Card Access

Safety and Security

Penn State Housing and Food Services is committed to offering safe and secure buildings for resident students.


Fire Drills

In accordance with state and local fire regulations, fire drills are conducted on a monthly basis in all residence areas. Everyone in the building during an emergency drill must participate by vacating the building according to instruction. Failure to vacate the building during any fire drill will result in disciplinary action.

Fire Precautions

It is the responsibility of all students to take precautions to prevent fires. Candles, incense, potpourri, and other flame-emitting articles are prohibited. The following may cause hazardous situations and are prohibited under State Labor and Industry regulations: wood paneling and/or tiles; papering of ceilings, doors, or walls; disguising of doors or exits; and posting of papers, signs, and other combustible materials in hallways or on doors (except bulletin boards).

Multiple outlet adapters present a fire hazard and should be used only with low-wattage devices. A grounded device wattage adapter should be limited to 400 watts total. A grounded 15-amp surge-protective plug-in with built-in breaker is required, and total amperage should not exceed five amps. Residence rooms have limited circuit capacity (one 20-amp circuit for up to four rooms). Electric cords should not be hung around the room or be placed under furniture or carpeting. Repositioning outlets by the use of extension cords or splicing is prohibited.

Fire Equipment

Fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and exit signs are located on every floor in each building. All residence halls are equipped with sprinkler systems. Students should know where the fire equipment is on their floor. In some areas, smoke detectors are provided. Tampering with this equipment will result in severe disciplinary and/or criminal action under federal and state laws.


In compliance with University policy, the use of all tobacco products, including smoking, is prohibited in all parts of the residence hall and dining facilities. This includes individual students' bedrooms as well.


Card Access System

Access to each residence hall is controlled by an electronic card access security system that is maintained 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Students should carry their Penn State id+ Card at all times to gain access to their residence hall. Student access to the residence halls is valid during the normal academic year only and is limited to students who reside in that building, or require access for other reasons (Residence Life Office, laundry facilities, etc.). To ensure the security of the building and student rooms, access to the building is suspended during all breaks and over the summer. Students should never leave personal valuable items in their rooms during breaks.

Access Problems

If your card doesn't work in the card reader of your residence hall, contact a roommate, Residence Life, or University Police. Then call or email Housing and Food Services so they can identify and fix the problem.

Lost Keys or Cards

Students who are locked out of their room or have temporarily misplaced their key can request a Loaner Key in eLiving at My Info > Loaner Key Request and pick it up at the Housing and Food Services Office during normal business hours. Loaner keys must be returned within two hours or by the HFS Office closing time, whichever is earlier. Students locked out after normal business hours should contact their Residence Life staff for assistance.

Report lost cards online or by calling or emailing Housing and Food Services. Your card access will be suspended until a new card can be issued.


For the safety of all residents, outside entrance doors are to remain closed at all times. If a door is propped open, an alarm will sound. To shut off the alarm, remove any props and close the door. The alarm will turn off automatically.

Student Responsibility for Security

To ensure your own security, students should take these steps:

  • Never let strangers into buildings or rooms.
  • Do not let people piggyback into the building.
  • Keep windows locked at all times.
  • Never tamper with exit alarms.
  • Report unauthorized persons to proper authorities.
  • Never lend id+ cards to others.
  • Never write your PIN on your id+ card.
  • Never prop open a door.
  • Meet guests/visitors at the entrance door.
  • Always know where your id+ card is.
  • Report stolen id+ cards immediately.
  • Keep your room door shut when you're not in the room—including when you're in the bathroom, across the hall visiting a friend, or in the laundry room. It only takes a few seconds for someone to realize that no one is in the room.
  • Walk in groups when traveling outside of the residence hall, especially at night.
  • Travel in well-lit, heavy traffic areas.
  • Report suspicious behavior to Police Services at 610-396-6111.
  • Know where the emergency phones are located on campus.