What are your dining/
living choices as an
Your junior and senior year mean you finally get some freedom in deciding where to live and what to eat. Whether you want to stay in the residential colleges, move into upperclassmen housing, or go independent—this guide will provide you with the information you need to make your choice and to easily adapt to upperclassmen life.
Your first step will be to decide where you want to live and what you want to eat. You can choose to go solo or join together with friends to live and cook together. Think carefully about the kind of experience you want.
Once you know more about what you'll want, you can read more about various aspects of being independent by picking a topic from the sidebar. Below are some tips and advice to get you started.
Deciding Where to Live
- Residential College
Remember to KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN! Don't only enter the Independent Draw and definitely don't only enter the Spelman Draw (if it fills up before your draw time, you'll be stuck on the wait list). No matter what you plan on doing, sign up for the Independent and Upperclass draws too. Some other things to consider:
Where do your friends want to live? Do you have any friends who are independent?
If all your friends want to join the same co-op, all want to join a residential college or all want to live in Spelman, this is an easy decision. But if all your friends are in eating clubs, you might want to do Upperclass draw with them. If you really want to have a kitchen in close proximity, you might be better off doing Independent draw and hoping your friends end up drawing rooms close to yours.
Independent Draw or Upperclass Draw?
When you find out your draw times, you can weigh your options. Independent draw is before Upperclass draw but room selection is limited. If you lucked out with Upperclass draw or if there are no good rooms left in Independent draw by your draw time, then you can just not choose a room during your Independent draw time and wait for Upperclass Draw.
Want to cook for yourself but have trouble sharing? Can't deal with other people's messes or funny smells in the fridge?
You definitely want Spelman. All shared kitchens get gross.
Want a single?
If you're a junior, getting a single in Upperclass draw will be very difficult. There are more singles available through Independent and Residential college draw; Spelman quads have four singles, common room, kitchen, & bathroom.
Don't have enough people for a Spelman quad?
The Upperclass and Independent draws are your best bet. Spelman doubles, while technically reserved for married couples, are rarely used and thus often end up being part of Independent Draw. They have a bedroom, common room, bathroom, and kitchen setup.
Want to live in a new building, complete with central AC and elevators? Want to have bathrooms, printers, and laundry machines close by?
Think twice about living in the slums. New Butler and Whitman are your best options, but you will have to buy a meal plan or get a very good draw time (to get into Butler's Wilf Hall).
Deciding What to Eat
- Cook for Yourself
- Join a co-op
- Eat out/Order in
- Buy a meal plan
- Buy individual meals at the dining hall
- Buy food at Frist, Wawa or the U-store
- Live off friends' charity
- Live off free food events
You'll probably end up trying a combination of the above, but here are some things to consider when deciding how to stave off starvation:
Eliminate choices one and two.
Feel confident enough in your cooking skill to cook for others?
Consider a co-op. Co-op members cook dinner once or twice a week for the entire co-op and share the responsibilities of shopping and doing dishes. Each co-op charges its members dues to pay for groceries and cooking supplies. Co-op members share a kitchen and dining space, but do not necessarily live together. Members of co-ops can choose to enter any room draw they wish. For more information, check out the Co-ops and Associations page.
Can't survive without eating three full meals a day?
Strongly consider option 4 or 5. If you're going to buy a meal plan without living in a residential college though, it should be an unlimited; the smaller meal plans are more expensive than buying meals individually (see Residential Colleges section).
Low on cash?
Cooking for yourself is usually the cheapest. Also, CampusFood.com has a Facebook app called Food Friendzy that lets you win CampusFood cash applicable toward option 3 (translation: free food).
Joining the Princeton Free Food Listserv is also a great idea if you’re living off a budget. Clubs and events routinely order too much food and email the Listserv whenever they have some left over. So if you are willing to make the trek to wherever the food is, this is a great and completely free option that can get you some extra food almost every day.
Looking for Late Night Snacks?
The U-store now stocks moderately expensive groceries and pre-prepared meals from nearby restaurants, and it's open from 8 AM to 3 AM! Wu Dining Hall is open Sunday - Thursday evenings and has snacks such as cereal, bagels, and PB&J, Murray Dodge has free cookies and coffee from after 10 pm, or you could crash a study break.
Studio ’34, located in Butler College, 1967 Hall, lower level, is a great for hot and cold food items after the dining halls have closed. During academic hours it is open 8pm-2: 30am everyday.