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October 16, 2003 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-10-16

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88 - The Michigan Daily - Wckeid nie -- Thursday, October 16, 2003

The Michigan Daily - Weekeid Ihganiue -

hile diligently working on a
325, you glance at the clo
5:00p.m. You set your books
kitchen, fire-up the stove
enough ingredients out of the
around 40 people. No, this
Res-Hall cook, it's just one of
ly tasks as a resident in a stu

Almost 400 Michigan students are doing
the selecting themselves from amongst the
19 houses that make up the Inter-
Cooperative Council (ICC), a student-run
group that owns and manages its own prop-
erties. The residents run all of the Student
Co-ops - not landlords, not the University.
LSA senior and Vice President for
Recruitment for the ICC, Ben Chess states
that on the surface "it's hard to point out the
differences between co-ops and other off
campus communal housing, but a big differ-
ence is that anyone can live in a co-op."
Chess, who currently lives at Ruths'
House on North Thayer, has lived in vari-
ous co-ops over his past three years at the
University. After spending his freshman
year in Bursley, he visited some of the
"I liked the mentality of the people I met.
They were really fun to hang out with,"
Chess said.
Jen Dombrowski, RC senior, has spent
her last two-and-a-half years at Deb's
House on East University Avenue. "My ini-
tial attraction to the co-ops was that I start-
ed looking for housing a little late and there
were still rooms available. After moving in,
though, there were so many reasons to
What is this "mentality" of Student Co-
ops that has so many residents praising
them? Dombrowski believes that co-ops are
a good combination between the dorms and
off-campus housing. "You meet new people
like in the dorms, but it doesn't get as hell-
ish as it can living in a big house," she said.
Because the ICC owns and runs the
Student Co-ops, the rent can be substantial-
ly lower then other off-campus options.
Additionally, monthly rent includes board-
ing and food as well, and plenty of it.
"There's lots and lots of amazing food,"
says Jason Voss, an LSA senior who lived
in Lester House last year, but continues to
board there now even though he lives else-
where. Don't think all this amazing food is
served up on a silver platter, though. Part of
the reason that co-ops are so affordable is
because, well, they're cooperative - each
resident has to contribute four to five hours
of work to their house or the ICC every
"Living in a co-op takes the same respon-
sibility as living in any other house," Chess
said. Residents' weekly duties can range
from cooking meals to cleaning bathrooms
to organizing house meetings.
Residents say that participating in their
weekly tasks adds to the communal sense
of the house. "The sense of community is
really important in both an informal and
formal sense. We share a lot of common
space so we spend a lot of time together
and have a lot of fun," says RC junior,
Adam Konner, ICC Vice President for
Memberships and resident of Michigan
House on North State Street.
While all the co-ops stress a sense of



UHS currently offers the morning-after pill, also known as Plan B, by prescription.

Deb's House is one of 19 co-ops on campus.
community and sustainable living, they are
far from cookie-cutter houses with differ-
ing addresses. "Each house has its own cul-
ture," Chess said about the houses, which
change each year as new people move in
and out. For example, two houses, Lester
and Black Elk, are strictly vegetarian, with
no meat allowed on the premises while
Gregory house on Washtenaw Ave. is sub-
While all co-ops are open to any student,
the North Campus co-ops attract a large
number of graduate and international stu-
dents while those on Central Campus con-
sist mostly of undergraduates.
Diversity exists not only among the co-
ops, but within the houses as well. Chess
dispels the stereotype that all co-op resi-
dents are hippies or political activists.
Instead, he says that they are simply coop-
erative-minded people. "All it takes to live
in a co-op is respect. It's OK to disagree."
All co-ops are open to any student. The
North Campus co-ops attract a large num-
ber of graduate and international students
while those on Central Campus consist
mostly of undergraduates.
To get into the house of your choice, all
you need to do is apply and hope that there

is an c
just nee
all wor
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not be
"It w
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they wa
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able, cl
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fell out
house I
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Students get a sense of communal living while learning to share
By Ragan Olczak. For the Daily

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