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The eating clubs offer juniors and seniors the opportunity to become a part of a close-knit community. They reinforce existing friendships while also introducing you to a wonderful, new, and diverse group of Princetonians. The clubs offer a home on campus where students can come together to enjoy a great meal, take a breath to relax, and develop life-long

Hannah Paynter ’19, President of the Interclub Council, President of Cloister Inn

You join the club because your friends are there, but then by the time you graduate you’ve also made dozens of new great friends for the rest of your life.

Liam Morton '02, Cap and Gown Club

Each of Princeton’s clubs is different and through the years has achieved a distinct personality and set of traditions. This is as it should be, for it will be a sorry day for the world if ever such distinctions and peculiarities, and the especial loyalties they invoke, are lost.

Struthers Burt, Class of 1904

By joining an eating club, I’ve gained a sense of home and community that keeps me grounded on campus. I’m incredibly grateful for the life-long friendships I’ve developed and the many opportunities it has given me to grow my community and enrich my Princeton experience.

Rachel Macaulay ’19, President of Tower Club

Eating clubs serve as the perfect bridge between your underclassman and upperclassman years. They reinforce the strong friendships you've established and encourage new relationships with a diverse new group of people. By spending time talking, eating, studying, and socializing, we find that we are surrounded by some of the most brilliant yet modest and talented yet compassionate people, all from incredibly diverse backgrounds with a wide range of different life experiences and stories to share.

Katrina Maxcy '14, Former President of Colonial Club

The eating clubs are so much more than where 70 percent of Princeton juniors and seniors take their meals. They are where students are studying, collaborating on assignments, and encouraging each other as they write the last page of that junior paper or senior thesis. They are where students are coming together at tables to discuss an interesting news story, a great movie someone has seen recently, a campus issue, or any of a cornucopia of possible topics. They are where students are socializing and celebrating the end of a stressful day or a stressful week at high-quality social events. They are where students are engaging in meaningful service to the community outside of the Orange Bubble. The eating clubs are unique to Princeton, and they exemplify what is unique about Princeton — a sense of always being able to come home, whether you're just joining as a sophomore or are coming for your 50th Reunion.

Jean-Carlos Arenas '16, Former President of the Interclub Council, Former President of Charter Club

Eating clubs are places in which to find a home on campus. More than just a building to socialize in, they exist to create that feeling of family and acceptance – somewhere where you’re free to just be yourself, and relax into a community that accepts and loves you for you. Being in an eating club allows you to meet so many great people that otherwise you might never have met – people from backgrounds and cultures that differ greatly from your own, but who will nonetheless become some of your closest friends on campus. Being a part of one of these groups enables you to have a community that will always be yours, and that you will continue to be a part of long after you graduate. I find that in my own experience, I am constantly and unerringly amazed by the people I have met through my club, and by the sheer kindness with which everyone treats one another. I wouldn’t trade my eating club experience for anything in the world.

Conor O’Brien ’19, President of Charter Club

The Women Who Run the Street

This year marked a landmark event in Princeton University’s history and the equalization of gender roles in leadership on Prospect Street. Nine out of eleven of the eating clubs voted to elect female Presidents.

It was just 49 years ago, the fall of 1969, when Princeton University began admitting women as freshman at the University. A video published by 1080princeton cuts together a history of the clubs since 1970, including footage of Sally Frank ’80 speaking on the importance of recognizing that just because the status quo has been accepted in the past doesn’t mean it should continue into the future:

“I have respect for good traditions, but there are a lot of traditions I have no respect for in this country. I don’t have respect for sexism, which is a tradition in this country. I don’t have respect for racism, which is a tradition in this country, or slavery, which was a tradition in this country. So, you know, there are traditions and there are traditions.”

It was not until 1991, a mere 27 years ago, that all eating clubs became coed as a result of a sex discrimination suit filed by Sally Frank, now a law professor at Drake University. The last holdouts were Cottage Club, Ivy Club, and Tiger Inn, who were forced by the suit to accept women. Even in 2011, a report by the Steering Committee on Undergraduate Women’s Leadership, published an extensive report that outlined a persistent lack of female leadership across campus. There was a surge of female leadership in the clubs in the early 2000’s, but graphs show that it then dipped drastically and hasn’t seen steady increase again since 2015.

The video includes interviews with each of the new female presidents, who are all as different as the clubs themselves. Recurrent themes emerge, however: being role models for women on campus and the University as a whole, reinforcing safety in the clubs, and being inclusive in club culture. While women have held many other officer roles at the clubs to date, the significance of this election brings these women together around the table to represent their clubs at the Inter-Club Council (ICC), where they can work together to develop consistent policies and practices across all clubs in addition to within their individual clubs.

Cannon President Julia Haney ’19 says, “I really want to work on… coming up with banners and policies that we can promote throughout the club regarding behaviors we want to endorse while we’re here, to remind people who visit our club, as well as our members, that these are the policies we want to abide by as Cannon members and really want to exemplify throughout the Princeton community.” Kimberly Peterson ’19, President of Colonial, echoes this statement in her embodiment of “the aloha spirit, which is essentially a culture of being extraordinarily friendly and welcoming and open and helpful to anyone that you meet, whether it’s a family friend or a complete stranger.”

In an age where the majority of America’s board rooms and political stages are consistently male dominated, this election looks not just towards the future of Princeton’s on-campus life, but towards a future where equality in leadership roles continues to expand and become more representative of our diverse nation.

Watch the video here.