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This semester's room change request period opened on Sept. 18 and is expected to close on Nov. 10. Credit: Isa Merriam

First-year Penn students reported feeling discouraged to request fall room changes despite encountering various housing challenges. 

This year, the fall room change request period opened on Sept. 18 and closed on Nov. 10. Penn Residential Services instructed students interested in moving to fill out requests through the MyHomeAtPenn portal. Their submissions would then be assessed in three waves. 

Room change offers were sent out on Oct. 5 and Oct. 26, with the last round expected to be released on Nov. 16. Those who received offers from Residential Services had to respond within 48 hours to accept their room change, otherwise, their application would be moved to the bottom of the list. 

To notify students, Penn Residential Services sent announcements via email and distributed pamphlets to each dorm in college houses.

College first-year student Shanae Obi, who currently resides in Lauder College House with a randomly assigned roommate, considered a room change in early September because of incompatibility with roommates. 

“My roommates and I have very different lifestyles,” Obi said. 

Obi said she decided against submitting a housing change application due to concern that she might be rejected.

“The high probability of downgrading turned me away from filling out the application,” Obi said. 

Obi added that while amenities, cleanliness, and noise disruptions were common motivators for seeking housing changes, she was also worried about potentially being relocated to accommodations with inferior living conditions. 

Director of Communications and External Relations Barbara Lea-Kruger wrote to The Daily Pennsylvanian that the predominant factor hindering students from switching rooms is the high demand for single or private rooms, coupled with the scarcity of such spaces available this year.

"During the fall 2023 Room Change Period,  135 students requested to be moved to a different room, of those requests, 98 were for a private or single bedroom. We were able to offer new rooms to 50 students, and of those 50, 15 accepted the option they were given," Lea-Kruger wrote to the DP. 

While some first-year students sought new housing for better social opportunities, College first-year Moe Mansour initially considered leaving his single in Ware College House but stayed after finding a close-knit community in the Quad. 

“I am never in my room because I am always with my friends, and the Quad provided me that opportunity,” Mansour said.

Mansour added that the slim chance of a room change request being approved contributed to their belief that submitting one would likely be futile.

“If I am not going to hear back, I might as well not fill out a request,” Mansour said. 

First-year Nursing student Anna Nguyen said that as she weighed the potential benefits and disadvantages of applying to transfer, she realized that the difficult transition to another college house and the inconvenience of moving out ultimately outweighed her motivations for moving out. 

“Moving in was difficult, and I prefer not to revisit that process,” Nguyen said.