Alpha Omicron Pi requires in-house members to purchase a meal plan, consisting of dinner Sunday-Thursday and brunch on Friday cooked by a chef. The members also have access to a separate kitchen to make their own food on the weekends. (Grace Dillon/ B&W Staff)

Students in Greek houses reveal dining reality


Greek life makes up one of the most prominent organizations at Lehigh. As of Fall 2022, 21.7% of Lehigh undergraduates were part of a Greek organization. Of those 1,230 Greek students, 600 of them lived in a residential chapter house. 

According to the Office of Student Involvement, no meals are provided to students of any chapter on Saturdays. Additionally, 15 of the 18 recognized chapters don’t provide lunch on Sundays and 10 of the 18 chapters don’t provide dinner on Fridays. 

Sara Runyon, the assistant dean and director of student involvement, said each on-campus chapter facility has the opportunity to provide an in-house meal plan where designated chefs provide food for each house that is directly operated by the organizations. 

She said students who live in the chapter facilities participate in those meal plans, all of which do not provide students with meals on the weekends.

While the formal meals prepared by chefs at each house are limited on weekends, each of the houses — besides Chi Psi, which provides no in-house meal plan — supplies students with snacks, drinks and leftovers at all times.

Allison Connuck, ‘26, is the steward for her sorority, meaning she’s the main point of contact between the chef for the house and the girls in the sorority. 

On weekends, she said members of the sorority go out to dinner, get food delivered or make use of the leftovers to make their own meals. She said the lack of meals can be a financial burden, and she estimates she spends around $20 a week on food. 

“I know a lot of people’s meal plans are paid for by their parents through tuition and aid, and a lot of times getting your own food through restaurants is them paying themselves,” Connuck said. “I think because of that people feel less compelled to go out and buy food.”

Molly Smith, ‘26, a member of another sorority, said about half of the members living in the house eat leftovers.

“Around 25% (of the in-house members) will DoorDash, which is not cost-effective at all, and then the other members will snack on things and fend for themselves,” Smith said. 

She said she typically spends a lot of money on meals because food delivery service orders become expensive with added fees. 

Having food delivered for each of the four meals that aren’t provided adds up, Smith said, so she tries to balance between eating the leftovers and ordering food. 

“At the end of the day, given that we’re college students that are already paying a lot just to be part of the chapter, having to pay extra for food on the weekends is just inconvenient,” Smith said. 

She said members tend to spend substantially more time at the chapter house on weekends, and it’s a hassle to not have meals provided. 

On weekdays, she said people are typically out on campus for class, so it’s easier to get food from on-campus dining locations. 

Runyon said links to the cost of membership pages are provided to students during recruitment, which breaks down all the meal plans, the cost and when food will be provided for each chapter. 

“Before we join we know about the food situation, so I think it’s something that everyone just kind of accepts once they decide they’re going to live in the house,” Connuck said. 

Smith said she felt like the meal plan situation wasn’t fully disclosed and the discussions mainly focused on how good the meal plans were, especially in comparison to the ones available through Lehigh Dining.

“The food is much better quality, and it’s so much healthier, and we only ever talked about that aspect of it,” Smith said. “I just never really knew about (the lack of meals on weekends). It’s not like people lied to us about it — we just barely even talked about it.”

Connuck said despite the lack of weekend meals, she likes her meal plan.

“Even though there’s less, it’s such better quality, it’s healthier, and (the chef) takes our input and listens to what we want,” Connuck said. 

Runyon said for those who do not feel their Greek organization provides them with enough food, there are smaller university plans for purchase.

She also said there are resources available for Greek life students who are potentially struggling with the cost of paying for meals.

“Folks who are struggling with food insecurity can use resources available through the Health and Wellness Center,” Runyon said. “We’re also happy to talk with students about how we can best get them access to the food they’re looking for or food that they need.”

Comment policy

Comments posted to The Brown and White website are reviewed by a moderator before being approved. Incendiary speech or harassing language, including comments targeted at individuals, may be deemed unacceptable and not published. Spam and other soliciting will also be declined.

The Brown and White also reserves the right to not publish entirely anonymous comments.


  1. Tom Johnston '74 on

    I was a steward for a fraternity in the early 1970’s. I planned menus, bought the food, made sure there were people to set tables, washed dishes, etc. I also had to keep the cook sober between lunch and dinner. We provided meals Monday-Saturday. Sunday we were on our own, and would usually go off campus to Burger King, Ponderosa, or the like (no doordash or ubereats back then). Some would buy their food and prepare it in the kitchen facility. Unless the governance has changed, isn’t it up to the fraternity/sorority to decide how many meals to offer? Obviously, the more meals offered, the more the room and board charge would go up. It was all a part of our annual budgeting process. There is no free lunch or dinner!

    • Yes, all residential fraternities and sororities, in consultation with their advisors and alumni/housing corporations which lease the chapter houses on an annual basis, decide whether the organization will offer an in-house meal plan (as in the case of Chi Psi), which meals will be served and on what schedule, and whether to hire a chef directly or to contract through a third-party food service company (such as Campus Cooks, College Chefs, College Fresh, Gill Grilling, and Greek House Chefs, among others).

  2. So, cooking for themselves (like everyone else in the world) isn’t an option? There is literally a photo of the kitchen available for their use.

    • A small handful of fraternities and sororities lock their kitchens over the weekend but most leave their kitchens unlocked and allow their members to cook, provided they clean up after themselves. Certain chapters who do choose to lock their kitchens have kitchenettes in their dining rooms with refrigerators, microwaves, toaster ovens, etc. that members can use to prepare smaller meals. Taken together, fraternity and sorority members have a lot more access to kitchen space than students who only eat at Lehigh’s on-campus dining facilities that have set hours of operation.

Leave A Reply