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Why Supplemental Housing Isn’t Always The Worst

If there’s one thing most students dread heading into their first year living on a college campus, it’s supplemental housing. Taking a bunch of random people and forcing them to live in the same room can definitely be a recipe for disaster, as some students have probably figured out already.

Despite the unfavorable reputation they earn, supplemental dorms are not quite as bad as they seem. In fact, they’re quite popular among people already living there. A survey distributed to all 767 students currently residing in supplemental housing only yielded a little over 8% of responses wishing to be moved, indicating most of them generally liked where they live.

Jennifer Garvin, Director of Ancillary Services here at Penn State, was particularly impressed with this result. “It’s pretty amazing how the majority of those in supplemental didn’t wish to move,” she said.

Although the situation may not sound ideal, students living in supplemental can take advantage of several upsides, which are sure to make traditional housing friends jealous:

Personal Bathroom

While most people are stuck experiencing the joys offered by communal bathrooms, some supplemental dorms sport their own bathroom attached to a walk-in storage area. The days of trekking outside your dorm room just to brush your teeth every night are no longer.


Surprisingly, bathrooms aren’t the only additional room included, as supplemental rooms sometimes include a half-kitchen area with multiple refrigerators, microwaves, and cupboards for food storage. This is ideal for keeping a constant supply of food in the room, meaning less hunger-induced late night trips to the commons.

More Roommates = More Friends

This might be optimistic, but more people in your dorm can be more of a blessing than a curse. An increased social network is inevitable, given the exposure to multiple customs and cultures through additional roommates. Supplemental residents generally pointed out that the more roommates you have, the more friends you’re likely to make.

“I love how each one of us has a different personality and that we were all able to become good friends this quick,” said John Theodoropoulos, a freshman living in supplemental housing this semester. “Having someone around all the time really makes it a fun time, not to mention all of the extra help on homework.”

Better Study Methods

Let’s face it, when it comes to studying for exams or finals, you may not want to be in your dorm with all of your friends. However, this forces you to explore and utilize more of the resources the campus has to offer — even if it does mean wasting away in the Stacks on a Monday night.

Living in supplemental housing might not be your first choice, but that shouldn’t stop you from focusing on the positives and making the most out of your first year.

About the Author

Pete Rinehart

Pete is a freshman hailing from Washington, PA and is currently a contributor for Onward State. He is majoring in environmental systems engineering and is a lover of politics (somehow), Mad Men, and all things soccer. Apart from playing FIFA 16 in his dorm, Pete enjoys jamming to Jimi Hendrix, watching the Steelers win, and vacationing to the Jersey shore. You follow him on Twitter @BigPete1250, or email him at [email protected]


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