Details of charges and ways of paying for food in College can be found in the Finance section of this guide. What follows is the practical guide to the College’s Catering operations.

7.3.1 Meal Availability

The College operates on the basis that it provides catering facilities centrally for students rather than a self-catering system. Selwyn is not a self-catering College and the facilities on each staircase are intended for the preparation of light snacks only. These facilities are available in shared spaces, known as Gyp Rooms, near students’ rooms.

Three meals are available in the cafeteria service in the main Hall on six days of the week and two on Sunday.

The times of meals in Hall during Full Term are:

Monday to Friday

Breakfast

8.00 am

9.30 am

Snacks

8.00 am

7.00 pm

Full Cafeteria service

12.00 pm

1.30 pm

Dinner (Cafeteria Service)

6.00 pm

7.00 pm

(Formal Hall)

7.30 pm

Saturday

Breakfast

8.00 am

9.30 am

Snacks

12.30 pm

7.00 pm

Lunch

12.30 pm

1.30 pm

Dinner

6.00 pm

7.00 pm

Sunday

Snacks

10.30 am

7.00 pm

Brunch

11.30 am

12.30 pm

Dinner

6.00 pm

7.00 pm

Times may vary out of Term; any changes will be posted in the entrance to the Hall.

The Cafeteria is open for the purchase of drinks, hot food, snacks, and sandwiches. There are also a number of non-food items available in the Cafeteria such as toiletries, notepads, batteries and washing powder etc.

Formal Hall is the term used for waiter-served three-course meal that is available twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Tickets are booked online here. Students may book tickets online for up to two guests. Further details, rules and guidelines for Formal Hall are set out at 7.3.4 – 7.3.7 below.

Arrangements can be made through the College Nurse for meals to be served in your room if you are ill.

7.3.2 Special Dietary Requirements

Vegetarian dishes are provided in Hall at every meal, but if any students have special dietary requirements not currently catered for, they should consult the Catering Manager (mr300); gluten-free and other special diets are regularly catered for. No vegetarian meal contains any meat or animal fat, and cross-contamination is avoided; vegetarian meals are therefore suitable for those on halal or most kosher diets. Students requiring kosher or halal food on a regular or occasional basis should discuss their individual requirements with the Catering Manager. Kosher food is also available at the University Jewish Society (www.cujs.org).

Any student with a serious or unusual allergy (e.g. nuts) should contact the Catering Manager when they arrive (or better still in advance) to discuss how the College can help them. See also the University’s ‘Guidelines on the management of individuals at risk of anaphylaxis’ at:
http://www.cam.ac.uk/current-students/student-health-and-welfare/health-guidelines
The College welcomes feedback on all aspects of its catering and suggestions may be made via your food officer or directly to the Catering Manager, or more formally through the student representatives on the Steward’s Committee.

7.3.3 Payment For Meals

Meals from the Cafeteria should be paid for using your University Card. The card operates on a credit system. The meals you have taken during one term will appear on the College bill for the following term. You may also use your card in the Bar.

Cash (in Sterling), debit and credit cards are also accepted in the Cafeteria and the Bar. After each transaction a till receipt can be provided which will show the amount of the latest transaction.

If you lose your University Card, or it becomes unreadable by the card readers in the Cafeteria, the Bursary can provide you with a temporary card for use until you obtain a replacement University Card. A refundable deposit of £4 will be charged to your College bill. Please return your temporary card to the Bursary when you no longer need it, otherwise your University Card will not be reactivated for use in the Cafeteria. The deposit will then be refunded.

7.3.4 Formal Hall and formal dinners

Formal Hall is, as the name suggests, a formal meal. It is a significant communal event, one important way in which a sense of community is established, and one that shows the College off to visitors. It is therefore important that standards of behaviour at such an event must remain suitable to the occasion. Everybody in College should be able to enjoy this aspect of our communal life. To this end, the following set of guidelines and rules have been agreed with the JCR and MCR to govern both Formal Hall dining and any other formal dinners such as those organised by individuals, clubs and societies, the JCR or the MCR.

What Formal Hall is:

  • an occasion when members of College can dine together, in formal yet relaxed surroundings.
  • an occasion on which members of College can invite guests, both from other Colleges and outside Cambridge, to whom they wish to extend hospitality.

The College undertakes to provide:

  • a carefully prepared meal at an affordable price.
  • courteous and polite service.
  • a congenial and pleasant atmosphere.
  • an agreed system for making block bookings.

Junior Members undertake:

  • to behave reasonably throughout the meal, and not to detract from others’ enjoyment of the meal by intrusive or anti-social behaviour.
  • At all times to behave courteously to the serving staff.
  • not to abuse or defeat deliberately any agreed system for controlling block bookings.
  • To take responsibility for, and to ensure the good behaviour of, any guests brought to dinner.

7.3.5 Guidelines for behaviour in Formal Hall

In addition to the guidelines below, you are reminded of the Code of Conduct for Behaviour at formal dinners.

  • Those dining are expected to behave in a considerate and well-mannered fashion, to be courteous to the staff at all times and not to indulge in raucous or otherwise anti-social behaviour, which may affect others.
  • Gowns should be worn at all times and dress should be formal in keeping with the occasion, i.e. jacket and tie, or equivalent. Jeans, shorts, cropped tops and trainers are not permitted. If the Hall is too hot, the Presiding Fellow may give permission for jackets to be removed.
  • During the meal, there is to be no shouting, singing or speech-making, toasting or any drinking games. Challenges which encourage the excessive or accelerated consumption of alcohol are not permitted. Unless needs must, those dining should remain seated at all times to avoid accidents involving those who are serving. Mobile phones should be switched off and photographs are not allowed whilst Fellows and College guests are in the Hall.
  • When High Table rises, a short concluding grace is said (response ‘Laus Deo’ – see 7.3.7 below) and the Fellows and their guests leave. This is normally about 8.30 pm.
  • Once those dining on the High Table have left, the Butler’s permission may be sought for photographs to be taken provided that the photography does not adversely affect the experience of other diners.
  • On special occasions, such as a 21st birthday, permission may be sought, via the Butler, prior to the Fellows’ departure from the Presiding Fellow for a toast to be made. Very occasionally permission might be granted for a song of congratulation to be sung. Note that the Presiding Fellow will not normally give permission for more than one such toast or song per evening. None of these activities must interfere with the clearing of Hall.
  • Diners will normally be expected to leave the Hall by 9:00 pm.
  • Members of College are responsible for the behaviour of their guests.

The Butler and his staff have authority to ensure that these rules are obeyed, and they are authorised to require anyone breaking them to leave the Hall. Any person so required to leave will be asked for his or her name (or the name of the host) and may be reported to the Dean.

7.3.6 Guests at Formal Hall

The College wishes to ensure that no single member of College books more than their fair numbers of tickets for Formal Hall. The purpose of setting a restriction on the number of tickets that can be purchased by any one person is twofold: firstly, to ensure that everybody who wishes to has the opportunity to purchase a ticket; secondly, to prevent the dinner being dominated by a large group of guests from outside College. For this reason, the number of guest tickets that can automatically be purchased online by any one student is limited to two per dinner.

This system relies on members of the College co-operating and agreeing not to defeat the system. Members of College are therefore asked not to book guest tickets for other people’s guests (to do so is also risky, because the Selwyn host will be responsible for any bad behaviour committed by guests for whom they have booked tickets). The College does, however, understand that occasionally there might be very good reason for a student to wish to bring more than two guests to Formal Hall (for example, to entertain family members or close friends or colleagues). The Dean is prepared to give permission for more than two guests in reasonable circumstances. Any queries about additional guest tickets for Formal Hall should be directed in the first instance to the Conference Office (conferences@sel.cam.ac.uk). If space is available at the relevant Formal Hall, any such reasonable requests will be agreed, on condition that the guests are known personally to the Selwyn student making the booking and that the names of those guests are provided.

Formal Hall cannot, however, be used for entertaining large groups, including university clubs and societies – anyone wishing to do so should instead book a separate formal dinner, in one of the public rooms in College. If you wish to organise such a meal, you should consult the Conference Office (conferences@sel.cam.ac.uk) in good time. The College expects the same standards of behaviour at such events as at Formal Hall.

7.3.7 College Grace

At the start of Formal Hall, the College Grace is read in Latin by one of the Scholars or by the presiding Fellow. The College Grace (with translation) is as follows:

Benedic, Domine, nobis et donis Tuis, quae de Tua largitate sumus sumpturi; et concede ut iis muneribus Tuis ad laudem Tuam utamur gratisque animis fruamur, per Jesum Christum Dominum Nostrum. Amen.

Bless us, O Lord, and all your gifts, which of your goodness we are about to enjoy; grant that we may use these generosities to your glory and enjoy them with thankful hearts, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

At the end of dinner, the Presiding Fellow says: ‘Benedicamus Domino’ (Let us bless the Lord), to which the response (said by all) is: ‘Laus Deo’ (The Lord be praised).