About The Students’ Co-op
Co-opers share community space in the form of two living rooms, two porches, a yard, a parking lot, three shared bathrooms, a large kitchen and dining room (occupying an entire floor of the building!), a laundry room, a tool room and hallway space.
Private quarters include the 18 bedrooms, which are divided into 11 “doubles” (for two co-opers to live together) and 7 “singles”. The doubles come in “large” and “small” categories, and one of the singles is considered “small”. The singles are reserved for co-opers with high seniority.
All co-opers are expected to:
- Pay rent. Payments must be made with a check or money order to the rent slot on the first floor of the house by the first of the month.
- Do a weekly house job or managerial duty the entire run of a trimester. Positions include everything from a weekly bathroom duty to recruiting new applicants to the house. Manager positions are more varied in responsibility but are excellent learning opportunities.
- Do all the dishes approximately once each semester and shovel snow on your day assigned (if it snows).
- Perform 32 hours of additional maintenance work each year.
- Attend bimonthly meetings where important announcements and house decisions are made.
- Live respectfully and cooperatively and in accordance with all house policies, and do anything you can to improve the house.
Although the “legaleeze” is all in our policy book, some of our policies can be summarized as follows:
House Governance: Meetings are facilitated by the President. Decisions are made by the vote of a simple majority. Listeners are encouraged to speak up and talkers are encouraged to listen up.
Seniority System: Seniority is determined by the number of days you have physically lived within and paid rent to the co-op. When your deposit is refunded you lose all seniority. While you maintain seniority, you have preferred pick on chores and room choice. (This is why it’s unlikely new co-opers will ever move directly into a preferred single.)
Roommate System: During moves into or within the house, anybody may request a change or a stay of room at any reasonable time. Requests are granted in order of seniority and once you are in a single room, you cannot be forced out.
Dishes: Although it is highly encouraged that you wash your own dishes after you use them (or at least soak them in the dish bins after use) many chores are set up to reduce the burden off each co-oper. Personal dishes are permitted, but don’t expect dish chore workers to wash them.
Meal Plan: The co-op buys food in bulk as decided by two Food Managers, who take requests. They weigh in favor of the sometimes contrasting properties of being affordable, organic, local, in season and/or bulk. $60 per month pays for all the food you can eat, but it’s uncooperative to hog the high-demand items.
Being Together: The co-op has a loosely knit social structure that respects many different urban lifestyles, but quiet hours are to be honored from 10pm to 8am every night, Sunday through Thursday.
Guests and Parties: Parties of all kinds must be approved at meetings through majority approval and are strictly monitored. Guests, friends and family are allowed to stay, but only for short periods of time and they are expected to pay $2 per day for food. In some cases, a damage deposit may also be requested.
Laundry: The washer and dryer are free to use. The co-op purchases detergent for all to use.
Forbidden: Co-opers cannot smoke or light anything on fire (not even incense) indoors. Any animal that will fit in a small aquarium/terrarium such as a fish or hamster is fine. (However, please don’t put both in the same container). If you want to have a larger pet, ask the board. There are many people living in the house who find the co-op a safe refuge from allergins. You will not be allowed to move in with your dog(s) or cat(s).
Compost: Co-opers are asked to respect the compost system. Presently, a kitchen chore is assigned to the dumping of compost. The utilities chore is assigned to the movement and turning of the contents of the compost bin.
Safety and Emergency Issues: First aid kits are located in each bathroom, as well as a supply in the kitchen. Don’t hurt yourself.
Other emergencies: In the case of a civil defense or bad weather emergency, gather in the kitchen/basement area. In case of a Tsunami, you must provide your own life jacket and/or raft.
Security: If you give out the door code to anyone – even friends or family – your eviction is automatically scheduled at the next house meeting. Don’t give out the door code. If you see someone in the house whom you do not know, you have a right to ask her who she is or with whom she is. Do try to remember people’s names.
Internet: Ask not what your co-op can do for you; ask rather what you can do for your co-op. Don’t download any illegal software.
Composed by Gary J. Windels
Revised for 1995 by Jeff Zeitler
Revised for 2002 by Brian N. Hall
Revised for online 2004 by Brendan Nee
Updated 2011 by Mohamed Abdi
Summarized 2012 by Maxeem Konrardy
Chores and Positions
The co-op’s yin and yang of utilitarianism are Chore Positions and Manager Positions. While all co-opers are required to do general maintenance hours (12 during school season trimesters and 8 in the summer trimester) it is still required that you pick a specialized position in either of the following families:
(5 co-opers) Dish A – washing all the dishes, except the cast irons – once a week (Sunday through Thursday)
(5 co-opers) Dish B – mopping the kitchen and dining area, cleaning prep tables, dining tables, ovens, stoves and cast irons – once a week (Sunday through Thursday)
(3 co-opers) Bathrooms – mopping the bathrooms, and cleaning all surfaces in bathrooms – once a week (Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday)
(3 co-opers) CAR (Common Areas & Recycling) – mopping the living room, den & porches, and relocating castaway items to the Lost & Found – once a week (Monday, Wednesday or Sunday)
(1 co-oper) Halls & Stairs – mopping the stairs, vacuuming the halls – once a week (Sunday)
(1 co-oper) Utilities – organizing the laundry room, tool room and turning the compost bin – (flexible days)
(1 co-oper) Food Prep – preparing beans, rice, veggie burgers and other “basic” ingredients for meal plan – (3 hours per week)
Maintenance Manager(s) – (2 co-opers) Oversee work weekends, incentivize and motivate co-opers to get their general hours done, identify and prioritize projects, liaison with contractors, and – of course – know a thing or two yourself about power tools
Food Manager(s) -(2 co-opers) Buy food for everyone! It’s harder than it sounds.
President – facilitate, plan and attend all meetings; maintain contacts and relationships outside the Co-op; manage conflicts in and out of the Co-op; represent the Co-op.
House Manager/Vice President – ensure all positions are being maintainted and followed; monitor and purchase necessary supplies; assist President in house upkeep.
Treasurer – Liaison with our property management company; assist in managing the budget; collect rent; understand and research fiscal, investment and growth opportunities for the Co-op; process fines and credits.
Secretary – Maintain internal documents, forms and lists; manage digital intercommunication; upkeep the website and the Co-op media; be present at and take minutes for every meeting; maintain internal record; publish alumni newsletter.
Recruitment Manager – Encourage applications; give tours of the house; maintain relationships with applicants; move people in, out and within the house.
Archives/Alumni Manager – Maintain alumni relations, and work with the secretary to keep historic records of the house.
Greater Co-op Community
The Minnesota Students’ Co-operative, Inc. – St. Paul Campus Co-op – Our “bizarro” St. Paul campus alternative – what a bunch of weirdos! Who would ever form some kind of intential living organization around the campus of Minnesota’s prestigious university colleges?
North American Students of Cooperation – Official NASCO Site Our parent organization that helped us get started and continues to help us improve and sustain ourselves
East Wind Community – www.eastwind.org – A member of the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, which produces delicious nut butters (peanut, almond, cashew and tahini) and which is a fantastic, loveable place to live to boot!
Cooperative Living Magazine – www.cooperator.com
Cooperative Grocer Magazine – www.cooperativegrocer.coop
Hampden Park Co-op – campdencoop.com
Seward Co-op – Grocery & Deli – www.seward.coop
Eastside Food Co-op – www.eastsidefood.coop
Co-op Partners Warehouse – www.cooppartners.coop – The place that we buy some of our bulk organic products, such as East Wind peanut-butter.