About CHAS


College House Student Leadership Structure

The College Houses are subdivided into three types, providing three different experiences for students, based on current understandings in student development theory.  These experiences are the First-Year experience, the Second-Year experience, and the Upper-Class experience.  Beginning in fall 2021, the College Houses leadership model will adjust so that we can better support Penn students through these developmental stages.

We will continue to center our House leadership model on the presence of faculty in the College Houses, providing the opportunity for our students to interact with Penn's world-class faculty on an interpersonal level.  Each House will be led by a Faculty Director and contain from two to four College House Fellows drawn from the standing faculty at the University.

Each House will continue to have a professional staff led by a House Director, who is familiar with student development and ensures that the House provides a secure and engaged community.

Our student leadership model in the Houses will undergo modest updates with changes becoming visible in the fall semester of 2021, consisting of a title change and a change in team deployment.

  • The title of the student leadership positions, which for the first twenty years of the College Houses were called "Resident Advisor (RA)" and "Graduate Associate (GA)" positions, will change to better reflect the position as it exists today. Undergraduate student leaders will continue to be called "Resident Advisor (RA)", while our graduate student leaders will now be called "Graduate Resident Advisor (GRA)". As these positions are entirely the same regardless of academic status, this terminology change will better reflect our current practice and provide for more transparency and consistency.
  • To better support the three types of student experiences in the College Houses, the First-Year Houses (Fisher Hassenfeld, Hill, Kings Court English, Riepe, and Ware) will have only undergraduate Resident Advisors as student leaders.  The Four-Year Houses (Du Bois, Gregory, Lauder, and Stouffer) will have teams with a combination of RAs and Graduate RAs, and the Upper-Class Houses (Gutmann, Harrison, Harnwell, and Rodin) will have a majority of Graduate RAs with a smaller number of undergraduate RAs.

The following chart outlines this leadership model based on these student experience and development themes:

Experience Themes Living Types Student Leadership

Sense of Belonging
Engaging with Philadelphia

Traditional style with
shared or semi-private
RAs only (100):
Quad: Fisher Hassenfeld - 22 RA
Quad: Riepe - 22 RA
Quad: Ware - 23 RA
Hill - 17 RA
Second-Year Academics
Apartment or suite-style
with private bathrooms

RAs & GRAs (41):
Du Bois - 4 GRA, 3 RA
Gregory Van Pelt - 3 GRA, 3 RA
Gregory C'25 - 4 GRA, 2 RA
Stouffer Stouffer - 6 RA
Stouffer Mayer - 6 GRA
Lauder - 6 GRA, 4 RA

Upper-Class Reflection
Decision Making
Apartment or suite-style
with private bathrooms

RAs & GRAs (84):
Gutmann - 6 GRA, 6 RA
Harnwell - 16 GRA, 8 RA
Harrison - 16 GRA, 8 RA
Rodin - 16 GRA, 8 RA

The new CHAS House leadership model will be implemented over 2 years starting in the spring semester of 2021 with the Student Leadership Selection process as we appoint RAs and GRAs to fill any vacancies. The current GAs/GRAs who live in First-Year Houses and are appointed for another year will be granted permission to remain in the First-Year House for one more year; during team selection in spring 2022, any remaining GRAs in the First-Year Houses who are re-appointed for another year will be transferred to a Four-Year or Upper-Class House effective fall 2022. During this time, CHAS will also explore and propose advanced leadership opportunities for RAs to serve as a Senior RA on their team or for a certain student population. This new House leaadership model will provide more opportunities for Penn undergraduate students to step into the RA role and contribute back to the College Houses.