What is it like to live in a Student Housing Cooperative?
Quite different than a typical student dorm experience, a Student Housing Cooperative is more like “the University of Life!” — where communication, problem solving, and cooperation skills are required.
In this brand new second episode of Planet Community, hear from the experiences of people living at Luther House, a student housing coop in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
“The way I see ICC’s vision is to be inclusive, affordable, and democratic.”
Miranda Schaefer, the Vice President for Education at ICC, articulates the vision of the collective. She is a resident at Luther House, and student at University of Michigan.
“My choice of living in intentional community, specifically the ICC and Luther House, I think reflects my own passion for creating a more egalitarian world. Very idealistic, but you’ve got to strive for something!”
Luther House is part of the Inter-Cooperative Collective, a group of 16 student housing groups that function as enriching student communities to support, enhance, and deepen the college experience.
Austin Goff, also a resident of Luther House, shares his sense of life there. “This is perfect, this is exactly what I was looking for.”
“Because we’re a student run, member run organization, affordability is first and foremost. So we attract a lot of people who couldn’t afford to live in the student high rises or the big frat mansions.”
“If I were to compare it to a fraternity, I would say it’s kind of like a communist, co-ed frat.”
Sethe Zachman, a Black Elk House resident, praised the social openness and acceptance of student cohousing communities.
She found out about the opportunity because her Mom’s friend “thought it would be good for me, because I had never lived on my own before. Also because as an LGBTQ minority I search out these kinds of houses to feel a more welcome space on campus.”
Comparing to her experience growing up in a more conservative small Michigan suburb, she expressed that “I felt very depressed and alone. I felt weird. Coming here is a totally different feeling, like I am celebrated. Here at the Coop it is so open to celebrating all aspects of life and diversity. It’s pretty awesome!”
Of course Student Coops face a lot of challenges as well, from basic chores and conflict resolution, to working through group decision making processes to allocate funds. It is a great opportunity to learn these life skills.
NASCO, the North America Students for Cooperation, is an organization and network supporting these housing cooperative initiatives. They provide training, support, connections, and annual events where student cooperative representatives can meet, trade stories and lessons, and connect in their common vision.