Students walk along Prospect Avenue in 2015.
Denise Applewhite/Office of Communications
Despite efforts to make bicker smoother and more accessible, there is still anxiety within the sophomore class about results

Eating clubs are hosting Street Week for the roughly 1,500 members of the sophomore class, the largest in Princeton history. 

Bicker eating clubs are taking measures to account for what they anticipate will be a larger demand for available spots, while selective sign-in clubs are taking measures to expand their reach. Some sign-in clubs are launching programs to capitalize on the large sophomore class and build strong memberships.   

“We’re acutely aware that the sophomore class is a lot bigger than the junior class, and we expect that a lot more people will recruit,” said Kalu Obasi ’25, a member of the Tower bicker committee. “We want to make sure that it is still a smooth process.” 

Obasi said Tower is adapting recruitment procedures to meet demand and accelerate evaluating bickerees. 

“To give us a little more flexibility, we’ve changed it so that people only have to attend five [out of six] bicker sessions,” Obasi said. “We’re excited about having new members, but the process of discussing them typically takes a long time. The idea now is to start the discussions at an earlier time in the day.”  

With this increased demand, some clubs are changing their bicker strategies.  

“TI is expecting a large bicker class and … people are excited about that,” said Tiger Inn member Will Hartman ’25. “It’s to the point where it’s difficult for all the members to cover all the coffee chat requests.”   

In an email sent to the members of Tiger Inn, the club announced changes to its bicker process, including how it interviews siblings and significant others of current members. This year, members will not be allowed to sit in the room while their siblings or significant others are being discussed. Members also will not be able to give their first bid or a speech in favor of their siblings or partners. 

Despite efforts to make bicker smoother and more accessible, there is still anxiety within the sophomore class about results. 

“The increased class size, coupled with the lack of change in eating club numbers — it just seems more competitive this year,” said Connor Brown ’26. 

Charter, a selective sign-in club, is trying to expand its capacity to serve the large sophomore class. 

Just four years after a successful resuscitation, Charter has announced a plan to add to its membership of 180 upperclassmen. But conducting this review has brought attention to the challenges of limited dining spaces, including few women’s restrooms and the continued use of a vintage rope-and-pulley dumbwaiter. Charter is planning to make improvements to its clubhouse through an alumni-funded campaign called Project 79 (a nod to its address, 79 Prospect Ave.). 

Last year, 633 students were offered spots in bicker clubs and 516 joined sign-in clubs, according to The Daily Princetonian, from a class that enrolled 1,345 students in its freshman year. If all 1,500 sophomores wanted to join clubs this year, “they would need to make all the buildings larger in order to physically fit all the people — or they would need to re-start another club,” said Isabella Swartz ’24, the former community service chair of Charter. “I don’t even know if that could fit everybody.”

Other clubs, such as Cloister and Colonial, are hoping to use the large sophomore class to build strong memberships. These clubs have recently announced programs which will incentivize membership. 

Cloister has announced an invitation for a sophomore takeover, with a membership fund of up to $100,000 for students who wish to join. Colonial ran an early sign-in campaign from Jan. 16 to Feb. 2, offering students a discount when they join in a group of six. Additionally, sophomores are allowed to join in sophomore officer positions and live in the house in the coming academic year. 

According to Colonial member Alex Yoo ’25, the early campaign has shown promise. “Just based on how many people are at meals, it seems like there is a lot of interest,” he said. “I went to lunch on Monday, open to sophomores, and there were no seats available.”  

Genevieve Shutt ’26 said the outreach has helped sophomores learn about the clubs and may have eased some of the pressure around Street Week. “I feel like a lot of people are a lot less stressed about joining a specific club because there are so many more opportunities available and clubs to join,” she said. “A lot of the frustration has honestly lifted, and people are coming to realize that they would be happy in a plethora of places.”