Pennswood cancellation causes changes, problems for residents

Eastern’s cancellation of Pennswood beginning in the fall of 2007 means many changes for the Eastern students who used to live there.

Pennswood provided not only extra housing for Eastern students but also a little something beyond just room and board.

“The environment at Pennswood is totally family,” senior Melinda Crabbe said. “I’ve chosen to live at Pennswood for the last four semesters and not because of financial problems, but because of the bonds we make and have at Pennswood.”

Senior Tony Vega, who chose to live at Pennswood, has been there his entire college life, like many other Pennswood residents.

“The community, I’d say, is really diverse,” he said. “You have the Korean nurses, the city folks, the rural folks. You learn a lot from people there.”

Some students chose to live at Pennswood not just because of the community but also because that was the only way they could afford Eastern.

Students at Pennswood are not required to carry a meal plan, unlike St. Davids residents who must have a plan due to a contract with Sodexho.

“It was the only way I could attend Eastern,” Vega said. “I’d rather go grocery shopping than eat at Sodexho every day.”

Senior Tersit Yemane agreed. She said she spends $30 or less a week on food.

“I mostly enjoy my canned tuna ($.99) at Trader Joe’s,” she said.

On the other hand, junior Larry Buller, who moved to Pennswood when he turned in his housing deposit late and who will be moving into a Hainer single this fall, claims he spent $800-$1000 this semester on groceries. He also said there was more of a tendency to eat out when living off campus.

Paying for the meal plan will be difficult for many students who will have to transfer onto the St. Davids campus.

Junior James Whitely, along with some of his friends, decided to apply to be an RA after hearing Pennswood would be closing in the fall, and he got an RA position in Gough.

“I made a decision to try to be an RA together with a few of my friends since we were foreseeing the financial difficulties-just to try and soften the blow,” he said.

First-year Patience McMillan will commute.

“I’m going to have to live off campus next semester because I just can’t afford to live on campus,” she said.

Sophomore Sasha Montes agreed.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do, I might have to commute from Philly,” she said.

Other students had already planned to move back on campus and are untroubled by Pennswood’s cancellation.

Sophomore Alissa Linneman, for instance, had decided to come back on campus because of issues with the facilities and Harcum security.

“I think it’s the best decision they’ve made about Pennswood yet,” she said.

Everyone, however, agreed that the people who comprised the Pennswood community will be missed.

Kevin Maness, who was the resident director there, will be missed by students under him at Pennswood.

“He’s been the most helpful person in my college career. He’s always open to helping and easy to live with,” Vega said. “It’s not hard to find him. Just yell down the hall, and he’s there.”

For others, the whole community will be missed.

“Everyone, as you could imagine, is very upset about Pennswood closing,” said Yemane. “It was our home, and we were a community.”

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