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Harris Hall

Sense of Community

Widener’s newest residence hall is the perfect example of how an engaging living space can add to the richness of residential life on-campus.

Harris Hall, named after President Emeritus James T. Harris III, is located on the corner of East 15th Street and Walnut Street and accommodates more than 200 students. Light and air are infused into the design of the four-story building, providing a living environment that students can call home.

The residence hall features two major room designs: A more traditional floor plan with two rooms connected by a large bathroom and an apartment-style living space furnished with full-size appliances, such as a refrigerator, stovetop, oven and microwave. It will also feature on-site food options from Einstein Bros. Bagels and Moe’s Southwest Grill.

But even more impressive is the multitude of educational space and common areas available to students, which Catherine Feminella; assistant dean for student development and engagement, said is “critical” to building a sense of community.

“We have spaces that encourage students to want to talk with one another and study together or even bring staff in to do programming,” Feminella said.

This is why Widener no longer uses the traditional term “dorm” to describe its residence quarters because it comes from the Latin origin of sleep and is a false representation of what is offered to those who live on campus.

“Harris Hall is a vibrant living environment where students are learning outside of the classroom and not just the tactile skills they need for careers and jobs, but also the life skills that come from being part of a community.”

Melanie Foltz, junior nursing major, described Harris Hall as “comfortable” and “convenient.”

“The lounges especially are really multi-purpose,” said Foltz, a Harris Hall resident advisor.

Brenda Cruz, area coordinator, remarked how the new living space was a great way to start the school year for students. As she supervises multiple residence halls on campus, Cruz is excited by how Harris Hall has motivated students to be more active on campus.

Feminella added that she has enjoyed seeing the building “come alive” since move-in day.

“It was important for me that the setting fit what we had anticipated it would be like,” Feminella said of the construction process. “Early on students were excited to see floor plans, but nothing brings it alive like checking in.”