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Penn College Launches Web Site for Off-Campus Housing

A Web site developed by Pennsylvania College of Technology provides a wealth of information and resources for students who live off campus, as well as the landlords who offer apartments for rent in the community.

The site features a list of landlords and available apartments, accessed through the College’s Student Information System. Upon acceptance to the College, students are given access to the online Student Information System and the private housing information.

The new Web site also includes helpful information about leases and renter’s insurance, an apartment checklist, relocation information (via a link to the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce), and commuter information (via a link to the Williamsport Bureau of Transportation). Other features benefiting students include a “to-do list” of tasks to accomplish before, during and after move-in day, as well as sample forms for roommate agreements and budgets.

Various links take students to information about rent and security deposits, paying utility bills, communicating effectively with landlords, the landlord-tenant grievance process, and filing formal complaints. Students also can access a list of important telephone numbers including those for Penn College Police, emergency and health services, and utility companies.

A link to the “Crime Alert” page provided by Penn College Police provides students and landlords with crime statistics for the College and information about recent criminal activity. The Penn College Police site also includes crime-prevention and safety tips and a “Silent Witness” form that enables anyone to provide anonymous information about criminal acts.

For landlords, links also are provided to the College’s news-and-information Web site, “PCToday,” as well as an off-campus-housing complaint form that landlords can submit to College officials. The site also will feature information about upcoming College-wide meetings or programs on safety and security issues.

The landlords meet regularly on campus to discuss issues with Residence Life staff and other College representatives. The group includes 49 members. Approximately 1,500 Penn College students are served by off-campus landlords.

“The local landlords have always played an integral role in our success in attracting and retaining students,” said Penn College President Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour. “While we have increased the complement of College-owned-and-operated housing facilities in recent years, our steady enrollment growth ensures that high-quality off-campus housing will continue to be in demand. The Off-Campus Housing Web site will help the College continue the excellent relationship we enjoy with the many fine local landlords who serve our students.”

The College recently created the position of assistant director of residence life/off-campus housing liaison, which has oversight responsibilities for off-campus housing issues. Colleen E. Speno, who worked in residence life programs at Ferrum College, Ferrum, Va., and The Pennsylvania State University before coming to Penn College, was hired for the position.

In addition to facilitating communication between students and landlords, Speno’s responsibilities include conducting educational workshops in residence halls about apartment living, conducting educational workshops for off-campus students, following up with off-campus students who have been involved in serious incidents, and advising the Landlord Tenant Council.

“While our focus is on the Penn College student who lives in an off-campus housing unit, we gladly offer our resources and experience to all students,” Speno said. “The Off-Campus Web site is designed to provide pointers on how to utilize resources and work with landlords, as well to offer information about the city and surrounding area.”

For more information about Residence Life at Penn College, call (570) 320-8023, send e-mail or visit online.

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