Imagine spending your daytime hours pursuing your passion in the classroom, guided by world-renowned thinkers in your chosen discipline. Then, imagine the experience continuing into your time away from class, through a supportive community that assuages your uncertainties and nurtures your curiosity.
At Penn, this scenario is anything but imaginary, thanks to the thriving College House System—which is slated to expand in 2021 with the addition of New College House West, a top priority of The Power of Penn Campaign.
Twelve College Houses currently exist across campus, serving as second homes to more than 5,600 residents including undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff. Together, they strive to bring academic life into the living spaces of our students, creating environments that encourage self-discovery and personal enrichment. The opening of New College House West will welcome hundreds more student residents during their first and second years at Penn.
The Lauder College House Experience
The newest addition to the College House System broke ground in 2014 and opened in 2016 as New College House, welcoming 344 members of the class of 2020 as its founding community. In 2019, it was renamed as Lauder College House in honor of the Lauder Family, from which three generations of students have called Penn their alma mater and home away from home.
The seven-story, 198,000-square-foot building, located at 34th and Chestnut Streets, is Penn’s first-ever residential building specifically designed as a College House. Here, undergraduates live together in modern three- to six-bedroom suites, surrounded by a variety of resources to advance a well-rounded learning experience—including:
- Program Communities, a collection of living-learning environments that allow students with similar interests and passions to live together in themed, student-designed, and course-based atmospheres
- Funding and guidance for an 18-month independent research project, provided by the College House Research Program
- Informal events offered nearly every night of the week, from movie screenings to smoothie nights to pop-up yoga classes
- A broad selection of paid positions offering pre-professional work experience
- Penn faculty and staff living in the building, who contribute to the College House community as neighbors, advisors, and friends
The Mentor Down the Hall
“The College Houses are vital connectors with other parts of the Penn community,” says Cam Grey, LPS’13, Associate Professor of Classical Studies and Faculty Director of Lauder College House.
Grey holds a “faculty family dinner” every week, where students can join him and his family to talk about their schoolwork, life at Penn, or anything else that happens to be on their minds. It is one of the ways he has found to demonstrate to students how learning happens outside the classroom as well as inside of it.
Because Grey and his young family live in Lauder College House, he can help students exercise intellectual curiosity in their home lives, he explains. And beyond his interactions with students, a diverse slate of programming, from academic talks to artistic performances, keep things busy throughout the academic year.
The Next College House
The thriving College House System continues to grow, with construction of the New College House West currently underway. This new residence, located at the campus gateway of 40th Street and Locust Walk, will accommodate 450 students from the sophomore, junior, and senior classes.
Its layout and design borrow much from the success of Lauder College House—with multi-bedroom suites for residents, meaningful investment in public open space, and environmentally sustainable elements like green roofs and bird-friendly glazing. Further amenities including study and music practice rooms, a fitness center, and a meditation space leave the door open for self-guided academic and personal development.
These purpose-built spaces are changing the landscape at Penn, creating new opportunities for students to live their best lives on campus. By supporting The Power of Penn Campaign, you help to build a solid foundation for today’s students and for the generations to come.