The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 7, 1989 - Page 11
Co-op residents learn to cooperate
by Ann Eveleth
Daily Staff Writer
While thousands of students in
Ann Arbor continue to live in low-
quality housing, unable to combat
rising rents and University Housing
costs, some students are escaping the
crunch by living cooperatively.
"It's cool that you learn to get
along by working together," said
John Gundlach, member of
Sojourner Truth Co-op.
Cooperatives at the University of
Michigan are student owned and op-
erated housing units. Over 550 stu-
dents live in the 17 separate houses
operating within the Inter-
Cooperative Council (ICC).
"Of primary importance is our
commitment to open and accessible
membership. Anyone can belong to
a co-op. There is no exclusionary
criteria for membership. On the con-
trary we are committed to an open ,
multi-racial, multi-cultural popula-
tion in our houses," said Yariv
Houvras, member of Nakamura Co-
The Council serves as a central-
ized organization for the purpose of
coordinating finances, development
projects, maintenance and education
programs, and contract signing for
Co-op members buy shares in the
ICC when they enter a co-op and are
equal owners of the entire organiza-
tion's holdings, over six million
dollars worth of property.
In addition to their shares, mem-
bers pay a monthly rent that covers
the still outstanding mortgages and
all housing expenses, and funds
ICC-wide educational events and
ICC programs. Typically, rent is
$300 per month, which includes all
housing costs and board. Food is
prepared by members, and is always
available for individual use.
Economically, Co-ops operate on a
non-profit basis, and any surplus
that occurs is divided equally among
"Co-ops are antithetical to capi-
talism, and they help to fight
poverty," said Miriam Dibble of
Lester Co-op,"the veggie co-op that
Each house is autonomous and
has its own government. Dem-
ocratically organized, each member
has an equal vote in house decisions
and policies. Houses are also
responsible for their own finances,
maintenance, and environment.
All members participate in work-
ing to keep the house running
smoothly. Houses elect officers -
generally a president, vice-president,
work manager, treasurer, mainte-
nance manager, food steward,and sec-
retary - whose duties fulfill their
house work requirement.
Other work, such as cooking,
dish washing, and lawn mowing, is
assigned to members on a weekly
basis. Each member works approxi-
mately four to six hours each week.
Houses also participate in office
work at the ICC office, located on
the fourth floor of the Michigan
Decisions affecting all houses are
made by the ICC Board of Directors,
which consists primarily of house
presidents. In any decision-making
process, the Principles of Co-
operation serve as guidelines. ICC
Co-op residents sit and chill out on the porch of their home, Steven's Co-
op. Cooperative living is a great way to combat the high cost of housing.
Co-ops are committed to open mem-
bership, democratic participation,
neutrality, education, mutual co-
operation, and continual expansion.
"It's a great way to experience a
democracy and meet people from all
parts of the world," said John
Chartier of Sojourner Truth.
Co-ops are more than just an eco-
nomical place to live, they offer an
alternative way of living that is edu,
cational, diverse,and fun
As Kelly Hoffine of Sojourner
Truth said, "Co-ops are a good thing
because you learn perseverance, co-
operation, responsibility, and toler-
ance, and make a lot of new friends."
Going Greek: Is it right path for you?
by Stes Riley
Daily Special Writer
In recent years, Michigan's
Greek system and others nationwide
have, grown in popularity. More
people now than ever are "going
Greek." However, as the number of
people joining sororities and fraterni-
ties grows, so does the amount of
criticism the whole system receives.
Growing is what this system is
all about. Young women and men
who are unsure of themselves and
their position at the University join
the system with hopes of finding a
place to fit in. Once they do, their
confidence usually sets in and they
are able stand and better face the
many challenges the University
holds before them.
This is not to say that everyone1
who joins the system is insecure, or
that anyone who doesn't join, hasi
their next four years planned.
One fact can't be disputed. As a;
new student, this is a big, scary
place. Arriving at a school with al-
most 40,000 students can be fright-
ening to even the most cosmopoli-
tan first-year-student. ..
The rush process can in itself be;
intimidating for both women andt
men. While the process differs forE
the two, the end result can be grati-
fying or devastating for both.l
Sorority rush is a lengthy and
formal affair. Rushees are requiredt
to visit all 19 houses on campus and
then wait to be invited back by;
members of a given house. There are
four sets of "parties" before a rushee
may receive a "bid" to become a
member of a house.
Fraternities take a much more ca-
sual approach. Since there are more
than 40 fraternities here, it would be
almost impossible for someone to
visit all of them in the five days
alotted for men's rush. Instead, stu-
dents visit only the houses they are
interested in, for as many nights as
they feel are necessary during rush.
Then they nervously wait for frater-
nity brothers to hand-deliver their
The rush process is the most crit-
icized part of the Greek system.
There are too many students who
don't get bids and some of them are
hurt by it. "It's a very difficult pro-
cess but it's done the best way that
it can be done," Delta Phi Epsilon
Sorority President Stacy Sanderman
Students ne d to be aware of their
chances for be :oming a member be-
fore going into rush. It is important
to note that there are other options if
a student doesn't go Greek. Being in
a sorority or a fraternity is hardly the
only way to belong, make a differ-
ence or have fun at the University.
This is, however, often the im-
pression conveyed to students here.
There is too much emphasis placed
on the Greek system as a whole. It
is a small part of the University and
a majority of students do not belong
to it. Their lives are much the same
What the system does do is im-
portant nevertheless. Once a rushee
becomes a member of a house, there
is usually an instant feeling of be-
longing. In addition, there is always
a place to go besides the residence
hall. Suddenly, the University ap-
pears smaller than when students
first arrived on campus and the
chance to make a difference becomes
It is making a difference on which
the system prides itself. Many peo-
ple believe sororities and fraternities
just have parties but as Sanderman
said, "We do other things besides
having parties that are important to
school life that you otherwise
couldn't do on a campus this size."
She cited recently raising $1200 for
See Greeks, Page 13
A contestant in the Pi Phi Jello Jump during Greek Week '89. The money
raised from Greek week events goes to various local charities.
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