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Some people love college to death.

And now a growing number of colleges and universities have found a never-ending way to return the love.

A recent trend has hit higher education, with more and more institutions offering their alumni the opportunity to reside for eternity on campus grounds. These institutions have begun to build facilities - commonly known as columbaria, which comes from a Latin word for a final resting place - in which dead alumni can have their cremated ashes interred for a hefty fee. Some also offer a cheaper option - a memorial garden for alumni ashes.

This is one fundraising tactic, however, that Penn doesn't plan on getting involved with.

"Penn does not plan to do this," said Elise Betz, interim director of Alumni Relations. "I'd venture to say its because we just don't have the space for it."

Anne Papageorge, vice president of Facilities and Real Estate Services, echoed her sentiments.

"Our campus is pretty tight and although we are acquiring new property it is committed" to other uses, she said. "Currently, we have no plans to either study or implement such an idea."

But Papageorge did not rule out the possibility of laying alumni to rest on the University's campus someday.

"We will keep it in mind," she said.

With this new trend, a question arises - what is the real purpose behind building these columbaria?

Opinions seem to be split.

"A lot of universities are doing this as a fundraiser. If you donate $25,000 you get a niche" in the columbarium, said Andy Patenaude, the business manager for the Columbarium and Memorial Garden at the University of Rochester.

However, Patenaude said Rochester does not use its columbarium to raise money.

"Ours is probably not a norm," she said. "We don't market. We sell by word of mouth."

It costs $3,000 to buy a niche in the columbarium and 350 dollars to be scattered in the memorial garden at the University of Rochester.

However, Patenaude said Duke University, the University of North Carolina and Notre Dame University all have or are developing similar services and market them extensively.

When asked if Duke charges a fee anywhere near $3,000 for a columbarium plot, Sterly Wilder, executive director of alumni affairs, said only, "Oh honey, we're talking about a lot more than that."

Jeff Yohn, director of development at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, who has the exact price of an interment at Duke, was unavailable for comment.

However, Betz said she understands the strong connection between alumni and their universities and said, "I don't see fundraising as the reason for doing this."

"I think many, many people feel really connected to their colleges and universities. It is another thing institutions can offer their alumni. We are always looking to keep them connected," she added.

As for Penn alumni and students, some seem to be thankful Penn is not very trendy on this front.

"It would weird me out to be buried on campus," said rising College junior Rachel Skalina. "Some kid would probably pee on my grave."

Bob Gottlieb, a 1974 Wharton MBA graduate, wants Penn to focus on what he feels is important.

"As an educational institution, the University of Pennsylvania should strive to offer Penn alumni education opportunities instead of burial plot opportunities," he said.

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