Students and the Perelman Quadrangle

The Perelman Quadrangle is proud to maintain and support Houston Hall, the nation’s first student union. Houston Hall and the other Perelman Quadrangle spaces are the central home for the Penn community, serving as a gateway to Penn for outside groups hoping to reach students.

Houston Hall History

Houston Hall was built in 1896 as a private club space for Penn students, and today provides a welcoming environment where students can interact with each other, support their community, and find a home away from home. Today, this historic building remains the center of campus life– a place where students, faculty, staff, alumni and guests gather for social, recreational, educational and cultural activities. After a multi-million dollar renovation project in 2000, Houston Hall looks much like it did in 1896 but with all the modern conveniences. With fourteen special event spaces, multimedia technology, a food court, and vending and retail space, Houston Hall is a conference center with character.

The Reading Room and Bisto spaces on the first floor offer quiet study spaces, couches for quick naps, and space to enjoy lunch or a study group. On the ground floor you’ll find dining options through the Marketplace, Beefsteak, and Insomnia Cookies, with the Creperie on the first floor. The second and third floors house the Chaplain’s Office, Office for Student Affairs, and the Perelman Quadrangle administrative office to help you reserve space for your event. This all coexists with the beautiful spaces for meetings, parties, performances, and every type of event in between that students want to create.

Additional Resources

Explore other ways to use the spaces of Perelman Quadrangle, get involved with student groups, and even find a job through Penn Student Agencies or our Work Study program.


Office of Student Affairs

Get involved through student government, leadership programs, or special events such as Spring Fling, Hey Day and Ivy Day!


Penn Student Agencies

Explore the businesses that are developed and run by Penn students for the campus community! 


Penn Crest

Student Spaces

Beyond Houston Hall, there’s Irvine Music Practice Rooms & William Hall’s U-Lounge, Silfen Study Center, and Computer Lab within the Perelman Quadrangle network.

Student workers are an integral part of the Perelman Quadrangle operations. Check here for more information about applying.



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