First- and second-year students at Princeton live and eat their meals in the residential colleges. The majority of Princeton juniors and seniors choose to join an eating club, but many others who prefer a different style of dining and social life make other arrangements.
Four-Year Residential Colleges
Students have the option to live in a residential college during their entire time at Princeton. Juniors and seniors who do so may take all of their meals in the college dining hall or, if they join an eating club, may choose a shared meal plan. All juniors and seniors can stay connected to their college. Whether or not they purchase a University meal plan, they are given two extra meals per week to be used in a residential college dining hall.
Cafés serving a wide variety of foods — sandwiches, home-style food, pizza, ethnic cuisines and more — are located throughout campus. Their hours are flexible, some opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 2 a.m.
The Center for Jewish Life offers kosher meals for the entire campus community. In addition to the Center for Jewish Life dining operation, students have the option to have a kosher meal in the residential colleges prepared and transported by the Center for Jewish Life staff. The Center for Jewish Life dining operation is under the supervision of OU (Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, Kashruth Division).
All residential college dining halls offer halal dining options for students. Certified halal meat is prepared on site in the kitchens of the residential college dining halls. The meat is cooked separately on dedicated grills in keeping with Muslim dietary laws, and a description of the preparation is posted at each grill station. In addition, there is a weekly halal meal offered at the Frist Campus Center.
Student Food Cooperatives
Four co-ops, including a vegetarian and international option, operate on campus and provide their members kitchen access and a common food supply. These student groups cook and eat dinners together, sharing chores like cleaning, shopping, baking and even gardening. Since each co-op has several dozen members, each student is only required to cook one night a week. And because they buy in bulk, co-ops are often less expensive than cooking independently. All students are welcome, regardless of cooking experience.
Some students organize their own dining arrangements and cook on their own or eat in campus dining places, such as the Frist Campus Center, and local restaurants, which offer a great variety of cuisines in all price ranges. Many students who are “independents” live in Spelman Hall, which has four-person suites with kitchen facilities.