Some students call campus home for the holidays

Holiday Housing

Harrison College House, built in 1970.

Traditionally, when fall semester ends, Penn students leave campus and travel home for the holidays, sometimes with friends in tow. But a small cadre of students who live in College Houses choose to stay on campus during winter break.

During the break, only four high-rise residences remain open: Harnwell, Harrison and Rodin College Houses and Sansom Place, which is managed by the University's Residential Services Department. Students who live in residences that will be closed must vacate their rooms by noon Thursday, Dec. 22, and cannot return, under any circumstances, until Saturday, Jan. 7, at 9 a.m.

For the past three years, Michelle Majeski, information center specialist at Rodin College House, has helped pair students living in closed buildings with hosts living in open buildings. She has aided students in finding temporary campus quarters through a program run by College Houses and Academic Services, Residential Services, the Assembly of International Students and Undergraduate Assembly.

Last year, through the program, 20 student hosts welcomed 20 student guests into their rooms.

“We have a winter break guest-host mixer for students who may want to share [space] with a student who is also on campus over break,” Majeski says. “The mixer can take away some of the uneasiness that may come with sharing a room.”

Majeski says that hosting another student over winter break is a great opportunity for students to make new friends from different backgrounds and cultures. “A lot of time, students talk about the friends they met during freshman year. That’s the kind of friendships that are born out of these housing situations,” she says.

Originally published on December 8, 2011