Gregory College House: In-Depth
Van Pelt Manor: 3909 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6004
Class of 1925: 3941 Irving Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6191
House Office: 215.573.5171
Renovation update: The Class of 1925 Hall, which houses the Modern Languages Program, will be updated in summer 2013 with new in-suite bathrooms, furniture, flooring, paint and other enhancements, as well as new furnishings and improvements in public spaces. During the summer of 2014 similar renovations are expected to occur in Van Pelt Hall.
"One of the smallest and coziest Houses"
GREGORY COLLEGE HOUSE is one of the smallest and coziest Houses at Penn. Everyone has private bedrooms and in-suite bathrooms, giving them plenty of breathing space. And yet you can absolutely get to know everyone who lives here. Because we have an overstuffed calendar of events — 25 a week, on average! — Gregorians spend much of their time at Tuesday night BYOMs (Bring Your Own Mug!), Wednesday night study breaks, and Sunday brunches.
Most nights our lounges are full of chatter about movies and often in a multitude of languages, thanks to our Modern Languages and Film Culture Programs. And Film Culture mounts a diverse screening festival of 150 films a year. Gregorians can earn course credit in Cinema Studies, Arabic, German, French or Spanish right where they live, and that is our distinction among the 11 Houses. Our Manager Board, the largest in the College House system, runs the Darkroom café and purchases group tickets to Philadelphia events.
We take pride in being a four-year House where lifelong friendships are built. Our first-year students live together on the top floors of both Van Pelt and Class of ‘25 and they regularly mix with our upperclassmen who volunteer advice in course selection, majors and much more. Our faculty and graduate associates are key members of this extended family, getting acquainted with everyone through Gregory Greets, a series of gatherings to help new-to-Penn students acclimate to college life.
From the day they arrive, all Gregorians are warmly invited to play their part in this tight-knit community, whether it’s joining in our favorite traditions or inventing new ones. You can expect to stage a brunch or study break for the House, offer a native dish for International Dinner night, show off your mad skills at Open Mic or the Lucid Performing Arts Night, meet your neighbors on paintball and whitewater rafting trips, flaunt your inner auteur at our 48 Hour student film festival, or wax theatrical at our outdoor bard competition, Shakespeare on the Beach.
New ideas are as welcome here as new friends; each generation of Gregorians puts a stamp on the House that remains for four years and beyond.
Coat of Arms and House Motto:
Multis e gentibus vires, meaning "From many peoples [comes] strength," reflects Gregory's multinational population and close-knit community.
WHAT'S SPECIAL ABOUT US:
- - Private bedroom space for all residents; all suites have their own bathroom
- - Full social calendar/opportunities for all classes in the House to mix
- - High retention rate: many residents stay for four years
- - International language and film programs that offer academic credit
(Anonymous) Student Quotes from past College House Surveys
"My RA made my experience so wonderful..."
"I love it in Gregory. Best kept secret at Penn!"
"Even though our building seems never to have been renovated before, Gregorians are certainly a spirited and raucous bunch!"
"Love it here, just needs some renovation."
"I love the community Gregory provides. I have lived there my entire time at Penn and am very satisfied with the plethora of things to do it provides."
"Gregory is an unbelievable place to live. The students, faculty and staff very quickly feel like old friends, no one is inaccessible and at the end of the year you feel a great sense of belonging and family."
"Gregory has plenty of events that foster house community. I feel very connected to Gregory and am proud be a resident."
"I really like living in Gregory. I was hesitant at first, but the air of community, fraternity, and mutual respect is comforting. The people are interesting, the food is great and copious, and the events are never ending!"
"I cannot find a college house with more spirit. Gregory Van Pelt was actually the first College House under the College House system was created in the 1970s. Gregory has maintained and increased its house spirit with the dinners, study breaks, trips, lectures, brunches, and other programs that it has throughout the year."
"Bring Your Own Mug at Gregory is the best college house event EVER."
"Gregory College House provided me with a very nurturing environment. I feel that because it is one of the smaller houses, the events allow me to feel more connected to the residents, faculty, and staff, than if I were to live in another college house, like the Quad. The activities, like the study breaks and hot chocolate nights have provided me with a sense of stability during stressful times, personal or school-related. The GAs, RAs, and the House Dean, Chris Donovan, made me feel welcome in my house, and I feel that I became friends with them over my four years in the house. I highly recommend Gregory College House to incoming freshmen."
"Gregory is the greatest place to live. The community is very friendly and tight knit. It is very comfortable and familiar."
"Gregory College House (Van Pelt) always offers study breaks, socials, and movie nights almost every night of the week. This really makes me feel close to my neighbors and creates a positive bond between me and everyone who lives in Gregory."
"Gregory quickly forms a very close-knit community. My best friends live on my floor and we are always studying together in the kitchen or sitting in the halls talking. It is a very comfortable and safe place to live--so much so that most of us keep our doors unlocked without a second thought."
"Gregory is a wonderful place to live, and the sense of community and spirit of the House has undoubtedly defined my college experience here at Penn."
"I made fast friends with the people in my hall. I feel comfortable being around anyone in Gregory. To be clichéd, it feels like a family."
"Gregory's sense of community is incredibly strong, perhaps because we are a bit removed from the rest of campus. I have made amazing friends among the student and faculty bodies, and the wealth of activities that occur at Gregory allow me to broaden my horizons as an intellectual and as a person."
Featured Program: Gregory's Modern Languages Program
MLP is dedicated to students who are interested in acquiring and maintaining competency in a foreign language while gaining new cultural experiences. Our five language “houses,” four of which offer unique options for academic credit, meet throughout the week for dinners, coffee hours and other engaging opportunities to chat in the target tongue.
Arabic House is an entirely student-generated addition to our lineup. Its proud founding residents, Emily Goshey and James Sawyer, observed that “the most valuable aspect by far is how it brings people with a common interest in the Arabic language together in a less formal environment than the classroom.”
Casa Hispanica tends toward the festive, with board games, film discussions, cooking instruction, and culturally-themed videos, but the program also aims to help members advance at least one level of American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language (ACTFL) proficiency standards.
Chinese House is not offered for credit, which allows the freedom to explore cultural avenues ranging from calligraphy lessons, wide-roaming discussions of political and social subjects, Chinese New Year celebrations and trips to Chinatown for dim sum.
Deutsches Haus also takes full advantage of Philadelphia’s cultural opportunities, including waltz instruction by the German Society, trips to the Weihnachtsmarkt at Love Park and dinner at Brauhaus Schmitz. Plus candy in your shoes for Nikolaus Day!
Maison Française is known for its lively conversations, immersing participants in the francophone world through exploration of music, food, art and hot-button contemporary issues. Professor Philippe Met, who specializes in French poetry and cinema, is a Gregory House Fellow who supports this program.
The Film Culture Program (FCP) is devoted to movie lovers interested in expanding their knowledge of the art form beyond just summer blockbusters and Oscar winners (though we like those too). A regular schedule of screenings and discussions in the intimate film lounge covers the medium’s history and the scope of world cinema today. This low-pressure program also sponsors a student-made film festival, takes regular trips to Philadelphia-area theaters (sometimes for advanced screenings), hosts cinema studies classes, and encourages participants to write screenplays and try their hand at film-making. Even better, FCP members can choose to enroll in the program for academic credit and receive a grade for their active participation.
Program Goals: The program aims to introduce students to a wide range of films and to provide considerable practice both speaking and writing about the art form.
Requirements: Although all participants, it is hoped, will participate in screenings and discussions from time to time, there is no formal expectation of those residents who opt for no-credit. For students who wish to take the academic credit option, requirements include attendance at 10 in-House screenings and 3 excursions, along with an oral presentation and one written assignment. Enrollment is a half credit per semester for a maximum of two semesters.
To Apply: There is no essay for Film Culture.
View on the Residential Programs page
Modern Languages Program
The Modern Languages Program (MLP), based in Class of 1925, is made up of five language groups: Arabic House, Casa Hispanica, Chinese House, Deutsches Haus and Maison Française. These programs are staffed by resident Program Directors who are accomplished graduate students (often native speakers) chosen to promote the goals of language immersion and cultural exposure. Each group hosts a film series and meets multiple times a week for meals, gatherings and excursions consisting of everything from language Pictionary to cooking instruction to opera and dance. These close-knit communities have members from all four class years, with veterans taking on a guiding role; many participants are interested in international business, law, or careers in diplomacy, and often plan to study abroad while at Penn. Both beginners and those with considerable language fluency are welcome; dedicated residents often show great improvement in their speaking skills, and indeed many gain a course credit in French, German, Spanish or Arabic (though, unfortunately, not in Chinese).
Program Goals: The program aims to provide students with an experience language immersion and exposure to the culture related to their chosen programs.
Requirements: Although specific requirements vary across the different languages, student who enroll in the for-credit option for Arabic, Spanish, German, or French can expect on a weekly basis to participate in 2-5 events that are held entirely in the language they have chosen.
To Apply: Incoming freshmen should indicate to which of the six programs they are applying, as well as submit a short essay explaining their background in their respective languages and their motivation for joining the program.
View on the Residential Programs page
Staff in Residence
Prof. Heather Love
Dr. Mara Mills
Dr. Christopher Donovan
College House Fellow
Prof. Philippe Met
College House Fellow
Prof. Lance Wahlert
Total number of residents: 262
Freshmen in residence: 128
Number of GAs: 10
Number of RAs: 3
Mostly suite style, 1-4 bedrooms with private bathrooms. Freshmen may not apply to live in Quads (4 bedrooms and 4 bedrooms with living rooms).
Class of 1920 Commons