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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Housing changes to affect future first-year and upper level students 

Pennbrook Apartments on N 63rd St. currently houses sophomore students. PHOTO: KELLY SHANNON ’24/THE HAWK

All St. Joe’s first-year students will live on the Hawk Hill campus beginning next year, according to a Sept. 16 email to the university community from Cheryl A. McConnell, Ph.D., interim president of St. Joe’s. 

Jessica Moran-Buckridge, Ed.D., associate dean of Residence Life, confirmed the transition will take place in fall 2023.

“Each subsequent first-year class will also live on Hawk Hill, transitioning undergraduate housing to Hawk Hill over the next few years,” Moran-Buckridge wrote in response to written questions from The Hawk.

Moran-Buckridge said a little over 400 students currently live in residence halls at the University City campus. Beginning next year, second-year students and higher who want to live on campus will likely live in the campus’ newest residence hall, the Living and Learning Commons (LLC), which opened in 2019. A six-story, mixed-use residence hall, the LLC can house over 400 students. One other residence hall at the UCity campus, Osol Hall, currently houses upper-level and graduate students.

As part of these changes, the university also will not renew its lease on the Pennbrook Apartments, and the Morris Quad Townhouses will be offered as sophomore housing instead of upper-level housing, Moran-Buckridge said. 

St. Joe’s decision to end the lease for Pennbrook Apartments was simply economical, Moran-Buckridge said.

“Our current and near-future housing projections and needs, balanced against the cost of the lease, make this a reasonable time to end our lease,” Moran-Buckridge said.

Pennbrook Apartments, located on North 63rd Street across from the Overbrook Station, is currently a sophomore residency building that offers apartments for two to seven students.

The Pennbrook Apartments can house approximately 240 students, and the Morris Quad Townhouses can house 120 residents, Moran-Buckridge said. 

Mark Pupis ’25 lives in the Pennbrook Apartments with five of his friends, and said he has really enjoyed his time there so far. 

“I just like the feel of it,” Pupis said. “It gives us a good sense of community. Everyone embraces Pennbrook as the best place to live, but there’s more than that. I’m a little biased, but I just think it’s better than every other option for sophomore housing.”

Moving forward, St. Joe’s will likely no longer offer exclusive junior or senior living options as only a small percentage of juniors and seniors currently live on Hawk Hill, Moran-Buckridge said.

“We are still identifying the scope of what housing we can provide for additional students on Hawk Hill,” Moran-Buckridge said. “We hope to be able to fully communicate options to this group of students later in October, in line with the planned Off-Campus Housing Fairs, which will be held at both campus locations the week after Fall Break.” 

Pupis said right now he is not sure what he will do.

“I was actually considering living on campus [next year], but I don’t know what the options are for me now,” Pupis said.

Kevin Vu ’24, who currently lives in the Morris Quad Townhouses, was also hoping to stay on campus next year. Vu said there are many benefits to on-campus housing and was hoping to live in the Morris Quad Townhouses during his senior year.

“The best part about St. Joe’s-owned housing is that if there’s a problem with the A/C or the bathroom or anything, I could always call the school maintenance to come over, which is better in comparison to living in privately owned housing,” Vu said. 

Vu said he also likes the structured community that on-campus housing offers.

“There’s that sense of community living in the townhouses, because you have an RA to give you guidance whenever you need it,” Vu said. “If you ever struggle in class, or just need someone to talk to, an RA is always around in the townhouse area whenever you need.”

Now that the townhouses are no longer an option, Vu said he is not sure where he will live next year. 

In her address to the university community last month, McConnell said the university hopes to add new residences to the Hawk Hill campus in the future.

For now, Moran-Buckridge said the university will rely on its current stock.

“Future housing plans will continue to be assessed as the merger is refined and academic programs and needs come more into focus,” Moran-Buckridge said.  

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