Penn’s New Dorm Has Flat-Screen TVs in Every Suite

New College House, the recursively named new Penn dorm, has a bevy of amenities to attract students. But it doesn’t have The Black Eyed Peas.

Penn - New College House

Penn’s new college house, New College House, sits at the corner of 34th and Chestnut streets | Photo: Kara Lindstrom

Classes started at Penn yesterday, and students have been filtering back into West Philly for a few weeks now. For some, though, move-in this year was extra exciting: They’ve moved into Penn’s New College House.

Those capital letters are intentional: In an interesting bit of recursion, Penn’s new college house is named New College House. It’s not named after former United States treasurer John C. New; the university has just not found a donor to pay to attach his or her name to the building.

Per a story in today’s Daily Pennsylvanian, New College House features quite a few amenities: Breathtaking views of Center City, suite-style living with private bedrooms attached to a common area, a sloping lawn facing downtown and, 42-inch flat-screen TVs in every suite. 

Coincidentally, I lived in the dorm adjacent to New College House for my freshman year at Penn. My room at Hill College House in the 2000-2001 school year was about the same size as a 42-inch flat screen television. A double-room at Hill was 9′ 8″ by 13′ 4″.

Hill was designed by Eero Saarinen, the famed Finnish-American architect who also designed the St. Louis Arch and the TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport. Those landmarks would probably have been a better place to live in than Hill House, which in addition to the tiny rooms did not have air conditioning. (Hill was originally a women’s dorm, so the tiny rooms were probably due to sexism.)

Like New College House, Hill was divided into “suites.” Only our suites were more like the equivalent of a hall — they were run by a graduate assistant (mine was great). My suite did not offer me any 42-inch flat screen TVs — though back in 2000, that would have been cost-prohibitive. Also, did I mention the lack of air conditioning and the 9 x 13 doubles?

Hill is now under renovation and is expected to open up again for the next school year. It will indeed have air conditioning. But though Hill is being gutted and renovated and the Penn students now living in New College House have flatscreens, they don’t have one thing I did: The Black Eyed Peas playing at your dorm.

My freshman year, a pre-Fergie Black Eye Peas played Penn’s Spring Fling — opening for Ben Harper — on the field where New College House now sits., and Taboo (mislabeled in a promotional flier as “Taboob”) were still more of a socially conscious alternative hip-hop group than the pop act they later became, so living in that area gave me a great story: The Black Eyed Peas played my freshman dorm, back when they were good!

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