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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

Princeton Eating Clubs are part of a tradition that dates back to 1879. In the early years, the University did not provide students with dining facilities, so students created their own clubs to provide comfortable houses for dining and social life. Eating clubs are unique to Princeton and the most popular dining and social option for students in their junior and senior years.

As times have changed, so have the clubs.  When Princeton made the decision to accept women in 1969, the eating clubs began to accept women as well.  All of the clubs are now co-educational and reflect the full diversity of the Princeton student body.

There are currently 11 eating clubs, each with a distinctive character.  Most of them are located on Prospect Avenue, except for Terrace Club, which is located around the corner on Washington Road.  The clubs are architecturally impressive and unique.  Many have undergone recent renovations to provide better facilities for dining, studying, relaxing, and social life. There has been a growing emphasis on educational programs (such as guest lectures), community service, and sustainability as well. All the clubs offer robust wireless Internet connections to the University’s network.

The eating clubs are independent, private institutions that do not have any formal ties to the University.  They are managed by graduate boards, undergraduate officers, and professional club managers.  The clubs work together at both the graduate and undergraduate level to support each other, and they also cooperate with the University on issues such as shared meal plans, student safety, and cost containment.

During the 1970s some of the clubs changed from a selective admission process (called “bicker”) to an open (or non-selective) admission process.  There are currently six selective clubs (Cannon, Cap and Gown, Cottage, Ivy, Tiger Inn, and Tower) and five open clubs (Charter, Cloister Inn, Colonial, Quadrangle, and Terrace).

Students are eligible to join a club in the spring of sophomore year, and that is when most students join. All of the clubs, both selective and open, organize events for sophomores to visit the clubs to learn more and meet members.  Students join as social members for the balance of their sophomore year with some limited meals, but full membership begins in the fall of junior year.  Some of the clubs continue to take new members who are juniors and seniors as well. Currently, 68% of upperclass students (juniors and seniors) are members of a club.

The clubs each have approximately 150 – 200 undergraduate members and maintain strong ties with their alumni members. Alumni frequently return to campus during the fall for a game, or in the spring for reunions, and will often use their club as a home to have a meal, catch up with friends, and have the opportunity to meet current undergraduate members.

Membership in your eating club lasts for life, and many Princeton students say their closest friendships, during and after college, were formed with their clubmates.