Student Life for Women at Drexel During the 1950's
by Robin Elliot
The Sarah van Rensselaer Dormitory was the home of female students at Drexel for many decades. In promotional pamphlets Drexel accentuated the educational and social aspects of college life for female students. There were three main tracks for undergraduate female students, Business Administration, Home Economics and Engineering. The Women’s Student Government Association was a crucial part of student life because of its direct connection to dormitory life. Students were required to live in the dorms if they did not have parents or an aunt or uncle who could house them while at Drexel.
Dorm rooms were similar to dorm rooms today. However more furniture was provided by Drexel than is usual for college students today. Drexel students had beds, mattresses, lamps, rugs, glass curtains and other furniture in their rooms when they arrived. Students were told to bring towels, sheets, and blankets, similar to today’s students. The rooms had hot and cold running water, but bathrooms and showers were available on each hall.
The first floor of the Van Rensselaer Dormitory was dedicated to social activities for students. On each floor of the dormitory was a piano for use by students. Now the Van Rensselaer Dormitory offers suites for students, in previous decades it had single, double, and triple rooms for student use. The price of residency at the dormitory varied from $225.00 to $290.00, depending on the type of room the student was in. Board included two meals a day on weekdays and three meals a day on Saturdays and Sundays. The dormitory housed the dining rooms, where students had most of their meals.
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