Hill College House is like that brace–faced 8th grader in middle school who shows up to the first day of high school transformed into the trendiest person on campus. Hill was in its awkward phase to put it lightly, until this year. Now, it is the cool and coveted.

I stopped by Hill last week to see how the experience for its residents has lived up to the hype of the renovation thus far. 

Roommates Dana Stefany (N ‘21) and Eileen Xie (N ‘21) gave generally positive reviews of their time in Hill. Both had put Hill first on their housing choices application—a decision that would have seldom been made by anyone in Class of 2019 or earlier—because they “were looking forward to the new amenities that the remodeling would bring us.” 

While they are happy in Hill, Eileen concedes that the reality of living in Hill fell a bit short of expectations. “At times there were issues with the A/C and a certain undisclosed mouse, but other than that it’s been fine. It definitely lives up to its name as the ‘social college house.’”

Campbell Parker (E ‘21) agreed with this sentiment by describing the dynamic in Hill as “really social,” saying his hall had to do a “stupid naming game” at the beginning of the fall semester but then ended up becoming very close friends. 

Keith Babitz (C ‘21) said that both of his parents actually lived in Hill when they went to Penn and “loved it.” While Hill was not his first choice for housing, Keith is enjoying the experience. He particularly likes working at the Hill front desk. “I do most of my work in the lobby here, so I get to see a bunch of people; in the Quad there’s not really the same kind of opportunity to do that.”

As for the downsides of living in Hill, the freshmen interviewed all held similar reservations toward their home at Penn. Numerous fire drills, the lack of meal variety in the dining hall, and the small size of rooms all seem to irritate Hill’s inhabitants across the board. 

All things considered, though, Hill freshmen don’t know how good they have it. Adam Adnane is currently a GA on the second floor of Hill and had to live through the horrors of pre–renovation Hill his freshman year. He said the dorm is “one thousand times better” than before. 

“It sucked,” Adam said, referring to his freshman living environment. “There was no air conditioning, it was always dim, everything was just old. Now, everything’s really nice.”

Still, Adam affirmed that Hill’s close knit community defies generational differences. “Besides [the amenities], everything else was great because I made my best friends here. We bonded over all the bad stuff—no one needs to bond over the bad stuff anymore, but people are still having a great time. Win–win.”