The eating club system has existed at Princeton for more than a century.
The first club, Ivy Club, was founded in 1879 by students in response to
the College's inability to provide adequate dining facilities for its
growing student population. By the early 1900s there were 13 clubs and in
1906 two-thirds of upperclassmen were eating regularly on Prospect Avenue.
At this point, President Wilson feared the University was in danger of
becoming "only an artistic setting and background for life on Prospect
Avenue.'' But despite Wilson's worries and his advocacy of alternatives,
the eating club system continued to expand; by the end of World War I, 75%
of upperclassmen were members of 17 eating clubs. Since then, three more
clubs appeared and nine dissolved. Today, approximately 75% of Princeton
juniors and seniors are members of Prospect's 10 eating clubs.
(Adapted from A
Ivy Club II, c.1888
Tower Club, 1921
(Photos courtesy Mudd
Charter Club, 1930