By Sarah Steighner
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – Entertaining. Insightful. Eventful. Convenient. Unpredictable. These are a few words that residents at the Nittany Highland apartments use to describe their college living experience.
67 residents live at the apartments, located on Myers Drive, right across from the Penn State New Kensington campus. Most residents are students at the school. Some said they take advantage of the opportunity to not have to commute from surrounding areas, while others are out-of-state or international students.
Previously under the management of Nancy Johasky, the Nittany Highland apartments are now under the administration of Arbors Management. When asked about her experience working with the new management, Residential Assistant (RA), Krista Murray stated that “It’s a growing experience on both ends.”
Murray said that “Nancy only managed one building, so it was always easy to get in touch with her. Arbors Management manages many buildings, so it is a bit harder to reach at times but they are very professional towards residents.”
Murray said that a few changes the apartments have underwent since Arbors Management took over are the addition of new washers and dryers, a few new stoves in select rooms, and an increase in the rent.
Murray said her duties as an RA include aiding student residents, maintaining the building, and working at the front desk in the lobby of the apartments from 8-12 p.m. two times a week. These duties are shared with the two other RAs, Perry Scuilli and Craig Synan.
Being in charge of such responsibilities as an RA, Murray stated that the only issues she runs into are social issues between roommates. “They usually solve themselves and are no different than your typical college dorm,” said Murray.
Finishing up her fourth semester living at the apartments and second semester being an RA, Murray said that she has observed the general atmosphere at the apartments and said it usually varies. “At the start of the semester, everyone is usually pretty happy and positive, towards the middle it appears to lag and cabin fever seems to take over a bit, but by the end everyone is upbeat and looking forward to summer,” said Murray.
Whether it is cabin fever or boredom, Murray said that everyone seems to find some way to fill their time. Perry Scuilli said that he enjoys working out, and playing soccer with fellow friends when he gets bored.
As an RA, Scuilli admitted the part he dislikes about his job is sitting at the desk for four hours on nights when no one is around. However, he did explain that the positive side to living so close to the school is that “it’s convenient, especially with access to the gym and when I come back from soccer games and am already home.”
Scuilli proceeded to explain some of his favorite memories from the Nittany Highland apartments which he said included “redecorating Brad’s room, Eric’s slumber party, snaps, snowball fights, this year’s St. Patrick’s Day party, and last year’s social gathering at the end of finals week.”
Over Scuilli’s two years of living at the apartments, one thing he said has changed is that more international students are now residents. One of the international residents he speaks of is his friend Ashutosh Pandey. “Between soccer and being snowed in during spring break last year, I got to know Ashu, and knew that I’d made a lifelong friend and my roommate for the next year,” said Scuilli.
Pandey said that he agreed that one of his favorite memories from living at the apartments was meeting Scuilli and also added “weekend parties and pranks” to the list. When asked what he does to fill his extra time, Pandey smiled before admitting he wastes time by “troubling everyone and talking.”
Pandey also acknowledged that when he first moved in he had expected better quality and a bigger apartment. This statement seemed to be unanimously agreed upon by most residents.
Christine Patroski, second year resident at the Nittany Highland apartments, who will be transferring to University Park next fall said “I heard better furniture and appliances might be installed over the summer and I’m a little disappointed changes will be made after I leave.”
“I imagine living at University Park next year will be different in the aspect that it will be a more unique living space on a larger scale with a farther commute and I’ll be expected to interact with other people more,” added Patroski.
Patroski said she lives out-of-state in North Carolina, and explained that she chose to live at the school apartments rather than an apartment nearby simply because of how convenient it is. “I chose to live at the Nittany Highland apartments because they were already furnished, plus I wanted to experience the college life and have the opportunity of making friends that I went to school with,” said Patroski.
In her spare time at the apartments, Patroski said that she likes to watch movies, bake, browse Pinterest, take nature walks in the surrounding woods, hang out with roommates, and go to the Pittsburgh Mills mall nearby. She also made sure to note that some of her favorite memories at the apartments include the ice cream social the school provided in the apartment lobby and seasonal parties that the residents occasionally throw.
Resident Jenna Swank, said that some of her favorite memories from her time spent living at the apartments include cookouts and bonfires. Swank is a student at PSNK who said she used to commute to campus, but decided to start living at the apartments last year.
“I chose to live at the apartments versus commuting because I was sick of wasting my day driving instead of being able to do other productive things,” said Swank regarding her previous 30 minute commute.
Swank said she has always been actively involved at the school, including having previously been the President of the Campus Activities Board (CAB), member of the PSNK softball team, THON member, and orientation leader. “Moving into the apartments and being closer to the school has helped allow me be more available and flexible with the time I spend in the activities that I am involved in,” said Swank.
Students interested in living at the Nittany Highland apartments during the 2014-2015 academic year may contact Arbors Management Property Manager, Eric Fulmer at (800) 963-1280 or visit www.nittanyhighlandsapartments.com for more information.