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Cloister Inn to stay afloat through spring semester

Image of Cloister Inn: a mansion-like house with brown and gray masonry, and a large entryway with an American flag flying above it.
Multiple proposals are under consideration for a 'sophomore takeover' of Cloister Inn.
Candace Do / The Daily Princetonian

Cloister Inn will remain open through the spring semester, despite previous concerns of a potential closure. The eating club’s leadership is pursuing a sophomore ‘takeover’ this spring to ensure its long-term survival.

In a letter mailed to Cloister alumni in mid-December, the eating club’s Graduate Board of Governors explained that the club raised over $100,000 in less than two weeks at the end of 2023 in an “unprecedented show of support.” 


“Thanks to our alumni, we’re halfway through our fundraising goal of $250K and are on pace to finish through the end of the school year,” the Board wrote in a statement to The Daily Princetonian. 

The alumni letter emphasized that while the eating club will have enough funds to operate for the spring semester, the long-term future of Cloister remains uncertain. 

“[O]ur work is not finished. The urgency we communicated was very real, and while we are now optimistic, we aren’t getting complacent,” the letter reads.

Cloister is currently one of the smallest clubs on the Street with 44 members, according to an internal email sent to Cloister members. Membership rates at the eating club have been decreasing since the pandemic. 

To increase membership, Cloister leadership is encouraging prospective members to consider staging a ‘takeover,’ recruiting large groups of students to join the eating club during 2024’s Street Week, to bring the club to full capacity and revitalize it through new undergraduate leadership.

As an incentive, the incoming Cloister class will be rewarded with a $50,000 discretionary fund, termed a ‘Membership Fund,’ if a successful takeover of 50 or more undergraduates is achieved. The fund would finance new members’ wish list of improvements and changes to Cloister’s amenities and services.


In a statement to the ‘Prince,’ Cloister Board President Jose Pincay-Delgado ’77 suggested ideas including “upgrading our movie room [and] hot tub, planning fun off-campus trips, [and] booking live bands.”

According to the Board’s statement to the ‘Prince,’ Cloister leadership has already received a number of proposals from groups of undergraduates interested in a club takeover, detailing their ideas for how the extra funds would be used.

The alumni letter shared a similar sentiment, adding that “interest is gathering among sports teams and interest groups – both those that have a legacy of Cloister membership as well as new ones.” 

Historically, Cloister has been home to athletes involved in water sports. Currently, one-third of Cloister is part of the swimming and diving, water polo, or rowing teams.

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The Board also added that the Membership Fund attracted more alumni support, including those “who specifically wanted to donate to help bolster the Membership Fund.”

Beyond the Membership Fund, alumni donations are also being used to ensure the quality of service at Cloister. The alumni letter stated that club leadership prioritizes offering a “fantastic sophomore member experience” to new members, regardless of how many members are in the club. With low current membership, Cloister must reach into their reserve funds to provide this experience, especially since the “financial benefit of a large class of sophomores will not be felt until Fall 2024 when they become full members.”

During its closure during the COVID-19 pandemic and the following years of low membership, Cloister had used 90 percent of its reserve funds, according to a previous letter sent to alumni. According to Form 990 tax filings for the fiscal year ending June 2022, Cloister reported a net loss of almost $270,000 in 2022.

In their most recent letter, the board added that they need to rebuild their reserve funds in addition to funding the Membership Fund and club services for the “club to be sustainable for the short and long term.”

Sofia Arora is a staff News writer for the ‘Prince.’

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