Building Access & Security

The Department of Residential Services works closely with the Division of Public Safety to ensure the safety and security of residents in the College Houses and Sansom Place. Residential safety and security integrates exacting procedures, trained personnel, state of the art equipment, database management, educational programs, and messaging. Contract guard staff, card swipe stations, and mechanical and optical turnstiles are essential elements of the residential security program.

The residential access database is managed at Public Safety in collaboration with Residential Services and accommodates low occupancy periods, closed buildings, special populations, and changing access times and needs.

Other features of residential perimeter security include strategic placement of video cameras and monitors, electronic door alarms and sensors, lighting, and other security enhancements.


Quick Tip

The Division of Public Safety has many resources for students. You can find those resources here. Be sure to have Penn’s Emergency number saved in your phone – 215-573-3333. 

Renter's Insurance helps protect you from the cost of replacing your personal belongings in the event of a covered incident. We encourage residents to review any existing coverage, e.g., through family homeowner policies. You may explore having a rental insurance rider added to an existing policy, or explore renter's insurance products through any reputable insurance company. 


Aspects to consider include the dollar amount of personal property coverage, the dollar amount of any deductible, the extent of replacement cost coverage, and the availability of personal liability coverage.


In order to access the College Houses and Sansom Place, residents must present and swipe their PennCard and enter a 4-digit PAC code to pass through the security portal. The PAC code is a unique PIN that is randomly assigned to each resident. 

Click to view your PennCard Access Code (PAC), and if desired, to change it. 

It is important that you do not share your PAC with others in order to protect the safety and security of our residences. 

A mobile version of this application can be found at

Proper controls and documentation of key and PennCard use and building and room access are essential to the integrity of the overall safety and security of our residents and our communities. 

Residential Services implements specific policies for the inventory, control and use of keys by residents, departmental staff, and other university personnel charged with providing emergency response, general maintenance and repair, the overall well being of residents and smooth operation of the facility. 

More information on policies and procedures regarding use, access, and expectations can be found in the Residential Handbook.


University-authorized personnel may be issued resident room keys in order to carry out routine maintenance and to perform other duties. The University reserves the right to enter resident rooms to conduct repairs, to perform inspections, to respond to emergencies or to restore order, as is noted in the Terms and Conditions

Residents will be referred to the House Director or Sansom Complex Manager if found responsible for the following:  

  • Shows a pattern of repeatedly locking him or herself out of their room. 
  • Has tampered with any lock or door mechanism. This includes jamming or placing glue or other substances in locks or door mechanisms or removing room door hardware such as knobs or door closers.  
  • Has installed additional lock(s) to doors, including individual apartment or suite bedroom. 
  • Has been found to have handed off keys or key cards (and PAC) for use by anyone other than themselves.  

Residents of the College Houses and Sansom Place are expected to carry their PennCards at all times that they are on campus. 

Residential Services and Division of Public Safety guidelines require residents to present their PennCards at either the security portal (or in Class of 1925, at the guard desk) to gain entry to their residence. 

Residents who can not present their PennCard when entering must proceed to the Information Center of their House in order to sign in. The Information Center staff will verify their identity before allowing the resident to sign themselves in. 

To encourage residents to follow these policies more attentively, and to limit abuse of sign-in procedures, residents are limited to 10 free sign-ins per semester. When a resident exceeds 10 sign-ins in a semester, they will incur a fee of $35 for each sign-in. This will be applied to their Student Financial Services account.