Life

House Life

Course Communities

Theme Communities: Shared classes, shared space.
FY - First Year= open to first-year students
UP - Upper Class= open to upperclass students
C - Credit= academic credit available

Click a community listing title to expand and explore in detail.

Theme Communities: Shared classes, shared space.
FY - First Year= open to first-year students
UP - Upper Class= open to upperclass students
C - Credit= academic credit available

Click a community listing title to expand and explore in detail.

Theme Communities: Shared classes, shared space.
FY - First Year= open to first-year students
UP - Upper Class= open to upperclass students
C - Credit= academic credit available

Click a community listing title to expand and explore in detail.


Penn Course Communities

Open to First-year Students
Optional Academic Credit

The BFS community in Hill College House: a vibrant community of students who share a passion for broad intellectual exploration.
 
Hill College House is the home of the Benjamin Franklin Scholars (BFS) Program. The program brings students from the four undergraduate schools together in a caring, supportive community that serves as one important anchor for the plethora of activities spanning Penn’s campus and beyond. BFS promotes the intellectual vitality that accrues to crossing boundaries and integrating knowledge, balancing the increased pressures to specialize.

BFS is a campus-wide program, building bridges among all four Undergraduate schools – the College, Engineering, Nursing, and Wharton. The program brings scholars from their respective home schools together over a shared interest in the power of ideas to transform the world.

The flagship element of the BFS experience is its focus on intensive learning.  We encourage exploration beyond the major, and outside the Home school. BFS Seminars offer enriching opportunities to work on challenging topics, without requiring extensive prerequisites, both inside and outside a student’s major fields of study. Special BFS programs bring in world-renowned speakers, and provide opportunities for international internships. And Hill College House provides the campus community for scholars to engage in social, cultural, service, and life skills activities that provide the perfect complement to their Penn experience.
 
Each school implements the BFS vision in their own way so that the program enhances the existing home school requirements.  See details on the four programs here:
 

Note: There are three requirements for membership in the BFS Residential Community in Hill.

  1. You must separately apply for the Benjamin Franklin Scholars / Integrated Studies academic program through your school and be accepted. See more information here.
  2. You must list the BFS program in Hill as your first choice when you apply for housing. (You should also list your second and third housing preferences carefully in the event that you are not accepted into BFS.)  Visit housing application instructions here.  
  3. Students must have accepted their place in the incoming class in the College in Penn.

Students who have not completed all three parts of the application process will not be able to be considered for the BFS Residential Community. There will be no exceptions.

Program Location: Hill College House





Contact:
Prof. Peter Struck, BFS Director
struck@sas.upenn.edu

For more information and application instructions, see:
Benjamin Franklin Scholars


This program has 74 members.
Open to First-year Students
Optional Academic Credit

KC3 houses the community of the dual-degree Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business. The program integrates a liberal arts and business education, as well as advanced foreign language training. The program fosters global awareness and understanding of economic, cultural, social, linguistic, and technological issues in the international arena. Huntsman students select one of the eleven official target languages: Arabic, Mandarin, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. All first-year students accepted into the program live together in Kings Court English College House during their freshman year. This allows Huntsman students to learn from a wide variety of languages and nationalities. Moreover, Huntsman students create lifelong friendship bonds between each other.

Program Location: 3rd floor Kings Court





Contact:
Dr. M. Krimo Bokreta, Kings Court English College House Dean
bokreta@pobox.upenn.edu

For more information and application instructions, see:
Huntsman Program for International Studies and Business


This program has 48 members.

College House Course Communities

Open to First-year Students
Optional Academic Credit

Casa Hispanica is the Spanish Language component of the Modern Languages Program, based in Class of 1925. This program is staffed by resident Program Directors who are accomplished graduate students (and often native Spanish speakers) chosen to promote the goals of language immersion and cultural exposure. Each group meets 2-4 times a week for meals, chats, media screenings and excursions, consisting of everything from Spanish Pictionary to cooking instruction to opera and dance. This close-knit community has members from all four class years, with some 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 Spanish fluency are welcome; dedicated residents often show great improvement in their speaking skills, and have the option of receiving course credit in Spanish.

Program Goals: The program aims to provide students with regular Spanish language practice and diverse cultural experiences.

Requirements: Students who choose to enroll in the for-credit option for Spanish can expect to participate in 2-3 events each week held entirely in Spanish. There is no required written component. Enrollment is a half credit per semester for a maximum of two semesters. Note: Upperclassmen living in Gregory are welcome to participate in Casa Hispanica activities but will not necessarily be assigned to the MLP living spaces.

Program Location: Class of '25

Special Amenities: Viewing Lounge




Contact:
Dr. Christopher Donovan, Gregory College House Dean
cdonovan@upenn.edu

For more information and application instructions, see:
Modern Languages Program


This program has 32 members.
Open to First-year Students
Optional Academic Credit

The German House program at Gregory offers students exposure to German language, film and culture. Beginners learn from more advanced students, and all enjoy a relaxed environment for maintaining or improving their German language skills. Deutsches Haus is proud to be able to offer students the option of enrolling in German 180: German in Residence through the Penn Department of Germanic Language & Literatures. While many students enroll for credit, you are welcome to participate for fun or attend select events!

Deutsches Haus is the German Language component of the Modern Languages Program, based in Class of 1925. This program is staffed by resident Program Directors who are accomplished graduate students (and often native German speakers) chosen to promote the goals of language immersion and cultural exposure. Each group meets 2-4 times a week for meals, chats, media screenings and excursions, consisting of everything from German Pictionary to cooking instruction to opera and dance. This close-knit community has members from all four class years, with some 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 German fluency are welcome; dedicated residents often show great improvement in their speaking skills, and have the option of receiving course credit in German.

Program Goals: The program aims to provide students with regular German language practice and diverse cultural experiences.

Requirements: Students who choose to enroll in the for-credit option for German can expect to participate in 2-3 events each week held entirely in German. There is no required written component. Enrollment is a half credit per semester for a maximum of two semesters. Note: Upperclassmen living in Gregory are welcome to participate in Deutsches Haus activities but will not necessarily be assigned to the MLP living spaces.

Program Location: Class of '25

Special Amenities: Viewing Lounge




Contact:
Dr. Christopher Donovan, Gregory College House Dean
cdonovan@upenn.edu

For more information and application instructions, see:
Modern Languages Program


This program has 32 members.
Open to First-year Students
Optional Academic Credit

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).

Our intimate, newly-renovated cinema lounge hosts a packed schedule of screenings and discussions (often more than 150 per year) covering  the medium’s history and the scope of world cinema today. (We post the trailers for the films we screen on our Facebook page— check out our current lineup!) This low-pressure program also sponsors a student-made film festival, takes regular trips to Philadelphia-area theaters (sometimes for advanced screenings), 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 discussing the art form.

Requirements: Although we hope all participants will participate in screenings and discussions from time to time, there is no formal expectation except for those residents who opt to enroll for credit.  For enrolled students, requirements include attendance at 10 in-House screenings and 3 excursions, along with an oral presentation and active engagement in discussions.  Enrollment is a half credit per semester for a maximum of two semesters.

Program Location: Van Pelt 4th Floor

Special Amenities: Designated Cinema lounge with state-of-the-art television and sound




Contact:
Dr. Christopher Donovan, Gregory College House Dean
cdonovan@upenn.edu

For more information and application instructions, see:
Film Culture


This program has 40 members.
Open to First-year Students
Optional Academic Credit

Maison Française is the French Language component of the Modern Languages Program, based in Class of 1925. This program is staffed by resident Program Directors who are accomplished graduate students (and often native Francophones) chosen to promote the goals of language immersion and cultural exposure. Each group meets 2-4 times a week for meals, chats, media screenings and excursions, consisting of everything from French Pictionary to cooking instruction to opera and dance. This close-knit community has members from all four class years, with some 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 French fluency are welcome; dedicated residents often show great improvement in their speaking skills, and have the option of receiving course credit in French.

Program Goals: The program aims to provide students with regular French language practice and diverse cultural experiences.

Requirements: Students who choose to enroll in the for-credit option for French can expect to participate in 2-3 events each week held entirely in French. There is no required written component. Enrollment is a half credit per semester for a maximum of two semesters. Note: Upperclassmen living in Gregory are welcome to participate in Maison Française activities but will not necessarily be assigned to the MLP living spaces.

Program Location: Class of '25

Special Amenities: Viewing Lounge




Contact:
Dr. Christopher Donovan, Gregory College House Dean
cdonovan@upenn.edu

For more information and application instructions, see:
Modern Languages Program


This program has 32 members.
Open to First-year Students
Optional Academic Credit

The Music and Social Change program explores the many ways in which individuals use music in their everyday lives to develop who they are and, often subconsciously, to advance their own social and economic position. Through an academic course, volunteering in music classrooms in West Philadelphia, and attending concerts together, participants will investigate how music is used to construct larger social and economic networks that we call culture. The ongoing interdisciplinary debate about the value of popular, Western “classical,” and transnational music in the education and everyday lives of young people will be a focus.
 
This residential program is special in two ways- first, it requires that residents donate 3 hours per week to volunteering in a West Philadelphia music class for the entire academic year and second, all residents take a Freshman Seminar together spread across the first-year (as a .5cu course in Fall and Spring terms). In addition, the program includes attending concerts together across Philadelphia in a wide range of genres and styles, exploring the history of West Philadelphia's educational and musical institutions, and having dinner discussions with academics whose work specializes in the ties between music, social class, race, and economic mobility.
 
The volunteer component of the residential program will take students either to The Workshop School to work with choir or general music classes or to Henry C. Lea Elementary School to work with an after school music program with band, orchestra, choir or homework help.  In past years, participants have been able to work around their own academic schedules but our typical volunteer options are Mon-Tues-Wed between 3-6pm at the Elementary School or Fridays between noon-3pm at the High School.  The program will work around students' schedules as best we can, and some students have been able to assist school-day teachers at alternate times as well.
 
The residential program is also supported by a very knowledgeable residential associate, who will either be a graduate student in Music or an undergraduate who has been through the course or residential program before.  The residential associate lives with all participants and plays a crucial role in helping to organize concert outings, leading group activities, and providing ongoing support to students in the program.
 
Students in the Music and Social Change program are not required to read music or to be accomplished performing musicians, although participants must have a passion for music, an interest in working with youth in our community, and the willingness and flexibility to try new things.  Participants who have musical skills and are interested in taking on leadership positions, such as more hands-on teaching, will be encouraged to do so.

Program Location: Throughout the House





Contact:
Dr. Molly McGlone
mmcglone@sas.upenn.edu

For more information and application instructions, see:
Music and Social Change


This program has 19 members.
Open to First-year Students
Open to Upperclass Students
Optional Academic Credit

Du Bois College House is committed to advancing the legacy of Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois through programs that share knowledge and experience of people of African descent.  The Zulu in Residence program will expose students to the language and culture of the Zulu people of South Africa in a semi-formal and relaxed setting in Du Bois College House.  The program is designed to impart basic communicative skills and cultural nuances embedded in the use of the Zulu language. Unlike students of other world languages and cultures such as European languages which are easily accessible through various media and speech communities in this country, students interested in African languages and creoles spoken in the African diaspora face the challenge of cultural distance due to lack of exposure to these languages and cultures in their immediate environments.  The program will bridge this cultural gap by engaging students through movies, songs, pertinent museum experience, and cultural activities available on the internet. Students will also engage in hands-on activities to make and experience Zulu cultural products, e.g. Zulu food.  The program also will provide a space for students to make conscious linguistic and cultural comparisons between Zulu and other dialects of English and/or creoles spoken by people of African descent in the diaspora, e.g. features of Ebonics (African American Vernacular) that are similar to those of Zulu as well as some loan words from African languages into language varieties of the African diaspora such as “kata” (Jamaican Patois) and “inkatha” (Zulu) for a roll of cloth on top of the head to cushion the skull from the weight of a head load.  Students will perceive language varieties of the African diaspora as systematic and logical dialects with features that can be traced to African language systems.  There will also be discussions of the influence of the African diaspora on cultures in Africa, e.g. African-American influence on Zulu music.

Goals

The following 5Cs (adapted from the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning) will serve as goals of the program:

  • Students will learn communicative language skills through interpersonal, interpretive and presentational modes of language learning techniques. 
  • They will gain knowledge and understanding of the Zulu culture.  They will use their Zulu language and cultural experience to connect with Africana-related materials within disciplines of their interests.  And they will enhance their understanding of the African diaspora cultures through perspectives acquired from the Zulu program. 
  • They will also develop insight into the nature of language and culture through comparisons of the Zulu language and culture with their own language(s) and culture(s).
  • Through movies, songs, and other cultural activities on YouTube, etc. students will learn cultural products and practices of the Zulu people and become life-long learners who can participate in the sharing of knowledge regarding people of African descent within their communities including at Penn.
Program Location: Du Bois

Special Amenities: Technology




Contact:
Dr. Audrey Mbeje, Du Bois House Fellow
mbeje@sas.upenn.edu




This program has 15 members.
Open to First-year Students
Optional Academic Credit

Arabic House is the Arabic Language component of the Modern Languages Program, based in Class of 1925. This program is staffed by resident Program Directors who are accomplished graduate students (and often native Arabic speakers) chosen to promote the goals of language immersion and cultural exposure. Each group meets 2-4 times a week for meals, chats, media screenings and excursions, consisting of everything from Arabic Pictionary to cooking instruction to opera and dance. This close-knit community has members from all four class years, with some 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 Arabic fluency are welcome; dedicated residents often show great improvement in their speaking skills, and have the option of receiving course credit in Arabic.

Program Goals: The program aims to provide students with regular Arabic language practice and diverse cultural experiences.

Requirements: Students who choose to enroll in the for-credit option for Arabic can expect to participate in 2-3 events each week held entirely in Arabic. There is no required written component. Enrollment is a half credit per semester for a maximum of two semesters. Note: Upperclassmen living in Gregory are welcome to participate in Arabic House activities but will not necessarily be assigned to the MLP living spaces.

Program Location: Class of '25

Special Amenities: Viewing Lounge




Contact:
Dr. Christopher Donovan, Gregory College House Dean
cdonovan@upenn.edu

For more information and application instructions, see:
Modern Languages Program


This program has 32 members.
Open to First-year Students

Chinese House welcomes any Gregorian interested in exploring Chinese language and culture. While some proficiency in Mandarin is preferred, all are encouraged to participate. Besides language, we will also enjoy films (with English subtitles), calligraphy, games and, yes, authentic Chinese food.

Chinese House is the Mandarin Chinese Language component of the Modern Languages Program, based in Class of 1925. This program is staffed by resident Program Directors who are accomplished graduate students (and often native Mandarin speakers) chosen to promote the goals of language immersion and cultural exposure. Each group meets 2-4 times a week for meals, chats, media screenings and excursions. This close-knit community has members from all four class years, with some 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 Mandarin Chinese fluency are welcome; dedicated residents often show great improvement in their speaking skills.

Program Goals: The program aims to provide students with regular Chinese language practice and diverse cultural experiences.

Requirements: Students can expect to participate in 2-3 events each week held entirely in Mandarin. There is no required written component. Note: Upperclassmen living in Gregory are welcome to participate in Chinese House activities but will not necessarily be assigned to the MLP living spaces.

Program Location: Class of '25

Special Amenities: Viewing Lounge




Contact:
Dr. Christopher Donovan, Gregory College House Dean
cdonovan@upenn.edu

For more information and application instructions, see:
Modern Languages Program


This program has 32 members.