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Lauder College House on March 16, 2022

Credit: Derek Wong

Lauder College House and Van Pelt Manor in Gregory College House will become exclusively first-year housing beginning next academic year to accommodate renovations in the Quad.

Lauder and Van Pelt Manor are four-year college houses that are occupied by first years to seniors. The change will serve to accommodate the decrease in housing capacity for first-year students due to the large-scale Quad renovations, which will begin in the summer of 2023, during which Riepe College House will be closed for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Barbara Lea-Kruger, director of communications and external relations, Karu Kozuma, executive director of college houses and academic services, and Pat Killilee, director of residential services, spoke with The Daily Pennsylvanian about the changes.

“When Lauder first opened, Hill was going under renovations, so the very first year it was open it was a completely first-year house,” Killilee said, adding that Lauder can easily again be adapted to a first-year college house.

He said that Van Pelt Manor was chosen because it had just enough beds to accommodate the first-years who would have lived in Quad.

“It really is about trying to make sure first years aren’t isolated from each other,” Kozuma said. “As much as possible, we try to keep first years together.”

Kozuma explained that, through this change, College Houses & Academic Services and Residential Services aimed to put the displaced first years in college houses that already house first-year students. The housing programming in these college houses may also shift to accommodate first-year needs. 

“The baseline of making sure they’re connected, supported, and having an engaging experience will remain the same,” Kozuma said. 

Killilee said that students currently living in Lauder or Van Pelt Manor who want to continue living on-campus next year will be given "relocation points," which will help their time slot during the Move to Any House phase of Room Selection. He noted that the details are still being discussed.

Those students wishing to stay on campus will have to complete the third and fourth-year on-campus housing application, which opened on Nov. 1.

College and Wharton first year Alvin Xu, who currently lives in Lauder, said that he was surprised by the decision.

“The change was a little surprising,” Xu said. “I think some people did originally plan to stay for at least an additional year.”

Xu, who is in the Life Sciences Management program, said that students want to start a new program community next year for students in the College and Wharton dual degree program. The location of the program community will decide where he lives next academic year.

“Where I move to depends on where this program community is situated,” Xu said.

Xu added that he felt that his other Lauder residents were both surprised and upset about the change, saying that they found the announcement abrupt and sudden.

Penn previously announced that it will begin leasing off-campus apartment complex The Radian next year to accommodate upperclassmen living on campus. First years will not have the option to live in The Radian.

Stouffer College House, which is currently undergoing renovations, will also see an increased number of first-years due to the Quad renovations, but will not become exclusively for first-year students.