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Enhancing the Student Experience at Brandywine 

By: Najla King and Alyssa Abbonizio, The Lion’s Eye Staff Writers

Since the groundbreaking ceremony in Spring 2016, the Brandywine community has been preparing for the arrival of the new residence hall and student union buildings, projected to open in Fall 2017. As construction continues and the structures develop, students are anxious to know the finer details of the facilities. Aliyeah Houston, a junior at Penn State Brandywine expressed her excitement for the new residence hall building.

“I’m glad we’re getting dorms. I used to live on campus at another PSU location so it brings back a lot of good memories for me. It’ll feel more like the ‘real college experience’ for students living there, which I think is needed,” she said.  

The new residence hall will be named Orchard Hall because prior to being an institution of learning, the campus land was an apple orchard.

Orchard Hall will house 254 students, two per bedroom, on three floors. Six beds will be reserved for resident assistants and two professional staff members living on campus. There will be 24 compartmentalized bathrooms on each floor and will introduce a new concept of shared bathrooms to students living in the dorms.

This facility will contain many fun living features: laundry units, with text alert options on completed loads; a variety of student lounges, areas reserved to study, quiet and general space to utilize and hangout. Van services, for transportation to various locations near campus, like the grocery store, or the mall, are planned for students without a vehicle.

In order to be become an Resident Assistant, students have to complete and pass a course offered in Spring ‘17, with a “B” or higher, to be considered. Current students can begin the residence application process on October 16 at noon, and prospective students can begin as they are accepted into Penn State. All student applicants will be picked at random to live in Orchard Hall.

Not only is Penn State Brandywine getting a residence hall, but a new student union building. Located adjacent to the Vairo Library, it will be the home of food services and include two floors of student dining, conference space, student recreation areas, the bookstore, an expanded Lion’s Den and student affairs offices.

Food services will be new to the campus and although the menu is still being created, once completed, students will be able to give feedback on the items they wish to keep, discarded and added.

Gluten free and vegetarian food options will also be available to students, and a registered dietitian will be on site. Forecasted to be a student favorite, the Shake, Bake and Brew station will feature frozen treats from Creamery’s Ice Cream, baked goods from University Park bakery and other goodies still being discussed.

New meal plan options offer a variety of choices and are available for all students to purchase.

According to Elizabeth Kearns, the director of Brandywine housing and food services, University Park will provide and deliver all food items.

The campus has decided to introduce environmentally friendly concepts with the addition of the new buildings. RHEAL, is a healthy eating program, paired with the Green to Go, reusable fill up container program will be offered to students as well. “We have a go-green reusable container for a $5 deposit; you use the container, bring it back and we give you your $5 back,” Kearns said.  

This building will also include a health and wellness center with health professionals and The addition of the student union building and Orchard Hall will enhance the student experience for returning and prospective students. With new advances and the integration of sophisticated technology, millennials will feel right at home at Brandywine.

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