Dinner at Hansen is homemade lasagna prepared in a communal kitchen by the students themselves – a stark contrast to the infamous dining hall grub that other college students at UF are eating.
Ansley Pentz feels right at home.
Pentz, a 19-year-old journalism sophomore from Chiefland, Florida, doesn’t hesitate in the slightest to call her 16 other housemates family. Living in Hansen, one of nine houses in Gainesville that are part of the Southern Scholarship Foundation, she couldn’t be happier with her housemates and the warm, home-like atmosphere the program provides.
“It’s so nice to come home to smiling faces,” Pentz said. “I love having someone to share things with.”
SSF provides rent-free housing to students across Florida with financial need and academic merit. Gainesville has nine houses: three for men and six for women.
The houses are a much more intimate setting than the standard dorm or apartment-style housing – possibly setting the state for quarrels and disputes. Pentz disagreed.
“Overall, the experience is really good because people are so carefully selected,” Pentz said. She emphasized however, that the house rules keep everyone in check.
“I really rejoice in the rules,” Pentz said. “I know I can come home to a safe, nice environment.”
After an extensive application process, Pentz toured the home before her freshman year and felt that the program would be a good fit. But, taking the plunge into communal living with 16 other people, Pentz had her hesitations initially.
“It was a little daunting at first because you’re living with all of these strangers,” Pentz said. But she quickly acclimated to the experience and became close with many of the women – bonding over similar majors and life experiences.
“I definitely Facebook stalked everyone first though,” Pentz said.
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