New College House West's first group of residents are largely impressed with the amenity-filled living experience.
So far, students are enjoying the luxury perks, which range from a dining café to a private courtyard to a coffee bar. Students' only complaints included the building's location on the far side of campus at 40th and Locust streets, as well as the crowded nature of certain amenities and building elevators.
The brand-new College House, which offers suite-style apartments, is home to 430 sophomores, juniors, and seniors after two years of construction. Some of the amenities include seminar, fitness, music practice, and meditation rooms. NCHW also has its own dining hall, Quaker Kitchen, which serves a restaurant-style dinner four to five nights each week.
College sophomore Arjun Marwaha said he is thrilled to be one of the building's first residents.
“We’re lucky; we know," Marwaha said. "Residents and visitors alike love the modern architecture, group study rooms, and renovated kitchens.”
College sophomore Michael Nolan also said that he appreciates the "novelty" of being one of the first students to live in the building.
New luxury amenities
Nolan said everything in NCHW is brand new and feels "very homey."
“The club rooms are all super pretty, the kitchens are all equipped with high-quality electric stoves and fridges, and the place kind of smells like an IKEA sometimes — in a good way,” Nolan said. He added that the college house is incredibly clean, and he has yet to see any mice or bugs except for a singular lanternfly that flew in through his window.
College sophomore Lynne Kim said she and her roommates are also enjoying all of the amenities NCHW has to offer.
“We thought it was really nice that the building has a lot of different facilities like shared kitchens and dance and study rooms, so we don't have to travel as much as if we lived in a different building without the same facilities,” Kim said.
Her favorite part of living in NCHW is Quaker Kitchen, which has 75 seats available for reservation and serves up to 150 students per night.
"Although the menu doesn't really rotate that often, the food is really good and is served on a really nice plate that makes it seem extra fancy,” Kim said.
Nolan added that he was pleasantly surprised by the new dining hall in NCHW.
“While I haven't been yet, it's cool to know that if I ever feel like taking a 'lazy Sunday' on a Tuesday, I can stay here practically all day,” Nolan said.
Popularity among non-residents
Engineering sophomore Joseph Lee, who lives in NCHW, said one of the best parts of the building is all of the different lounges.
"Everyone comes here for the lounges and [group study rooms], and it’s always filled during the weekends," Lee said. "Obviously, as an NCHW resident that can be annoying sometimes, but it's more so really cool to see such a busy building."
Engineering sophomore Tony An, another resident, agreed that the lounges are often full, which he considers a drawback of the new building. He added that he wished there was another set of elevators, since they are often very crowded.
Lee said that a lot of clubs host their meetings in NCHW, and many of his friends come to the building to study or hang out. He added that the grassy area outside of the building is popular for students to hang out and play spike ball.
Isolation from the rest of campus
Although students are largely pleased with the amenities, several residents said one of the negative aspects of living in NCHW is its location at 40th and Walnut streets, which is further away from most academic buildings than other college houses. Most academic buildings are located on the opposite side of the Class of 1949 Bridge which spans 38th Street.
"I feel as though we're kind of isolated from the rest of Penn," Nolan said. "Compared to living in the Quad last year, I feel as though everything is happening far away from me, including my classes."
Nolan said his 8:30 a.m. astronomy class in David Rittenhouse Laboratory, on the corner of 33rd and Walnut streets, is a 15-minute walk from his dorm without accounting for any traffic on Locust Walk. Marwaha and An agreed that the building’s distance from classes and location at the edge of Penn's campus is one of the negative aspects of living in NCHW.
Lee, however, said the location is one of his favorite parts of living in NCHW, since it has similar facilities to Lauder College House but is located closer to the part of campus where many upperclassmen live.
“[NCHW] is the new spot everyone comes to play at,” Lee said.
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