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September 28, 2011 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-09-28

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8B Wednsday 2011

PERSONALSTATEMENT

LOVE FOR LUTHER HOUSE
WHY OPTING FOR A CO-OP MIGHT
BE THE BEST DECISION YOU MAKE
BY MIA MARINO

From 'creating a ridiculous
rivalry for no reason with another
co-op to shouting absurd phrases
that became yearlong themes ("If
someone's not dying, we're not
living"), we merged from strang-
ers into family. Everyone in the
house shared a common humor,
from choosing a mural theme
(The Great Wave) to cleaning the
kitchen messes. I could not think
of a better group of people to live
with.
Each house member is seen as
an equal owner of the space - a
participant, a helper and a contrib-
utor. At the first

After living in the Univer-
sity's Luther Haus co-op
last year, I can confidently
say two things: First, that I loved
every minute spent in the co-op
and second, I praise the Lord every
day that my conservative mother
never set foot in that house.
My experience as a member of
a co-op was particularly unique
to this campus because of my
dual affiliation with the co-op
and Greek Life. Initially, I joined
Luther because I wanted to be
near Central Campus and have a
low-key living environment with
few rules. As a California girl
with only one older brother, I had
always felt at home in fraternity
houses. Therefore, in my pursuit
for the perfect housing option I
felt pulled toward the Inter Coop-
erative Council - the body that
oversees the maintenance and
contract information for each
of the University's 19 co-ops -
because of its fun, easygoing envi-
ronment. With reasonable rules,
spacious rooms, low living costs
and provided food, there was a lot
to like about Luther.
However, these are not the rea-

sons why I really cherished my
time at Luther. Each individual
co-op boasts a unique personal-
ity and a new group of incred-
ible members each year. From the
people to the physical home itself,
co-ops are something that more
people should know about.
From day one I felt like an inte-
gral member of Luther Haus. It
is outlined in the rules of co-op
living that each member has an
equal voice in decision-making.
This rule is not always impor-
tant when you are living with a
homogeneous group, but for most
co-ops the inhabitants are as
unique as the psychedelic murals
that adorn the walls. As I sat on
the porch swing that first August
evening as a "Lutherite," older
members swapped stories about
how Luther had been the birth-
place of the band M-5, had har-
bored the White Panthers during
the civil rights movement and
that John Lennon had slept with
a student in another Lutherite's
room.
The current members' back-
grounds rivaled the richness of
Luther's history. Luther boasted

students from the University of
Michigan and Eastern Michi-
gan University across many
departments. Ages ranged from
18-year-old undergraduates to a
30-year-old graduate student in

"Each individual co-op boasts a house meeting, an
executive board
unique personality and a group is democrati-
cally assigned.
of incredible members." The food stew-
ards order bulk
the physics department. Needless food and run to the grocery store
to say, Luther was not lacking aca- for specialty items. The kitchen
demic diversity. czar maintains the curb appeal
This diverse group of students of the kitchen and oversees the
not only led to interesting intel- overall cleanliness of the hub of
lectual discussion, but also to the house. Work managers create
some pretty fun everyday expe- detailed work schedules - one
riences. Without Luther I would of the reasons why co-ops are so
be less aware of the true devotion affordable is because of the work
required to succeed in a program- hours contributed by each house
ming course at the University (I member.
am a lowly double major in LSA My personal work experiences
academic departments). I would were unforgettable. During first
never have befriended a School of semester, I was a chef on Mon-
Art & Design senior set on becom- day evenings, for which my friend
ing a minister who simultaneously Jonah and I were expected to
enjoyed a great social life and prepare both vegetarian and car-
rocked a phenomenal party per- nivore dinner options for 50 peo-
sona. ple. While we definitely burned

the rice, and may have accidently
transferred a spognful of bouil-
lon broth to vegetarian chili, we
were not the worst chefs by a long
shot. Through cooking, we quickly
befriended each other.
I was ready for a less strenu-
ous job the next semester. Com-
ing from a family where Edith
and Anna had cleaned our home
from top to bottom weekly since I
was 6 years old, few would peg me
as the type to request bathroom
cleaning. However, I was happy to
scrub until the shower sparkled.
While duties differ from clean-
ing, to cooking, to working at the
administrative ICC office, each
job requires the cooperation of all
house members.
Co-ops are not defined solely
through the manner by which
they are run either. Luther Haus
hosts an annual Halloween party
that touts live bands and fierce
costumes. We opened our home as
the location for weekly Ann Arbor
Free Skool cooking classes. I may
have lost my mind at times, but
overall, my time at Luther made
me a more patient, understanding
and awesome person because of
the people who I was surrounded
by and the foundation by which
co-ops are run.
Look into co-op living regard-
less of your academic or social
backgrounds, as they are filled
with individuals as varied as their
locations around campus.
- Mia Marino is ans LSA junior.

the
EstatEm
SEPTEMBER 28, 2011

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