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Dorm Profile: Pennswood Hall

Pennswood Hall, Eastern’s only residence hall not on the St. David’s campus, is a unique mixture of living off-campus and living in a dorm.

Located on Harcum College’s campus, 4.3 miles from Eastern in Bryn Mawr, Pennswood is home to fifty-eight Eastern students, including the twelve women in the international nursing program. Professor Kevin Maness is the resident director.

Living in Pennswood shares some of the pros and cons of living off-campus. Students are not required to buy a meal plan, which is what first attracted Tony Vega, an RA who has lived in Pennswood for three years.

However, commuting to and from St. Davids is necessary, and can especially be a hassle for students without cars.

Yoko Ndjali, a junior and another Pennswood RA, said that while she misses the spontaneity of cross-campus visits, some students may prefer living in an off-campus dorm.

One such student is Mark Porter, who chose to live in Pennswood because it is cheaper, and because he is a little older than most undergrads.

While first-years who live in Pennswood are, for the most part, placed there, upperclassmen are there mainly by choice. Like many students on campus, they believe their dorm is the best place to be.

And Pennswood is still very much a dorm.

With white walls, white linoleum floors, and mostly closed doors, the building has an institutional feel.

The first floor and part of the third floor are occupied by Villanova students, the second by Harcum students and the rest of the third floor by Eastern students.

In the Eastern section, all of the regular St. Davids campus rules are in effect. According to Maness, although smoking is allowed and visitation rules are different at Harcum, Eastern students are still expected to follow Eastern policies anywhere on the campus.

Living in a building with students from other colleges offers the opportunity to diversify friendships.

According to Ndjali, although the Eastern contingent pretty much keeps to itself, several students have made friends with students from other floors, and some of the Eastern guys play basketball in the gym with some of the Harcum guys.

Pennswood is equipped with laundry facilities and wireless Internet. A post office, a library, and many restaurants and stores are within walking distance.

Eastern’s section is L-shaped, with women on the longer side, men on the shorter side, and the RD’s apartment in the middle.

Students can hang out in the lounge, equipped with couches, a TV, and a computer, or in the game room, which boasts a big-screen TV.

The fact that all the Eastern students in the area live on one floor provides for unique bonding opportunities and a hall with closer relationships than most.

“Yesterday we had a meeting,” Ndjali said, “and I walked in and I was like, aww, I love these people! They’re great.”

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