History often repeats itself, only this time kicking out West Philadelphia residents wasn't enough; Penn is doing it to its own students. I'm not going to bother rambling on about how Stouffer is an amazing place to live, because I'd hit my word limit in no time. I will say, however, that if the administration is under the impression that Stouffer is anything like it was four years ago, they are sadly mistaken. Yes, I've heard tales of a Stouffer where half the rooms were empty, a place where troublemakers from other dorms were sent. Times have changed. When I take a look around, I see the model college house. I see a dorm with a waiting list. I see a thriving, vibrant, dedicated community. Look at that, I'm starting to ramble; it's hard not to when I think about how cool this place is. Consider an example of the Stouffer community in action. We have a tradition called "elving," where, two months into the fall semester, all of the veteran residents become "elves" and are assigned to "elve" the new residents. All of the elves go out one night and decorate their targets' doors, leaving lots of candy, clues and signs welcoming the new residents. The residents then have to find out who "elved" them. This is a whole lot of fun, and encourages the less active residents to come out and get involved. By the way, this is supposed to be a secret, so if you still remember this next year, please don't ruin it for our new residents! The point of this column is not to convince you all to move to Stouffer; unfortunately, there isn't enough room. The point is to ask for your support. Please understand how much this place means to us, and join us in opposing the University's plan. If you won't do it for us, do it for the Wawa, Beijing or for your freshmen friends, but just do it. And if you've never been to Stouffer, stop on by. I'd be happy to give you a tour. Maybe you'll see something you like. You'll certainly see something worth saving. Here's a something to think about: The University goes on and on about the lofty goals that the new college house program has for our residences. Their actions, however, are contrary to all of these stated goals. Do they really care about their students, or is this just another way to squeeze more profit out of the student body? Will they actually listen to the students whose lives they are affecting?

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