Penndel. Over the years it has become a “rite of passage” for the students here at Cairn University. Penndel has become a place for the upperclassmen to hunker down and get through their placements and student teaching without the frustrations of underclassmen staying up all night For those who live under a rock, there was a recent announcement that Cairn will be selling the Penndel apartments. This has caused quite a discussion on campus as the announcement was made only a few short days before housing week is supposed to take place.
In an effort to answer questions and ease the minds of the students (particularly the upperclassmen), Dr. Williams, Mr. Cawood, and Dean Sherf held a town hall meeting where students were given an opportunity to ask questions and get answers. After attending this meeting and asking my fair share of questions, there are a few things I wanted to share.
Losing Penndel sucks (especially for the upperclassmen).
From a student perspective: I am student teaching next semester and was banking on living in Penndel for this stressful time in my schooling career. I had plans and everything was figured out, but now I am scrambling to figure out my housing situation. I know that I am not the only student now stressing over housing.
From a Resident Life perspective: Applying to be an RA is already an incredibly stressful thing. There is nothing as exciting as getting that acceptance letter. Selling Penndel means that there will be cuts to the Resident Life staff. Some students were offered positions and then told that, due to the selling of Penndel, they will be placed in the alternate pool.
Visiting hours in Penndel were GREAT! For those of us not on the meal plan, the kitchens in the lounges allowed for cooking delicious meals. Penndel gave upperclassmen space from the energetic underclassmen. Unfortunately, losing Penndel means losing these things.
But everything will be alright.
No amount of protesting and complaining is going to stop the sale of Penndel. The administration is not selling Penndel to screw the students over. The reality is that they are selling Penndel so that future students can have better living arrangements, and to ask the administration to postpone the selling of Penndel is selfish. Life will go on and the fall semester will start. We will all go to class, drink more coffee than we should, stay up a little too late, procrastinate a little too much, and find new things to grumble about. We will learn to live as a community and have an opportunity to invest in each other in a new way. Our culture will change whether we want it to or not, but our attitudes can change too.
So I challenge you:
How will you react to this culture change?
Upperclassmen, will you be willing to tell all the “couch couples” that their actions are not appropriate in the Great Room? Will you be willing to extend some grace to your fellow underclassmen even when you have an important paper due the next day? Will you come alongside the underclassmen and mentor them rather than judge them and complain about them?
Underclassmen, will you be respectful of the stressful schedules of the upperclassmen? Will you be willing to change the culture in the Great Room so it becomes a place of comfort rather than a place of awkwardness? Will you be willing to show understanding as many upperclassmen make a very hard transition?
The choice is yours.
P.S. Thanks for the humor on this issue.