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Co-operative Living at Stanford

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									CoopAtStan-28W     Weds May 16   7:00 pm   Draft Only — Draft Only — Draft Only

       Co-operative Living at Stanford
                 A Report of SWOPSI 146

                            May 1990

This report resulted from the hard work of the students of a Stanford Workshops on Political and
Social Issues (SWOPSI) class called “Co-operative Living and the Current Crisis at Stanford.” Both
instructors and students worked assiduously during Winter quarter 1990 researching and writing the
various sections of this report. The success of the class’s actions at Stanford and of this report resulted
from blending academics and activism (a fun but time-consuming combination).
Contributing to this report were:
Paul Baer (instructor)
Chris Balz
Natalie Beerer
Tom Boellstorff
Scott Braun
Liz Cook
Joanna Davidson (instructor)
Yelena Ginzburg
John Hagan
Maggie Harrison
Alan Haynie
Madeline Larsen (instructor)
Dave Nichols
Sarah Otto
Ethan Pride
Eric Rose (instructor)
Randy Schutt
Eric Schwitzgebel
Raquel Stote
Jim Welch
Michael Wooding
Bruce Wooster
There are many people who contributed to this final report and the resolution of the Co-op crisis.
Although we would like to mention everyone by name, it might double the length of this entire
document. Our everlasting thanks go out to everyone who contributed. Especially Leland Stanford for
having his co-operative vision, the SWOPSI Office for carrying it on and providing the opportunity for
this class to happen, Henry Levin, our faculty sponsor for his help with the proposal process, Lee
Altenberg, whose tremendous knowledge of Stanford co-operative lore is exceeded only by his
boundless passion for the co-ops themselves; the Co-op Alumni network, the folks at the Davis,
Berkeley, and Cornell co-ops, NASCO, and all of the existing Stanford co-ops for their support during
this entire process. For special help with the house histories we would like to thank Susan Larsen, Sam
Sandmire and Chuck Spolyar, Duane, Arvind Khilnani, Magic House, and all of the other co-op alums
for their stories and contacts. Thanks go to Norm Robinson, Jim Lyons, Keith Guy, Charlotte Strem,
Larry Horton, the Row office and Res. Ed. For the wonderful cover, we thank Irene Stapleford. We’re
grateful to Eudaemonia house for their community, space, and food. To everyone who wrote a letter or
signed a petition or filled out a survey, you contributed to what Bob Hamrdla called “the blitz”, thanks.
AND and extra special thanks go to “Jack and Diana, two administrators, doing the best that they
Co-operative Living at Stanford                                                                                            Table of Contents

                                               Table of Contents
Summary ..........................................................................................................................i
I. Overview........................................................................................................................1
II. Co-operation ................................................................................................................3
        Theories, Models and Issues Concerning Co-operation........................................3
                 What is Co-operation?..............................................................................3
                 Five Kinds of Companies Co-operative in the Narrow Sense ...................4
                 Principles of Co-operation........................................................................5
                 Notes on Community, Co-operation, and Sustainable Living....................7
                 Leland Stanford’s Ideas on Co-operation.................................................7
                 Residential Education and Co-operative Ideals..........................................8
                 The Co-operative Houses at Stanford .......................................................11
                 Goals of Residential Education Embodied in Co-ops ...............................11
                 The Co-op / Res-Ed Relationship .............................................................12
III. Background ................................................................................................................13
        Current Campus Residential Co-ops.....................................................................13
                 The Stanford Residential Co-op Timeline.................................................13
                 Co-op Vacancy Statistics: 1980-89...........................................................14
                 Columbae House ......................................................................................14
                 Hammarskjöld House...............................................................................18
                 Kairos House............................................................................................20
                 Phi Psi House...........................................................................................22
                 Synergy House.........................................................................................25
                 Terra House..............................................................................................31
                 Theta Chi ..................................................................................................33
        Defunct Residential Stanford Co-operatives .........................................................35
                 Walter Thompson Co-operative................................................................35
                 Jordan House............................................................................................35
                 Androgyny House (aka Simone de Beauvoir)...........................................36
                 Ecology House .........................................................................................36
        Other Co-operative Institutions at Stanford...........................................................37
        The Co-op Council ...............................................................................................37
        The Co-op Alumni Network .................................................................................37
        Non-residential Stanford Co-ops..........................................................................37
                 The Kosher Eating Co-op.........................................................................38
Co-operative Living at Stanford                                                                                            Table of Contents

                Stanford Federal Credit Union..................................................................38
       Co-ops in the Community.....................................................................................39
       Residential Co-ops at Other Universities ..............................................................39
                Introduction ..............................................................................................39
                UC Berkeley.............................................................................................40
                Brown University......................................................................................42
                UC Davis..................................................................................................42
                Conclusion: Implications for the Stanford Co-ops....................................44
       Survey of Stanford Co-op Alumni........................................................................49
IV. The Current Crisis ......................................................................................................57
       Chronology of the Post-Quake Events..................................................................57
       Effects of and Concerns about Closing Synergy, Columbae
          , and Phi Psi Co-ops .........................................................................................61
       The Structure of Decision Making........................................................................64
V. Recommendations and Alternatives..............................................................................66
       Introduction ..........................................................................................................66
       Recommendations of the Class.............................................................................66
                Repair of Buildings...................................................................................66
                Changes in Co-op Programs This Year.....................................................71
                The Co-op Union......................................................................................73
                Ethnic and Cultural Diversity....................................................................75
       Options for the Future ..........................................................................................77
                Co-op Office.............................................................................................77
                Co-op Contract with the University...........................................................78
                Resident Fellows.......................................................................................80
                A Separate Co-op Housing Draw .............................................................81
                Future Co-op Buildings............................................................................81
                Outreach to Other Co-opers .....................................................................86
For Further Reference.......................................................................................................88
Appendix .........................................................................................................................90
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        i                                             Summary

                                                           The students of SWOPSI 146 believe that they
Overview                                                   have had an important role in the process that led
As a result of the October 17, 1989 earthquake,            to these decisions and hope the University admin-
three Stanford residential co-ops were closed              istration will continue to value their concerns and
indefinitely due to structural damage. A group of          input.
co-op community members formed to monitor
the administrative process as it made crucial              Co-operation
decisions regarding the future of the displaced            The concept of co-operative living is hardly new.
communities and to rally for their successful con-         Indeed, most people across the world live in some
tinuation. Several of them designed a SWOPSI               type of co-operative housing (for instance, in a
(Stanford Workshop on Political and Social                 nuclear- or extended-family home). At Stanford,
Issues) class called “Co-operative Living and the          however, the very word ‘co-op’ conjures up
Current Crisis at Stanford” and taught it during           images of extremism and deviance. This occurs in
Winter Quarter, 1990.                                      spite of the fact that Leland Stanford himself was
The uncertainty of the aftermath of the earthquake         a strong advocate of co-operative associations and
made it imperative that the co-op community take           considered the co-operation of labor to be, in
an active role in the University decision-making           general, a leading feature lying at the foundations
process. It is only through the joint efforts of the       of the University. The present co-operative
administration and concerned students that                 movement is not directly connected with
mutually satisfactory decisions are made. The              Stanford’s vision, but with the student
“Co-operative Living and the Current Crisis at             movements of the 1960’s. While this period was
Stanford” class filled this role by providing a            a formative one for co-operation at Stanford, the
forum for co-op community members to actively              Stanford co-operatives must transcend this
participate and by researching co-operation and            pigeonhole and affirm those characteristics of
how it relates to Stanford University.                     co-operative living from which all students can
                                                           learn and which further the goals of Residential
The changes forced by the crisis of the earth-             Education.
quake made it necessary to analyze the Stanford
University residential co-ops. It also provided an         The co-operative community at Stanford is
opportunity to re-evaluate them. Although                  remarkable in its diversity, and there exists no
Stanford co-op community members tend to be                unified manifesto of purpose for members of the
very satisfied with their residence experiences, the       community. There do, however, seem to be some
members of the Co-operative Living at Stanford             ideals shared by many of the co-operatives. These
class felt that an in-depth look at further                co-ops strive to blur the distinction between
potentials was appropriate. The class produced             school and home, between mental and physical
the following report based on their research. The          labor, between the personal and the political.
report includes background research regarding              Consonant with this ideal is the emphasis placed
co-operation and the Stanford community. It then           on limiting environmental impact and rejecting the
treats the nature of the current crisis. Finally, it       opposition between “nature” and human society.
recommends specific developments for the future            Co-ops also act to encourage co-operation as a
and presents other possibilities for the future that       viable and fulfilling alternative to competition, and
the class did not come to consensus on.                    serve as a forum where methods of co-operation
                                                           can be explored.
Since the commencement of the class, the
Stanford Administration has committed to repair            Lastly, co-operatives take many of the goals of
one house, Columbae, and allow its displaced co-           Residential Education and apply them within the
op community to return there in the 1990-91                framework of the house itself. Thus, goals like
academic year. The Administration has also                 social awareness and involvement, individual
committed to temporarily rehousing the other two           responsibility, and tolerance are not imposed by
displaced co-op communities (putting Phi Psi in            Res Ed, but are intrinsic to the ideals of co-
the Alpha Delt House and Synergy in the Grove              operation itself. Co-operation can be a way of life
Houses), and to repairing their damaged houses             which, while aware of its own history and origins,
by an unspecified time no earlier than 1991-92.            looks forward and works to create tangible
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        ii                                            Summary

change. It forms, we believe, an indispensable part         Theta Chi is organized around the idea of self-
of a Stanford education.                                    control — the house is owned by the co-op
                                                            (technically its fraternity alumni group), and
                                                            repairs, improvements, and all aspects of house
Background                                                  managing are done by students. The house is
Seven residential co-ops operated at Stanford               known for having many singles and is close to
prior to the earthquake in 1989. Through                    campus (as well as being cheaper both for rent
extensive research, we explored their unique                and food), a characteristic that usually brings in a
characters and spirits. Each house has special              diverse crowd. Theta Chi stays open all year
features that make it unique structurally, and to           round, and in the past has been a haven for
some extent this affects the student population.            groups seeking escape from University red tape.
Columbae House still maintains its original theme           Synergy and Columbae tend to stay away from
of Social Change Through Nonviolence — a                    processed foods and run non-hierarchically.
theme that has included ideas such as vegetarian-           Many students mistakenly associate these traits
ism, consensus decision-making, and recycling.              with all co-ops, an attitude that residents have
Columbae comes from a tradition of political                attempted to change through outreach. In fact, the
activity, which varies from year to year, and the           survey conducted as a part of the class discovered
house generally focuses on building a tightly-knit          that some students thought a co-op (Synergy, I
community. The house has an extensive co-op                 suppose) had a goat!
library and archives.
                                                            Several co-ops previously existed at Stanford, but
Phi Psi House has a long tradition of “good                 are now defunct. Jordan House (now Haus Mitt)
living” which encompasses the large house and               was started in 1970. Little is known about the
yard, and has in the past included traditions of            house other that the fact that it had a few murals
house bands and wild parties. The house is con-             (some from Alice in Wonderland, and a Rolling
sidered less political than other co-ops on                 Stones tongue on the door). Apparently the food
campus.                                                     was bad, and the house was unclean. In 1977 it
Hammarskjöld House was created to foster                    was terminated, and became Androgyny (or
“International Understanding”, and in order to              Simone de Beauvoir) House, a “theme” house
further this goal has a separate draw which is              focussing on feminism and gender issues. The
more self-selective (to insure a geographically             house was not fully equipped until three weeks
and culturally diverse group). The small house              into the school year, and was mysteriously
has many Eating Associates.                                 terminated after Winter Quarter of its first year,
                                                            leading many people to suspect a conspiracy
Kairos House draws a more “mainstream”                      (Haus Mitt, which had been approved to become
group. Decisions are made by majority vote                  a theme house at the same time as Androgyny,
rather than consensus and it is the only co-op that         was placed in Jordan the following year).
hires students from the house to cook. Kairos has           Ecology House, an environmental theme house,
maintained independence from the other co-ops               started in 1971, it became Terra in 1973. The
in the past, and only recently was officially listed        reason for the name-change and loss of academic
as a co-op in the draw book.                                theme is not known.
Terra, once Ecology House, has become a more                Stanford has many other co-ops on campus
“mainstream” co-op in the 1980’s. It was nearly             besides the seven residential co-ops. The
closed by the administration after relatively               Associated Students of Stanford University
unsuccessful Draw seasons, but has survived and             (ASSU) is a co-op of all Stanford students. The
thrived since then. It is located in a large Cowell-        Stanford Bookstore is owned co-operatively by
cluster house. Terra has several interesting                the faculty. Breakers Eating Club is also a
murals.                                                     co-operative and recently Jewish students created
Synergy House, originally created with the theme            a Kosher Eating Club in the Elliot Program
“Exploring Alternatives”, which included alter-             Center.
native energy, organization (non-hierarchical), and         In addition to University co-ops, there have been
sometimes vegetarianism. The house has a large              a number of co-op houses in the local community
garden and keeps chickens in the back yard for              in which many current students or recent gradu-
eggs. Also, the house boasts a large “Alternative           ates live. These are usually transient (with a few
Periodicals Rack” as well as many murals.                   exceptions). The Food Chain, a network of these
Synergy residents tend to feel relatively detached          houses, was started in 1978 so that food buying
from mainstream Stanford University life.                   could be combined. Five or six houses would buy
Co-operative Living at Stanford                       iii                                           Summary

bulk food and have parties or potlucks together.            community’s involvement with the long-range
The Food Chain lasted until about 1981. Magic               planning of their future. By October 20, three of
was started in 1979, in order to explore “human             the co-ops knew they would not be able to return
ecology”. Members of Magic work to organize                 to their houses for at least the remainder of the
community projects (such as planting trees) and             academic year.
develop a larger community of people associated             A difficult but often gratifying dialogue between
with Magic interested in service. A number of               co-op community members and the University
other spin-off co-ops once existed, but no longer           administration has continued till the present. Two
do.                                                         functioning student/administrator groups that
One of the most instructive aspects of the course           formed in the aftermath of the quake were the
has been the exploration of co-ops and co-op                “task group” and the “work group.” The
systems at other universities. For example, the co-         former helped give student input, while the
operative association at UC Berkeley is a full              second was a decision-making body. These
corporation with 1500 members, owns and even                groups fit the consensus process of the students
builds its own co-ops. Most other co-op systems             into the complex bureaucracy of the University.
are smaller — University of Wisconsin (at Madi-             In January, it was announced that Columbae was
son), Brown, and Harvard all have small-scale co-           scheduled to reopen the following fall, providing
ops, usually two or three houses. Probably the              a boost to the co-op community. Soon thereafter,
most diverse co-op system is at UC Davis, which             the University administration determined that they
includes off-campus co-ops and newer houses                 would fix the remaining houses within a few
constructed on campus (which are parts of                   years, and that the displaced communities would
different co-op organizations), as well as Baggins          be rehoused temporarily. In March it was finally
End, known as the “Domes”. There is a lot to                announced that Synergy would occupy the Grove
learn from the ways students have set up co-op              houses and Phi Psi would occupy the Alpha Delt
systems at other universities. This report includes         house in the coming year.
names of people who know in-depth about co-op
construction and funding.
The campus survey conducted as a part of the                Recommendations and Alternatives
class sought to identify common ideas held about            A major focus of this class from the beginning
co-ops by different student populations. Many               was to consider and recommend alternatives for
students believed the houses to be dirty, or felt           the short, medium, and long term futures of the
that co-ops were too large a time commitment, or            co-ops at Stanford. This included both those
held extreme political views. Clearly there is a            closed by the earthquake and the co-op commu-
need for education about co-ops, especially                 nity as a whole. This section presents the class’s
among freshpeople.                                          recommendations and other alternatives for the
                                                            future. These sections should be read in full by
The survey of Stanford co-op alumni was                     those interested in possible future action on
responded to by members of many co-ops, but                 behalf of the co-ops.
especially Synergy and Columbae. The vast
majority considered living in a co-op a positive            Some of the actions of the class have already
experience. Many alumni explained the benefits              been completed, some are continuing, and some
they see in co-operative living. Their co-op                are still in the form of recommendations or
experiences at Stanford influenced many alumni              options for further consideration. Actions that are
in their lives and professions after graduation.            completed need little discussion. The future
                                                            houses of Phi Psi and Synergy, after much debate
                                                            in the class and wrangling with administrators
The Current Crisis                                          and cooks, have been decided: the old Alpha Delt
A chronology beginning with the quake on                    house for Phi Psi and the Grove houses for
October 17, 1989 points out those events which              Synergy. Suggestions for the repair of Columbae
were particularly strengthening or disem-                   have been proposed but were rejected (although
powering, with the hope of reinforcing the                  further suggestions might still be appropriate).
former. Five of the co-ops were among a group               What specifically have we done and do we
of University residences temporarily closed by              recommend?
the quake. Co-op residents along with other
displaced students met on the lawn in front of              Modifications to Columbae House
Columbae on October 19 to meet with the
University administration. This meeting began the           We recommend bringing Columbae closer to
                                                            environmental sustainability by means of
Co-operative Living at Stanford                       iv                                            Summary

insulation, passive and active solar energies, grey        A Co-op Union
water, and a more flexible heating system. We
recommend returning temporary first floor rooms            We recommend the formation of a co-op union.
to lounges, the removal of two walls, new sinks, a         House participation in this union should be
new floor in the kitchen, and wheelchair                   voluntary. Each participating house would have 1
accessibility. We request that the individual              – 2 representatives; the Union would be funded.
character of the rooms in Columbae be retained,            The co-op union could serve as a spokes-
that the murals be saved, and that the size of the         organization for the co-op community and a
kitchen not be diminished.                                 liaison to the administration. It could arrange both
                                                           educational and hedonistic programs. It could
Phi Psi and Synergy Structures                             help co-ordinate outreach for the draw. Possibly
                                                           in the long term it could save money, perhaps for
We point out the importance of the quasi-rural             an emergency or to hire a staffperson.
setting of these two houses, unique on the
Stanford campus, and the importance of students’           Ethnic and Cultural Diversity
living in a place with beauty and character. Their
homes must be personal and personalizable. The             Why do few of the co-ops attract a substantial
murals, the chicken coop, pool table, wood floors,         minority population, when generally these com-
chimneys, and the items that contribute to the             munities value cultural diversity? We must strive
individuality of the houses must be preserved.             to understand why racial and ethnic minorities do
The second-floor bathrooms might be made co-               not come to the co-ops. We should reach out to
ed. Perhaps the Phi Psi attic and the Synergy roof         ethnic communities in the form of joint programs
can be adapted in such a way that people may               and discussions, and by offering information. We
safely make use of them as common spaces.                  could engage in workshops involving minority
                                                           issues, invite professors to dinner, and bring
Synergy and Phi Psi Transition                             ethnic bands to the houses.
Now that Synergy and Phi Psi have houses (the              Alternatives for Further Consideration
Groves and the Alpha Delts) for next year, some
concrete actions need to be taken. We suggest              We suggest a number of other possibilities for
that a “transitional manager” for each of the              changes in co-ops in the coming years. For
houses be named to ensure the process goes                 example, we could have a co-op office, in a uni-
smoothly. The Alpha Delt kitchen should be                 versity space or in a co-op, staffed with paid
equipped with burners and additional cutting-              employees or with volunteers. Such an office
board space. ASSU funds may perhaps be used.               would presumably increase the clout and pro-
Summer storage needs to be found, the kitchens             gramming of co-ops, but it would cost money and
must be assessed, managers and exempt spots                perhaps introduce undesirable bureaucracy.
must be assigned for next year, the house                  The co-ops could set up a contract with the
belongings must be gathered from the offshoot              University, clarifying mutual rights and duties on
residences, and so on.                                     a variety of issues (maintenance, the draw, leasing,
                                                           unofficial practices, etc.). Such a contract would
Co-op Outreach                                             be both liberating and constraining, as the current
We feel that a strong and united outreach effort           ambiguity works sometimes against, sometimes
would help more students see co-ops as an                  in favor of the existing co-ops. An additional
attractive living situation and show the diversity         problem is that one generation of co-op dwellers
that actually exists among the co-ops. We would            might, in violating or unwisely signing a contract,
especially like to concentrate on making the               cause unnecessary problems for future gen-
currently unhoused co-ops (Columbae, Phi Psi,              erations.
and Synergy) more visible, providing them with             Would we like to have “Resident Fellows” or
extra support to compensate for their lack of              perhaps “visiting scholars/activists” in our
operational facilities. Among the specific plans           co-ops? The relation need not be hierarchical. The
suggested are study breaks and dorm outreach               term of stay need not be two years. Perhaps the
meetings, tabling in White Plaza and contacting            house could select one themselves. They would
people who signed petitions of support after the           cost money but could bring in valuable resources.
earthquake, updating and distributing the all-
co-op booklet Co-operative Living at Stanford,             Do we need a separate co-op housing draw?
and holding a co-op week with various activities           Co-ops (like Hammarskjöld) could be selective
in White Plaza.                                            and use their own criteria of student placement,
                                                           but perhaps it would be exclusionary, and it might
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        v                                          Summary

eliminate people interested both in U-op and co-           existing co-ops (to limit liability). We don’t
op housing and who put a mix of selections on              recommend purchasing houses, though, unless
their draw cards.                                          the demand is sufficient and good management
                                                           could be assured. We do recommend the co-ops
We discussed the possibilities for building                consider starting a fund that would be devoted
co-ops on Stanford land, but at present this               exclusively to long-term projects, and that the
seems, if not unfeasible, at least far off in the          co-ops consider joining NASCO as part of our
future. We could build behind the foothills, in old        co-operation among co-operatives.
faculty areas close to campus, or between the
Alpha Delts and the frat cluster, for example. The         Outreach Beyond the Class
University right now, however, is sinking its
money in Kymball Hall, and afterwards will                 The class made an effort to communicate the
probably focus on graduate housing or other                ideas and actions of the class to the co-op com-
kinds of building. Faculty houses are expensive            munity at large, both formally and informally.
to convert to full-scale co-ops, but they could be         Although formal participation by people outside
rented to students and operated pretty much as             the class was not great, discussion with friends
they are. A co-op or outside group could build on          and acquaintances helped us in our decision-
Stanford land with its own money, but it would             making process. Some concerns expressed by
have to meet strict safety codes and the University        residents of Kairos are included.
could take over and convert the house under
certain conditions (much as they now take over             Appendix
frats). If such a group did build a house, it would        An appendix includes numerous original
be about as autonomous as Theta Chi, but its               documents from the period of the earthquake and
architecture could be as funky and appropriate to          from the research and activities.
co-op ideals as we wished. Also, if demand for
co-ops mounts and a group of students have an
interesting idea (e.g. a communal farm), the
University administration is willing to stay
flexible and open.                                         A Late Note
                                                           As we went to press we learned the results of the
At any time, a group of students could take over           housing draw:
an off-campus house. The primary problems
would be funding and demand (and persuading
students not to participate in the draw). Buying a
house off campus and turning it into a co-op
would have several advantages. The co-op
residents would be independent from the
University (thus rent would probably be cheaper)
and members could modify their house (paint
murals, make improvements) as well as let non-
students live with them. The house could stay
open over breaks and summer. The main
difficulties are in funding (houses in this area are
expensive), housing demand (demand to live in
co-ops on campus is low), and responsibility
(mistakes or failures could have serious financial
and legal consequences).
Other co-op groups have taken this route in the
past, though. At UC Davis an equity fund was
accumulated through an increasing “tax” on the
rent levied towards the eventual purchase of the
house. At the University of Chicago, students
relied upon loans from the National Co-operative
Bank and several other co-op associations (such
as USCA and Madison) plus their own funds, to
purchase a house. Legal difficulties could be
handled with the help of NASCO, and the houses
could be owned independently of the other
Co-operative Living at Stanford                      1                                          Overview

                                      I. Overview
Late on a cool clear Tuesday afternoon in                of academic subject matter. The class was seen as
October 1989, a major earthquake shook northern          inevitably becoming an interest group, advocating
California. From Santa Cruz and Watsonville to           for the co-ops. But, at an October 1989
Oakland and San Francisco, the quake inflicted           conference marking the 20th anniversary of
serious damage, leaving more than 60 dead, many          SWOPSI at Stanford, a group of current and
more injured, and hundreds of homes and                  former SWOPSI participants were enthusiastic
businesses destroyed. The image of a collapsed           about reviving an old SWOPSI idea: focusing
double-deck freeway in Oakland transfixed a              SWOPSI classes on developing and implemen-
stunned population, and it took weeks before             ting solutions to real, local problems. This class
almost anything else could be thought of or dis-         would be a perfect re-incarnation of that spirit.
cussed in the media.                                     Together with reading and research on co-op
                                                         history and theory, the group would prepare a
At Stanford, where only by luck were major               report outlining alternatives for the three closed
injuries avoided, hundreds of students were              co-ops and the Stanford co-op system in general,
displaced from their housing for a day, a week, or       and would also put forward recommendations
more. Seven student residences were closed for           among those alternatives.
the year, some perhaps never to be reopened.
Among them were three of Stanford’s seven                Several alums provided resources for the course
student-run co-operative houses. Along with two          planning; the student co-instructors worked on
fraternities and two other row houses, the resi-         the planning while struggling to find new houses
dents of Synergy, Columbae, and Phi Psi all had          and patching together their academic lives. The
to scramble for new quarters — tucked into               result was a detailed 10-week plan outlining
converted rooms or guest spaces in dorms, or off-        background reading, research questions and
campus.                                                  methods, and a process and framework for
                                                         exploring and evaluating alternatives.
Many of the residents of the co-ops felt strongly
that the continued existence of their communities        Twenty five people came to the first class, and
could not be taken for granted. Deprived of the          twenty remained all quarter. The first five weeks
shared living that is the substance of a                 were devoted to providing a common framework
co-operative community, students feared that the         for discussion through reading different types of
ties and traditions that sustained the houses            materials, learning about co-ops at other univer-
would erode to nothingness. The idealism that            sities, and compiling and sharing histories of the
motivates students to co-operate thus was directed       co-operatives at Stanford. Four task groups were
towards ensuring the future of co-operative living       identified to organize different aspects of the
after the quake.                                         work; these groups focused on compiling a
                                                         history of the Stanford housing co-ops,
With the larger tragedy of the quake as an ever-         researching other co-ops at Stanford and else-
present background, students reconstructed their         where, surveying students campus-wide and
lives. Dealing with the University Administration        co-op alums, and monitoring the development of
became suddenly an everyday issue. Competing             University policies affecting the future of the
demands, lack of communication and an unavoid-           co-ops.
able uncertainty left student/administration
relations tense.                                         In the second half of the course, a larger number
                                                         of groups was formed to pursue different areas
Madeline Larsen, a former resident of Phi Psi and        and develop recommendations. From short-term
Theta Chi who now works in the SWOPSI office,            questions such as “how do we communicate to
first suggested organizing a SWOPSI class as             students not in the class?” to long term issues
part of a campaign to keep the co-ops open. Her          regarding autonomy and alternative funding for
contacts with students and other co-op “alums”           the co-ops, groups of 2 to 4 drew on what they’d
soon produced a core group that conceived and            learned to form concrete proposals.
won approval for what became SWOPSI 146:
Co-operative Living and the Current Crisis at            Controversial proposals were brought before a
Stanford.                                                meeting open to all co-opers not in the class, or
                                                         discussed by the whole class. Those on which the
Some people felt that such a class stretched the         class did not agree consensually were left as
boundaries of even SWOPSI’s broad definition
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        2   Overview

options for the future. Where there was
substantial agreement, proposals were advanced
as recommendations. It is the collected results of
this process that comprise Part V of this report,
and which are the fruits of the seeds planted at the
SWOPSI reunion conference.
As we publish this report, we know vastly more
about the future of the co-ops than we did just
three months ago. On the one hand, we know
where the three displaced communities will be
physically located next year, and this provides a
foundation on which to rebuild the communities.
On the other hand, through the class we have
studied a wide range of possibilities for the
development of the co-ops and highlighted those
we think feasible and desirable. We hope that this
examination of the past, present, and future of co-
ops at Stanford will provide an inspiration to the
students and others who will take responsibility
for their direction.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        3                                          Co-operation

                                   II. Co-operation
                                                           control over a large amount of property. These
Theories, Models and Issues                                two basic forms of property may be combined
                                                           variously to yield the other forms of property,
Concerning Co-operation                                    such corporations, state-controlled property, or
                                                           co-operative property over which certain people
                                                           have disproportionate control. Holding property
What is Co-operation?                                      co-operatively requires the individual to submit to
Broadly defined, co-operation is interaction               the group will, but by so doing allows large
harmonized for mutual benefit. Co-operation in             resources to be effectively harmonized and direct-
this sense may be contrasted with competition.             ed toward goals unattainable by the individual.
Co-operating organisms struggle together toward            All companies are co-operative, at least in the
mutual goals.                                              broad sense. That is, they are animated by a
Competing organisms struggle against each other            common aim. This common aim may be artificial
toward mutually exclusive goals.                           or natural. A farm, for example, may be animated
                                                           by two purposes: first, to generate income for the
Clearly, both kinds of interaction are essential to        owner; second, to meet a need. In general, the first
the proper functioning of society. For example, a          reason will dominate. If the owner employs wage
corporation must have internal co-operation if it is       labor toward fulfilling the first purpose, owner
going to succeed in external competition.                  and employees are animated by different (and to
Co-operation and competition are suited for                some extent competitive) goals: the owner to
different goals. Any motion that is co-operative is        maximize his or her profit, the employees to
necessarily not competitive. Co-operative and              maximize their wages. The company will only
competitive companies must both co-operate and             exist as a company so long as employee wages
compete with each other.                                   are sufficient to motivate the employees to pursue
More narrowly defined, co-operation is quite               the secondary interest that links them to the
literally, “co-operation” — that is, the collective        owner: providing food. Since this interest is not
operation of a company. In a company collec-               the first interest, it is sustained artificially by the
tively operated, (1) every person served by the            motivation of profit (for the owner) or wages (for
company is a member of the company, and (2)                the employees).
every member has (at least potentially) equal              A collectively operated company, on the other
influence on the behavior of the company. The              hand, is sustained naturally by the mutual interest
goals of the company are thus guaranteed to be             of its members. Profit and wages are identical and
equivalent to the goals of its members, taken              need not be reconciled. A collectively operated
collectively.                                              company arises to satisfy the needs of all its
The word “company” is taken from the Latin                 members, and will be stable so long as the
“co(m)-” (together) and “pan-is” (bread), in               members share their mutual goal and find the
origin identical to the word “companion.” A                company an effective means toward their ends.
company is thus a group of people who take their           Students keep company. Every student residence
bread together, a group of companions. Our                 is a company, animated by companions. Resi-
definition of “company” shall encompass the                dents are united in the task of residential living
narrow use of the word in business, but shall also         and share the goal of making their surroundings
go beyond it. By “company” henceforth we                   pleasant and livable. Thus, they form associations
mean any group of people keeping company for a             of friends, floors, and halls, and act co-operatively
mutual purpose, such as making bread, or any               to create social events or to adjudicate differences.
group of companions.                                       They even hold co-operative property in the form
Property may be held by a company. In a purely             of house funds. However, not every residence is
competitive system, each individual (or each               co-operative in the sense of being collectively
individual company) has total control over a               operated by the students. Residences go various
certain, generally small, bit of property. In a            degrees in this direction, but none at Stanford is
purely co-operative system, each individual (or            entirely outside University control (nor, if one
each individual company) has partial and equal             was, would we call it a University residence).
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         4                                        Co-operation

Residences tend toward co-operation as students             where students cook and clean so that they might
gain control of their environment. When students            save money.
band together to cook or clean, they act co-
operatively toward a mutual goal. When students             Marxist
purchase their own food supplies, they maintain             Marxist co-operatives are co-operatives initiated
and direct co-operative property. Hired labor is            by communist governments. Membership is not
anathema to co-operation because it provides for            voluntary, and control is so remote from the
the mutuality of goals only through the artificial          individual members that all but a few of the
incentive of wages. Self-determination, on the              members have, in effect, no control over the
other hand, is essential: co-operation is a means           system. Without voluntary membership, it is
of directing resources and thus requires resources          difficult to assure the singularity of the member’s
to direct.                                                  aims without artificial means.
In a competitive university environment, the                Student housing may learn from Marxist
benefits of co-operation and mutual support may             examples the advantages and disadvantages of
unfortunately be given slender attention. Co-op-            enforced membership (a result of not filling in the
eration is a skill that must be learned and prac-           draw), of enforced ideology, and of outside
ticed, and it is essential to the proper operation of       control by those who “know better.”
society. If a student learns only competition and
never co-operation, he or she is not well prepared
for a constructive role in society.                          A co-op can be:
                                                              • a group of people coming together
                                                             to produce something that benefits
Five Kinds of Companies Co-operative                         all and that couldn’t have been
in the Narrow Sense                                          produced otherwise
Drawing on and extending the work of George                   • an exploration of methods by
Melnyk1, we may distinguish five general types
of co-operatives in the narrow sense: the liberal            which people can work together to
democratic, the marxist, the socialist, the com-             improve their lives or others’ lives
munalist, and the informal. Each of these types               • a method of saving $ by sharing
has a degree of bearing on the residential                   resources
co-operative companies at Stanford.                           • a method of empowerment, people
                                                             banding together to work towards a
Liberal Democratic
                                                             collective goal and to gain strength
Liberal Democratic co-operatives are generally
businesses within a capitalist system, created               as a unit — Classmember
primarily to reduce consumer cost, and competing
directly with more traditional businesses. They             Socialist
play a very limited role in the members’ lives              Socialist co-operatives, like Marxist co-operatives,
(unless the members happen to be employees),                are multi-functional, serving more than one need
and serve a narrowly defined function. One joins            (such as employment, education and community).
by paying a small fee, or even simply by entering           Unlike Marxist co-operatives, however, they exist
the place of business, and generally receives in            within mainstream society, and their membership
turn either reduced prices or periodic rebates. The         is voluntary. The Basque Mondragon and the
managers of liberal democratic co-operatives limit          Israeli Kibbutz are examples of socialist co-ops.
profit and return on investment, and return this            They form full communities, and range over
money, instead, to the consumer. The Stanford               almost every aspect of their member’s lives. They
Bookstore and the Stanford Federal Credit Union             minimize private property. The members of
are both co-ops in this sense.                              socialist co-ops are often united in their concern
The student housing co-operatives, most narrowly            for each other by a separate ideology, such as
defined, are co-operatives of this sort. To be a co-        Basque Nationalism or Zionism. This unification
operative house at Stanford, one need only be a             helps overcome the stresses put on the system by
house operated in a liberal democratic manner:              the competing goals of the members.
                                                            As co-operation increases in the student housing
                                                            co-operatives, they tend in some respects toward
                                                            socialist co-operation, because (unlike, for
         George. The Search for Community. (Montreal:       example, the Stanford Bookstore), the company
Black Rose, 1985.)
Co-operative Living at Stanford                       5                                        Co-operation

or companionship is pervasive in the student’s            co-operation and a discussion of co-operation is
life and serves multiple functions.                       general, is to acquaint the reader with what
                                                          co-operation is in its ideal and to set the Stanford
Communalist                                               housing co-ops in the larger context of the
Communalist co-operatives are small, utopian              co-operative movement.
communes. The members are generally united by
common political or religious beliefs. The                1. Voluntary Membership.
“hippie” communes of the early seventies                  Because formal co-operation often also depends
belong to the political communalist tradition.            upon informal co-operation (and thus trust and
Monasteries and Hutterite societies belong to the         goodwill) and because all members are taken into
religious communalist tradition. Communalist              account in decision-making, destructive influ-
co-ops are small, and generally stress total egali-       ences in co-operative companies can be particu-
tarianism. They seek to dominate every aspect of          larly damaging. For this reason, it is imperative
their member’s lives, and are often the product of        that the Stanford housing co-ops not have empty
a single charismatic leader. They criticize and           spaces that may be filled with people not
isolate themselves from the mainstream of                 interested in contributing positively to the com-
society. They control every aspect of ownership,          munity.
production, and consumption. They allow little or
no private property.                                      2. One Person/One vote.
When the Stanford student housing co-operatives           This principle is implied in the definition of
initially arose, they were associated with the            co-operation. Every person must have the
communalist tradition, although they are less so          opportunity to exert influence upon the decisions
now as communalism has waned in popularity.               of a co-operative company, and this influence
Still, the co-ops are small and sometimes tightly-        should be equalized as much as possible. Voting
knit communities, and Synergy and Columbae in             per se is not essential. Most informal co-
particular have tended to promote idealism and            operatives are run by consensus as opposed to
political involvement.                                    voting, as are several of the Stanford housing co-
                                                          ops, and this is generally not seen as incompatible
Informal                                                  with co-operation.
Informal co-operatives are companies of people            3. Open Membership.
banded together for a specific, informal purpose,
such as to go on a ski trip, or for a formal              That anyone who agrees with the object of a co-
purpose with largely informal attendant demands,          operative company be admitted is in general a
such as marriage or membership in a club.                 good rule of thumb. However, cases may arise
Informal co-operatives are generally grounded in          where exclusion (or selection, which amounts to
the trust of friendship, and last so long as the          the same thing) based upon an objective principle
trust and the mutual goals remain. Informal co-           such as ethnic diversity (Hammarskjöld) or based
ops may control one or many aspects of the                upon subjective criteria may be justifiable.
member’s lives. They are generally the smallest
co-operatives and the co-operatives most respon-          4. Limited Capital Return.
sive to the demands of individual members.                Companions working co-operatively may of
                                                          course save or make money by doing so. What
Informal co-operation appears constantly in               this principle suggests is that investment, which is
student housing in general, although it is an open        a competitive principle, not be the guiding motive
question whether it appears more or less                  for co-operation.
frequently in the co-ops. Much of the positive
experience of co-operation may be attributed to           5. Education About Co-operation.
informal co-operation. It is often the prop without       If a co-op is to be successful the members must
which more formal co-operative companies would            of course learn how to work co-operatively. If
fail.                                                     one agrees with the ideals of co-operation one
                                                          might be inclined to persuade others of these
Principles of Co-operation                                ideals, and so long as such persuasion is done
What makes a good co-op? Melnyk in The                    considerately, it is utterly appropriate.
Search for Community lists fifteen basic princi-
ples, which can serve as a good beginning for
reflection.The purpose of presenting them here,
along with descriptions of different kinds of
Co-operative Living at Stanford                          6                                         Co-operation

                                                             the form of a co-op council or in the form of
6. Co-operation Between Co-ops.                              control by the Stanford administration).
Once co-operation is learned on a smaller scale, it
may be attempted on a larger scale. The results              12. Multifunctionalism.
will generally be beneficial.                                If one agrees with the principles of co-operation,
                                                             one would like to see these principles operative
7. Egalitarianism.                                           on more than one plane of one’s life. Students in
This principle is tied to the second principle, but          the Stanford housing co-operatives should seek
is considerably broader. The sentiment here is               not only to co-operate about cooking and
that social and political inequalities are largely the       cleaning, but also in other aspects of their
product of competition, and are anathema to                  interaction.
co-operation. Co-operative groups are in a
position to address these inequalities and should            13. Work Outside the Co-op.
strive to do so.                                             Members should not only co-operate within their
                                                             communities, but should seek to promote positive
8. Nationalism.                                              change in the larger community.
Co-ops should adapt as best they can to their
(national and other) environment. This does not              14. Self-Reliance.
mean that they should go against their moral                 Self-reliance generates an atmosphere of mutual
conscience or that they cannot strive to change              commitment and responsibility. Self-reliance
their environments, but rather that co-operatives            separates one from involvement with and depen-
should not be hostile or revolutionary, but rather           dence on non-co-operative companies. Also, it
sympathetic and evolutionary — that is, they                 ties in with the eleventh principle. Stanford
should exist in a co-operative relationship as               students should learn to take care of themselves,
much as possible with those around them.                     because soon they may find themselves taking
                                                             responsibility, not only for their own lives, but for
9. Class-Consciousness.                                      the lives of others.
Co-operatives should be aware of social problems
(and not simply those of class) and do what they             15. Open Principle.
can to alleviate them. This should be the case for           The co-operative communities should be allowed
people in general. The argument that co-                     to develop other principles as they wish. For
operatives should maintain political neutrality so           example, one co-operative might develop a
as not to alienate members, however, also has                specific principle of environmentalism, another
some weight.                                                 might wish to be an all women’s co-operative.
                                                             The ideology of a community should reflect the
10. Evolutionary Development.                                interest of its members, and should always be
Co-operatives should engage in peaceful social               open to change and input from its members.
                                                             These principles are meant to guide, not to dictate
11. Decentralization.                                        absolutely (nor could they dictate absolutely, even
Central control and central administration provide           if we wanted them to). In general, they are already
the advantages of experienced decision-makers                present in some form in the Stanford
and continuity and consistency in decision-                  co-operatives.
making, but these advantages must be balanced
against the co-operative virtues of self-control and
self-determination. The closer authority is to
home, the more responsive it is to the needs of its
members. This applies even if the members
themselves are “in control” (e.g. as in the case of
the voters being “in control” of the United
States). Yet, co-operation itself is a means of
centralizing action and guaranteeing that it will be
harmonious, that individuals will not work at
cross purposes. At Stanford, tension will always
exist between those who want more independence
and those who want more centralization (either in
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         7                                         Co-operation

                                                            ability to limit environmental impact. In practice,
Notes on Community, Co-operation,                           students who cook and clean for themselves are
and Sustainable Living                                      often in a better position to reduce conversion of
                                                            resources. Choices made concerning type of
People living in a community share, learn, teach,           foods (plant, animal; fresh, processed), utensils,
and grow in understanding as they cultivate an              dishware, and handtowels (reusable, disposable),
appreciation of the unique contribution which               waste (composting, recycling, throwing away),
each person has to offer. People who work to                and soap (biodegradable, non-biodegradable) all
build community share common interests, values,             make a difference in the total environmental
and purposes and also exhibit diversity in                  impact of the people living in a house.
expressing these. A community fosters support
for and from others, and encourages acceptance
and toleration.                                             Leland Stanford’s Ideas on
Co-operation is an essential element of commun-             Co-operation
ity. The essence of co-operation lies in the idea           It is one of Stanford’s best kept secrets that
that people benefit more from sharing and                   Leland Stanford Sr. was himself a powerful
working together than from competing against                booster of co-operation in his later years. In an
one another. Collectively, we can more fully                article written in 1989 and published in the
realize our purposes than we can working alone.             Winter 1990 edition of the Stanford Historical
Co-operation is an ongoing process which                    Society’s quarterly journal Sandstone and Tile,
requires communication and understanding                    former Stanford co-oper Lee Altenberg docu-
between members of the community. When we                   ments in detail the Senator’s beliefs about the
co-operate, we acknowledge and celebrate the                values of co-operation.
interdependence of all the inhabitants of the               Evidence of Stanford’s beliefs can be found right
planet.                                                     in the Grant of Endowment of the University,
People create a residential community when they             which lists among the leading objects of the
share housing and the responsibilities of daily             University “...the independence of capital and the
living such as cooking and cleaning. By engaging            self-employment of non-capitalist classes, by
in these activities, people feel closer to each other       such system of instruction as will tend to the
as they develop appreciation and understanding              establishment of co-operative effort in the
of the other members of the community.                      industrial systems of the future.” Additional
                                                            sources Altenberg cites in his article include
The behavior of life, and increasingly the behavior         Stanford’s address at the University’s Opening
of human life, affects the environment. Each time           Exercises in 1891, a letter of Stanford’s to the
we act on ideas we carry inside of us, the                  first University President David Starr Jordan
environment becomes a more accurate mirror of               from 1893, and an address from Stanford to the
human thinking. In turn, changes in the                     University Trustees. From the Opening Address
environment impose demands for changes in                   comes the following quote:
human behavior.
                                                            “We have also provided that the benefits
                                                            resulting from co-operation shall be freely taught.
                                                            ... Co-operative societies bring forth the best
                                                            capacities, the best influences of the individual for
                                                            the benefit of the whole, while the good
                                                            influences of the many aid the individual.”
                 Lifeforms interact with their
environment like lock and key. Lacking a close              Stanford also sought to advance the practices of
fit, they cease to complement each other. When a            co-operation through his role as a U.S. Senator.
sufficiently large gap opens between the pattern            Stanford introduced a bill that would lend money
of a lifeform and that of the environment, death of         to farmers on the basis of their land value, which
the individual or extinction of the species ensues.         Stanford saw as supporting farm co-operatives
Humans are currently changing the environment               and other small industrial ventures. Stanford’s
in ways unprecedented in both type and                      speeches to the Senate on behalf of the bill
magnitude. We will benefit by reducing the rate at          further document his belief in co-operation and
which we change the environment.                            the desirability of the independence of labor from
People living in University-operated, self-
operated, and co-operated houses all have the               Stanford’s beliefs had an influence on some early
                                                            students of the University, including those who
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         8                                        Co-operation

founded the Stanford Co-operative Association in            fundamental way to develop characteristics of
1891 (which later evolved into the Stanford                 responsibility, involvement, co-operation, and the
Bookstore, which is still legally a co-operative). A        like — values which the Office of Residential
class on “Co-operation: It’s History and                    Education hopes to promote.
Influence” appears in the first year’s course               At an institution like Stanford today, we run the
catalogue. But Stanford died just two years after           risk of buying into the myth of the high-status
the University opened, and neither his wife Jane            student who should be exempted from the
nor President Jordan appeared to share                      “grubbery” which those in the real world must
Stanford’s concerns. Moreover, the larger co-               face. Many members of the Stanford community
operative movement dwindled in the 1890s, and               (including many of the students themselves) have
Stanford made no provision to actually organize             the attitude that students are here to do “mind
the University as a co-operative, giving it instead a       work” and not “physical work.” This attitude
standard hierarchical Board of Trustees and an              establishes inequality between students and the
executive President.                                        physical laborers we hire. Yet physical activity is
Over time nearly all knowledge of his                       not a lesser form of labor than the mental activity
commitment to co-operation disappeared. Men-                that goes on in classes, discussion groups, and
tion of Stanford’s vision appears in a Daily                workshops. What we do (and do not do)
article concerning the closing of Walter                    physically is a very real basis for how we think
Thompson Co-operative in 1945 (see p. ???), and             about the world. If we, as students, attend
was resurfaced by a founder of the Palo Alto Co-            Stanford for several years with a squadron of
op in 1950, but when the student co-operatives we           cleaners and cooks catering to our every need,
know today were founded in the early ’70s, there            how can we expect to develop the skills of
is no mention of Stanford’s ideals. Perhaps with            responsibility, working with others, or building a
the publication of Altenberg's article, this little         true community?
known side of the famed “robber baron” might
once again find its way into the lore and life of             A co-op house should be a house or
the University.
                                                              place where people can live together
                                                                  and become good friends and
Residential Education and                                      community by sharing the tasks of
Co-operative Ideals                                           living. I’ve found that a tightly knit
A full residential education could encompass                   co-op can foster healthy discussion
such things as individual responsibility, social               and can raise the consciousness of
involvement, openness to difference, co-operation,
and creativity. The Office of Residential                          the people living together.
Education has been successful in promoting a                             — Classmember
myriad of speakers, workshops, and programs
which encourage these values. Student residences,           In the University’s founding grant, Leland
however, have the potential to provide an even              Stanford himself stated a commitment to
greater and more complete educational                       establishing and maintaining co-operative institu-
experience.                                                 tions at Stanford. While it is true that several
Students at Stanford might more fully explore the           student-run housing co-operatives have been in
ideals of responsibility, co-operation, and                 operation on the campus for decades, they are still
creativity if they are able to cook and clean for           the exception rather than the rule. The rule is that
themselves. The policies concerning the day-to-             unless students express a strong desire to live co-
day operation of student residences at Stanford             operatively, they will be provided with cleaners
reflect a wider cultural belief that students,              and cooks who will take care of their “dirty
especially at Stanford, have certain rights which           work” for them. Unfortunately for the co-ops,
the rest of the population lacks. One of these              student housing is currently approached from a
“rights” is the right to avoid such day-to-day              market analysis standpoint. If student demand for
inconveniences as cooking for themselves and                co-operative housing exists, then so does
cleaning their own house. The fact that the                 University support for this type of residence. But
University supplies cleaning and meal service to            if demand seems to wane, then so does University
the majority of student residences inadvertently            enthusiasm. Regardless of student demand,
condones irresponsibility and unco-operativeness            certain things might be regarded as fundamental
among students. Asking students to cook and                 to a worthwhile education. Is co-operation funda-
clean for themselves (and each other) is a                  mental?
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         9   Co-operation

Co-op houses face an obstacle in recruiting new
members and promoting the ideals of co-opera-
tion as long as co-operative living is viewed as a
strange exception rather than the norm. Though
unusual, co-operatives are a valuable interactive
and truly educational housing option. Through
co-operation, students create a real community,
learning to take pride in their own contributions,
and learning to respect and appreciate the contri-
butions of others. By promoting co-operative
residences, the University has the opportunity to
continue to take education beyond academics,
teaching students self-sufficiency and community
responsibility through co-operation. Despite the
rise and fall of interest in co-operative ideals, the
benefits of co-operative living are too important to
On the next pages we present a comparison of the
official goals of Stanford University’s Residen-
tial Education program and the the goals and
practices of co-operative living at Stanford.
Co-operative Living at Stanford   10   Co-operation
Co-operative Living at Stanford                   11                                      Co-operation


The essential conviction behind the Stanford co-operative homes is that the integration of living and
learning is best enacted through daily interaction of community members. Our intellectual and social
development is, in fact, greatly enhanced by our co-operative lifestyle. We are constantly exploring new
ideas and incorporating knowledge gained in the classroom by openly discussing and critically
examining such important issues as gender dynamics, racial and cultural differences, nonviolent social
change, organization of human and natural resources, and environmental ethics. Furthermore, we imple-
ment our values in the very way we live. Together we create a challenging intellectual environment and a
supportive community for each other.

Goals of Residential Education Embodied in Co-ops
Through co-operative living, we provide the following:
• A supportive and friendly environment where members develop above all else a spirit of community
   strength and cohesion.
• An intellectual and friendly atmosphere in which the constructive conflict of ideas provides incentive
   for personal academic research and achievement.
• A stimulation of interest in cultural, social, and political activities sponsored by the University or
   other organizations; formal and informal discussions; the development of special house libraries
   which offer access to resources otherwise unavailable, and which record the historical evolution of
   the community, building awareness of traditions and past experiences; and encouragement of
   artistic expression and appreciation, ranging from mural painting to musical concerts.
• An opportunity for co-op members to interact with each other, and with faculty guests, so that their
   ideas and values are constantly challenged and developed. The co-operative experience also offers a
   rare chance for undergraduates and graduate students to live together, providing greater diversity of
   perspective and insight as well as invaluable mutual assistance.
• A place where the community as a whole concerns itself with aiding individual members solve
   personal and academic problems.
• An alternative housing experience that many students are unable to have elsewhere, and one that
   truly represents the diversity of residential possibilities.
• An opportunity to live and interact with students of different backgrounds, ethnicities, classes,
   religions and nationalities in a structure that emphasizes the importance of celebrating and
   reconciling these differences.
• An environment in which we learn that “good citizenship and consideration of others” can mean
   much more than is usually expressed. In a co-op, each member is equally responsible for the
   functioning and governing of the house.
• A social network that involves member interaction on many levels, helping “social competence” to
   grow as broadly as it does deeply.
• Finally, co-operative residences provide living situations which give students a feeling of
   “empowerment.” We assume responsibility for our own decisions on the most essential aspects of
   our lives: food policies, living arrangements, work schedules. As members of a co-operative, we
   learn to see how our individual behavior affects the environment and community at large and to act
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        12                                       Co-operation

                                                            cation. Working together, the co-operative homes
The Co-op / Res-Ed Relationship                             and Residential Education could revitalize general
The co-operative housing experience dynamically             interest through outreach programs (on the part
fulfills Stanford’s goals for Residential                   of the co-ops) and commitment to making co-ops
Education. Co-op homes build consciousness of               more attractive by improving facilities or
the union between living situations and education.          augmenting programs (on the part of Res-Ed).
Co-ops are then motivated internally by the                 Further tensions in the co-op / Res-Ed relation-
desires of their members to build supportive and            ship are the product of a mutual lack of trust. Co-
healthy environments. Their independent agendas             ops fear the encroachment of University authority
coincide with the stated ideals of Residential              on the independence they need to exist. We
Education at Stanford.                                      currently depend on Stanford for support, but we
Why, then, are co-ops repeatedly compelled to               recognize that self-determination is an integral
justify themselves and assert their value within the        component of co-operative living. Residential
residential system? Since the problem is                    Education, conversely, must fear this very self-
apparently not a conflict of values, it must                determination. The University is held accountable
necessarily lie in the relationship of the co-              for its students’ living conditions, and it is
operative homes to Residential Education.                   consequently reluctant to relinquish direct control
                                                            over us. Although we share the purposes and
One detrimental factor in the relationship arises           ideals of Residential Education, we are inhibited
from the perceived low demand for co-operative              from developing a healthy relationship due to bad
life by the student body as a whole. Residential            faith. Both parties must work to re-establish their
Education must cater to the desires and needs               commitments through open communication.
expressed by the student community, because it is
basically useless to create a potentially ideal             The co-operative homes at Stanford are a unique
residence environment if it cannot attract                  experience in Residential education. To preserve
members. Co-ops are not the highest priority of             the co-op alternative, effort must be made to build
Res-Ed because they are not the highest priority            a relationship of goodwill and understanding
of the student body. The solution to this problem           between Res-Ed and the co-ops. Together we can
could emerge from commitment and communi-                   generate a climate for growth and improvement.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                          13                                              Background

                                       III. Background
One of our aims in compiling this report was to               first was distributed to current Stanford students.
provide a fairly comprehensive description and                From the results of this survey, we have a fairly
history of the co-operative movement at Stanford.             broad view of the images which the co-op houses
Towards this aim, we present descriptions of past             have within the various Stanford communities.
and present residential co-ops, co-op                         The second was distributed to co-op alums. With
organizations, and non-residential co-ops within              their hindsight, we are better able to understand
the Stanford community. We also take a look at                all the various pros and cons of co-operative
co-operative living arrangements within other                 living as it is takes place at Stanford. By careful
universities for comparison’s sake. Finally, we               self-examination, we are more likely to improve
present compiled versions of two surveys. The                 our own co-operative homes.

Current Campus Residential Co-ops
In this section, we present synopses describing each Stanford Co-op (Columbae, Hammarskjöld,
Kairos, Phi Psi, Synergy, Terra, and Theta Chi). We hope to provide accurate images which reflect both
the good and the bad, so that perhaps we can better judge where greater effort or even a change in
direction may be beneficial.

The Stanford Residential Co-op Timeline

    70-71  Jordan        Columbae
    71-72  Jordan        Columbae Ecology
    72-73  Jordan        Columbae Ecology Synergy              Hammarskjöld
    73-74  Jordan        Columbae Terra   Synergy              Hammarskjöld        Theta   Chi
    74-75  Jordan        Columbae Terra   Synergy              Hammarskjöld        Theta   Chi
    75-76  Jordan        Columbae Terra   Synergy              Hammarskjöld        Theta   Chi
    76-77  Jordan        Columbae Terra   Synergy              Hammarskjöld        Theta   Chi
    77-78 Androgyn       Columbae Terra   Synergy              Hammarskjöld        Theta   Chi   Phi Psi
    78-79                Columbae       Terra      Synergy     Hammarskjöld        Theta   Chi   Phi Psi
    79-80                Columbae       Terra      Synergy     Hammarskjöld        Theta   Chi   Phi Psi
    80-81                Columbae       Terra      Synergy     Hammarskjöld        Theta   Chi   Phi Psi
    81-82                Columbae       Terra      Synergy     Hammarskjöld        Theta   Chi   Phi Psi
    82-83                Columbae       Terra      Synergy     Hammarskjöld        Theta   Chi   Phi Psi
    83-84                Columbae       Terra      Synergy     Hammarskjöld        Theta   Chi   Phi Psi
    84-85                Columbae       Terra      Synergy     Hammarskjöld        Theta   Chi   Phi Psi
    85-86                Columbae       Terra      Synergy     Hammarskjöld        Theta   Chi   Phi Psi
    86-87                Columbae       Terra      Synergy     Hammarskjöld        Theta   Chi   Phi Psi
    87-88                Columbae       Terra      Synergy     Hammarskjöld        Theta   Chi   Phi Psi
    88-89                Columbae       Terra      Synergy     Hammarskjöld        Theta   Chi   Phi Psi    Kairos*
    89-90                Columbae       Terra      Synergy     Hammarskjöld        Theta   Chi   Phi Psi    Kairos

*Kairos was first listed in the Drawbook as a cooperative in 1988, but it had been organized co-operatively for several
years prior to that (see p. 27???).
Co-operative Living at Stanford                             14                                          Background

Co-op Vacancy Statistics: 1980-89

          Year      Columbae           Synergy           Phi Psi       Kairos       Theta Chi      Terra
         1980           5/2                3/3             0/0           0/0           0/0           0/0
         1981           0/0                0/0             0/0           0/0           0/0           0/0
         1982          12/8              19/19             1/1           0/0           0/0         12/11
         1983           3/0                4/0             0/0           0/0           0/0           2/0
         1984           5/0               12/6             0/0           0/0           3/0         22/19
         1985           7/1               11/2             0/0           0/0           0/0           0/0
         1986          16/7               11/3             2/0           0/0           0/0           5/0
         1987           0/0              24/14             0/0          13/7           0/0          10/0
         1988           6/0                3/0             7/0           0/0           0/0           2/0
         1989           2/0                0/0             0/0           0/0           0/0           6/1
(The two entries in the table correspond to first and second rounds of the draw).

                                                                 plans, but for people on the full meal plans
Columbae House                                                   rebates usually amounted to about $50 per
                                                                 quarter. Board bills were paid directly to the
Physical Structure                                               House, but rent was paid to the University.
Columbae, built in 1896 and moved to its present
location in 1973, is now centrally located, 2                    Food Policy
houses away from the Post Office at 549 Lasuen.                  At the time of the Earthquake, Columbae had not
There are 20 student rooms (5 singles, 10                        yet reached consensus on its food policy for the
doubles, 4 triples, 1 quad, officially, although                 year. In two house meetings totalling 4 1/2 hours,
different configurations were common, e.g. a 10                  food policy had been discussed without
person, 3 room, “commune”, etc.). Columbae                       conclusion, and another meeting was scheduled
has a large kitchen, pantries, many fire escapes, a              for October 18, 1989. In the meantime, food was
large common room, a dining room (used to serve                  being ordered according to the ’88-89 policy, in
dinner, not really eat it there— dinner was usually              which Columbae was completely vegetarian.
eaten on the front porch or, in bad weather, in the              Vegan alternatives were served at all common
common room), a good roof for sleeping, a large                  meals. The house avoided buying any types of
front hall, and a library with books and archives.               drugs (caffeine, sugar) and most processed foods
Two first floor common rooms were converted                      (we had no name brands, except for Enrico’s
into doubles for Roble Refugees in 1987-88 and                   salsa). Table grapes, sugar, and General Electric
have remained as student living spaces since.                    products (I know it’s not a food, but I thought
Outside are an organic vegetable garden, a                       I’d mention it anyway) were being boycotted.
compost pile, rose bushes and some lemon trees.                  Dry goods were ordered from Sierra or Fowler
                                                                 Brothers. Milk was delivered in returnable glass
Financial Status                                                 bottles.
Before the quake, Columbae had a savings of
about $1300. Dues to the house and payment for                   Governance Policy
supplies were $57.50 for residents, $32.50 for                   All decisions were made by consensus, and had
Eating Associates. The Board plan was extremely                  been since the house’s founding.
flexible, with house members paying from
$367.50 for a full meal plan (6 dinners a week,                  Rooming assignments were also made by
open kitchen for all lunches and breakfasts) to $0               consensus at the beginning of each quarter
if they wouldn’t eat there at all. People could talk             (rooms changed each quarter). Typically the
to the Financial Managers about how often they                   largest groups had priority over smaller groups,
would be eating at the house and figure out how                  i.e. first the four people living in a quad picked a
much to pay. Rebates varied for the different meal               room, then the people in triples picked rooms,
                                                                 then doubles, and lastly, singles. A separate
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        15                                        Background

meeting was held with all people desiring singles           Special Features
to decide who would get singles that quarter.
                                                            Columbae is the only completely vegetarian
House Work Division                                         house on campus, and one of the very few in
                                                            which rooms are changed each quarter. A library
Columbae began a new system in fall ’89 on a                holds Co-op Archives and the archives from
one-quarter trial basis. There have been different          Project Synergy, as well as books and textbooks
systems in the past.                                        about politics, the environment, economics, and
    Food-making jobs — 5 times/quarter — This               other subjects and a collection of periodicals.
        included dinner crew, making some type
        of lunch for everyone, or making bread or
        granola and yogurt.
    Kitchen clean-up—every week
    Bathroom clean—3 times/quarter
    Special jobs/ House clean-up — 5 times/                                 History
        quarter — vacuuming, gardening and                  In April, 1970, a group of students met in Mem
        whatever else people thought needed to be           Chu to discuss nonviolence as a way of life, a
        done.                                               commitment to achieving social change through
                                                            peaceful activism, as opposed to the violent means
    Managers—Columbae had 5               exempt            that characterized many student movements
        spots—a theme associate, 2 other                    alleging to work for peaceful ends. To heighten
        manager positions were volunteered for              awareness of the nonviolent option and to protest
        and included Compost, Library, Garden,              the presence of ROTC on campus, they decided
        Dairy and Egg, Dry Goods, Produce,                  to fast for three days. Thirty people moved into
        Menu managers.                                      White Plaza with blankets and bongos and
Other systems had been used in the past,                    together planned to start a nonviolent group on
including an unstructured system in which people            campus and hopefully obtain an on-campus
cleaned whenever they were inclined to do so and            residence. In the Autumn of that year, academic
thought things were too dirty (used in the early            year 1970-1971, the group moved into a
1970’s).                                                    University house in the Cowell Cluster to build
                                                            their community.
Relations with the University                               The Columbae Community was housed in what
The University assigns residents through the                had been the Chi Psi fraternity house at 517
draw. Row Facilities does some maintenance                  Cowell Lane (in what is now Whitman House).
work (asbestos removal, fixing windows,                     The 50 members of Columbae chose the house’s
groundskeeping, etc.) and provides furnishings.             name from several sources, including the Latin
Columbae is University owned but does its own               name for (peace) doves, Columbidae family, and
cooking and cleaning. The house is usually                  the Woody Guthrie song “Columbia”
closed over Winter break and over the summer.               describing his thoughts about America as it
                                                            should be. Nonviolence meant many things to the
Theme                                                       house’s founders, encompassing all levels of
Columbae’s theme is “Social Change through                  nonviolent action, including respect for other
Nonviolence.” “Nonviolence” translates into all             people and the natural environment, political
aspects of house life, the philosophy being that            action, a communal life, a non-manipulating, non-
people can unthinkingly do violence to others               consumer, and non-materially oriented world
through overconsumption. To lessen their nega-              view. The idea was to change society in the larger
tive impact, Columbaens have a compost pile,                sense while at the same time building an
recycle, conserve energy and water, try to reduce           alternative, nonviolent community. To this end,
consumption, etc.                                           the group ate only about $1.00 worth of food per
Columbae has an exempt spot for a theme                     person per day, reused products, gave up other
associate, and this year as part of house jobs there        unnecessary products (like paper napkins),
was talk of house members doing theme projects.             recycled, had an organic vegetable garden in
The theme project was not a part of priority                Escondido Village, tried to buy the least
assignments or signed house agreements.                     processed food (including grinding their own
                                                            flour to bake bread), had a compost pile, and did
                                                            all their own cooking and cleaning. The house
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         16                                        Background

abided by the Quaker idea of consensus instead               there, and therefore 80 people instead of 37 were
of voting because voting was thought to affirm               displaced, was that Columbae persuaded the
one point of view while denying others. For many             housing office that if their group were to have a
years Columbaens baked dozens of loaves of                   chance to succeed, they needed a house and an
bread at the beginning of each quarter and gave              independent kitchen, and the housing office
away slices to students at Registration.                     understood this and acted accordingly. Finally, in
                                                             mid-November, Stillman House was ready for
Members of the house organized both political                Columbae to move into it, so Columbae members
and non-political actions throughout the years.              moved out of the Delt House and into Stillman
Some Columbaens refused military induction and               House (which became Columbae) and the Delt
were arrested in March, 1971 for blocking entry              residents were finally able to move into the Delt
to the San Francisco Draft Board and were given              House.
five day suspended jail sentences. Others
researched and published accounts of U.S war                 Columbae continued to be a community resource
crimes in Indochina, worked in ecology and                   for nonviolence. They maintained a good library
conservative projects, investigated Stanford                 of books, newspapers, and magazines concerned
finances, and studied legislation to repeal the              with alternative psychological, spiritual, and
draft. The next year, 1971-72, Columbae                      political themes. They harbored and fostered
organized the Peace Fund, which (among other                 many groups interested in various aspects of
things) encouraged the Stanford Community not                social change by providing volunteers to work
to pay the 10% Federal phone tax on their phone              with them, making rooms available for meeting
bills (legislated in 1966 specifically to pay for the        and giving them direct monetary support.
war), sending a note to the phone company                    Columbae was the base for the Stanford Coalition
explaining the action, and donating the saved                Against the B-1 Bomber, the Trident Concern
money to the Peace Fund to support organi-                   group, and the Stanford Community
zations working towards a peaceful world. In                 Coordinating Center for the David Harris
1972-1973 Columbae collected more than 2500                  Campaign, the Alliance for Radical Change
pounds of clothing and raised money to fund its              (ARC), Against the Grain (the alternative publi-
transportation to Mud Creek, a large area of small           cation of the Black Rose Anarchist Collective),
towns in the Appalachian Mountains.                          and the Radical Film Series Group. Classes met
                                                             at Columbae to discuss political organizing,
It was decided to move the Columbae Community                sexism, communal living, and holistic health.
to Stillman House, with residents moving in
Autumn 1973-1974. To complicate matters,                     In the Fall of 1976, the Stanford Committee for a
Stillman House (built in 1896, formerly Kappa                Responsible Investment Policy (SCRIP), with
Alpha Theta sorority house) itself was to be                 many Columbae residents, challenged Stanford to
physically moved to its present location at 549              divest itself of its stock in J.P. Stevens company
Lasuen to make room for Campus Drive. The                    (a textile manufacturer with a record of horrible
house was uprooted from its foundations in                   labor relations — portrayed later in the Sally
summer, 1973, moved in two pieces down the                   Field movie, Norma Rae). Members of SCRIP
road to its new foundation, then pieced back                 put on a Winter Quarter SWOPSI course at
together with new wiring and appliances. This                Columbae focused on South Africa and U.S.
was all supposed to be completed in time for the             companies that did work there. In the spring, this
37 Columbae residents to move in in the                      class grew into a campaign to have Stanford
beginning of Autumn Quarter. It wasn’t.                      divest itself of stock in companies that did work
                                                             in South Africa. This was an extensive campaign
The Columbae residents were temporarily                      involving leafletting every dorm on campus three
relocated to the Delt House, originally told that            times, dozens of showings of a film about South
they would be able to move into Stillman                     Africa in dormitory lounges, a dozen rallies, an
“October 15 at the latest”. The Delta Tau Delta              overnight vigil in White Plaza, a day-long fast in
fraternity was on suspension and was forced out              which hundreds of students participated, and a
of their house for at least one year following               week-long fast by 8 students.
many complaints of misconduct from neigh-
boring houses. The house was to be filled that               The campaign climaxed in a sit-in in Old Union
year with 43 men and women who were                          in which 294 students were arrested. Just about
unassigned in the housing draw. Those 43 indi-               all members of the Columbae community were
viduals stayed with friends or found other                   involved in some capacity (as were many
housing until they were finally allowed to move              residents of Synergy and other co-ops). Many of
into the Delt House. The reason Columbae was                 the students involved in these campaigns went on
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        17                                          Background

to live together in households in Palo Alto and             of his face to prevent identification so that his
San Francisco for many years. Many also                     family (who were still living in El Salvador)
worked with the South Africa Catalyst Project (to           would not be murdered in reprisal.
organize on the issue of South Africa at                    Columbae asked that the University recognize
California universities). About 10 Columbaens               Columbae as a Sanctuary and waive some normal
from 1976-77 met every New Year’s Day for                   housing rules, but the University chose to
about 8 years.                                              respond to the matter as though it were a normal
In the fall of 1976 year Randy Schutt built a solar         housing policy issue, saying that University regu-
oven that could bake 3 loaves of bread. The oven            lations allow guests to stay for only three days. If
has resided at Columbae or Synergy for about                Columbae hosted refugees for longer than that
half the years since then. This was also the year           time, Dean of Students James Lyons said they
that Bryan Coleman designed the Columbae                    could lose their housing privileges. Columbae
T-shirt and cut a silk-screen stencil. Most Colum-          remained active in various aspects of the
bae residents since then have made themselves a             Sanctuary movement, and Herman himself stayed
shirt with this stencil or its duplicates.                  in various Row Houses after leaving Columbae.
Columbaens were also very involved in the                   May of 1989 brought an occupation of President
proposal to start Androgyny house, which opened             Kennedy’s office and the arrest of 58 students
its doors in Autumn 1977. In early 1977 the                 (including 4 Columbae residents), and then on
Subcommittee on Residences of the Committee                 October 14, 1989, SWOPSI held a party at
on Services to Students (COSS/R) considered                 Columbae to celebrate its 20th birthday. Three
housing the approved Androgyny House in                     days later, there was an earthquake...
Columbae, suspecting that Androgyny House
would cut into Columbae’s constituency. Jordan
House, Whitman House, ATO, and ZAP were                     Hammarskjöld House
also considered as possible locations. At a house           Physical Structure
meeting’s poll only 4 of the 37 Columbae                    Hammarskjöld is a large house at 592 Alvarado
residents said they would leave Columbae for                Row. It is is the smallest of the co-ops, with 17
Androgyny, and after much action and many                   student rooms (9 singles, 8 doubles). Hammar-
letters to the Stanford Daily from Columbae                 skjöld has a large lounge, a smaller TV room and
residents, Jordan was picked as the location for            a large dining room. The kitchen is small but has
Androgyny House.                                            a large pantry and dish-room. Behind the house
Political activity and community building                   there are a study room (poorly heated) and a
continued in Columbae, and in Autumn, 1985                  guest room with a bathroom (currently housing 3
representatives from the different co-op houses             Columbae refugees).
met at Columbae to look into ways that they                 Hammarskjöld has a large front porch with tall
could provide meals for students affected by the            columns many fire escapes, and a large fireplace
then possible United Stanford Workers (USW)                 whose chimney was destroyed in the earthquake.
strike. They hoped to educate people about a                Exterior amenities include a large lawn, basketball
possible strike and, at the very least, perform a           hoop and a volleyball court.
service for other students, estimating that they
could serve up to 150 extra students.                       Financial Status
In April, 1986, Columbae consensed to declare               At the beginning of the year 1989-90 Hammar-
itself a sanctuary for Central American refugees,           skjöld had an operating budget of $18,300/
possibly in violation of federal and Stanford               quarter, somewhat higher after the earthquake.
regulations. They did this to call attention to the         Board for residents and eating associates is
U.S. policy of returning El Salvadoran and                  $375/quarter. Rent (approximately $950) is paid
Guatemalan refugees to their native countries               to the University. Hammarskjöld has approxi-
where, according to Amnesty International                   mately $12,000 on reserve in various savings
reports, at least one third of those individuals are        accounts.
kidnapped, tortured, or murdered. Herman, a 40
year old refugee from El Salvador, came to stay in          Student Composition
Columbae and to speak of how oppression and                 As of October 17th Hammarskjöld had 26
death squads are forcing people to leave their              residents including 2 female grad students and 4
homes. Throughout all of the abundant media                 male grads. There were 10 female undergraduates
coverage that this received, Herman wore dark               and 9 male undergraduates. 3 female
glasses and a red bandana covering the lower half
Co-operative Living at Stanford                       18                                          Background

undergraduates were added after the earthquake.                   from some house jobs, such as the weekly
As part of its theme of “International                            dish crew.
Understanding” Hammarskjöld seeks to create a
community of diverse national, religious and               Theme
ethnic backgrounds. This is accomplished                   The theme of “International Understanding” is
through a special draw. International diversity is         very important at Hammarskjöld. All residents
also reflected in the house’s 30 eating associates.        agree to present a theme project at some point
                                                           during the year, and applicants are asked to
Draw Statistics                                            submit possible ideas for theme projects. Theme
Hammarskjöld operates its own draw (see Special            projects have included preparing a meal from
Features, below). The house always fills through           one’s native country, to slide presentations of
this system.                                               different countries, to story-telling. The desire to
                                                           create a truly diverse house is the reasoning
Food Policy                                                behind the separate draw.
Dinner is prepared every night of the week.
Meals are always vegetarian with a vegan                   Relations with the University
alternative, and a carnivorous option every other          The University has final say in the draw, although
night. Meat is also stocked for individual use.            the University usually follows the
Food is purchased from S.E. Ryckoff and Sierra             recommendations of Hammarskjöld in assigning
foods. House food boycotts are rare, but have              students. Hammarskjöld does its own cooking
been proposed (e.g. tuna). The rules in food               and cleaning and some minor repairs, but Row
selection seem to be convenience (foods that               Facilities does major work (repairing the Hobart,
require minimal preparation) and cost (the least           fixing flooding toilets, mowing lawns). The
expensive option is usually preferred.                     University also chooses and assigns a Resident
                                                           Assistant to Hammarskjöld.
Governance Policy
House decisions are usually made at weekly                 Special Features
house meetings. Issues are discussed, then a               One of Hammarskjöld’s attractions is its
decision is made on a one-person/one-vote hand             residential setting—the house feels like a part of
vote. Some decisions are made by the managers.             the neighborhood. There is a volleyball court and
                                                           a TV with a VCR (both very popular with
House Work Division                                        “Hammies”). There is a nice piano in the living
The current system has been in effect for several          room, and the large wooden table in the kitchen
years with a few modifications.                            becomes the center for late night socializing. The
                                                           second floor has a co-ed restroom and shower
   Food preparation: 1/ cook crew cycle (3-4               room. Before the earthquake, residents could have
       weeks) — 3 people on cook crew, “head               a week’s worth of guest housing (in 3 day
       cook” plans meal, makes sure menu is                increments) in the guest room at minimal cost.
       posted so managers can order food
                                                           The Hammarskjöld draw is a unique feature —
   Kitchen cleanup: 1/week— 2 Saturday dish                students apply in the spring to live in
       crews/ quarter                                      Hammarskjöld. The applications asks about the
   Bathroom clean: 3/ quarter (residents only)             student’s international background and
                                                           international experiences (travel, or otherwise),
   Special jobs: 1 large job (usually clean-up) at         what it means to live in a co-op. Applicants are
       the beginning of each quarter, then 2               also asked to submit possible theme projects.
       weekend clean crews/ quarter                        Many applicants come and eat a meal at
   House members are also expected to                      Hammarskjöld and help prepare food or do a
       participate in Cook and Clean crews for             dish crew. The applications are then reviewed by
       Hammarskjöld’s two traditional large                the Resident Assistant, the House managers and
       dinners.                                            any interested residents who then submit their
                                                           collective recommendations to the Row office.
   Managers; There are exempt spots for 2                  The University then reviews the applications and
       house managers, 1 financial manager, and            assigns one half of the residents to reflect
       2 theme associates                                  geographic diversity, for instance, at least one
   Volunteer manager positions include produce             resident is from each of the major continents. The
       and dairy, dry goods and meat, bread and            other half of the residents are U.S. citizens with
       tea, and soda fridge. Managers are exempt           international experience or interests.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                       19                                        Background

                                                           at Thanksgiving and Chinese New Year. For
History                                                    these parties, house members decorate the house
Hammarskjöld opened as the International co-op             and prepare food for 200 people, including past
in the academic year 1973-1974, and is named               members of Hammarskjöld who are invited, and
after Dag Hammarskjöld, a Secretary General of             assorted other guests. Hammarskjöld’s
the United Nations. The house was formerly the             personality has changed from year to year. One
home of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity. The                current eating associate mentioned that the house
plan for the house was initiated by several foreign        used to be more “co-opy.” Resident satisfaction
students who were actively involved in the Bechtel         with and pride in Hammarskjöld reached an all-
International Center. Clifford Clarke, the foreign         time high in March 1990. After many challenges
student advisor said of Hammarskjöld, “This                bravely fought and hurdles valiantly overcome,
new concept of a living group (will be) composed           the Ping Pong table arrived, and the joyous sound
of people from other cultures who want to                  of rubber connecting with white plastic echoed
participate in educational and social programs to          throughout the halls of Hammarskjöld.
facilitate mutual understanding and respect.” In
the early years, Hammarskjöld was under the
general direction of Clarke and F. Lee Ziegler, the
director of the I-Center. Early residents have
remarked that an equally strong reason for
creating the house was the founders’ belief that
Americans who spent a lot of time in other
countries returned to the U.S. somehow changed.
Hammarskjöld would be a place for them to
nurture these differences and explore their own
In March of 1977, student protest against
Stanford’s investment in South Africa became
active. The University higher-ups seemed to be
ignoring the issue of the University’s moral
responsibilities, for example; although students
were vocal in their objections, the Board of
Trustees would not even raise the issue at its
meetings. Students took over Old Union to
protest both the University’s tacit support of
apartheid and their unresponsiveness to student
concerns. University police began to arrest
protesters. During the night, Hammarskjöld
became the command center of the protest.
Hammies started a phone network, and called a
crowd of several hundred people out to support
the protesters. Hammies also cooked food for
those inside and outside the building.

   Co-ops at Stanford are more of a
 home, less of a borrowed space/hotel
  type room from the University. —
The make-up of the house has changed from year
to year. Some years the international students in
the house were predominantly from East Asia,
other years from Europe. This year many of the
residents and eating associates are from India.
Hammarskjöld is fond of its traditions, which
include ringing the dinner bell, Friday evening
happy hours/wine clubs and the big dinner parties
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        20                                         Background

                                                            year, there are eighteen females and seventeen
Kairos House                                                males. It is a three-class residence.
[Note: A detailed study of the current residents of
Kairos is included in the appendix]                         Food Policy
                                                            There are two food managers who order all food.
Physical Structure                                          Kairos has twenty eating associates. There is a
Kairos is an old fraternity house located on                wish list for residents and E.A.’s to request food
Mayfield a block south of Campus Drive. It is on            they would like to eat. The food managers try to
“The Row”, close to the center of campus, but               satisfy residents’ desires, but make final
removed from the larger dormitories. It stands              decisions about what the house can afford, when
between the DKE house and Grove-Mayfield.                   to buy it, what “tastes like dog food” or any
                                                            other factors. Some food choice decisions are
There are thirty-five residents in Kairos in                brought to vote if it involves a costly item that
twenty-two rooms. This includes twelve singles,             people cannot agree upon.
nine doubles and one quint. The house has three
stories. The first has one single bedroom, a piano          For dinner, meat is served quite often, and
room that was temporarily converted into a                  vegetarian residents’ needs are taken into
bedroom after the October 1989 earthquake, a                account. There is normally a vegetarian alternative
pool/bar room, a TV room, a laundry room, a co-             available if there are people in the house who
ed bathroom, a dining room, and a large kitchen.            want it, and generally any special requests are
The second floor has men’s and women’s                      directed to the cooks. Historically, Kairos buys
bathrooms, four doubles, ten singles, and a sun             processed and junk food if enough residents want
deck accessed through bedroom windows. The                  it. There is not an emphasis on food boycotts,
third floor has men’s and women’s bathrooms,                although when residents decide, alternative foods
five doubles, a quint, and a sun deck.                      are bought.
The first floor is unusually well-endowed with              Governance Policy
community space. This is especially appropriate             The managers meet before the residents arrive to
for the community atmosphere important to                   decide how the house will be run. They decide
Kairos, and makes the temporary conversion of               how food will be ordered, how house jobs will be
the piano room into a bedroom an uncomfortable              distributed and enforced, and any other structural
arrangement. The kitchen is spacious, although it           decisions necessary to make the house work.
has the same appliance features as most                     Traditionally most things remain the same year-
residences: two industrial refrigerators, a freezer,        to-year because they work and the managers like
a drink fridge, ice machine, gas range, grill, two          them. The residents are free to change any of
ovens, five large sinks, a sterilizer, cabinet and          these decisions, but they generally do not.
pantry space.
                                                            Room draw is done on a priority system designed
Financial Status                                            by Kairos residents in a previous year. All other
The House spends roughly $54,000 annually,                  decisions that require resident input are voted
about $1,550 per person (This excludes a rebate             upon on a majority basis. All decisions are
that averages $250 per year. Eating Associates              contestable and can be reconsidered if the
are charged $1.50 per lunch and $5.00 per                   residents so decide. Managers and others often
dinner. The house balance averages between                  make smaller decisions on their own if they feel
seven to ten thousand dollars at any given time.            the house will not object. This works because the
The board bill is calculated with a 12-15%                  house has a general disposition to put up with the
overhead fee to allow the house the freedom to              desires of others, and if someone objects
make choices such as extravagant food, social               afterwards, the situation can be reevaluated.
activities or increased rebates at the end of the
year. The house has never had any financial                 House Work Division
troubles according to University and student                The Kairos managers take a strong role. Not only
sources.                                                    do they make many decisions independently of
                                                            the residents, but they are required to do a
Student Composition                                         considerable amount of work. They receive an
Kairos has not admitted graduate students. There            exempt spot in the draw for that year, and receive
is no information indicating that this has ever             a full or two-thirds reduction in the board bill.
been considered. During the ’89-90 academic                 They also are given priority in room choice. The
                                                            managerial jobs are outlined as follows:
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         21                                           Background

    House Manager — does all finances, deals                 Kairos was listed in the Draw Book as a special
        with the University upon occasion, legally           program house that is co-operatively run, but with
        responsible along with the R.A. for the              no special sign-ups. Although house
        house, does some shopping, and is a                  management, upkeep and cooking policies were
        backup for the Operations Manager.                   not changed, in 1978-79, Kairos ceased to be
                                                             identified as co-operatively run.
    Operations Manager — Coordinates house
        jobs and enforces their execution, handles           In 1980 or ’81, Kairos began the kitchen policy it
        all work orders and orders cleaning and              now has. Reportedly, in the fall no one liked the
        bathroom supplies.                                   cook. The house took a vote and decided to fire
                                                             her at the end of the quarter. They decided that
    Food Managers (2) — Order and shop for all               everyone would cook each week until they found
        food.                                                a new cook. Over Christmas vacation, everyone
All residents do one dinner hashing job per week             was to go home and find a recipe that could easily
(about 45 minutes), one house job per week (1/2-             be cooked for fifty people. During winter quarter
1 hour), one house work day per quarter (about               people liked cooking, and it worked so well that
three or four hours), one weekend hashing per                they decided to continue it, only hiring cooks
quarter, and one job for every party. Cooks are              from within the house instead of everyone
hired from within the house. Generally two                   cooking. At this point, as Diana Conklin, Director
people cook each night and are paid $25 each.                of the Row, put it, Kairos began its evolution into
                                                             a co-op. It remained a self-op until 1986-87 when
Relations with the University                                it was listed as a row house with a special
The University owns the house, runs and pays for             priority. In 1988-89 it was first listed as a co-op
central heating, electricity and gas, pays all repair        with special priority. The management of the
bills except for student-caused ones, owns all               house never changed, though.
furniture, ovens, industrial refrigerators, and
chooses the Resident Assistant. The residents                    A co-op is a haven for people who
own the kitchen utensils, plates, pots and pans,                     want to make decisions for
etc, all small kitchen appliances, the TV, VCR, and
small refrigerators. They run the kitchen                      themselves as an autonomous group.
themselves, and do all cleaning in the house.                   In a co-op we have a special ability
                                                                to create our own futures to suit us
Special Features                                                        as a group. A co-op
The dining room has two murals. One has an                      community/atmosphere allows us to
Egyptian theme and was painted before 1981.                         interact in an unusual way:
The other, a Doonesbury cartoon, was painted                     somehow to value others as people
during the Autumn quarter of the ’89-90 school
year. In the front of the house is a porch that was                 for what they contribute. —
boarded up after the earthquake. In the past this                          Classmember
was a center for eating dinner. The second and
third floors each have a sun deck that is widely             In 1981-82, Kairos received the large pool table
used for social purposes. There is a one-ton pool            that now sits in the back common room. It had
table on the first floor.                                    previously been in one of the Toyon eating clubs.
                                                             That club closed that year, and the University
History                                                      needed a place for the table. At Toyon the table
Kairos House was originally built and used by                was used exclusively for the game “squash,” a
the Delta Chi fraternity. The house was built in             rowdy game often involving twenty people where
1910. The construction and furnishing was                    one rolls the cue ball with the hands to hit the
supervised by student member Earle Leaf. In                  active ball, the point being to never let the active
1935, the house was rebuilt to roughly its modern            ball stop or be sunk. The table was in very bad
condition in what was called at the time “French             repair as a result, and so the University offered to
Chateau” architecture.                                       give Kairos the table if the residents would
                                                             refurbish it. For two hundred dollars, the table
The house became a self-op in 1968 because the               was removed from the eating club, redone, and
Delta Chi fraternity did not fill the house and              delivered to Kairos. It is an incredibly heavy table,
could not pay its bills. As a self-op, the residents         with three large slates of marble. After a very
managed all house upkeep and hired a cook.                   difficult time, it was moved into the house. The
From the 1971-72 school year through 1977-78,                only problem was that it warped the floor. Pieces
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         22                                           Background

of wood stuck under the legs on one side remain              strict, kind of easy-going, comfortably and
the solution.                                                friendly. It is a positive image, but with no detail.
                                                             “It is the one house I shrug about,” she says.
In 1983, the quad on the third floor was turned
into a quint. Apparently there was a person who
wanted to live in an attic space adjacent to the             Phi Psi House
quad. He moved in, stretching an extension cord
in with him. Eventually the University discovered            Physical Structure
him and kicked him out. Afterwards, though, they             Phi Psi is a large house at 550 San Juan Road. It
decided that the space could be made into a room.            is nestled among the trees on a hill overlooking
The wall was opened up and a window was                      the campus. The house was built by Mr. and
installed.                                                   Mrs. Cooksey and is one of the oldest residential
                                                             buildings on the Stanford campus. We believe the
In 1984-85, Facilities completely renovated the              house was acquired by the Phi Kappa Psi
house. According to a resident, relations between            fraternity in 1897. A floorplan exists dated 1900.
the house and facilities were very good at the
time, so the process was friendly and done to                Phi Psi has 24 student rooms (7 singles, 16
everyone’s advantage. They redid the carpets,                doubles, and 1 triple), two lounges, a study room,
walls, and most notably remodeled the kitchen.               a dining area and a large kitchen. The house has
                                                             several fireplaces, and two large porches, which
According to a resident, the house used to have a            were popular with students. Phi Psi’s attic was
strong tradition of athletics. In the early eighties,        off-limits to residents, while 2/3 of the basement
almost the whole women’s crew team lived there.              was used for University storage.
Around 1984 and ’85, most of the women’s
volleyball team lived there.                                 Financial Status
In the early eighties, the first female house                In 1989-1990 Phi Psi had an operating budget of
manager was elected. There was a managers’ log               approximately $24,000 and board was $400. The
book that caused severe difficulties this year. It           house had a safety fund of $1,000.
contained many secret passages that those
holding the book did not want a female to see,               Student Composition
most likely because they were chauvinistic                   Phi Psi had 44 residents, including 3 male grads,
statements. An attempt was made to erase parts,              1 female grad, 19 male undergraduates, and 20
but that didn’t work. The previous manager                   female undergraduates. In fall 1989 Phi Psi had 8
decided to hold the logbook until the next male              eating associates, but the number of eating
manager was elected, but it has never been seen              associates varied from year to year.
The house was never particularly “co-opy.” It                Food Policy
never co-operated with other co-ops. Reportedly              Phi Psi served dinner 5 nights a week. The meals
it is more involved with the other co-ops now than           were mainly vegetarian, although meat with a
it has ever been. The character of the house used            vegetarian alternative is served 1-2 times a week.
to go in a three-year cycle. A new group of                  Residents were composting their biodegradable
sophomores would draw into the house, bringing               refuse, and there were some food boycotts, grapes
with them new ideas and energy. Because of the               in particular. Food was purchased from Ryckoff,
now abolished returning resident priority, they              Sierra Natural Foods, and Cal Fresh Produce.
would live there for the next three years and
become the house officers. When they graduated,              Governance Policy
a new group would draw in.                                   All decisions are made by consensus, with the
The house has had consistently good relations                exception of room selection. Room assignments
with the University. Around 1986 and 1987 it did             were decided at a consensus meeting, with the
not do as well in the draw as usual, but other than          knowledge that seniors and then juniors would be
that it has filled without any problems. Kairos has          given priority in choosing rooms.
been a mystery to Diana Conklin as long as she
has been in the Row office, since 1978. She has              House Work Division
never heard it referred to by students, and she              Residents had one major house job each week.
cannot pin it down in her mind. She senses it is             These jobs included cleaning the bathroom,
different from other houses and fraternities, but            vacuuming the living room, breaking down
she does not know why. She describes it as low-              cardboard, and were usually done in teams of
key, with an ethos of not being demanding or                 two. Residents and eating associates did one food
Co-operative Living at Stanford                       23                                           Background

preparation/clean-up job each week. House                  According to Peter Fox, president of Phi Psi in
members signed up either to cook or do dishcrew            1976-77, they remained a fraternity for the benefit
for a given day, with three or four students               of the national chapter and to have control over
cooking and two or three cleaning each day.                the selection of residents until the 1977-78 school
                                                           year. Although they did participate in the draw
Theme                                                      prior to this, they still had control because priority
Phi Psi has no official theme, but it is known as a        was given to fraternity members. In 1976, the
co-op whose personality is truly defined by each           national chapter sent a representative out. He saw
year’s residents. When asked what was the uni-             that Phi Psi was not behaving like a fraternity,
fying force for the Phi Psi residents of 1989-90,          precipitating a letter of reprimand. According to
one resident responded, “Location.”                        Fox, the national chapter never revoked its charter,
                                                           but rather Stanford ceased to recognize the house
Relations with the University                              as a fraternity. At some point in the late 70’s,
Students do their own cooking and cleaning, but            ownership of the house was transferred to
the University performs major repairs and                  Stanford. The only notable structural change that
groundskeeping. The University also assigns a              occurred with the change in ownership was the
Resident Assistant to Phi Psi. Several years ago           removal by the National of two large stained glass
University storage took over the basement, much            windows sporting the fraternity’s emblem above
to the dismay and anger of Phi Psi residents.              the front door.
                                                           From 1976-81, Phi Psi is reported to have had a
Special Features                                           very laissez-faire co-op mentality. There were few
When asked what was Phi Psi’s best feature,                imposed attitudes such as environmental
nearly all residents named its location and sense          awareness or nonviolence; instead, there was a
of seclusion. Phi Psi is on a hill, away from most         real variety of people with contrasting lifestyles.
of the campus, and residents really felt like they         They moved into Phi Psi seeking more autonomy
were out in the woods. The large porches and               from the University, escape from dormitory food
lawn were residents’ next favorite features of the         and University-hired laborers, a quiet yard for
house. Phi Psi has a darkroom, a piano and a               frisbee, and a good view from the roof. Also, Phi
1911 pool table that was known around the                  Psi was famous for its mellow friendliness, its
campus. Phi Psi’s murals, painted over the years           drugs, and its wild (and often illegal) parties.
by different residents, also helped define the             During this period, the house was heavily
house’s personality. Among other special                   involved in music. Many of the residents from
features mentioned by residents were the co-ed             this period reported that the house had a strong
bathroom on the second floor and the sense of              rock tradition, and was one of the contemporary
mystery surrounding the house (e.g. what’s in              music centers on campus. In the beginning, a
the attic?).                                               bunch of friends in the house all happened to
                                                           play complementary instruments. They rehearsed
History                                                    together in the living room. After awhile, they
In the late 1960’s, the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity           built three practice rooms in the basement. This
had troubles filling its house. At the time, the           was a major project for those involved. The
fraternity owned the house. By 1969, there were            rooms would flood in the wet winters of the
only eight or ten members living there. They had           period (Lyle Zimmerman, ’81, once caught a
a cook and a local fraternity advisor. To solve            salamander in the basement). The musicians did
their problem, and in keeping with the character           cement repairs, wall patching, and got wooden
of the current members, beginning in 1972 they             pallets to cover the floor, raising the equipment
allowed women to live in the house. The fraternity         above water level. They covered the pallets with
advisor and student members applied to the                 carpeting, and lined the ceilings with carpeting
national chapter for women to be allowed in the            and egg cartons for sound insulation. There was
fraternity. In a desperation move to keep the              only one bedroom in the house that was affected
house open, they were officially made a co-ed              by the noise, so a band member usually tried to
fraternity, possibly the first in the country. In          occupy it. University permission to have the
1972-73, Phi Psi was run completely co-                    practice rooms was eventually secured.
operatively. The next year, though, a cook was
hired because people were tired of doing it                The first band from the house was The Phi Psi
themselves. In 1975-76, the house once again               Band which first played in Spring of ’79. It
became a complete co-op with student cooking.              evolved into Rooftop Magic and Claude Monet.
                                                           These two lasted for two years. They merged
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        24                                          Background

again in ’81 as the Druids. They played until ’83.          RA, their ability to organize and do extra projects
The band then went through the following                    increased dramatically.
progression: Missy and the Boogieman, The                   During this general period, a number of high
Heptiles, The Blenders, and finally Zsa Zsa                 quality murals were painted in public areas by
House (still playing, one album released). The              residents. Mimi Wyche painted a 20’ by 30’
early band members and the current ones are still           mural of the Last Supper with residents of Phi
good friends and all keep in close contact.                 Psi substituted for the disciples. A few years later
                                                            this was painted over by an offended resident.
                                                            There was also a version of the Sistine Chapel in
                                                            a stairwell and a Hindu deity with the head of an
                                                            elephant painted by Nicki Roy.
                                                            A resident in 1984-85 remembers the Tom Jones
                Traditions from this time period            parties, Halloween parties, and the Druids as
include a Tom Jones Party (named after a scene              highlights during her time at Stanford. At this
in the movie based on the Henry Fielding novel)             time, house managing was done by all residents.
where people dressed in old English costumes                There were a long list of management positions
and messily fed each other large amounts of food            that residents volunteered for, such as dairy,
(called a “glorious tradition” by a resident of the         produce, bread, and dry goods. This contrasts
time). The Halloween Parties were mentioned by              with earlier times when there were a few
participants as consistently the best parties they          managers who did all the work. At this time, there
ever attended at Stanford or since (“legendary”).           was still meat in the house with vegetarian
Haunted houses were held in the Phi Psi attic.              alternatives.
Frost Amphitheater was opened for all co-op
parties. Every night at 6:00 was a community                Phi Psi was hit particularly hard by the closure of
viewing of Star Trek. At one point, Phi Psi had a           Roble in 1987-88. Seven spaces were added to
sauna, but a Marilyn Monroe poster in it caught             the house. The large Phi Psi doubles were
on fire and burned it down. In ’79 Phi Psi had              converted into triples, and the residents of these
six people starring in Hair.                                doubles forced to accommodate new, unfamiliar
The residents of this early period are described as
easy-going, “artsy mega-pre-professional”                   From the earliest times through the late eighties,
(most have since gone on to get advanced degrees            Phi Psi has reportedly had good relations with the
or high-paying positions), aristocratic, not                University. The house tended to be isolated and
particularly political or organic, non-hierarchical,        independent, making the residents feel like the
diverse, and as a silent majority dominated by a            University largely let them do as they wished.
vocal minority who wanted meat and cold cuts                Previous residents report that Phi Psi was always
around. (The people belonging to this “vocal                more mainstream than others such as Synergy or
minority,” however, described Phi Psi as primar-            Columbae. It has been called the “beautiful
ily vegetarian.) The house was also described as            people’s co-op” because it has tended not to be
inconsistent in its dedication to house work. For           dedicated to co-operatives at Stanford or
example the house was relatively dirty compared             conscious viewpoints. The experience has been
to many other houses, and especially in Spring,             described as pleasure-oriented and decadent.
dinners were often not cooked at all. House
management was done by a few residents while                Synergy House
the majority was uninvolved due to lack of
interest. For example, Nicki Roy, ’79, says he              Physical Structure
hardly remembers how the house was organized.               Synergy House, built in 1910, is a large 25-room
At the time, it seemed to him that no one                   house at 664 San Juan. The house has three
specifically managed the house. Nevertheless, the           floors and a semi-basement, which had windows
house did well in the draw and consistently filled.         facing out the back. Usually, there is one triple
One resident described the role of RA as                    and five singles, and the rest are doubles, but
important to the general success of the house.              these figures can vary depending on how the
Around 1976-77, RA’s were assigned from                     house decides to break up rooms. The house has
outside of the house, whereas later around 1979,            a large dining room and two spacious common
RA’s were selected from the community. When                 rooms on the first floor, as well as a smaller
the community was able to get along well with the           common or guest room to one side. The kitchen
                                                            is fairly small compared to most co-ops.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                      25                                        Background

Originally, the house had a sleeping porch, since         and also attempts to buy from local growers or
removed. The back yard is large enough to                 distributors. The house ordered virtually no
contain a garden and space for chickens.                  name-brand processed foods, and no red meat.
                                                          Milk was delivered in returnable glass bottles. As
The house is not registered with any historical           of this year, the house has not decided to boycott
associations. It was built in 1910 or 1911 as a           any specific foods, but last year the house
house for the Sigma Nu fraternity (Beta Chi               refrained from buying canned tuna, table grapes,
chapter). The kitchen was enlarged in 1953. The           Coors, GE, and Nestle products.
three singles and double on the second floor used
to all be part a sleeping porch, but this was             Governance Policy
converted into rooms in 1971 before the house
opened as a co-op. A large chapter room for the           All major decisions in the house are made by
fraternity in the basement was also divided into          consensus. Sometimes committees will be created
rooms (numbers 001 and 002). The second floor             to handle the organization of house parties.
bathroom, currently divided into two very thin            Managers make most of the day-to-day
bathrooms, used to have a stairway leading up to          decisions. Rooms this year were decided on a
it, presumably removed in the conversion process.         lottery system (draw a number, pick a room), with
The house, which is currently painted red, is             house members re-drawing each quarter.
clearly visible from the foothills and some parts
of campus.                                                House Work Division
                                                          Synergy is well-known for multitudes of manager
Financial Status                                          positions. Everything from keeping the bees to
The house funds now amount to about $700.                 ordering food is done by a “manager”. Five
Before the quake, about $12-15,000 were in the            manager positions had exempt spots this year:
bank from resident’s board bills. Bills for this          dry goods, outreach, kitchen, house, and financial
year and last were about $250 per quarter for a           managers. Others, such as produce, dairy, garden,
full plan. House members contributed another              compost, and condom managers were filled from
$100 per quarter for social fees and a deposit,           house volunteers. Manager positions can change
making a total house member’s contribution                every quarter, and often are taken by more than
$350. Last year most of the deposit (about                one person at a time. Members of the house are
$48/per quarter) was returned. After the quake,           expected to do the following jobs: one kitchen job
residents who had paid their board bills were             per week (cooking, cleaning, bread-baking), one
refunded $300. Rent, at a fee set by the                  Saturday kitchen-cleanup per quarter (group of
University, was $1114,$1018, and $991 for                 four), and one work-crew per quarter (group of
Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters.                       four). Cooking was done by four people, cleaning
                                                          by three, and bread-baking by one.

                                                          Synergy’s original theme was considered
                                                          “Exploring Alternatives”. While the University
                                                          has redefined the notion of a “theme” house to
               Student Composition                        be more academic (a change that occurred
                                                          sometime after 1977), Synergy continues to
Generally Synergy has 42-45 spaces, 10 of which           explore alternatives. The house has organized
are reserved for graduate students. This year, the        alternative career speaker series, an organic
house had 6 grad students (4 men, 2 women), and           gardening class, built solar collectors, and done
39 undergraduates (19 men, 20 women). Racially            other projects that help residents explore
the house is mostly Caucasian.                            alternative ways of living.
Food Policy                                               Relations with the University
This year Synergy decided to serve fish or                Synergy used to be a full co-op, but since its
chicken at meals once a week. Lunch meat would            near-termination in 1987 Synergy has been
also be available in the refrigerator. Synergy            cleaned by the University. The past two years
principally orders food from Sierra or Fowler             (including this one) the house has attempted to
brothers, and occasionally from S.E. Rykoff               resume full co-op status, but to no avail. This
(produce from Palo Alto produce, dairy from               year, however, the house had succeeded in
Peninsula Creamery). The house tries to order             returning to full co-op status prior to the
organic produce when cheaper than non-organic,            earthquake. The University owns the house and
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         26                                         Background

collects rent money, and also does repairs. The              SWOPSI course “New Vocations and New Life
University keeps the house closed over Christmas             Styles” in Winter 1972. The action project of
break and usually over summer.                               that course was Project Synergy, whose goal was
                                                             to create a counseling and resource center on new
Special Features                                             ways to live and work.
The house has many spectacular murals painted                The concept of “synergy” was one of the hot
by former co-op members. Also, Synergy is                    new ideas floating around at that time. Synergy
unique because of its 20-30 chickens from which              means “together energy” (syn-ergy), i.e., the
the house collects eggs for cooking. Synergy has             energy released by bringing things into
a very large roof with flat areas where people               relationship, creating something new which is not
would often congregate or sleep (although this is            predictable from the original things which were
not sanctioned by the University). An “Alter-                combined. Bringing ideas, people, and resources
native Periodicals” magazine rack and ecology                into new relationships was then recognized as a
library was started by Glenn Smith several years             basic strategy for achieving innovation, for
ago. It contains many hard-to-find and back-                 creating alternatives, and for restoring ones own
issues of radical, anarchist, gay/lesbian, ecologist,        spirit, which is why “synergy” was chosen as
feminist, and spiritual magazines. A smaller right-          the name of the action project.
wing rack was started in 1988 by Chris Balz to
provide an alternative.                                      Meanwhile, the alumni of the Beta Chi fraternity
                                                             had become fed up with the “Beta Chi
History                                                      Community for the Performing Arts” that the
Synergy House began as a SWOPSI action                       fraternity had evolved into, and sold the house to
project in 1972 and embodied new directions that             the University for $11,000. Larry Horton, Dean
the cultural movement for social change took as              of Residential Education, told Alan of the
the Civil Rights and anti-war movements became               available house. So Project Synergy decided to
exhausted in the early ’70s. Ten years of psychic            create Synergy House, a community where
shocks to the country, the main one being the                students could explore new ways to live and work
Vietnam War, and ever growing visions of better              for real. The organizers described their vision
ways that life and the society could be left                 thus:
students extremely ambitious about effecting                 “Our attempt is to create here and now at the
change, about the possibilities for how their lives          Stanford community a society we envision where
could be.                                                    co-operative relationships and collective actions
The years 1968 to 1971 saw the energy of                     are encouraged, where all the aspects of out lives
student activists going toward ever-increasing               can be integrated. ...[Synergy House] has been
violence, mirroring the increasing use of violence           organized around the theme of alternatives.
by authorities and in the war itself. A counter-             ...Here people will live and work together to
vailing spirit, that of nonviolence and constructive         create a community integrating work, study and
action, began taking root at Stanford in 1970 and            interpersonal relationships and maintaining close
coalesced in the creation of Columbae House that             contact with other alternatives.”
year. The miserableness of the war, the                      Beginnings
miserableness of throwing rocks at police in                 What exactly would be the new ways to live and
protest, and miserableness of giving up one’s                work that everyone would be exploring? The
personal freedom to become a cog in a                        open-endedness of Synergy’s theme made for
corporation called out for redemptive, positive,             some initial vagueness but ultimately for vitality.
action. To escape from dependence on the life                Choices and diversity were the root of the theme,
choices offered by the status quo, students were             so it functioned basically to give individuals
determined to create their own choices — in                  permission to share and pursue their own visions.
careers, ways of living, goods and services, and             And it gave the community the ability to respond
ways of running business — and this became                   over the years to the current issues of the day.
known as the “alternatives movement”.
                                                             Synergy started right out with many of the
Alan Strain, a draft counselor at Stanford and a             practices pioneered at Columbae, including being
long time pacifist and Quaker, had helped place              a co-operative, consensus decision-making, bread
many conscientious objectors to the war into the             baking, vegetarian cooking, avoidance of
required alternative service, and many of them               processed foods, co-ed bathrooms, and organic
started to wonder how they could live their whole            gardening. In addition, Synergy started a “Guest
lives “conscientiously”. So Alan organized a                 in Residence” program, in which people working
Co-operative Living at Stanford                      27                                         Background

in alternatives could stay at the house for one or        Radical Change, which in turn gave birth to the
more weeks. One of the first real debates in the          Black Rose Anarchist Collective, which published
house was whether to continue the Beta Chi                “Against the Grain” to which several Synergy
tradition of having a bowl of acid punch at the           people contributed. The 1976 South Africa
Halloween party. After long discussion the                divestment movement, the forerunner of the
consensus was yes — but it would be kept                  1980s movement, grew out of a SWOPSI course
upstairs so as to be more responsible about it.           at Columbae and climaxed in a sit-in in Old
                                                          Union in which 294 people were arrested. Cook
Along with Synergy House, the Synergy Center              crew at Synergy didn’t happen that day, since 27
opened up in Old Union with a library and a               members of the house had been arrested at the
counseling program. The big project for the first         sit-in. A number of the Synergy and Columbae
year was the Synergy conference on Alternatives,          residents would go on to help organize the anti-
which Project Synergy and Synergy house                   nuclear Abalone Alliance the next year, taking
organized. Five hundred participants from the             with them the principles of consensus and
Rockies west assembled under big tents in the             nonviolence they had learned in these houses.
Cowell Cluster during May 9-13, 1973, to share
their experiences in such areas as: new ways to           In 1977 the Synergy Journal was started, which
work and alternative vocations; communes and              added a whole new dimension of discourse to the
alternative living groups; access to resources and        house. The Recycling Center started that year,
information; third World peoples; the activist and        another SWOPSI action project, and recycling
social change; approaches to personal and                 became an avidly pursued activity at Synergy.
interpersonal relations; co-ops, food conspiracies        Though not the original organizer, Synergy
and land trusts; new options in the professions;          member Bob Wenzlau became the Recycling
women’s concerns; new technology and                      Manager the next year, and went on to create Palo
alternative world futures; and alternative media.         Alto’s Curbside Recycling Program. Throughout
                                                          the 80s Synergy would be the source for all the
Synergy was one of the most popular houses on             Recycling Managers and a good deal of the
campus until the culture began to move in the late        workers at the center.
‘70s toward the “Reagan era”, and until 1981
experienced an uninterrupted period of                    Co-ops had established the concept of theme
development.                                              housing at Stanford, first with Columbae
                                                          (nonviolence) in 1970, then Ecology House in
Growth                                                    1971, then Synergy and Hammarskjöld (interna-
Many Synergy members were interested in solar             tional understanding) in 1972. Whitman (intellec-
energy and studied it with Professor Gil Masters.         tual culture) followed, and when the French
In Spring 1976 (?), they built a solar water              House proposal was being considered in 1975,
heating system and installed it on the roof,              Larry Horton (Dean of Residential Education)
making Synergy one of the first solar dorms in            had said to the Daily, “Above all, we want to
the country. A group called “Ecology Action”              maintain a spirit of vitality and innovation. If we
had been working to get people into growing their         did not have a policy of innovation, we would not
own food as they had during the two World                 have some of the successful houses we do now,”
Wars, and was teaching people “biodynamic/                pointing to Whitman, Columbae, Synergy, and
French intensive” horticultural techniques from           Hammarskjöld as examples.
their experimental garden at Syntex. Synergy
incorporated these techniques into its gardening          Clouds on the Horizon
(described in “How to Grow More Vegetables”               In 1977 Larry Horton went on to become the
by John Jeavons). In 1976 and 1977 the drought            University Lobbyist, and Norm Robinson became
hit California, and water conservation became a           the Dean of Residential Education. That time also
new imperative. Synergy built a “gray water               marked a change in campus climate. A few
system” that allowed used laundry water to be             vacancies started showing up in some of the co-
used to water the trees. In the Spring of 1977 a          ops. Alan Strain closed the Synergy Center. In
local resident donated a glass greenhouse to              the 1978 Stanford Informational Bulletin,
Synergy which greatly improved the gardening              Synergy had been mysteriously deleted from the
system.                                                   list of theme houses, along with Terra (ecology)
                                                          and Whitman. A new co-op theme house,
Campus political activity was centered at                 Androgyny (transcending sex roles) had been
Columbae, but a large number of Synergy                   terminated by Residential Education in Winter
members were involved in political actions. The           1978 just a few months after it had opened, to be
1974 union strike spawned the Alliance for                replaced by Haus Mitteleuropa. When Norm
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         28                                           Background

Robinson, explained his decision he said, “ I                an introduction to the co-ops in the draw book.
don’t believe a strong theme house and a co-op               The co-ops were among the most popular houses
are compatible. Each requires a great deal of time.          in the draw that Spring, and Synergy applied and
Its hard to focus on important things to be done             was able to stay open in the Summer.
for each.” Synergy’s theme was embodied in                   One Synergy member organized the co-op
how people lived in the house, which fell outside            council in the Fall 1981-82. The co-ops helped
the newly emerging definition of what constituted            host the annual California Co-operative Confer-
an “academic theme house”.                                   ence that was held at Stanford that year. Synergy
Attitudes on campus were changing as well.                   also requested that graduate students be inte-
Sororities were permitted back on campus again.              grated into the house as part of its theme of
Animal House energized interest in the Greek                 “Exploring Alternatives”. The house requested
system. A vignette: when flow-reducers were                  to be open again during the summer and this was
installed in the dorm showers to conserve water              granted.
during the drought, a group of students protested            Meanwhile, cultural changes were taking place on
by leaving their showers on all night. In the 1978           campus. The results of the Spring 1982 draw left
draw, Synergy had 3 vacancies for the first time.            Synergy with 19 vacancies, Terra with 12, and
Because of this, the house was placed on pro-                Columbae with 12. It was an unprecedented
bation and a review was made of the program. If              result. Fortunately, Residential Education chose
Synergy did not fill in the 1979 draw, it was told           not to terminate any of the co-ops. Synergy was
it could face termination. Faced for the first time          occupied with 19 “006” students: those who as
with this threat, the house mounted an                       put down “assignment anywhere” on their draw
“outreach” effort to interest students in the                card. They demanded that meat be served at least
house, and it worked; the house filled.                      three time a week, and the pro-vegetarian mem-
Synergy was very active that year. Some                      bers realized that they had to give in or else there
members wrote the original version of “Living in             would be mutiny. Most of the “006” people
Syn: A Handbook for Residents”, which                        moved out after Fall, but Synergy filled due to an
introduced members to all the things that were               outreach program done in anticipation of this. In
going on in the house. The house helped produce              the midst of this crisis, Synergy celebrated its
the video “Working against Rape”. Martha                     tenth anniversary at the Halloween Party. The
Watson heard that the Biology Department was                 return of the people who had lived in the house
giving away a bunch of chickens, so the house                five and ten years before helped bolster the sense
built a coop and she brought them to Synergy.                among the current members that Synergy meant
The house now had fresh eggs every morning.                  something and was worth preserving for another
An unusually strong bond formed between                      generation of students.
residents that year, and they still continue to go in        Synergy, Columbae, and Terra pulled together
large numbers to each other’s parties, picnics,              and put on a “Co-op Week” in the Spring as a
weddings, and so forth, and have been Synergy’s              joint outreach effort, and it worked. They all filled
strongest alumni allies.                                     by the second round of the draw. Residential
1980-81 was a flagship year. Many people who                 Education finally agreed to allow graduate
had been away from Stanford and who had lived                students to live in co-ops.
in Synergy two, three or even four years ago                 The summer of 1983 dealt a hard blow to
returned to the house. They had a strong sense of            Synergy, though. The house was denied its
where Synergy had been and knew they wanted                  request to stay open that summer, and a former
to go further. New ideas were incorporated into              eating associate volunteered to take care of the
the consensus process. A biology graduate from               chickens, but was negligent. Row Facilities
Cornell who had come to stay at Synergy created              decided to “clean up” Synergy’s back yard. It
a circular “medicine wheel” herb garden in the               gave the chickens to Hidden Villa Ranch, tore
back yard. A second “bread box” style solar                  down the green house, bulldozed the Herb
collector was built. Nineteen members of the                 Garden, knocked out some fruit trees, threw away
house went to Santa Barbara for the wedding of a             the oil drum barbecue used by the carnivore club,
couple in the house. The house artists had a “bag            and then piled dirt dug from street repairs in the
event”. Synergy made its first T-shirt, “If it               back yard. When students returned in the fall, the
moves, hug it. If it doesn’t, compost it.” One               back yard was a “moonscape”. Plastic had been
member who had lived in Berkeley’s co-op                     laid down all around the base of the house with
system organized the other co-ops into producing             red volcanic rocks over it, much to the dismay of
a promotional pamphlet on the co-ops, and added              the people who liked to walk barefoot in the back
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        29                                         Background

yard. Workers cleaning out the house had also               Draw. Both houses mounted intense outreach
taken some of Synergy’s house items, including              campaigns and managed to squeak by.
a pair of stereo speakers in the kitchen, cast iron         There were some notable innovations that year.
pots, and the house job board. The director of              The house had a retreat to Hidden Villa before
Row Facilities was replaced a month later, and the          Winter Quarter, with various sorts of recreation
new director offered to make amends to Synergy              — a group painting, “Mind Vomit”, milking the
by removing the red rocks and dirt, and by paying           cows, and so forth. In the Spring a group of 10
for a new chicken coop and greenhouse. The red              people decided to create “the commune” and
rocks were taken away, but the piles of dirt                divided the third floor into one room for partying,
remained and were finally just spread out over the          one room for studying, and one room where all
back yard. Gardeners still find chunks of asphalt           10 people slept. It had its advantages and
when digging.                                               disadvantages, but the participants agreed it had
                                                            been worthwhile.
                                                            The next year (85-86) continued to be something
                                                            of a renaissance. Louis Emery added two
                                                            beehives to the farming operation. Synergy held a
                                                            “Science Night” with the showing of several
               Renewal                                      science movies such as “Donald Duck in Mathe-
1983-84 was a year of renaissance. The new grad             magicland” and “Our Friend Mr. Sun”. The
students added a new dimension to the house                 house decided to build a new, permanent chicken
(e.g. Jose Giner’s 3-D slide shows). A big cohort           coop. Due to a successful outreach campaign,
from Branner got the sense of community started             Synergy squeaked by with only 3 vacancies.
right away, and one member donated her family’s             Lee Altenberg stuck around that summer to build
portable chicken coop. Eight new chickens were              the coop, and Row Facilities contributed $300.
bought. One member built an Indian Hogan hut                The chicks were ordered by mail and Louis, Lee,
where the Herb Garden had been. Synergy even                and several other residents raised the chicks in
held a benefit party for Nicaragua, and was                 storage rooms at Hammarskjöld and Phi Sig. A
accused in the Daily of helping to arm the                  chicken collective was organized in the Fall to
Sandinistas. Even a Hoover Fellow joined in the             care for the chickens. Lee led a SWOPSI course
accusation!                                                 with a person from Columbae which many
Even though Synergy was renewed in vitality, it             Synergy residents took. Henry Bankhead and
had lost many of the concepts that founded it.              several other members formed a band “Henry
People carried on many of the house traditions              and the Vegetables”.
such as consensus, the garden, and recycling, but           Unfortunately, Synergy again had a disastrous
without knowing that they grew out of a                     draw in the Spring of 1987. Round one left
conscious exploration of new ways of life.                  Synergy with 23 vacancies, which dropped to 14
Ironically, just as the American Medical                    after round two. The axe finally fell. Synergy was
Association was starting to say that the hippies            terminated. Quickly house members such as
had been right about eating legumes, whole                  Glenn Smith and Louis Emery organized a “Save
grains, less meat, and less sugar, Synergy began            Synergy” campaign. A petition drive collected
baking white bread, using sugar, and eating meat.           700 signatures. Alumni across the country wrote
The house failed to mount an effective outreach             in letters of support. A full-page add appeared in
campaign that year, and the realities of the rest of        the Daily, asking why Residential Education
campus came penetrating the warmth of the                   would terminate a house with such an outstanding
house: Synergy had 12 vacancies after the first             academic reputation that seemed to embody its
round of the Draw, which shrank to 6 after the              principles. Finally, in the summer, the house was
second round. Terra was left with 19 vacancies.             saved, but with several program alterations. Henry
Throughout the 1984-85 year Synergy and Terra               Levin became the faculty advisor, and the house
lived under the sword of Damocles, otherwise                was forced to accept University cleaning service
known as COSS-R, the committee that would                   (Residential Education believed that the house
review them. COSS-R wanted to terminate one                 drew badly because it was not kept clean
co-op, and they chose Terra. Norm Robinson                  enough).
took the Synergy RA’s alternative proposal, that            Over the summer, some members recruited Peter
Synergy and Terra would both be allowed to                  Donelan of Ecology Action to teach a SWOPSI
continue if they filled 90% by round two of the             course on sustainable agriculture in the Fall, and
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        30                                         Background

they took to work on the garden with miraculous             was so successful that a few residents who had
effort. That Winter Laura Bonk and Greg                     lived in Synergy could not get back in the house.
Cumberford also taught a SWOPSI course on                   1989 Started as a good year. The house had an
environmentalism To celebrate Synergy’s fif-                early retreat to Point Reyes. The new members
teenth anniversary Lee organized a reunion, and             were enthusiastic and willing to learn how to bake
Glenn Smith organized an “Alternative Career                bread and participate in consensus. The house
Speaker Series”. The house had its best draw in             almost decided to have vegetarian meals. A few
seven years, a trend that has continued since. The          residents began to work in the garden and
house that year had only three Sophomores, and              organize the composting. Then the earthquake
there were many extra spaces (which made for                happened...
more singles). Several people did not even eat at
Synergy, and the tradition of having “stuffers”
died out to only one person. Spring of that year            Terra House
saw the arrival of the “Alternative Periodicals
Rack” set up by Glenn Smith. Glenn noticed a                Physical Structure
large wooden magazine rack in near White Plaza              Terra is located in the Cowell Cluster on Campus
and, after discovering that the Jewish Center did           Drive, across the street from Wilbur Hall. Fifty-
not want it, he took it back to Synergy (despite            five people live in Terra in 28 rooms, mostly
the scoffs of Jose) and stocked it with an                  doubles. The house is divided into two parts, one
incredible array of alternative magazines he had            of which is composed almost entirely of student
collected over the years working at the Recycling           rooms, the other of which is almost entirely
Center. Since then the rack has grown (including            common area. Students seem to feel that having
a right wing/military rack added by Chris Balz in           the common area separated from the student
1988), and several smaller rotating book-racks              rooms reduces house interaction. The kitchen is
have been added.                                            large. Two years ago the house was renovated for
                                                            earthquake safety. In ’87 - ’88, after the closure
The 1988-89 house had many new Sophomores,                  of Roble, the guest room off the lounge was
leaving only a few house members to preserve the            converted into a double, and again after the
old traditions. Nonetheless, the house continues            earthquake of October ’89. Some Terrans have
to be active in the Stanford community: members             argued that part of the reason Terra has tended to
of SCAAN, STAND, and REP were in the house                  draw a more mainstream group of people than the
and brought in a good political contingent. The             other co-ops is because it is built like a dorm and
house followed the 1988 election, with activities           located on the main drag of campus.
including the throwing of a “George Bush”
pumpkin from the roof. The house attempted to               Financial Status
get off University cleaning, only to get a letter
back from Diana Conklin stating essentially that            Terra was group charged (the University sent a
the University needed the extra money generated             composite bill to the house, and it was the
by charging for cleaning. Dominique Snyers, a               financial manager’s duty to collect the rent from
graduate student, posted a letter calling for a new         the residents) until the ’88 - ’89 school year, at
Synergy, emphasizing a search for new                       which time the University began to charge each
alternatives to consensus and living, and calling           resident independently. Terra currently collects
for an active program to change the “drug                   $390 from its residents, of which $335 goes to
counterculture” stereotype of Synergy. The                  food and $55 goes to house and social. Typically
house erupted into conflict over personal issues,           the students hope for a $50 rebate per quarter, at
and held a large emergency house meeting to                 the end of the year. Terra currently has about
discuss how people relate to diversity and                  $8000 in the bank. In ’86 - ’87 Terra’s finances
difference of opinion. Spring quarter outreach              were computerized.
went smoothly as the house organized garden
parities, and a giant paper-mache chicken was               Student Composition
constructed and left in White Plaza to advertise a          Terra has fifty-five residents, 30 males, 25
party. (The chicken was damaged by a storm that             females, of which sixteen are returning residents.
came the next couple of days, and was moved to              Terra has an additional thirty eating associates.
Columbae where it stayed for three weeks.                   The house has no African-Americans, a few
Residents moved it back to Synergy). The house              Chicanos, a few Asian-Americans, two students
RA organized a dinner with the Delta Tau Delta              from India, and one from Pakistan.
fraternity (Synergy’s closest neighbor), but it fell
through due to a scheduling problem. Outreach
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         31                                           Background

Food Policy                                                  Relations with the University
Terra serves dinner six days a week, and serves              The University owns Terra, and collects rent from
meat at each of these meals (but offers an                   its members. Terrans are permitted to cook and
alternative, for the few vegetarians in the house).          clean for themselves, and do a few exterior jobs
The Terrans proudly purchase many more                       on the house, but all repairs and outdoor
processed foods than such co-ops as Synergy                  maintenance must be done by the University.
and Columbae. They do not have long food                     Most of the furniture also belongs to the
policy discussions at the beginning of the year.             University. Several Terrans have complained that
Food policy is decided by the head cooks (one                Row Facilities neglects them, and gives the other
for each day, called clowns) and by the food                 Cowell Cluster houses better treatment.
managers who do the purchasing, and by wish
lists. Eating associates must be full time, and, like        Special Features
the other residents, are charged $390 each                   Guests at Terra must tell a joke at dinner.
                                                             Terra has a mural entitled “Let’s Eat!” that dates
Governance Policy                                            back to sometime after the Ford campaign (one of
                                                             the characters wears a “WIN” button). The
Until ’82 - ’83, the house made decisions by                 mural has been the source of much Terran lore,
consensus. In ’83 - ’84, Terra switched to voting,           and seems perpetually in danger of being painted
with a twist. Three-fourths of those present at the          over. It is a frame from Zap Comix #2 by Robert
meeting must vote, and they must be able to                  Crumb, but (contrary to the rumor of some years)
obtain a two-thirds majority, or the status quo              was not actually painted by Mr. Crumb. The
prevails. Currently the house manager (“beast                character “Chet” is the hero/villain of the house,
master”) leads discussion. Generally, issues are             and the house receives mail (such as “Mellow
decided by majority vote, or, in some cases, a two-          Mail” and the Weekly World News in the name
thirds majority (if it is a big issue). In extreme           of Chet Terra). In ’88 - ’89 Susan Starritt painted
situations, a person may call for consensus. At              two murals, one of a sunset in the dining room,
the end of the year after the draw, returning                and one of the Starship Enterprise in the TV
residents have a rooming meeting, which is                   room.
“more or less consensus.” These students select
roomed based roughly on an informal priority                 History
system. The incoming residents go to a happy
hour and fill out a questionnaire. The house                 In 1971 the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity
manager assigns them to the remaining rooms on               moved out of the Cowell Cluster back to the row
the basis of their answers to this questionnaire.            (its brother fraternities in the Cluster died, so this
                                                             was probably a wise move). From 1971 until
House Work Division                                          1973 the house was used for the Ecology co-
                                                             operative. Ecology house had a five unit theme
Currently, everyone must serve on one kitchen                requirement, satisfied by a class taught in the
crew each week. Kitchen crews consist of a head              house. They began the practice of baking bread,
cook, five assistant cooks, four cleaners, one               still an important tradition at Terra, and at first
lunch cleaner, and two bread bakers. Also,                   even ground their own grain. They protested the
Terrans must perform one job every weekend.                  University’s preventive use of pesticides outside
These jobs rotate between people, and mostly                 the houses, and they gave a big push to organized
consist of cleaning duties. House officers are               recycling at Stanford, beginning with the
exempt from weekend jobs. House officer                      collection of cans at football games. They shared
positions are: financial manager, house manager,             a garden with Columbae.
social manager, two food managers, eating
associate co-ordinator, and a beverage manager.              In ’73 - ’74 Ecology House was de-themed and
Every Tuesday and Saturday, two people go to                 Terra began. Little is known about the Terra of
Safeway and two people go to the Price Club.                 the seventies, except that the mural “Let’s Eat”
This excuses them from one job. Terra also                   was drawn. Terra is absent from the Daily. The
orders food from Palo Alto produce and the                   house journals they kept are lost, and alumni
Peninsula Creamery.                                          contacts are sparse. It is, however, known that
                                                             Terra kept up good relations with other co-ops in
Theme                                                        these years, and held all co-op coffee houses.
Terra does not have a theme. Between 1971 and                In the ’81 - ’82 year Terra went through a period
1973, it was Ecology theme house, hence the                  of crisis. Although the journal of this year begins
name “Terra,” meaning “earth” in Latin.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                            32                                          Background

optimistically, it ends fragmented and hostile, and             never had.” The Terrans managed to fill two and
many of the pages are torn out. Throughout, but                 a half journals that year, primarily with gossip,
especially in the beginning, there is much open                 sexual innuendoes, and private jokes. At the end
talk about drugs and political issues. At this time,            of this year, however, most of the Terrans moved
and in the year previous, Terrans debated over,                 out. The sophomores of ’81 - ’82 had become
and decided against allowing red meat in the                    seniors, and the house did horribly in the draw,
house, although people typically sneaked private                with nineteen spaces still remaining to be filled by
supplies in. A Terran from previous years                       the end of the second round.
comments on finding tuna, hamburger, and                        As a result, the University threatened in ’84 - ’85
Cheetos in the kitchen, and of hearing “offhand                 to shut Terra down. Stanford seemed to be at the
sexist remarks.” The agenda for the only house                  peak of its conservatism, the co-ops were doing
meeting in this journal includes such topics as                 poorly in the draw, and Terra was the largest and
consensus, drugs, food philosophy, and faction-                 most readily convertible into standard University
alism at Terra. One Terran commented that the                   housing. Through the diligent efforts of the
year was a sequence of bad events, culminating in               Terrans and Jack Chin (former Terran and R.A.
the suicide of a “roofer” (someone who sleeps                   at Synergy), Terra was able to postpone its fate
on the roof).                                                   for a year, arguing that the University should see
 Conflict centered around the RA, who Terra felt                what happened in the next year’s draw, and close
was imposed on the house against their will, and                Synergy or Terra if they filled less than 90%.
around the division of the old Terrans from the                 Outreach was stepped up and the two houses
new Terrans (many sophomores drew in that                       survived. Terra has filled adequately since then,
year). The old Terrans felt that Terra was losing               and unlike Synergy, has received no further
its older ideals and mood. The new Terrans felt                 threats of closure. Nevertheless, few of the alumni
that they should be able to change the house                    from this period have kept in contact with the co-
however they liked, regardless of the tradition                 op alum network, and the entries in the the journal
they felt the old Terrans were imposing on them.                seem impersonal and distant. Only six Terrans
Throughout the eighties, such conflict existed in               wrote final entries to the house.
Terra, each generation of Terrans accusing the                  In ’85 - ’86 a new period in Terran history
previous generation of being too much like the                  began. The journal records open war. Jeff
people in Synergy and Columbae. (Each                           Philiber’s Monday Crüe (loud, and all male,
generation also places Terra in the center of the               enduring with changes of personnel over a span
spectrum between the dorms and the more radical                 of several years) was cooking traditional middle-
co-ops.)                                                        American dishes and meating with popular suc-
The ’81 - ’82 year took its toll. For the first time            cess, but the vegetarian contingent complained.
in its history, Terra did not fill, but still had eleven        The house, already owning a TV, now had a VCR
empty spaces in the second round of the draw                    and a microwave. Mike Hahn threw cardboard
(which resulted in people ending up in Terra who                away, expressing his distaste for the attitudes of
ordinarily would not have chosen to live in a co-               the environmentalists.
op). Most of the older Terrans were gone, and a                 The years following brought further success to
new group of Terrans, more in the mainstream,                   the efforts of those trying to bring Terra more
dominated the house. These new Terrans were                     toward the mainstream, and the house has stabi-
determined to make the house more “fun,” and                    lized somewhat. Ballroom dancing has become
less crisis- and conflict-ridden. The journal for               popular, volleyball, and keg jousting (trying to
that year is almost empty. There were many beach                push each other off empty beer kegs). Still, Terra
trips and house activities. There is talk of getting            is frequented by old Terrans who feel a
a barbecue and of increasing the number of                      sentimental attachment to the house.
“meat nights” each week from two. The new
Terrans also worked on restructuring the work
division and manager systems, and switched the                  Theta Chi
house from consensus to voting. Terra begins to
see itself as the co-op that can appeal to students             Physical Structure
more in the mainstream than Synergy or                          Theta Chi is a large white building on Alvarado
Columbae. Relations were good with Theta Chi,                   Row. The core of the house (kitchen, dining
which was a co-op of the same ilk. ’83 - ’84 was                room, library and several rooms) was built in the
much the same way, and house enthusiasm                         late 1910s by the Alpha Epsilon chapter of the
continued to rise. One Terran described it as                   Theta Chi fraternity, and in 1935 the house was
“happy and hyper, like the freshman dorm I                      enlarged and took on more of its characteristic
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        33                                          Background

Spanish architecture. In 1949 the living room,              Food Policy
with its columns and fraternity embellishments,
was expanded, and the entrance area with the                Unlike co-ops such as Synergy or Columbae,
arched front door was added. The house normally             Theta Chi has a history of not having a
has room for 29, with 19 singles and 5 doubles.             “Politically Correct” food policy. They serve
Eleven spaces were added to accommodate                     meat regularly and buy bread and groceries from
students left unhoused by the quake. The house              Safeway or the Price Club (and occasionally from
has a prominent Spanish architectural theme, with           S.E. Rykoff). Vegetables are purchased from Cal
a large front lawn and a secluded courtyard                 Fresh. Theta Chi has a large number of eating
behind the house. The large living room and a               associates (approx. 30) and has a reputation for
row of singles facing the alley were added in the           good food (although this hasn’t always been true
’40s or ’50s. Common rooms include a fraternity             in the past). Alternatives for vegetarians and
chapter room (formerly for fraternity rituals, later        people with allergies are served along with meals.
the TV room, and now a double), a pool room
which houses the infamous “Speed 1 hit $ 5 ”                Governance Policy
(constructed from a “Speed Limit 35” sign), and             A 3/4 majority voting system was decided on
a small Library. The pool room was originally a             before the quake. The house decision-making
porch/patio. There are two sleeping porches,                policy varies from year-to-year, but most often
where fraternity members would sleep as a group             end up being some sort of voting system. Rooms
(using their rooms for study) in order to promote           are selected with a priority point and lottery
bonding. The two large showers are co-ed. The               system. Three points are granted per quarter for
fraternity seal remains above the fireplace, along          residents (including summer residents), and one
with letters “Theta Chi” embedded in the                    for EAs per quarter. A lottery resolves any
concrete walks near the house.                              conflicts once priorities have been determined.

Financial Status                                            House Work Division
Theta Chi is unique because it owns its own                 The house is primarily run by people in three
house, and is able to determine how much money              manager positions: financial manager, kitchen
to charge for housing. The house currently sets             manager, and house manager. Each of these
its rent payments as 90% of Terra’s rent                    positions gets free rent. If more than one person
(Autumn: $894, Winter: $817, Spring: $794).                 takes a manager spot (which happens quite
Rather than itemizing all the items that the rent           frequently), the rent is split between those people.
goes to, the financial managers consider the cost           Kitchen managers co-ordinate food buying
of Terra to be a good approximation to what the             (making shopping runs) and make sure that
actual costs of Theta Chi are, less 10% because             people plan meals, as well as draw up a food
Theta Chi is student-run (in the past, though,              budget. The financial manager deals with collect-
Theta Chi used to be by far the cheapest place to           ing house rent and pays bills. House managers
live on campus, with bills up to $200 less than             take care of the house (including repairs and
they are now). Board is $350/quarter. The Theta             general maintenance). Regular house jobs include
Chi Alumni association actually owns the house,             house cleaning (about 1 hour/week), kitchen jobs
and pays the taxes and insurance every year, as             (about 2 hours/week) and a quarterly work-
well as funds major capitol improvements. Of the            weekend (a work-week at the beginning of the
money collected for rent from members, 45% is               school year). Meals are planned by head cooks,
paid to the Alumni association. The rest is spent           who rotate through house members.
on power, gas, water, land rent ($5133/month to
the University), and supplies and maintenance.              Theme
The house tries to maintain a $10,000 reserve for           The house has no official theme. Past members
emergencies, and the Alumni association keeps               have enjoyed the diversity of the people who live
money in reserve for long-term improvements.                at Theta Chi. The house has always had a very
                                                            independent mood, and attracts people who like
Student Composition                                         self-management and self-control.
The house is split almost equally between males
and females. There were four graduate spots                 Relations with the University
before Roble closed, but none were filled.                  Theta Chi is unique in its relations with the
                                                            University. The house is owned by the Alumni
                                                            association, which pays the taxes and insurance
                                                            costs for the house, as well as funds capital
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        34                                         Background

repairs. The University leases the land to Theta            because of this, used to assure that incoming
Chi, and charges a land-use fee ($5133/month                groups are interested in the co-op and not in
after the quake) that the house pays. Periodically          taking over the house. The house continued to
the University will request that the house comply           live under the shadow of the national chapter
with safety regulations, which the house has to             (which was still donating money for repairs and
fund (such as a smoke-detector system installed             pressuring the house to convert back), until
several years ago at $38,000, the money for                 members discovered that the Alumni association
which the University loaned to the Alumni                   really owned the title of the house. With this
association). The University fills the house                information, in the ’82-83 year the house called
through the draw.                                           an alumni meeting (mostly co-opers came) and a
                                                            set of old co-op alums were voted into the Alumni
  A co-op is a house where interaction                      Association. In 1984-85 the fraternity president
                                                            Eric Williams, who had been pledging a token
   among members is essential to the                        number of men to the fraternity, joked about
   set of goals it sets for itself. These                   pledging a female (whose name was Manley,
   may include living in balance with                       nicknamed Lee, making it even more of joke) to
       the environment, exploring                           the National Chapter. That summer a Theta Chi
   alternative personal relationships,                      fraternity member from Davis stayed at the house
  gender dynamics, incorporating edu-                       (needless to say, he and his girlfriend especially
                                                            didn’t get along well with the co-op crowd), and
      cational ideals with lifestyles,                      either served as a spy for the national or informed
  operating entirely by consensus. Co-                      them about this “joke” to be played. Eventually a
         ops are essential support                          regional representative came to the house and
    communities in a world of power                         interrogated the president specifically about Lee
     imbalances and alienation. —                           (of course Eric denied any knowledge of such a
              Classmember                                   person), and the joke was never carried out. The
                                                            house has only recently (in the last several years)
                                                            broken completely with the National chapter, and
Special Features                                            changed its name to “Chi Theta Chi” (X-Theta
Theta Chi has many special features. Because                Chi).
they own the house, it stays open all year round,           Old members have told interesting stories about
and in the past has become a haven for groups               Theta Chi’s basement rooms — one in particular
seeking to avoid University red tape. The                   called the Black Hole, a small room in the
Viennese Ball floorboards are stored at Theta Chi           basement. From the time it became a co-op it was
(entitling the house to some free tickets), and two         occupied for seven years by Keith Nelson, a
years ago the house let the Stanford Orchestra              graduate student. After he left it became a haven
stay several nights after University residences             for stuffers, until Diana Conklin cracked down on
closed. Theta Chi has also given office or storage          them in 1982 or 1983 (one reason was that the
space to other campus organizations in the past.            basement flooded and University workers
An old coke machine sits in the dining area, and            discovered the extra occupants). One summer a
students can purchase beer and soda by inserting            group of 6 or 7 from Columbae needed a place to
the correct number of quarters (in 50 cent                  stay, but the only room left was the Black Hole,
increments).                                                so they all “stuffed” in there and paid the house
                                                            with leftover food from Columbae. After the
History                                                     squatters were kicked out it became a party room,
Theta Chi house was originally a fraternity, but, in        or a band room, and before it was converted to
the early 1970s with the decline in popularity of           storage (which Theta Chi badly needed) the very
fraternities, the house had few actual members              back part of it gained the nickname
and many boarders. The boarders decided to take             “Fornicatorium” from the activities that used to
control of the house by pledging as a group, and            take place there. Theta Chi has also had what was
once successful made a deal with the University             known as an “Opium Den”, a crawlspace below
to be co-ed and filled from the draw. The national          the living room where people apparently used to
chapter, while not happy with this, agreed to go            hang out.
along provided that the house must pledge some
male members and that if some majority (1/2 or
2/3) of the fraternity members voted to return it to
a fraternity, the house would do so. The house,
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        35                                          Background

                                                                 agreement” can take the form of
Defunct Residential Stanford                                     anything from a beer fridge to an
Co-operatives                                                   entire social and economic system,
                                                              and can be based on written, spoken,
The seven co-operative residences described                     or intuitive agreement. In general,
above are not the only ones to have ever existed at
Stanford. Described below are four other                        the more forms of competition that
Stanford co-ops, including one that began in the              are excluded and the more harmony
1941.                                                          that is included, the more the co-op
                                                                             is a co-op.
Walter Thompson Co-operative                                              — Classmember
Spring 1941-Summer 1945
536 Alvarado Row                                            Androgyny House (aka Simone de
17 (men only)                                               Beauvoir)
Walter Thompson co-op was formed with an                    Fall 1977 - Spring 1978
explicit recognition of the value of co-ops held by         620 Mayfield (current Haus Mitt)
Leland Stanford. It was named after Walter
Thompson, a professor of Political Science who              34 residents
had been a supporter of the co-operative                    Androgyny house was founded by students
movement. It was financed originally by 18                  desiring to live a lifestyle consistent with the
Stanford faculty.                                           principles of feminism. A SWOPSI course in the
According to an editorial in the Daily of August            Spring of 1977 helped provide structure for the
23, 1945 (written at the time the house closed),            founding group. The house was placed in what
Walter Thompson was international and multi-                had been Jordan House the previous year.
racial in composition, and attracted students of the        Residents participated in consciousness raising
highest moral and academic character. It also had           groups; an undergraduate special on “Feminism
good meals and low board bills.                             and Androgyny” was also taught in the house.
The reason for the closing of the house is not              The house operated by consensus, and sponsored
clear, but it apparently coincided with the                 or supported a variety of feminist activities. There
institution of direct University supervision of the         was some conflict between proponents of
fraternities and other residences.                          androgyny, seen as a matter of lifestyle, and of
                                                            feminism, seen as a movement for social and
                                                            political change; part of this was reflected in the
Jordan House                                                adoption of the name Simone de Beauvoir.
Fall 1970-Spring 1977                                       One resident reflected on her experiences in the
620 Mayfield (current Haus Mitt)                            house as “an amazing mental experience,” and
                                                            that being a woman she was considered “by defi-
No records of the founding of Jordan have been              nition a competent leader.” She noted, however,
uncovered yet, nor founding members located for             that at the time there was no feminist studies
interview. Draw book listings are generally short           program to provide academic and intellectual sup-
and vague: “we enjoy working together, and                  port; the house depended on a few sympathetic
we’re cheap.”                                               faculty spread through the University and on the
According to an interview with a resident of the            RF.
last two years, Jordan had a somewhat deserved              The house apparently was known for having great
reputation as a drug house — he said it was                 murals, including one of “Alice in Wonderland”
sometimes known as “drugs, dogs and dirt.” He               (probably remaining from Jordan), but for having
described the house as being closest in spirit to           lousy parties. Androgyny also had co-ed rooms,
Synergy, being strongly left of center yet also             but, according to a former resident, the house was
“apolitical”. He also described it as “poly-                “completely asexual — the only PC sex was gay
sexual”, with many gay and lesbian residents.               or lesbian.”
                                                            Androgyny was terminated at the end of Winter
   A co-op is a non-competitive living                      quarter of its first year, before it had a chance to
   agreement between people. “Living                        participate in the draw. The fact that it was
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        36                                          Background

replaced by Haus Mitt, a house which had been               The Co-op Council has always been a strictly
approved but not housed the previous fall, led              voluntary body, with no compensation of any
many residents and supporters to think that there           kind for the representatives of the different
was a deliberate plan when it opened to close it            houses, and has thus competed for the energies of
within the year.                                            the same individuals most dedicated to their own
                                                            houses. Furthermore, participation has tended to
                                                            be limited to the more “hard-core” co-operative
Ecology House                                               houses (Columbae and Synergy), although in
539 Cowell (now Terra)                                      recent rears Hammarskjöld has also been
Fall 1971 - Spring 1973                                     strongly represented.
Ecology house was founded as a co-operative                 Prior to the 1989 earthquake, a group of current
dedicated both to living an ecological lifestyle and        co-op residents were working together on an
to fostering related academic interests. It was             inter-co-op newsletter called The Co-oper. Two
started the year after Columbae, and included               issues were published before the earthquake and
residents who had lived there. The house                    one afterward, before the energies of the
attempted to recycle everything and shopped at a            participants disbursed into the quest for more
co-operative store that sold organic produce.               basic academic and community survival.
Residents were required to take five units of
related coursework.
                                                            The Co-op Alumni Network
They began the practice of baking bread, still an
important tradition at Terra, and at first even             In the Summer of 1988, a group of co-op alums
ground their own grain. They protested the                  (primarily Columbae and Synergy residents)
University’s preventive use of pesticides outside           came together for a potluck dinner to consider the
the houses, and they gave a big push to organized           formation of an ongoing co-op alum network.
recycling at Stanford, beginning with the                   The group brainstormed a list of possible
collection of cans at football games. They had a            projects, and for its first project chose to raise
garden in Escondido Village that they shared with           money to send current co-op residents to the
Columbae.                                                   annual NASCO (North American Students of
                                                            Co-operation) conference in Ann Arbor in
Ecology operated primarily by consensus, but                October 1988. Enough money was raised to send
held votes a few times as a last resort. There were         two students; the fund-raising mailing also
many long discussions of food policy, with the              generated the beginnings of an updated co-op
result being a policy of vegetarian/non-vegetarian          alum directory.
alternatives. The house also decided room
assignments by consensus and had co-ed rooms.               Later in the year the alum network held two
                                                            “Oldsters Cook for Youngsters” dinners, one at
Ecology lasted only two years before the theme              Columbae and one at Synergy. Work continued
was eliminated and the house renamed Terra. The             on compiling an alum directory. In the summer of
cause of the transition is not clear.                       1989, members of the alum network in Palo Alto
                                                            worked with current students to help start a co-op
Other Co-operative                                          By the fall of 1989, more than 250 alum
Institutions at Stanford                                    addresses had been gathered. After the earth-
                                                            quake, a mailing to the list generated a substantial
                                                            amount of mail to the University in support of
The Co-op Council                                           rehousing the closed co-ops. The list was also
From at least the early ’80s onward, there has              used for mailing the alumni survey described
been a Co-op Council that has tried with varying            below. There are currently more than 400 names
degrees of success to coordinate activities                 and addresses in the directory, and more being
between the different campus co-op residences.              added constantly. Contacts for the alum network
In its active periods, the Co-op Council has                are Paul Baer, 4062 Second St., Palo Alto, 94306
helped co-ordinate outreach, organized inter-co-            (415-494-3006), Randy Schutt, 390 Matadero,
op social and educational activities, and at times          Palo Alto 94306 (415-424-8559), and Martha
attempted to lobby the University on the behalf of          Watson, 1209 Villa St., Mountain View, CA
the co-op system or a particular concern of one or          94041 (415-964-1468).
more of the houses.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        37                                           Background

                                                            They were informed that they got the kitchen
Non-residential Stanford Co-                                during Dead Week winter quarter and so had a
                                                            couple of weeks to set it up. After some time and
ops                                                         bureaucracy Food Service provided them with a
                                                            stove, a freezer, a Hobart, and some bowls; since
                                                            then they have bought a barbecue, dishes, and
                                                            pots and pans.
                                                            Daniella said the community was very
                                                            comfortable and supportive but it suffered from a
                Stanford has many other co-ops              lack of continuity. Only two people have been
on campus besides the seven residential co-ops.             there three years and a few have stayed for two.
The Associated Students of Stanford University              Part of the problem is outreach; most people on
(ASSU) is a co-op of all Stanford students. The             campus don’t know about the co-op. In fact they
Stanford Bookstore is owned co-operatively by               could probably serve 20 people if that many
the faculty. Breakers Eating Club is also a                 wanted to sign up. The people who join, therefore,
co-operative, and Jewish students recently created          tend to be juniors and seniors who have heard
a Kosher Eating Club in the Governor’s Corner               about it through word of mouth. A second
Suites.                                                     problem is that Elliot Program Center is located a
                                                            ways from the center of campus and people don’t
In addition to these “official” co-ops, there are           want to go that far to eat.
also many other institutions that are run quite
co-operatively. Fraternities and sororities are run         The kosher eating co-op welcomes new members;
co-operatively and are responsible for having               anyone interested in joining next year should
built all the current Frat houses and many Row              contact Michael Tylman, who will be next year’s
houses. KZSU radio station and most of the                  kitchen manager.
other student clubs and organizations on campus
are also run co-operatively.                                Stanford Federal Credit Union
                                                            Late 1959 — Present
The Kosher Eating Co-op                                     The Credit Union was formed in late 1959 by 6
Spring 1988 — Present                                       faculty and staff members who deposited $268. It
The kosher kitchen has had about 10 members                 was seen as an alternative for faculty and staff to
since its inception in the spring of 1988. They             regular banks. It pays dividends to depositors and
cook dinner every weekday evening and have                  uses its assets to make home and auto loans to
open kitchen the rest of the time. Two people               other shareholders. John Littleboy, a personnel
cook and clean each day, and there is a kitchen             director, was apparently the guiding light.
manager who orders food and supplies. Board is              Originally housed in Encina Commons Room
$560 per quarter. On Fridays they have a                    221, then 210, then 130, the Credit Union moved
somewhat special meal with wine when people                 several more times until it built its own building at
have a little more time to sit down and relax.              the current location in 1970. In the early days it
About 35 extra people join the co-op for the                was only open Tuesday, Wednesday, and
duration of Passover.                                       Thursday for a few hours. Dale Hannen was
                                                            hired as the first full-time director. After one year
The kosher kitchen was started in the spring of             the Credit Union had assets of $46,000, after 2
1988 by Daniella Evans and two other students.              years $92,000, and after three years $186,000.
When they were looking for kitchens they were               By 1965 it had assets of $1 million. The Credit
told that there were only three available in the            Union now has assets of $100 million and is in
entire University, two Elliot Program Center                the top 2% in size of all credit unions. It has 66
kitchens and one in the suite of rooms above the            employees.
Wilbur offices; they ended up with the smaller
Elliot kitchen. Daniella Evans said that Jean Fetter        In the early days, membership was limited to
and Donald Kennedy both took a personal                     Stanford employees and faculty, but it has now
interest in the project and that may have                   expanded to include students, alumni, and people
eliminated some bureaucratic hurdles to setting             who work on Stanford lands (the Industrial Park
up the kitchen. Norm Robinson and Alice Supton              and the Shopping Center).
in Res Ed approved the project and got the space            The Credit Union still sees itself as a co-operative
for them.                                                   dedicated to serving its depositors/customers/
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        38                                          Background

shareholders rather than the needs of bankers or            spective. See the Appendix for further informa-
corporate shareholders, and the employees “ d o             tion.
not just think of it as another job.” Every person
with a deposit account in the Credit Union has an
equal share in selecting the Board of Directors
(who are volunteers). The Supervisory Committee
that audits the books and oversees operations is
also voluntary. The Board hires the Manager of
Operations who then hires other staff. The Board
also approves dividend and loan rates. Most of
these volunteers are University employees with
strong financial and management skills thus                 Residential Co-ops at Other
aiding the Credit Union greatly. The Credit
Union generally offers lower loan rates and                 Universities
higher dividends, since it is a non-profit
organization, its board of directors are volunteers,
and its depositors and loan recipients are                  Introduction
relatively stable (and hence default less                   The Stanford co-ops are only one example of the
frequently).                                                variety of co-operative housing systems on
                                                            campuses all over North America. Different types
The Stanford Federal Credit Union might be a                of co-operative living options include houses,
source of funds for purchasing student co-op                dorms, and apartments, in sizes ranging from ten
houses. The Credit Union recently gave a low                to two hundred. The management structure can
interest loan of $5,000 to the Washington Square            also take many different forms, beginning with
Credit Union that was recently organized by San             the basic difference in university or co-operative
Jose State University students.                             ownership of the properties. There is also an um-
Sources: Interview with Sam Tuohey, Marketing               brella organization of student co-operatives called
Manager, (694-1020), January 1990 (very                     the North American Students of Co-operation
helpful)                                                    (NASCO).
                                                            Although there is a great deal of flexibility in the
                                                            co-operative model, most structures contain two
Co-ops in the Community                                     types of participation. First, short term member
In addition to the on-campus co-ops, many                   participation in management is essential. Mem-
Stanford students or recent graduates live or have          bers provide much or all of the routine custodial
lived in co-operative houses in the surrounding             and maintenance labor, along with dividing up
area. These houses, often started by former resi-           leadership responsibilities through assignment of
dents of the on-campus houses, typically house              managerial positions. This process is important
4-7 people, and have a life of from 1-2 years to as         because it not only empowers students with
much as 10 or more.                                         responsibility and control over their own lives, but
                                                            also ensures the low-cost, high-quality services of
These off campus houses have varying degrees of             co-operative living.
ties with the on-campus houses. In many cases
they identify themselves as part of the larger co-          Second, the continuity of long term management
operative community, in other cases less so or not          must be provided either through professional
at all. A brief description of some of the houses is        management or direct affiliation with the
contained in the Appendix.                                  university. The expertise and experience of these
                                                            people is helpful especially in the areas of long
One house worth special consideration is Magic              term maintenance and finance. The balance
House, located at 381 Oxford Street in Palo Alto.           between and teaming of these two aspects is
In addition to a house, there is a non-profit Magic         essential in maintaining student co-operatives
Incorporated, and a larger community all dedi-              within the given constraints: transience, inexpe-
cated to the principles of human ecology. One               rience, and limited finances.
major focus of the group has been replanting
trees in the local area. The group recently pub-
lished a report called “Stanford University: the            UC Berkeley
Second Hundred Years” that addresses the                    The University Students Co-operative Associ-
University’s future from a human-ecology per-               ation at UC Berkeley is a nonprofit, equal
                                                            opportunity corporation fully owned and operated
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        39                                             Background

by its 1500 member residents. The students own                recognized as illusory (school/home,
their fifteen houses and are heavily centralized                normal/ abnormal, techie/fuzzy,
and organized at the Central Office (CO). A
system of points indicating how long an                                       etc.).
individual has lived in university co-ops                              — Classmember
determines who has house and room priority; an
elaborate system of workshift credit determines
how much work each individual must do;                      Harvard
members elect representatives to the Board of               There are currently two University-owned co-
Directors and different committees which make               operative houses at Harvard: Jordan (about 15
decisions about various aspects of co-operative             people) and Dudley (about 50). The Jordan
living.                                                     Houses (once three co-ops) were originally built
The student-run bureaucracy and hierarchy seems             as Radcliffe housing so that young women could
to be the price of having not only such a massive           learn to cook and clean. They were converted into
number of participants but also autonomy from               co-operatives in the late ’60s. They were
the bureaucracy and control of the university.              originally very competitive to get into, and the
Their system of “capital improvements”                      people living there had some say over who got in.
provides incentive for house members to invest in           More recently, however, there has been less
house improvements like refurbishing, repainting,           demand, resulting in the conversion into regular
or remodeling. The result is a marked difference            housing for all but one.
from Stanford’s university-owned co-ops in the              The Dudley community is based in two neigh-
quality of the facilities.                                  boring semi-Victorian houses with stained glass
Within the constraints of this unified system,              windows, cats, and a garden. Management is led
each co-op has a character of its own. Lothlorien,          by a president or co-presidents who are compen-
the only vegetarian and consensus-run co-op,                sated with reduced rent/board bills. Interests
shares two beautiful houses, one kitchen, and a             within the house vary widely: from Marxism to
hot tub between fifty-seven people. Le Chateau              bridge, gay and lesbian rights to dancing,
contains nearly a hundred men and women, elects             recycling to baseball. Rent is very low (e.g. $300
a council to make decisions, uses fines to enforce          for the summer).
house jobs, and sits in front of a pool and
carriage house. The thirty-four inhabitants of              Cornell
Davis House take great pride in the historic
nature and conventional beauty of their house.              Cornell University, located in Ithaca, New York,
Each member is required to spend five hours a               has about 15,000 undergraduate students and 300
quarter on capital improvements. Barrington Hall            graduate students. There is relatively little on-
(now closed), an experiment in radical existence,           campus housing available; about 7000 live on
housed over 150 people within its mural- and                campus. Forty-four percent of the student body
graffiti-coated walls and served as a living affront        are in Greek organizations. As part of the dorm
to basic tenets of U.S. society. These are merely           system, there are several program houses,
four examples; Berkeley holds many other                    including Ujamaa, Ecology house, the interna-
options for co-operative living, including two all          tional living house, and the theater, art, and music
women’s houses.                                             house.
                                                            It is in this context that the 8 University-owned
    A co-op is a place inhabited by a                       and 7 off-campus co-ops operate. There are a
     group of people who realize that                       total of 168 students living in the University
                                                            owned co-ops and about 90 off campus.1 The co-
        “education” is more than                            ops are small living units in which no custodial
   “academics.” Refusing to accept a                        services are provided; the residents cook and
      dichotomy between school and
  residence, co-opers strive to create an                   1The  information in this section was provided by Kurt
     environment wherein people can                         Hulander, 100 Sheldon Court, Cornell University, Ithaca,
    explore alternatives in lifestyle (as                   NY 14850-4666, who works for the Department of Resi-
   well as “normal” lifestyles). Indeed                     dential Life in the Small Residences Office. He is very
                                                            interested in strengthening the Cornell co-op system,
  the idea of a co-op, to me, is a place                    hoping eventually to enable them to buy their own
   where many different dualities are                       houses, and he was quite helpful. He used to live in the
                                                            co-ops at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                              40                                         Background

clean for themselves. The residents sign contracts                which there are only a house manager and a
with the co-ops, not with the University, and the                 treasurer who do almost all managerial tasks and
University used to collect a single rent bill from                are compensated by room and board in return.
each co-op, although now rent collection is done                  Decisions are made in the houses in meetings
through the University. They do call on the                       which are held at least once a month. People talk
University to do repairs on the buildings. In                     until there is more or less consensus and then a
addition the University conducts health                           vote is held. Consensus is not implemented as a
inspection, including food, sanitation, fire, and                 formal policy, however.
safety inspections. A story is told by a former                   There is little formal interaction among the co-
resident that a treasurer of one of the co-ops                    ops; they all act pretty independently. There has
embezzled five or six thousand dollars, so the                    occasionally been an organization called the
University now bills the students directly for rent.              Cornell United Co-ops, but it seems to have
Rents in the co-ops are very cheap1: They ran                     produced few memorable results. Two years ago,
$110-140 per month a couple of years ago, plus                    the co-ops organized to fight the threatened
$50-70 for food; this year most singles range                     closing of two co-ops. As a result of this, only
from $170 to $250 (including utilities), as                       one of the co-ops was closed, and a list of off-
opposed to over $300 per month in the dorms.                      campus co-ops was compiled. This organization
For years the co-ops kept only a small cash                       has faded from the scene.
reserve on hand; they kept no money for long                      The co-ops all started in the last 20 or 25 years,
term expansion. Starting in 1985 Cornell insisted                 many as sorority or fraternity houses that wanted
that the co-ops accumulate some funds to pay for                  freedom from their national organizations.
improvements to the houses. In the last two years                 Prospect of Whitby began as a sorority and quit
this money has gone to pay for a new roof and a                   in 1965 or ’66 which quit the national and let
new porch (the latter of which cost $18,000),                     men in. There are no formal written histories of
which were built buy University hired workers.                    the houses, just oral traditions and house
                                                                  Most of the students in the co-ops are
                                                                  undergraduates, although there are no policies
                                                                  restricting it to be so. The balance of students of
                                                                  different ethnicities, classes, etc. has not been
                 The big draws to the co-ops                      considered to be an issue, but when I brought it
appear to be the cheap rent, the relaxed and                      up, a couple students said that co-opers were
integrated lifestyle, and co-op living. None of the               predominantly white.
houses has particular themes, and the politics
were described as vaguely left of center and as a                 Of the eight on-campus co-ops, four houses with
response to the Greek system. Admission is done                   about 50 students are all women and one of these
by lottery, so that there would be no biases in                   is an eight person house with only women of
preferential admissions policies. Recruiting is                   color. The rest balance men and women fairly
done by word of mouth and a recruiting fair every                 equally.
spring. Because there are so few co-ops on
campus, most students have no impression of the                   Madison
co-ops whatsoever — students simply don’t
know about them — and this may be the co-ops                      There are roughly a dozen co-operative houses in
biggest problem at present. There have                            Madison, largely comprised of students of the
occasionally been problems filling the houses, as                 University of Wisconsin, but independent of the
in 1984, when they resulted in the closing of one                 University. Many of the houses were old frat
house. If they don’t fill, the houses just keep                   houses, turned into co-ops in the ’60s and ’70s.
advertising.                                                      The houses are owned by the MCC (Madison
                                                                  Community Co-op?). Bulk food items for the
The different houses are managed using two                        different houses are purchased together. The co-
basic systems: one in which there is a series of                  ops house both students and non-students, which
elected officers — a president, vice president,                   is sometimes a source of tension. The houses all
house manager, food steward, and treasurer —                      have their own personalities, but by and large
who run day-to-day operations, and another in                     represent the progressive/counter-cultural end of
                                                                  the spectrum (they’re called Granolas by the
1These                                                            locals, whom they call Cheeseheads).
        later stats are from interviews with residents and
former residents.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        41                                             Background

Brown University                                            The co-ops have recently formed a coalition
There is an association of co-operative houses at           called the Campus Alternative Housing Coalition
Brown Univ. (in Providence, Rhode Island) called            (CAHC) to facilitate inter-co-op co-operation and
BACH (Brown Association of Cooperative                      socializing and to lobby the University for the co-
Housing) which grew out of an independent                   op cause. CAHC will have to respond to threats
study project in 1971. It is made up of three               to the continuation of both the Domes and the
houses — Carberry, Milhaus, and Waterman.                   Old Co-ops (see below). At present CAHC
Each house is a former family home, and holds               collects 25 cents per month from each co-op
15-20 people. The houses are fairly independent             member to be used to publish meeting minutes
of one another except for admissions and certain            and a newsletter. CAHC is talking about
financial matters.                                          incorporating and perhaps accumulating financial
                                                            resources (for an as yet unspecified use), but they
BACH owns Waterman, and the rent from all                   are as yet “still building the structure” under
three houses goes towards the mortgage. Brown               which they will operate.
University owns Carberry and Milhaus and
leases them to BACH for some low sum. Rent                  One student from the Davis Campus
has gone up recently, but is less than University           Cooperatives told us that they had originally been
housing and less than most apartments in the                really interested in working with CAHC, but that
area. Some houses have extra food co-opers,                 they had been warned that they might be per-
people who don’t live there but share meals.                ceived as trying to take over or dictate the direc-
Waterman has been vegetarian in the past, and               tion of the organization since they have so much
each house will provide a vegetarian alternative to         more money than the rest of the co-ops. A
any meat-containing dinner. There are other co-             student at the domes said that she was disap-
ops which spring up around Brown which are                  pointed by the lack of involvement in CAHC
often associated with BACH — usually because                events by DCC members; she thought that a bar
they’ll order bulk foods together and split the             to further inter-co-op development.
costs. These last as long as there are people to
live in them and keep them going.                           Old Co-ops
                                                            There are three “old co-ops” at Davis, the Davis
                                                            Student Co-op, Pierce, and Agrarian Effort. The
UC Davis                                                    Old Co-ops started around twenty years ago with
There are three sets of on-campus student co-               twelve men who wanted a cheaper place to live; at
operative houses at Davis, and at least two off-            present they each house between eight and twelve
campus student co-ops (which are associated with            people of both sexes.
non-student houses). Altogether they house about            The houses are three old Victorian houses located
[56+25+28+18] 130 students, about 110 of                    in a group that were originally built as temporary
whom live on campus.1                                       housing. The University may tear at least one of
                                                            them down in the next few years to make room
                                                            for the expansion of a neighboring building. The
                                                            fact that there is no common facility among the
             people for the Davis co-ops include the        three co-ops makes it so they tend to have few
following:                                                  ties.
        Davis Campus Cooperatives: Students                 New members are selected by consensus of the
            Denice Dade                                     current co-op residents at that particular co-op.
            340 Parkway Circle
            Davis, CA 95616
                                                            The reason for this is to ensure that the new resi-
                                                            dent will fit into the community and be committed
        Domes                                               to the co-op. Prospective residents come around
           Tullen Bach                                      to meet the present members and may help cook a
           7 Baggins End                                    dinner, but there is no formal application process
           Davis, CA 95616                                  set up. The residents that I talked to liked this
           (916) 754-0993
                                                            system for the most part, preferring it to the lack
        Old co-ops
                                                            of screening in the first come, first serve system
            Todd T. Jordan
            T.B. 13, UCD (Davis Student Co-op)
            Davis, CA 95616                                            More Davis contacts on file with the course
            (916) 754-0433                                             archives.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         42                                           Background

of the DCC. The fact that there are only nine                social activities such as parties and picnics. The
people makes continuity and history very difficult           houses also all contribute work to the two
to preserve, and this has presented problems on at           gardens associated with the community.
least one occasion.                                          The new board includes 7 members, one elected
The rent and board bills tend to be quite low: in            by each house and three elected at large, and
January 1990 they were $170 at Davis student                 operates by consensus. Any resident may speak
co-op and $190 for a single or $220 for a double             at the board meetings. The houses have hired a
at Agrarian effort. The co-ops have accumulated              manager responsible for finances and operations,
some money in a University account. In addition,             who receives free room and board and
they have loaned some money for the off-campus               $500/month. Included in the rent is a $10/month
J Street Co-op to buy its house.                             tax on each room which goes into a development
                                                             fund; any spending proposal must be approved
Davis Campus Co-operatives                                   by both the Board and the Trustees.
The newest of the Davis co-ops are the Davis                 The houses engage in no special outreach activi-
Campus Co-operatives, a cluster of four houses               ties. A resident attested that they seem to be rela-
that opened in 1988. Each house holds 14                     tively ethnically diverse without any special effort.
persons; they are located on University land, and            Relationships with the other co-ops seem weak,
are part of a cluster of which the remainder are             though there were some joint social activities;
primarily frat houses. The houses are managed                other co-opers referred to them as “the yuppie
by a co-op board which just took over formally               co-ops” or “concrete court”.
on the first of February; prior to that, the houses
were overseen by a trustee group which arranged              Baggins End, aka “The Domes”
financing for the houses and still functions as an           Baggins End is a community of 14 prefabricated
advisory board.                                              fiberglass domes, each of which holds two
The houses were actually built buy a developer               people, located on an acre of land at the edge of
along with some other houses on campus, and are              campus. The group calls itself a collective, not a
presently rented from the developer with some                co-operative; the housing units are independent,
portion of the rent ($10 per person per month the            but there are central work requirements, and the
first year, increasing $11 the second year, $12 the          community as a whole must approve new appli-
third year, and so forth for ten years) being                cants. There is a fairly long written application.
collected in a co-op development fund to be used             The residents are primarily undergraduates, and
for the purchase of the houses. After six years the          include the stereotypical eco/deadhead types.
co-ops will be bought outright, and the co-ops               They all think their community is great, but spend
have a 60 year lease for the land on which the co-           most of their time involved in non-community
ops are located, after which time the University             activities (such as the annual Whole Earth
may continue to allow the co-ops to live there or            Festival) and wish they had more time to give to
may choose to do something else with the land.               community projects. Community dinners are
Efforts to build the new co-ops took at least 8              organized most nights of the week on a fairly ad
years, and were led by two individuals who are               hoc basis.
part of the Campus Alternative Housing Coali-                The domes themselves are very interesting. Each
tion. Financing came from a variety of sources,              dome is unique on the inside, with lofts of various
including NASCO and the UC Student Associ-                   shapes and sizes. They are all painted an ugly
ation, and a Japanese co-op association. They are            beige, and the University will not let residents
all two story houses, with a fairly conventional             paint the interior or exterior walls (they were once
style. They are named Pioneer, Kahweah,                      all painted in different colors). The setting is very
Kagawa, and Rainbow, names that were given by                attractive, sort of a small orchard, hidden from the
the builders/trustees.                                       streets.
Admission to the co-ops is on a first come, first            The community does not expect to survive long,
served basis, for students only. The houses have             as the land is zoned for higher density housing in
varying character, but no specific themes. The               the University’s plan. In fact, one of the residents
rooms are singles and doubles; singles are mores             at another co-op is working on a plan to replace
expensive, at $270/month. Leasing is on a twelve             them with a type of cluster housing, with 8-10
month basis; residents may sublet their rooms for            person units clustered around a single common
the summer. The houses run their food buying                 building. The residents of the domes didn’t seem
relatively independently, but are all affiliated with        to be informed of this plan.
the Davis Food Co-op. The houses collaborate on
Co-operative Living at Stanford                       43                                          Background

Off-Campus Co-ops                                          utilities, how much are we saving by doing our
There are at least two off-campus co-ops which             own cleaning?
house mostly students, the J Street Co-op and              The biggest implication of the Davis system is
Sunwise Co-op in Village Homes. J Street may               that it is possible to fund and build new houses.
house organizers of a Davis area co-op umbrella            Luke Watkins and David Thompson are great
organization. Sunwise is part of a complex of              sources of information on building new student
alternative housing; the rest of Village Homes             co-op housing. They know about all aspects of
does not house students.                                   the process: funding sources, dealing with the
                                                           University, getting the buildings built, etc.
Conclusion: Implications for the                           However, the top-down process by which the
                                                           DCC were built may stand as a warning to other
Stanford Co-ops                                            co-ops: without student input from the very
The experiences of these widely varying                    beginning, it may be quite difficult to make the
co-operative systems can be helpful in consider-           actual operating of the co-ops successful.
ing the specific problems Stanford co-ops face
and the ways in which alternative structures could         The Domes present an interesting, if difficult to
address those problems. These considerations               emulate, model of student built housing. The
seem to focus particularly on the questions of             difficulties the Old Co-ops have had because of
autonomy from the University.                              their small size, high turnover, and lack of histor-
                                                           ical memory represent a problem we might face if
The Berkeley Co-op system is the opposite                  we get small houses. Perhaps we should make an
extreme from the Stanford system. It is large and          effort to ensure that small houses will interact
fully autonomous from the University. It is a              with other houses and will have a smaller turnover
mainstream housing option in the crowded                   rate than larger houses.
Berkeley housing market, and many of the
houses are considered highly desirable places to           Finally, the Davis co-ops embody the conflict
live. The system pays the price for its autonomy,          between selective and random admission which
however, with its own centralized bureaucracy.             we will have to deal with. We must ensure that
This centralization has allowed the system to fund         new members are committed to the co-ops, but
its own expansion, but residents may question              may not want the exclusivity that member selec-
whether this goal meets their needs                        tion represents.
Since the Cornell co-ops are not tremendously
more successful than the Stanford co-ops, there is            The first human communities on
perhaps little to emulate in their system; there             this planet could be defined as co-
may, however, be a few lessons to learn. The first            ops. The problem is, society, as it
is one that we are already learning at Stanford:                  were, still sees co-ops and
without the organization, energy, and resources to          community living lifestyles as tribal,
improve the co-op system, it is likely to fade
away. The Cornell co-ops have decreased in                   which carries a host of misleading
number over the last few years, and have                                connotations.
organized only in short bursts in response to                         — Classmember
threats from the University. Their organizational
structure and lack of themes and purpose have              The independent natures of each of the Stanford
prevented them from seeing the larger world in             co-ops seem to propagate a myth of individual-
which their co-ops operate, the lack of energy has         ism, difference from each other, and self-control.
prevented them from organizing to change this              In fact, centralization could produce much greater
structure, and their lack of resources has                 autonomy from the University and thus the ability
prevented them from being particularly effective           to develop truly unique living options. If Stanford
in those moments when they do organize.                    co-ops, as a group, differentiate ourselves from
A second interesting note is that at Cornell, co-op        other living options by creating a separate draw,
rents are about half that of the dorms, as was the         strengthening the co-op council as our mediator
case with the Davis co-ops, but they have to do            with the University administration, and gaining
their own major repairs. Perhaps we should look            control of maintenance and administration by
at the rent structure of the Stanford co-ops to            developing our own, co-operative, student-run
determine what we are paying for: how much is              system, we could empower ourselves, improve
rent on the kitchen, how much is room rent and             our facilities, and be the ultimate authority about
                                                           decisions that effect our lives and living
Co-operative Living at Stanford                     44                                        Background

conditions. Centralization and organization are
definitely options worth considering. Possibly,          Survey of the Stanford
when we are eventually given permanent housing
for each of our programs, we could negotiate with        Community on Residential
the University over developing our own                   Living
                                                         To enhance our understanding of community
                                                         views on residential living, we created a ques-
                                                         tionnaire and distributed it to a broad range of
                                                         Stanford students. A principle question addressed
                                                         by the survey was, “What prevents more students
                                                         from joining Stanford’s co-ops?” Survey results
                                                         illuminate four contributing perceptions: time
                                                         commitment, ignorance about the co-ops in
                                                         general, political beliefs of co-opers, and
                                                         residential cleanliness. Of these, lack of time to
                                                         cook and clean was the most prevalent response.
                                                         Ignorance was largely on the part of
                                                         freshpersons, who are not given the option to live
                                                         in a co-op when they get here. A lesser but still
                                                         significant level of responses reflected concern
                                                         that co-opers were not open to conservative
                                                         political viewpoints and could not keep their
                                                         residences clean.
                                                         Of the 400 questionnaires that were distributed in
                                                         February, 366 were returned. Questionnaires
                                                         were administered to a broad sampling of the
                                                         student body:

                                                Copies                      Copies
                                              Distributed                  Returned
  Stern residents                                  45                         45
  Toyon Eating Club members                        35                         35
  Mirrielees residents                             10                         10
  Branner residents                                30                         30
  Manzanita residents                              25                         25
  Wilbur residents                                 45                         44
  Roble residents                                  35                         35
  White Plaza passing students                     60                         54
  Fraternity residents                             45                         23
  Co-op residents                                  20                         20
  Any other Row residents                          50                         45

What follows is the results of the questionnaire,
numerical averages for the rating questions, and
finally some specific comments. A copy of the
original survey is in the Appendix.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                      45                                        Background

Numerical Averages and Results:

For question 3, the average rating is filled in, with the number of people who responded to that cate-
gory given in parentheses.

3. On a scale from one to six, rate the following in terms of importance to you and current satisfaction:
(Six is the highest rating; one is the lowest.)

                                                                 Importance        Current Satisfaction

   A. Relationships to the people you live with:                   5.4 (363)             4.7 (359)
   B. The building you live in:                                    3.7 (362)             4.2 (356)
   C. The location of your residence:                              3.8 (363)             4.6 (359)
   D. Your studies:                                                5.1 (361)             4.3 (356)
   E. Your social life:                                            4.7 (363)             4.2 (358)
   F. Meals:                                                       4.2 (357)             3.5 (350)
   G. Low room and board bills:                                    4.0 (355)             3.3 (344)
   H. Residence responsibilities:                                  3.1 (327)             3.9 (315)

For question 5, parenthetical values indicate the number of people who made that choice.

5. I’d rather live in a:

   Females (first, second, last choice)             Males (first, second, last choice)

   dorm                    (73,21,10)               dorm                   (76,24,10)
   other row house         (27,38,0)                apartment              (31,23,7)
   apartment               (16,20,0)                fraternity             (25,6,40)
   co-op                   (15,19,15)               co-op                  (20,10,19)
   theme house             (14,22,1)                other row house        (20,46,3)
   off campus              (7,6,39)                 off campus             (18,13,25)
   trailer                 (1,3,42)                 theme house            (12,28,7)
                                                    trailer                (2,7,33)

For question 6, the number of responses to each category are filled in.

6. Not including your own residence, how often do you visit:

                                 daily         weekly         quarterly         yearly           never

   A. other dorms:                 69              179            64              10                 22

   B. fraternities:                6               83            112              27                 108

   C. co-ops:                      6               27             94              50                 161

   D. other row houses:            10              65            147              29                 91
Co-operative Living at Stanford                      46                                         Background

For question seven the average value is filled in, with the number of responses given in parentheses.

7. For the following categories, please rate the average fraternity, co-op, and dorm resident on a scale
from one to six. Choose a six if the category is highly applicable, and a one if it is not at all applicable.

  A. Tolerance for different viewpoints.
Dorms: 4.5 (307)       Co-ops: 4.2 (220)        Other Row House: 4.2 (205) Fraternities: 2.8 (221)

  B. Weekly drug/alcohol use.
Dorms: 4.0 (302)    Co-ops: 3.8 (209)           Other Row House: 3.7 (213) Fraternities: 5.2 (238)

  C. Arrogance.
Dorms: 3.0 (288)        Co-ops: 3.1 (204)       Other Row House: 3.1 (201) Fraternities: 4.8 (229)

  D. Quality of intellectual atmosphere.
Dorms: 3.8 (296)       Co-ops: 3.8 (202)        Other Row House: 3.8 (197) Fraternities: 2.8 (201)

  E. Sexual close-mindedness.
Dorms: 3.2 (282)     Co-ops: 2.5 (197)          Other Row House: 3.0 (186) Fraternities:4.0(210)

  F. Low level of community involvement within the residence.
Dorms: 3.1 (281)     Co-ops: 3.0 (200)     Other Row House: 3.1 (191) Fraternities: 2.8 (211)

  G. Political diversity.
Dorms: 4.3 (291)        Co-ops: 2.8 (203)       Other Row House: 3.8 (191) Fraternities: 2.8 (201)

  H. Emphasis on good health.
Dorms: 3.2 (284)    Co-ops: 4.0 (206)           Other Row House: 3.3 (192) Fraternities: 3.0 (198)

  I. Outward friendliness.
Dorms: 4.2 (296)      Co-ops: 3.6 (205)         Other Row House: 3.6 (197) Fraternities: 3.3 (207)

  J. Cleanliness of their residence:
Dorms: 4.3 (294)       Co-ops: 3.1 (210)        Other Row House: 3.8 (201) Fraternities: 2.6 (216)

Unfortunately, many participants left question seven blank. Some of these people mentioned discom-
fort with trying to imagine “average” residents, others found the wording confusing, and some
thought it was biased against fraternities. Each of these responses was unintended on the part of the
surveyors. Practically, the results of question seven should not be taken as a definitively representative
view of community opinion. In retrospect, it may be that the surveying process could have been
altered. Is it fair, or possible, to ask people about stereotypes in a survey?

8. Have you ever considered living in a co-op? If you have, which one and why? If you haven’t, why

  yes:              103 responses               no answer:       51 responses
  no:               179 responses               other:           33 responses

Specific Comments on Co-ops:                                 • “They’re filthy, flea-infested rat holes.” —
                                                          Sophomore, Roble
These quotations come from question nine. They
were selected on a whim, and have no statistical             • “Vegetarian commies!” — Senior, Roble
grounding.                                                   • “I think Stanford really needs the co-ops and
9. Any further comments???                                self-ops. The house I live in presently, which is a
                                                          self-op, is by far the best in my four years here
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        47                                         Background

— the people are unusually diverse, open, and                  • “I am attracted to the small nature of the
creative.” — Senior, White Plaza                            community, the greater emphasis on ecological
                                                            practices, and the apparently less extravagant
   • “I haven’t been impressed with the                     (compared to dorms and frats) nature of co-op
“co-operation” I’ve observed, and have no time              houses. Also, the shared responsibility among a
or tolerance for “consensus,” i.e. fatigue tactics          group small enough so that you feel you are
for professional co-operatarians.“ — Graduate               recognized as an important part of it.” — Frosh,
student, White Plaza                                        Eating Clubs
   • A junior thought co-opers were too homoge-                • “I don’t clean up after other people!” —
neous.                                                      Graduate student, Manzanita
   • A junior thought the co-op images would                   • “I don’t know about any [co-ops] except the
improve by emphasizing their themes.                        one with the goat.” — Frosh, Wilbur
   • “I have lost faith in the fraternity system and           • “Someone with my political views (moderate
plan to live in Columbae next year. I hope to               to conservative) would not be allowed near a
enjoy the co-operative decision-making and                  co-op.” — Graduate student, Wilbur
theme of non-violence. I also want decent vege-
tarian food.” — Fraternity group                               • “What’s a co-op?” — Frosh, Wilbur
   • “This survey is really biased against fraterni-           • “I think a lot of co-op people are false —
ties in choice and wording of questions.” —                 preach and feel morally correct but don’t really
Fraternity group                                            do much.” — Sophomore, Wilbur
   • “Close-minded, self-righteous people live in              • “This survey is a bit confusing.” — Sopho-
co-ops.” — Fraternity group                                 more, Wilbur
   • “I think co-ops are every bit as close-minded             • “I think I need my living space. I might go
as fraternities, but have a different orientation in        crazy.” — Frosh, Wilbur
general terms.” — Fraternity group
   • “This survey is ridiculously directed toward           Survey of Stanford Co-op
eliciting negative stereotypes. Furthermore, its
ambiguity is also out of control.” — Fraternity             Alumni
group                                                       We designed a questionnaire for alumni of the
   • “I live in Terra because that is where burned-         Stanford Co-op system in order to gain a sense
out physics majors go to die.” — Co-op group                of how co-operative living experiences have
                                                            affected individuals as well as to gain additional
   • “Have a nice day!” — Co-op group.                      input and perspectives on co-operative living. We
   • “All humans should be forced to live in co-            received responses from former members of
ops.” — Co-op group                                         Terra, Phi Psi, Theta Chi, and Hammarskjöld,
                                                            although the vast majority of the responses came
   • “I lived in Synergy for three wonderful                from Synergy and Columbae alums. These
weeks and I cried when I realized I couldn’t go             people had lived in a co-op as long ago as 1971
back (post earthquake). I now live in Terra and I           or as recently as 1988. A copy of the survey can
like it here as well, much more than my dorm last           be found in the Appendix.
year. Dorms are like impersonal hotels with no
sense of continuation or community. I hope I                In general, the co-op alums surveyed cited
never have to live in one again.” — Sophomore,              community and responsibility as the primary
Co-op group                                                 benefits to co-op living. Also learning about
                                                            group problem solving, alternative lifestyles, and
   • “I disagree with the politics and with the             health were important. One alum just appreciated
methods of persuasion found in co-ops.” —                   having a place to “hang out.” Perceived draw-
Senior, Eating Clubs                                        backs were long consensus meetings, transience,
   • “I didn’t know about the co-ops ’til too               uncleanliness, and encouragement of arrogance
late.” — Senior, Eating Clubs                               about outsiders.
   • “This survey is absurd — it’s obviously                   Many alums saw room for improvement in
designed to incriminate fraternities.” — Graduate           ethnic and cultural diversity and outreach. Several
student, Eating Clubs                                       would have liked smaller houses or more
                                                            experienced people.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        48                                          Background

   Today one finds former co-opers doing a wide             Network. Out of 112 respondents, 84 called their
variety of things that reflect co-operative expe-           co-op experience “very positive,” with 25 calling
rience and ideals. Most do volunteer work or                it a “positive” experience, and only 3 tagging it
community service, many still recycle, are                  as being “negative.” None answered “neutral”
vegetarians, or grow food. Some continue to be              or “very negative.” The survey asked people to
politically or environmentally active. Members              rate certain aspects of their residences on scale of
have carried ideas such as feminism, social                 one to five (five being the highest rating, one the
responsibility, political awareness and practical           lowest), both in terms of importance and their
living skills and applied them to their current             satisfaction with these topics as applied to the
lives.                                                      co-op. The averaged results are as follows:
More than 300 surveys were mailed out to lists
maintained or acquired by the Co-op Alum

                                                  Importance                   Satisfaction
  Sense of community:                                 4.67                        4.08
  Awareness of gender issues:                         4.06                        3.90
  Ethnic/cultural diversity:                          3.68                        2.88
  Awareness of environmental issues:                  4.12                        4.19
  Intellectual stimulation:                           4.19                        4.02
  Residence responsibilities:                         3.97                        3.55
  Relationship/interaction with
  other house members:                                      4.70                   4.17

The rest of the questionnaire asked recipients for            • Learning how to deal well with other human
their opinions on the benefits and drawbacks of             beings, while addressing important areas of
co-operative living, and how things could be                conflict.
improved. We also asked what people have been
doing since they left Stanford, and whether or not               [Co-ops sponsored a] sense of
their co-op experience had affected them beyond
Stanford. Their comments have been compiled in                  community, learning to live with
the following pages.                                             other people and how to work
                                                              together. Also, it was cheap — saved
In your opinion, what are the most im-
portant benefits of co-operative living?                                     money.
                                                                         — Co-op Alum
   • A supportive community of friends…
   • Teaching people a sense of responsibility for             • Learning to share work and ideas, solve
how they live.                                              problems collectively, spirit of play between equal
                                                            male and female members, cooking and eating
   • Students live more like real life — they aren’t        together, feeling of openness with some members
babied by having things magically cooked and                to share problems, and seeing your problems in
cleaned for them.                                           perspective with larger community and world
   • Taking a stand, with a group of people, on             issues.
how we want to live and interact with the world,               • Learning how to co-operate with people,
and then putting that vision into reality by living         learning how to resolve conflicts honestly, buying
together in the co-op.                                      in bulk to reduce consumption, learning about
   • The strong sense of community and the                  alternative lifestyles.
support system it provides during a difficult and              • Meaningful interaction with a lot of people.
rapidly changing time in one’s life. In short, it           Close, stimulating relationships. Excellent atmo-
really felt like “home.” Not to mention fresh,              sphere for self-reflection and personal growth.
homemade bread.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        49                                           Background

   • Sense of self-sufficiency, self-directedness. I           • Living like a family with people who are not
learned my life and community could be as good              your biological family.
as I was willing to make it.                                   • Flexibility and understanding of alternative
   • Allows for a more balanced maturation                  views, beliefs, and lifestyles. Also, the space to be
process during college… fostering a sense of                creative in a supportive community.
social responsibility, both to one’s immediate                 • I wasn’t a naturally gregarious person. In the
environment and to the world at large.                      co-op, cook crew and meetings gave us some-
   • Finding other people like me.                          thing structured to do together, which helped
                                                            break the ice.
   • Getting to exercise more responsibility and
choice about living: food, cleaning, gardening, etc.           • To improve the quality of life by providing a
Changing room/roommate situation more often.                supportive environment to think about and
Living (hopefully) with aware and interesting               improve human communication.
people.                                                        • For me, the best part of student life was time
   • Channeling group energy to achieve more                spent hanging out. Because co-ops have open
than individual goals.                                      kitchens, they have an automatic, homey place to
                                                            gather. I always felt that I was living in a home
   • An awareness of a world outside of the                 for which I had responsibility.
university — which is very important in Stan-
ford’s case because it is so isolated from the
“real world.” Learning from fellow students and             What are the biggest drawbacks?
sharing — being a student is a very self-involved
process.                                                        • Any situation where people live with one
                                                            another is fraught with conflict and tension as
   • Interesting people.                                    people have different needs, expectations, moti-
   • I think the consciousness-raising quality or           vations.
intent of co-ops is very important, with respect to             • None that I’ve thought of. Hindrances come
gender issues, environmental issues, and other              to mind: student transience, inordinate length of
political issues.                                           decision-making meetings.
   • Eating healthily and learning about nutrition              • None. It takes time to fulfill your group
and food preparation, organizing ad hoc political           responsibilities, but lots of worthwhile things take
groups and actions, becoming more aware,                    time.
making friends, having fun.
                                                                • Independent people aren’t very good at com-
   • An alternative, experimental living/social             ing to agreement — too many strong person-
structure from the rest of campus.                          alities.
    [Co-ops were a place for] learning                          • The quality of the meals and the cleanliness
                                                            of the house is dependent upon the willingness of
   tolerance and responsibility toward                      each house member to do his or her assigned task
  others; learning to consider the good                     on time, which frequently did not happen.
       of the group; breaking down                              • Decreased privacy. Increased incidence of
   isolation and confronting new and                        social/political dogmatism.
              different ideas.
              — Co-op Alum                                      • Getting to sleep.
                                                                • Probably smugness, a certain separation, and
   • In a word, awareness. Many of the thought              holier-than-thou attitude.
processes tended to extremes, but this was the                  • Consensus. Frustrating, time-consuming,
time for it and all such digging changed my life.           irritating, but a valuable learning process.
   • Dialogue between house members.                            • Botched meals by inexperienced cooks.
   • Living in a group enables its members to act               • Some people never learn responsibility, and
according to shared values more efficiently and             others must pick up their slack.
with more fun.
                                                                • Messy house.
   • Environmentally conscious purchasing.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         50                                        Background

   • Unco-operative members, especially people                  • Meetings with some time frame so that the
who were assigned to the house by the draw but               concept of consensus doesn’t become absurd.
didn’t want to live there.                                      • More support from, and co-operation with
   • Persecution by outsiders.                               the University administration.
   • Generally higher level of domestic chaos (but              • More connections to alumni and more inter-
then, that can be fun, too).                                 action with other co-ops in the area… Keeping
                                                             houses open and going during summer and
   • Starting from scratch every year.                       winter breaks.
   • Political homogeneity.
   • Isolation can be bred even in the midst of                   [Co-ops could be improved by
co-operative living, with some co-op extremists                     placing] more emphasis on
rejecting anything “conventional.”                                ethnic/cultural diversity. More
   • Academically, co-opers are expected to                   discussion of world issues in addition
“compete” with students who take no responsi-                             to house issues.
bility for anything except their studies.                                 — Co-op Alum
   • Some complained of too much closeness —
“incestuousness.”                                               • We often had a “fuck ’em if they can’t deal
                                                             with it” attitude — not a great method of spread-
   • It was difficult to focus on academics, but of          ing peace in the world. We need campus support.
course the most important learning occurred at
the co-ops!                                                     • Most of the problems I had were with certain
                                                             personalities and not the system.
                                                                • A Pied Piper to lead away the Mind Rats?
How do you think things could have been
improved?                                                       • More hours in the day.
   • More emphasis on ethnic/cultural diversity.                • Changing human nature.
More discussion of world issues in addition to
house issues.
                                                             What are you doing now, and/or what have
   • More emphasis on practical running of                   you done since leaving Stanford?
things and setting sights on quality of daily life in        (Occupation, volunteer activities, etc.)
the houses. Meals and cleaning should take up
the energy, not house meetings.                                 • I’m in med school and live in a 4-5 person
   • Smaller houses, clear consensus on standards
before people move into the house.                              • Freelance writing. Environmental consulting.
   • More experienced people to provide direction
and stability.                                                  • Computer programmer for research labs
                                                             (non-military, of course).
   • More moral support from the University.
                                                                • Postdoc in astrophysics.
   • Greater emphasis on individual accountabil-
ity. This can still be incorporated into co-op                  • Counselor at Men Overcoming Violence,
living.                                                      accountant for non-profits.
   • Focus on outreach to get people thinking                   • Waiting tables, working on getting more into
about co-ops and interested in them — appeal to              my career.
a wider group.                                                  • I work for the Environmental Protection
   • No 006s [people who choose “any on-                     Agency.
campus housing” in the housing draw].                           • I’m working toward an MBA at Stanford,
   • Putting a lot of front-end energy into includ-          focusing on non-profit management.
ing and orienting newcomers.                                    • I am a grad student in physics at the U. of
   • Ideally, a higher degree of co-ordination               Chicago. I also helped start the university recy-
among co-ops to exploit collective strength.                 cling program, and am currently half-time
                                                             recycling coordinator for the U. of C. I also live
Co-operative Living at Stanford                      51                                         Background

in a new student co-op — we just bought our               most significant (to me) volunteer activity has
house after one and a half years of trying.               been working for the Rape Crisis Center.
   • Teacher of English as a second language for             • I’ve been a nursery school teacher, gardener,
adults. I lived on a kibbutz in Israel.                   mother, housewife— now I’m getting ready to go
                                                          to law school.
   • I build wooden boats with a boatyard in
Martha’s Vineyard, MA.                                       • Rock and roll record producer.
   • Coordinate Stanford’s recycling program.                • Associate Media Director — Center for Pop-
                                                          ulation Options — work to prevent too-early
   • MBA candidate at Harvard.                            child-bearing among teens and the spread of HIV
   • I run a vegetarian cafe in a co-op food store        among teens.
in Taos, New Mexico.                                         • Business Council for the United Nations.
   • Grad student now, volunteered with                      • Computer scientist, active with the environ-
APSNICA building houses in Nicaragua, and                 mental movement.
volunteered on a reforestation project in Costa
Rica. Am starting in a volunteer middle school               • 2nd decade — Photojournalist, 3rd decade —
tutoring program now.                                     carpenter, realtor, wife, mother of two.
   • Film — Editing documentaries, now film-                 • Work for non-profit citizen diplomacy orga-
maker at Columbia.                                        nization producing international television
                                                          “Spacebridges” on East-West, North-South, and
   • Environmental health scientist — I work at           environmental issues. Run own recycled paper
the US EPA.                                               business.
   • Union organizer/representative.                         • Physician, medical researcher, father, hus-
   • Information specialist, government energy            band.
office.                                                      • Attorney — CA public employment relations
   • Teach high school.                                   board; checkbook liberal.
   • M.D.— surviving internship.                             • Taught dance, danced professionally, wrote
                                                          grants for performing artists, done graphic
   • Grad student in social psychology at Prince-         design, presently own a restaurant.
                                                             • Worked in ski industry for four years,
   • Grad student, water resources program,               presently a grad student in hydrology.
                                                             • Running a special effects film studio, acting,
   • I’ve worked as an English and Spanish tutor          healing work, philosophical questioning, com-
in the Stanford Literacy Project, been a composi-         munity volunteer work.
tion editor for McGraw Hill Educational Testing,
and I’m now freelance and going to have a baby.              • I’m getting a Ph.D. in the Dept. of Forestry
Also, I work for vegetables in an organic garden.         and Resource Management at Berkeley. Studying
                                                          forest hydrology in AK.
   • Presently a grad student in molecular biol-
ogy, previously technical writer, recycling center           • 1980-86 (roughly) primarily as a political
infantryman.                                              activist organizing direct action against nuclear
                                                          weapons, Central American interventionism, and
   • Physician. Volunteer with local midwives,            corporate evil. Held jobs as a bike messenger,
board of local food co-op.                                recycler, carpenter. Mural painting in the Mission,
   • Served in U.S. Military. Computer program-           performance art… tried to enjoy the hell out of
mer.                                                      myself and foment revolution.
   • Attorney, mother of two children.                       • Founder of two social investment funds, PhD
                                                          in Public Policy; board member of Tides
   • Social worker, and have lived in several             Foundation, League of Conservation Voters,
co-ops in various cities.                                 Good Samaritan Community Center.
   • Med student, U. of Arizona, high school                 • Substitute teaching at Boston inner-city
teacher, bum in S. America.                               school, teaching English in China at a Teacher’s
   • I’ve been in graduate school at Columbia,            College, teaching math at a private all-girls
doing research on global climate change. My               school.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        52                                          Background

   • Worked as a legal assistant, then went to                 • No, but it definitely helped me persist at
graduate school to obtain a masters in Public               Stanford. Without the co-op experience, I prob-
Policy Studies. Now work at a not-for-profit                ably would have transferred.
organization studying public housing and urban                 • I would say the inverse — what I wanted to
development issues.                                         do after college influenced my desire to live in a
   • Worked on non-profit co-op housing devel-              co-op.
opment in Seattle. Studied alternative housing                 • Yes. I think co-op life at Stanford exposed
projects in Berlin for one year and worked for a            me to alternative lifestyles and career interests.
S.F. non-profit housing developer.
                                                               • Definitely. I’m hooked on co-op living. I’ve
   • Program Manager, Middle East Region, Save              done it ever since… And I’ve had the examples
the Children. Was a Peace Corps volunteer in                of other co-opers doing jobs that are in line with
Morocco, and worked with a Palestinian                      their values and “good for the world” — and
grassroots health organization.                             I’ve gone “out into the world” with a clearer
   • Engineer giving science technology advice to           belief that I can so the same.
U.S. Congress.                                                 • Yes. It helped strengthen and focus my
   • Now PhD candidate in Energy Policy as                  objectives in the field of conservation and envi-
applied to developing countries. Was a Peace                ronmental issues.
Corps volunteer.                                               • Yes! The experience taught me the power of
   • I am a public interest lawyer, currently               collective action.
teaching at a community-based law school —                     • Yes. I’m now studying architecture and
have worked in women’s movement for last ten                brushing up on engineering and hoping to get
years.                                                      technical and continue work on non-profit and
   • Administrator at non-profit book publisher             alternative housing projects.
and international grassroots development organi-
zation. Living in a co-op.                                      [My co-op experience] very much
   • Currently medical student interested in public            affected my values and sense of self
health, international medicine.                                 and responsibility in the world. —
   • Dancer/admin. asst. with a children’s dance                          Co-op Alum
company. Now an administrative assistant at
Citizen’s Commission on AIDS and Lesbian &                     • My experience helped confirm that one’s life
Gay Community Services Center.                              should truly integrate ethical & political ideals,
                                                            creativity, and work. Although I haven’t achieved
                                                            this balance yet and am still learning what it
Do you think your co-op experience had any                  means, I feel the co-op gave me ideas about some
effect on what you chose to pursue after                    possible ways of doing so.
                                                               • Not really — I was already interested in
    • Supported the humanistic values which                 environmental issues — but I enjoyed living in a
underlie most of what I’ve done.                            co-op and living those values.
    • It’s difficult to say, but my basic world view           • Yes. I have gravitated to co-op situations as a
was forged during my co-op years, so it must                participant and consumer.
have had an influence; perhaps it’s more accurate
to say it influenced what I refuse to do with my               • Working with my peers in creating a com-
life (who or what I’ll work for, etc.).                     munity has been invaluable in terms of experience
                                                            and wisdom. The most important education that I
    • I’d say I chose living in co-ops because of           got at Stanford, especially when viewed in
who I am, more than that co-ops made me this                practical “real world” terms.
                                                               • Some effect in the form of favorable light on
    • Not my vocation; however my lifestyle was             helping run the government.
profoundly affected — vegetarianism, gardening,
recycling, feminism, etc.                                      • The alternative lifestyle in the co-op assisted
                                                            in legitimizing my alternative life as an artist in
    • It helped me be myself at Stanford… which             our society. Overall my attitudes on the mundane
helped me be myself in the workforce.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         53                                           Background

sharing of housework with my wife and family                 to eat meat for a week and didn’t miss it, I
reflects the equality experienced at the co-op.              decided to see how long I could keep it up. I’ve
                                                             been vegetarian for eight and a half years now.
   • Yes, more aware of inter-relatedness of sys-
tems and much more environmentally aware.                       • Living in a group is a great way to get stimu-
                                                             lation and interaction with people, and the world
   • Yes — made me more inclined to look for a               needs more people working and living together,
non-profit co-operative organization dedicated to            talking, thinking, and doing together — I’ve
genuine community service.                                   continued to apply the co-op style to my living
   • It helped me see options other than “You                style.
must get a job right after school that is very suc-             • I learned the importance of community and
cessful.”                                                    co-operative enterprise. For the first time I real-
   • Certainly the truly amazing people I lived              ized how much stronger a group of people
with influenced me, but in subtle ways. I was                working together is than a single individual. I was
inspired and supported by them to travel afar and            also introduced to the worlds of politics and low-
explore.                                                     consumption living. It gave me ideals I’ve been
                                                             trying to live up to ever since.
   • As far as lifestyle goes, it had an immense
impact. I have lived in co-operative or “semi”                  • Still a vegetarian. Still recycle. Still bike as
co-operative houses ever since college.                      much as possible for transportation. Still believe
                                                             in consensus decision-making. Still live in a
   • Definitely. Though already politicized, it              co-op. It’s more fun! Still psyched about sustain-
provided avenues and inspiration for me to                   able agriculture.
pursue direct-action and creative living. Gave me
tools to continue to live and work collectively and
provided some of the seeds of my current                       I have lived in co-op type houses ever
community.                                                            since [my Stanford co-op
   • Solidified my willingness to go out on a limb                   experience], still vegetarian,
and… create a life and line of work for myself.                environmentally-oriented career, and
   • That was decided in advance, but yes, the                  I’ll never look at chickens the same
ideals within my dream career got grounded in                                 way again.
reality in the co-ops. Also, I met my husband                              — Co-op Alum
through the co-op network and our co-op experi-
ence helps bind us.                                             • Most importantly, co-ops taught me to
                                                             sublimate ego, listen, compromise, and facilitate
                                                             solutions for the benefit of the group instead of
Are there any ideas or values that you                       the individual.
learned or explored through the co-ops that
you have applied to your life beyond                            • Yes. Tendency to non-authoritarian decision-
Stanford?                                                    making within my Union and awareness of
                                                             ecology which influences my consumer deci-
   • Many. Consensus has come up over and over               sions.
again in my political work. My cooking skills
flowered at the co-op. Also, the notion of working              • Socially responsible employment and invest-
in tight-knit affinity groups, not necessarily called        ment, issues of individual needs/rights versus
that. And finally, nonviolence.                              community needs/rights.
   • The way I treat money. Instead of thinking                 • Patience and respect for others.
“This is my money and I can spend it however I                  • Co-operation — necessary in all organiza-
want,” I try to think “Is this a business or                 tions. Commitment — feeling it and developing it
product I’d like to support?” Seeing money                   in others. Ingenuity — searching for a better way.
disappear into a worthy business is like putting a
fruit rind into the compost instead of the trash.               • The importance of homemaking — making a
—The way I treat food. I avoided Columbae and                home. Listening to my needs for my home as
Synergy at first because I thought I could never             well as the needs of my housemates.
live on a vegetarian diet. Once in Synergy, I was               • The co-op experience reinforced my innate
careful to eat lots of hot dogs when away from               sense of trusting myself and not getting caught
the house. But after I learned about protein com-            up in life’s compulsions.
plementarization, and after I realized I’d forgotten
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        54   Background

    • I learned to appreciate reggae music.
    • The importance of community and the know-
ledge that community has to be nurtured, not
taken for granted.
    • Consensus, playfulness, the necessity of pro-
viding food for people every day.
    • Yes. Meeting techniques, active listening
(okay, I didn’t apply that too well when I was
there), getting along, crisis intervention, baking
and cooking in massive quantities.
    • Temper idealism with practicality.
    • The co-ops were my first exposure to ideas
like feminism, global social responsibility, and
environmental awareness. All of these have a
large affect on my day-to-day life, as well as my
world view.
    • Awareness of environmental issues, increased
interest and awareness of international
events/domestic issues affecting home countries
of Hammarskjöld residents.
    • Consensus only works when everyone plays
fair. Sharing with people enriches your life far
beyond anything materially received.
    • The value of good cooking, good food, fresh
vegetables, etc. Thinking about different people’s
ways of doing things.
    • General acceptance of a much less material-
istic lifestyle.
    • Yes, in terms of “lifestyle can make a differ-
ence (and does).”
    • The act of collaboration — learning to work
effectively with others is an immensely useful
skill. Also: Life is meant to be fun!
    • The application of politics to daily life.
    • Definitely. It is therapeutic and mutually
beneficial to express emotion and to work
through differences by finding what your pur-
pose and the other’s purpose have in common…
Sharing is easier than you think.
    • Yes. I learned that liberals can exert as much
conformance pressure as conservatives.
    • Interest in more egalitarian work situations
where everyone’s input is valid.
    • I learned everything I know about group
process and group decision-making — very use-
ful information.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                       55                                  The Current Crisis

                           IV. The Current Crisis
George Melnyk said that change and even                    homes. Out of this frustration came the
catastrophe is beneficial for a co-operative, for          student-organized meeting on Thursday.
from this can come rebirth and growth. Well...             Thursday 10/19 — A couple of hundred dis-
perhaps an earthquake was overkill, yet our co-            placed students gathered at 2 PM on the Colum-
operative communities have not died and are not            bae front lawn to discuss our situation and to set
going to, because people from these communities            an agenda for 4 PM, at which time several
have come together to ensure the future of                 members of the administration were to join us.
Stanford co-operatives. It isn’t a complete                “Movers and Shakers”, written by Robert
exaggeration to say that this report stems from a          Abrams, was a summary of these meetings (See
crisis and may be the first step in the growth of          Appendix). The mood was very positive and non-
our communities. So let us now take a look at the          confrontational considering the circumstances.
effects of the earthquake.                                 Generally, both the students and the staff
                                                           expressed a desire and willingness to work
A Chronology of the                                        together. A task force was created to assist in this
                                                           process. Notable presences: Jim Lyons, Diana
Post-Quake Events                                          Conklin (who promised and later delivered an
                                                           extension of the pass/no credit option and
By Sally Otto, Columbaen (with Joanna                      temporary meal cards for EAs as well as
Davidson, Synergite)                                       residents), Jack Chin. Notable absences: Don
In this section, I chronicle the events which have         Kennedy, Alice Supton.
affected the Stanford co-operative community
since the earthquake at 5:04 PM on October 17,                 The contrast between the lawn of
1989. My purpose is two-fold: to record events
which rapidly fade from memory, and to point out             Columbae and the podium, between
those events which were particularly strengthen-              discussing and being told, between
ing or disempowering with the hope that we may               working together and being excluded
reinforce the former. I draw my information                       struck me so strongly and
mainly from notes taken by Joanna Davidson and                            painfully...
                                                           Friday 10/20 — The first task force met at 11:30
October 1989                                               AM. A damage estimate for Stanford was placed
Tuesday 10/17 — Q U A K E . Nobody in the                  at 150-160 million dollars. No kitchen was made
Stanford community was seriously injured. We               available to the displaced students despite
heard by word of mouth (Row Office -> RAs ->               students’ concerns. However, the Elliott Program
residents) that Columbae, Hammarskjöld, Kairos,            Center and Bechtel kitchens could, as always, be
Phi Psi, Synergy, Theta Chi (all the co-ops but            used by making prior arrangements. It was our
Terra) as well as other residences may be severely         understanding at this point that “Students will
damaged and should not be entered. Many                    be involved in long-range planning” as Joanna
students, having no place to sleep, camped in their        noted. At 5 PM, an informational meeting was
front yards.                                               held at Kresge at the invitation of staff. Donald
                                                           Kennedy started by reading a five minute speech
Wednesday 10/18 — Classes were canceled.                   (and then promptly leaving)...
Students were allowed into the houses for ten
minutes to retrieve bare essentials. At around             Please allow a short digression here so that I may
5!PM, President Donald Kennedy announced that              explain why this meeting is imprinted on my
classes would be held Thursday and mentioned               mind so heavily. The contrast between the lawn of
that some of his china had broken. We then                 Columbae and the podium, between discussing
found out our temporary housing assignments.               and being told, between working together and
Several co-opers felt dehumanized when they                being excluded struck me so strongly and
learned that classes would be held before learning         painfully...
where they could sleep or when they could                  Understand that most of my pain during this
retrieve necessities (including books) from their          meeting was caused not when I learned that
Co-operative Living at Stanford                      56                                 The Current Crisis

Columbae would be closed for the year but when            campus, including Casa Hermosa, Eudaemonia,
I realized that the power and strength of co-op-          and Iris Corner. I can’t begin to describe the
eration had been cast away and a hierarchy                headaches involved in the off-campus housing
reimposed.                                                hunt. We were hung-up on, laughed at, and pitied,
                                                          but generally not offered housing. Alice Supton,
    Houses Closed for the Year:                           Diana Conklin, and Michael Jackson helped by
    Columbae, Delta Tau Delta, Phi Psi, Synergy           writing letters of recommendation. Donald
    Houses Closed for the Quarter* :                      Kennedy said he would write and could be
    Durand, Roth, Theta Xi (The Taxi)                     contacted by phone.
    Houses Opening on Saturday 10/29:                     Wednesday 10/25 — A meeting about academic
    French, Grove-Lasuen, Hammarskjöld,                   concerns for students affected by the earthquake
        Kairos, Phi Sig.                                  took place (jointly organized by co-op students,
                                                          Jim Lyons, and members of the Academic
Thus leaving around 260 students without                  Standing Office) [repeated on Thursday].
housing. Moving arrangements were essentially
made for all houses (30 minutes allotted per              Thursday 10/26 — The Draw took place. All
person) except Columbae, which was considered             those students who had requested exemptions
too dangerous to enter. Students were released            from University Food Service were allowed to do
from their housing contracts, while if they wanted        so. Students had requested this exception so that
to remain in on-campus housing, a draw was                they could become Eating Associates at the open
scheduled for the upcoming week. An all co-op             co-ops. Surprisingly, it had been a struggle to get
dinner was hosted at Terra. For me, the unity             this exception.
among the Stanford co-ops was at an all time
high.                                                     November 1989
Saturday 10/21 — A morning task force                     Sunday 11/5 — Weekly Co-op Coffee House:
meeting took place with Michael Jackson (M.J.),           About 40 co-opers gathered in the evening at
Jack Chin, and representatives of the displaced           Elliott Program Center to study, to drum and play
residences. On-campus housing options were                guitar, and to consume caffeine and sugar (or
discussed. Students proposed increasing the size          honey).
of the draw group from eight to twenty to accom-          Wednesday 11/8 — Well, I’ll lift coverage of
modate a community. M.J. voiced a concern                 this task force meeting straight from the Co-oper:
about “taking over” the community into which
we entered. Co-op representatives proposed that              Displaced Co-ops: A “Task Force” Update
the Draw be held among the students by                    Phi Psi, Synergy, Columbae and Taxi
consensus. M.J. is concerned that some students           representatives met with Jack Chin on
would be railroaded by this process. Members of           Wednesday (11/8) to chat about the current state
other displaced houses voiced concern about the           of affairs in displacement-ville. For brevity’s
time involved. Co-op members meet to discuss              sake I’ll just list items of interest:
off-campus housing at 2 PM. The group agrees
to work together rather than to edge each other           *Keys should be returned to the Row Office.
out of possible options. [This meeting was later          *Cyclone fencing will be put up around the
criticized by M.J. for not having included the            closed houses.
other closed houses.]
                                                          *There have been no new structural reports
Monday 10/23 — Yet another meeting...The                  since we went in to remove our belongings... No
Draw was to take place as always (not by con-             decision has yet been made as to whether our
sensus). Moving vans would be supplied only for           houses will be torn down... No commitment has
those students remaining on-campus. Madeline              been made to reinstate the closed co-ops.
Larsen (SWOPSI staff, Theta Chi and Phi Psi
alum) began the organizing group for this Co-op           *The Row will stop collecting mail on November
SWOPSI class.                                             17th. At that point, all mail will delivered to the
                                                          houses will be returned to sender [emphasis in
Tuesday 10/24 — The draw is explained to all              original] unless alternative arrangements can be
students interested. Eventually, about half of the        made with the Postmaster. You can try to
displaced co-opers remain on-campus while                 forward your mail though the Post Office by
several co-op communities were started off-               noting your house’s name (e.g. 549 Lasuen
                                                          rather than Columbae). The Post Office
* Reopening was later deferred to Fall 1990.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         57                                The Current Crisis

generally doesn’t forward mail from student                  rather depressing message was that University
residences on-campus.                                        officials had chosen to give the fraternities a
                                                             higher priority for rehousing because of a past
*The window on the inside of S.O.S. [Student                 agreement made between fraternity alums and
Organization Services] on the second floor in                Stanford.
Tresidder is the new message board for
displaced students.                                          Monday 12/11 — Co-op representatives take
                                                             home-baked bread to the Board of Trustees’
*Displaced Communities have the second                       luncheon.
highest priority (out of eight) for reserving Elliott
Program Center (first priority goes to Res Ed
and Governor’s corner).                                      January 1990
                                                             Tuesday 1/9 — “Reliable rumor” had it that
* Call Row Facilities for info on how to get any             none of the houses can be fixed by the fall of
remaining personal stuff out of the co-ops or out            1990, leaving seven houses competing for re-
of Durand (where the boxes finally went). There              housing.
is still no news as to whether we can get our
personal furniture out.                                      Tuesday 1/16 — Task force meeting with Jack
                                                             Chin and Roger Whitney (Director of Housing).
* Have a Nice Day.                                           Roger was hopeful at that point that at least some
Jack Chin also mentions that the Draw book goes              of the houses would be re-opened in the fall. He
out in mid-Winter Quarter, by which time the                 talked of each of the co-ops as distinct programs
1990-1991 housing options should have been                   saying that the Housing Office would “try to
decided.                                                     keep a program going in some form...to some
                                                             degree and somehow.” Yet he added that the
December 1989                                                U-op and self-op options would also have to be
                                                             retained. We were told to plan on being included
Monday 12/4 — By our request at the last                     in the draw book.
meeting, Keith Guy (Director of Facilities) joined
this task force meeting (arranged by Jack Chin).             Thursday 1/25 — A back-page article in the
He explained that in the latest estimates, Synergy,          Daily claims: “Columbae to reopen next
Phi Psi, and the Delt house (on San Juan hill)               year”. Keith Guy confirms the possibility,
would each cost about three million dollars to               although building would not start until May.
repair while Columbae was on the order of one                Friday 1/26 — About 150 co-opers attend a
million dollars. The cost to rebuild is about two-           fantastic co-op dinner sponsored by Hammar-
and-a-half million for the type of houses in-                skjöld (esp. Bob Abrams).
volved. Since the Federal Emergency Manage-
ment Association only supplies aid for repairs if            Sunday 1/28 — The poor Co-op Coffee House
repair costs are under half of the rebuilding costs,         takes its final gasp after weeks of attendance by
it was doubtful that all the closed houses would             only those few die-hard bohemians.
be repaired. If these houses were to be fixed, they          Monday 1/29 — Calls to Jack Chin reveal that
would probably not be ready by fall 1990, while              displaced students who were guaranteed this year
if they were to be rebuilt they would probably not           would be given another guaranteed year (believe it
be ready by fall 1991. Durand, Roth, and Taxi are            or not, this had actually been a bone of conten-
still slated to re-open by fall 1990. Blueprints for         tion) and that all displaced residents would be
all the houses had to be re-drawn, which was                 given an alumni priority essentially guaranteeing
causing a big delay.                                         that they would have a spot in their house.
As far as decision-making goes, according to
Jack Chin, 1990-1991 housing options on the                  February 1990
Row would probably be decided by Jack Chin,                  Tuesday 2/6 — The task-force reconvened with
Diana Conklin, and Roger Whitney, while long-                Diana Conklin and Roger Whitney as guests.
term decisions would be made by a host of                    R.W. confirmed that Columbae, The Taxi, Roth
people including the above mentioned, Norm                   and Durand were scheduled to re-open in the fall.
Robinson, Keith Guy, the Housing Operations                  D.C. mentioned that, to her surprise, nobody
Advisory Committee (HOAC), the Housing                       within the administration had recommended
Office, the Programs Office, and the Administra-             eliminating any of the closed “programs” during
tive Council. By this time it had become crystal             the various meetings which had taken place since
clear that while the task force may offer sugges-            the earthquake. D.C. also said that there was hope
tions, it is not a decision-making group. One                that Synergy and the Delt house could be rebuilt,
Co-operative Living at Stanford                       58                                The Current Crisis

although this process would take at least a couple         explained our role in the decision making
of years. They recommend that the co-opers write           process, and distributed among the people we had
a proposal in order to have student input into             invited. (See Appendix).
structural improvements in the houses, especially          Finally, on the 28th of February, the class held a
environmentally sound improvements.                        meeting open to all members of the co-op
                                                           community in order to discuss our research and
The Rest of February                                       get feedback on our recommendations. In
Around this time, classmembers started                     addition to class participants, a few members of
discussing which Row houses were preferable                the Phi Psi and Columbae communities attended.
homes for Synergy and Phi Psi next year. We                The main topics were ethnic and cultural diversity
talked about the relationship between architecture         and the relocation of houses for the following
and community, and came up with a list of                  year. After extensive discussion, the group agreed
suggested houses for the Row Office to consider.           to put 553 Mayfield, Durand and Phi Sig on our
Somewhere along the way, Dave Boat (the cook               list of preferred houses to be given to the Row.
at Phi Sig) heard that the class was deciding to           (See Appendix for meeting agenda.)
move into Phi Sig, removing him from his job.
He came to class the following week and made a             Overall, the issue of rehousing Synergy and Phi
statement expressing his concerns.                         Psi next year was extremely time consuming and
                                                           often frustrating. However, the discussions were
Dave awakened our collective consciousness and             valuable in that we learned a great deal about
made us acutely aware of our negative impact on            consensus and once again affirmed our much our
the Row. This started an involved and intense              process differs from University decision making.
three week debate about our housing suggestions            Ultimately, our input had little impact on the
for next year. The discussion was often heated;            Row’s final decision.
some people thought we should put off housing
the co-ops for another year until all of the houses        March 1990
were fixed, while others insisted that we were             Tuesday 3/6 — Present along with the task force
going to have an impact somewhere and                      representatives were Jack Chin, Norm Robinson
somehow and that it was futile to try to decide            and Keith Guy. We are told that the communities
who we were going to put out of a job.                     of Columbae, Phi Psi, and Synergy will be
Everyone agreed that more information was                  rehoused the following fall in the Alpha Delt
crucial, so people went to visit the cook at 553           House, Columbae, and the Grove houses in an
Mayfield, talk to the Delts (who were also in need         order to be chosen by the co-op community. It
of a temporary home), and find out about current           was stipulated that the Grove houses had to be
student manager positions in the potentially               University cleaned, although it was unclear
affected houses. After gathering this data, we             whether or not a compromise could be struck.
reminded ourselves of our position in this                 Construction for Columbae, as well as Durand,
decision - we could merely make suggestions to             Roth, and The Taxi, was scheduled to begin in
the row, while the administrators still had all            May and end by the first of September.
decision making power. This was the most                   Information about Open Houses and outreach
frustrating aspect of the process - we were being          was also provided at this meeting.
held accountable for a decision in which we had            Wednesday 3/7 — During the class following
limited influence.                                         this task force meeting, we decided that Synergy
We decided that the best course of action would            would move into the Grove houses, Phi Psi into
be to include everyone in the decision making              the AD house, and Columbae back home.
process. We scheduled an open meeting, and                 Special Note 1: Although not specifically men-
invited all potentially displaced cooks, cleaners,         tioned, the displaced students were given free
residents, the Delts and the relevant                      meal cards and Oak Lounge in Tresidder for two
administrators. The purpose of the meeting was             weeks as promised on 10/20. These amenities
to create a forum where everyone could discuss             made the period much more tolerable and deserve
their concerns with those “in power,” in order to          a word of thanks.
minimize the negative impacts of the relocations.
                                                           Special Note 2: The task force did in fact consist
Unfortunately the administrators from the Row              of actual human beings: among the co-op
that we invited vetoed the idea and refused to             students who attended were Chip Bartlett, Jon
participate. Realizing that it would be an                 Birnbaum, Joanna Davidson, Michelle Duran,
ineffective meeting without them, we drafted a             Sally Otto, Matt Price, Ken Sakaie.
letter which described our attempted meeting and
Co-operative Living at Stanford                       59                                  The Current Crisis

Special Note 3: Perhaps because of all the                 choosing specifically where you want to live.”
bureaucratic hoops we were jumping through, the            “All co-ops are by far not the same... Co-ops are
Co-oper newsletter and the Inter Co-op Council             just another kind of theme house (Columbae is
failed to become avenues of expression and                 the non-violence theme house). Each co-op has
action.                                                    its own character and each serves as a specific
                                                           support group for those who become part of that
Conclusions: The Stanford co-operative world               community.”
manages to avoid hierarchy in part by ignoring
that structure in which it is imbedded. Although I         What makes co-op life important for her is that
have been very quick above to point out acts               “it’s a real community, not just an isolated
which led to frustration on the part of co-opers, I        existence.” Which compared to a dorm is very
must point to our own culpability. Since we                different, she explains: “It’s [living in a co-op]
didn’t interact with people in the administration          like putting out a conscious effort to create a
on an individual basis before the earthquake, it           communication between those of a mutual under-
became close to impossible to establish mutually           standing, to walk outside your security without
respectful, co-operative relationships after the           having to walk into someone else’s four walls, to
crisis. Hence, I move forward from this point              find a common space, a communal together
believing that outreach efforts must extend to all         space.” “More often than not,” she says, “the
members of Stanford and that open and all-                 kitchen is such a central meeting place.” The way
encompassing discussions should take place                 work is managed in the co-ops is important to her
about the role and the power of a co-op within             too because “when you make your own food, or
Res Ed and of the role and the power of Res Ed             when your friends make your own food, it puts
“over” a co-op.                                            you in touch with what you put inside your
                                                           body.” She expressed that a common denomi-
                                                           nator among the co-op communities is that they
Effects of and Concerns about                              are all groups of people who practice ways of life
Closing Synergy, Columbae,                                 distinct from the mainstream dormitory atmo-
and Phi Psi Co-ops
The earthquake of October the 17th, 1989
brought a temporary end to Columbae, Phi Psi,
and Synergy. The closing of our houses and the
aftermath caused us to realize that our commu-
nities were overlooked by some and our needs                                Our interviewee points out that
misunderstood as insubstantial by some. The                what she describes as a basic similarity between
significance of these communities’ absence —               the co-op systems serves a dual purpose, the
not only to their members, but to the larger               same dual purpose that Residential Education
campus — must be adequately explored. The                  wishes to establish in creating theme houses. She
reasons residents value these three co-ops corre-          notes, “The co-ops are a support group for the
spond directly with the value of the co-operative          members
system to the Stanford community. This presen-             of that community and also inherently comple-
tation reveals the serious concerns surrounding            ment the diversity of the larger community.” That
the closing of these co-ops and the closing’s              is, the co-operative work system adds diversity to
effect on former co-op residents and the entire            the array of campus housing options, and each
campus community as a whole.                               specific co-op, each community of people-who-
Instead of presenting the interviews as commen-            know-each-other, functions as a support group
taries on predefined categories, we have chosen to         which has adapted over time and through co-
let each community speak for itself, each                  operative interaction to the particular needs of its
interview in its own unity.                                members.

Columbae Co-op                                             Phi Psi Co-op
Our interviewee from Columbae is now relocated             “Fragmentation” was the word used by our
on campus in a dormitory setting. She begins the           interviewee from Phi Psi to describe the effect of
interview saying, “It’s not as simple as just              the closing of his co-op. Post-earthquake, “The
choosing housing on campus, or even                        members of the community don’t see each other
co-operative housing on campus. It’s the idea of           anymore.” Relocated off-campus, he says, “I
                                                           don’t see anyone from the house (besides
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         60                                  The Current Crisis

drawmates from the house) except by coinci-                  a dorm setting, he noted that he felt the
dence, but it is really nice when I see them.” He            co-operative system to be “more natural — it’s
notes what may be seen by some as more serious               the dorm that’s nonconventional, that’s artificial.
impacts: “My grades went down, I drank more                  But I haven’t lived in a dorm in years.” Echoing
alcohol than usual, and I had trouble sleeping,              similar feelings, another displaced Synergy
because I was . . . ill at ease.” He qualifies,              resident, now relocated in Terra, described her
saying, “You can never attribute general                     decision to live in a student co-operative after two
problems to one cause, but not being part of a               years living in a dormitory setting. Initially
community definitely was a factor.”                          making this decision, she recalls that she felt it
                                                             “would be a good idea to work, clean in the
                                                             house; more responsible living compared to the
                                                             pampering in the dorms, as well as the closeness
                                                             between people.” Even as a prospective co-oper,
                                                             the connection between the co-operative work
                                                             system and “the closeness between people” were
                                                             important to her.
                How has he adapted? “To try to
keep the co-op atmosphere, I am an E.A. [eating              She looked at several co-ops, and chose Synergy
associate] at Theta Chi, but if you don’t live with          because she liked the house, thought it was
the people, it is really hard to be a part of the            “pretty random,” [it is a rambling old house
community.” He noted that “Some people can fit               filled with brilliant murals on the inside] and was
in anywhere, but some people thrive in specific              situated in a “nice location.” The physical envi-
situations. And not being a member of a co-op                ronment at Synergy, rare on campus, was an
really affected me academically and in my                    important ingredient of house life.
personal life. And it just disrupted things.” The
specificity of co-op living situations, that is, their
character as unified support systems which tailor
themselves to fit the individual character of that
community, is important to co-op residents and
can be easily destroyed by “fragmentation” of the                             Because Synergy wasn’t “hard-
community.                                                   core ‘hippie,’” as she put it, she found it
                                                             appealing at this initial stage of investigation,
Synergy Co-op                                                whereas Columbae was initially “too
One of our interviewees, a Synergy resident at the           intimidating.” She liked Synergy because it was
time of the earthquake, has relocated in Chi Theta           less political than Columbae but still promoted
Chi, another campus student co-operative. He                 ideas concerning rape education and resource
relates having “recaptured much of what was                  conservation. Her statements reflect the
lost,” adding, “that I have been accepted so                 University’s loss in sum-total diversity not only
warmly reinforces the ideals of a kind of                    due to the cumulative closure of three co-ops but
community we wish to create, and its signifi-                also due to the (one hopes, temporary)
cance.” “Hearing the stories of my fellow                    disappearance of these co-ops’ particular spirits,
co-opers who miss that community brings me to                their historical character as distinct communities.
lament for its scarcity.” Asked what in particular           Now relocated in a campus student co-op with a
those fellow co-opers might be experiencing, he              very different character and history, she
characterizes it as “a sense of place and                    summarizes by saying that she is still in a
belongingness that’s lacking.” He explained that             community which does the cooking and cleaning
being part of a community, he has an easier time             for itself (her original motivation for living in a
communicating because people know where he is                co-op) but that now she realizes that what she
coming from, and that he “has something to look              liked most about co-ops was living with those
forward to” when he is “down.” Explaining                    who shared your ideas and commitments —
further, he says, “In a co-op, there is centrality           commitments of putting those ideas into practice
and identity. The kitchen is the centrality; the             everyday. “Co-ops are thought of as places
food, the social patterns surrounding food. These            where you cook and live and work together but
responsibilities give a locus of interaction, a sense        the spirit is much more of a prevalent aspect of a
of identity.”                                                co-op.” Without the special combination of
Comparing the co-operative food plan and                     co-operative cooking, cleaning, and decision-
cleaning system to the corresponding systems in              making systems and the ‘spirit,’ different for
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        61                                  The Current Crisis

each co-op, that went with Synergy, Phi Psi, and            to what she had experienced as “pampering in
Columbae, the campus will be lacking an outlet              the dorms,” and the opportunity for “closeness
for students who themselves share this kind of              between people” in a residence. But relocated in
Synergy spirit, Columbae spirit, or Phi Psi spirit.         a campus student co-op with a history and
                                                            character very different from Synergy, she
                                                            explains the gap left by the absence of her old
Summary                                                     community, its “specific situation,” in the words
The interviews here represent a portrait of former          of our Phi Psi interviewee. In her words, a
co-op residents’ attempt to cope with the current           significant part of the current crisis is the absence
crisis. The detailing and explanation that make up          of the “spirit” unique to each co-op — Synergy,
the interviews are representative of the questions          Phi Psi, and Columbae — that, at least for the
and evaluations that one thinks about once one              time being, prevails over all former residents of
has lost something. What exactly was it? Why                these three communities.
was it so important, and why do I feel this way
about it? How did it work, that I might reconstruct
it, or find it again?                                       The Structure of Decision
The former Columbae resident interviewed, now               Making
living in a dormitory setting, explains the
importance of the self-contained support ethos              By Alan Hayne, Columbaen
and personal friendship in a co-op. She stresses            This report is an evaluation of the decision-
that this support function fulfills the dual purpose        making process both after the Earthquake and in
for theme houses set out by Residential                     general. It is primarily based upon five interviews,
Education, especially because each co-op has its            conducted with the following administrators:
own character. Our Phi Psi interviewee also
emphasizes the importance of the “specific                      • Jack Chin, Assistant Director of the Row
situation” provided by the co-op setting that he                • Michael Jackson, Assistant Dean of Student
lived in, and explains the significance of the                      Affairs
absence of community interaction by way of what
may be recognized by some readers as more                       • Jim Lyons, Dean of Student Affairs
“serious,” concrete crisis symptoms: decline in                 • Alice Supton, Director of Residential
academic performance, increase in alcohol                           Education
consumption, sleeplessness.
                                                                • Bob Hamrdla, Assistant to President
  Co-ops are places where people work
   together and take responsibility for                     The comments of these folks will be incorporated
                                                            into an analysis of the basic issues that affect our
   the mechanics of daily life — they                       participation in the Stanford environment. Under-
    live together in a very real sense,                     standing the relationship between the interests of
       thinking about cooking and                           the University and the interests of the co-op
  cleaning and making their house a                         community seems to be vital both in defining the
          home. — Classmember                               relationship that we have with the University, and
                                                            in planning for the future of our community.
Our two interviewees from Synergy (to keep                  Work Group and Task Force
gender balance in the interviews we made four               After the earthquake, there were two groups
interviews for three co-op communities) struck a            functioning: the “workgroup”, which consisted
slightly different tone. Both relocated in co-ops           of Alice, Jack, Michael, Jim, Diana Conklin,
and fairly well re-adjusted, they focussed more on          Roger Whitney, and several other administrators
the operative aspects of co-ops as they have them           with whom we had little contact, and a second
now. The interviewee relocated in Theta Chi                 group formed later, the “Taskforce”, which
lamented for the scarcity of communication other            consisted of Michael Jackson, Jack Chin and one
residents not rehoused in co-ops undergo, linking           or more representatives of each displaced House.
the positive communication which co-ops foster              Michael and Jack would listen to the comments
to the shared responsibility which characterizes            of the students in the Taskforce, then take these
the co-op work system.                                      comments as suggestions to the Workgroup,
Similarly, the other Synergy interviewee noted              where he would “attempt to present them in the
that this work system meant to her an alternative           manner they had been presented.”
Co-operative Living at Stanford                       62                                  The Current Crisis

Democracy? and Power!
What was the interaction between these two
groups? Clearly the Taskforce was an input
device and the Workgroup was a decision-
making body. All of the members of the Work-
group felt that they had adjusted to student input,                        Hierarchy and Consensus
by “allowing” students to live in dorms without            Alice’s most memorable moments were “the two
buying a board plan and in allowing groups of up           meetings,” which were the Friday (10/20)
to eight to draw together. Thus, there were                meeting in Kresge and one of the meetings in
changes made due to student input. This is not             Tresidder. In evaluating what works in decision-
democracy, however, which everyone I spoke with            making, she is without the benefit of the
readily conceded. Jack notes that “The                     Thursday (10/19) meeting at Columbae, which
University is not a corporation,” but as Jim puts          seems unfortunate. This gives a hint of the
it, there were “choices that needed a fair amount          problems with communication that have occurred.
of student input, but really weren’t up for vote.”         Our only existing model of what a meeting
Jack also added that “administrators make                  should be was the Thursday meeting on the lawn
decisions.”                                                of Columbae. Everyone appeared to have had the
If students weren’t making the decisions, who              opportunity to speak their minds and to talk to
was? This is an issue that was very unclear during         one another. The next day, at the Kresge meeting,
the period of dislocation, and seems to be                 a stage and an audience replaced a grassy yard.
enigmatic to most of the people in the Stanford            Our system of consensus is seen as a way of
community. Jack said that his “most memorable              living that needs to be fitted into the hierarchy of
moment” in this experience was reading in the              the University. This is “a reality,” as Michael put
Daily that Columbae would reopen. He explains              it explicitly. He “would give students a B” in
that we are “working across divisions... therefore         their manner of relating to administrators. All of
it gets confusing — Can’t point at any one                 the administrators interviewed saw the need for an
person.”                                                   efficient administrative hierarchy during the
Upon learning that I was with the co-ops, Bob              period of displacement. It would have been nice if
asked if I was part of “the blitz”. Apparently, our        this hierarchy had been planned before the
letter writing to the President’s Office was one of        earthquake.
the more substantial collections of fan and junk
mail that they have received in some time. He              Education and Economics
said, however, that it was perhaps somewhat                One competition that exists throughout the
misdirected. “The decision whether there will or           University, and throughout any organization for
will not be co-ops is not made by the Board of             that matter, is between educational quality and the
Trustees, and it is not made by the President.”            availability of funding. This was one reason that
Who is making decisions, Bob? “The Dean of                 immediate answers were not available to our
Student Affairs.”                                          questions. We may ask why there was not
                                                           someone available who was able to make
He points to Dean Jim Lyons, who feels that he             decisions about everything — in effect we were
makes decisions by weighing the needs of the               asking for a consolidation of power. This desire
different parties involved. His first impulse after        was much due to the tremendous anxiety that we
the earthquake was to “set up structures,” such            faced over school, a fact which Alice and others
as the phone network at Tresidder. Because this            recognized.
was a crisis, the first priority of most of the
administrators was health and safety, and                  Bob spoke a great deal about the importance of
therefore expediency. For this reason, democracy           “viability” when evaluating the worthiness of a
and consensus were sacrificed for a need or                particular program. This means to him that a
perceived need to immediately rehouse students.            program, be it co-op, fraternity, or theme house,
Did this sacrifice really act as a catalyst towards        “must have a plan about how it will contribute to
realizing the goal of “business as usual?”                 the education of its members.” We have made it
                                                           clear how valuable our communities are to us, but
                                                           need to continue to express to the University as a
                                                           whole the necessity of our retaining our
Co-operative Living at Stanford                          63   The Current Crisis

There is an auxiliary budget, separate from the
general budget of the University, that determines
the operation of housing. This budget has “very
little forgiveness,” to use Jack’s words. The rent
from housing and from Summer conferences
must cover the expenses of housing. Thus Jack
says that the need to fill houses is “totally market
driven... well not totally... well, mostly.” Jim sees
the primary need as being the housing of
students, though he admits that he does not have
to deal with the aspect of finances as much as

Community in the Co-ops, The Need to Fill,
Autonomy, and Expansion
Those who live in the co-ops feel that they are
different than other University communities. This
is certainly understood by the people with whom
I spoke. Jack feels that co-ops have “much
greater commitments by individuals to communi-
ties” and “have different goals in mind.” Each
time Jim has visited a co-op, it was quickly
apparent to him that “There is something special
about this place.” Everyone recognizes the
difficulty that co-opers have “fitting into” the
hierarchy, though they seem to feel that, as
Michael said, “everything has worked out in the
Jim and I spoke about the possibility of a long
term contract between houses and the University,
which would ensure the continued existence of
the co-ops. We would be able to have many of
the advantages of ownership, while Stanford
could retain the ownership which it so
obsessively desires. One of the conditions of
such a contract, and of the preservation of all of
the programs is the filling of the houses. We do
not have a “Dean of Co-operative Affairs” who
is hoping to have 70% of Stanford in co-ops (as
is the case with fraternities) but it is apparent that
co-ops would be allowed to expand if demand
Co-operative Living at Stanford                       64                Recommendations and Alternatives

          V. Recommendations and Alternatives
                                                           physical environment. While most changes reflect
Introduction                                               a desire for greater environmental sustainability,
                                                           others reflect a desire to promote a sense of
In this last section of our report we look forward:        community, open to all.
How can we ensure the survival and growth of               The reception was especially good when it was
our co-op communities, especially those                    understood that the petition was not a set of
unhoused this year? What do we seek to improve             demands but of recommendations. Unfortunately
in the individual co-operatives and the links              there is little money available for the upgrading of
between them? How can we increase the use of               current Stanford housing, although the long-term
co-operative consensual decision-making within             goal of the housing office is to create equally
the university framework? What roles can the               attractive housing for all by renovating current
co-op community have within the Stanford                   houses/dorms (Keith Guy). Hence, while there is
community?                                                 little hope for the immediate implantation of our
Our proposals are for both immediate and longer-           recommendations, we believe that they can serve
term improvements. Each proposal includes pros             as a preliminary plan for future changes to
and cons, reflecting the range of opinions that            Columbae.
were expressed in our discussions.                         There were some positive outcomes. Thanks
   • We communicate which structural changes               especially go to Jack Chin for following up on
we envision as desirable, while understanding that         our recommendation to return the rooms taken
the university is limited in the amount of money it        during the Roble housing crunch. Because of his
can currently invest in the remodeling as well as          efforts, one of the two rooms will be returned for
repairing of our houses.                                   programmatic use. Further, both Ben Assaro
                                                           (project manager) and Keith Guy feel that if
   • We focus on some of the special issues                insulation can be put in with little additional cost,
which arise from the rehousing of Synergy and              it will be done.
Phi Psi in different locations.
                                                           For future reference, student volunteers were not
   • We propose various organization-level im-             as desirable as finding funding for our recom-
provements. Acting in unison would increase our            mendations because of the liability involved in
power and effectiveness...yet we must not                  having non-contracted workers.
undercut the diversity and self-determination we
currently have within the co-op world.
   • We examine various sites for the possibility
of housing future Stanford co-operatives to deter-
mine which options may be feasible.
   • We address the need for outreach and
communication with those outside of the co-ops.

Recommendations of the
Repair of Buildings
Columbae’s Building
Recommended Changes to the Structure of
The following petition was submitted to admin-
istration officials with the aim of increasing com-
munication about the long and short term goals of
our co-operative and how those relate to our
Co-operative Living at Stanford   65   Recommendations and Alternatives
Co-operative Living at Stanford   66   Recommendations and Alternatives
Co-operative Living at Stanford                          67                Recommendations and Alternatives

                                                              “Untouchable” (even the enforcement power
Synergy and Phi Psi Structures                                behind this term is unclear), it is not likely that
Repair of Synergy and Phi Psi                                 any of the co-ops could ever get this status.
The University has decided to repair Synergy and
Phi Psi. The reasons for this seem to be mainly               Future Prospects/Recommendations
financial. It currently costs about $65,000/                  Project managers will be assigned to Synergy and
student room to build a new row house, while a                Phi Psi sometime either near the end of next
larger dormitory costs about $55,000/student                  quarter or summer (it will probably be Ben
room to construct. Repairing Synergy and Phi                  Assaro, who is project manager for most of the
Psi will cost more like $25,000/student room.                 other buildings). At this time students can
Also, if any FEMA support is obtained, it can                 approach him and suggest possible alterations/
only be applied towards repair, and not towards               modifications that could fit within the proposed
the construction of new buildings. In repairing               budget. I have already compiled a list of
Synergy and Phi Psi the University wishes only                suggested changes for Synergy and Phi Psi —
to bring the houses up to life-safety standards,              perhaps some of these can be implemented. Any
and will use University-contracted labor (proba-              students taking CE176 (Small Scale Energy
bly current Row workers). The houses are                      Systems) next quarter might want to work on a
expected to reopen for the 1991 academic year,                solar water heater system for either house. In any
but this time frame is only an estimate; no project           case, active student involvement is needed for the
manager has been assigned to either house, and                next year to monitor the repairs and work with the
no comprehensive structural damage reports have               University.
been compiled.
                                                              Some Thoughts about Aesthetics and
Historical Landmarks                                          Student Housing
The main way for a building to be registered as               The closing of Synergy and Phi Psi as a result of
an historical building is to be on the National               the earthquake left many former residents dis-
Registry. This is a list of all the historic buildings        mayed and confused. What was lost was more
in the nation. There might also be one for the                than just a house, but a very special home. Both
state. An example of a building that is on this               Synergy and Phi Psi are notably secluded and
registry is the Lou Henry Hoover House (now                   integrated with their natural surroundings, and
the University President’s Residence). Getting on             both houses represent an older style of
this registry takes a large amount of time, money,            architecture which cannot be built today. The fact
and involves political lobbying. It also has very             that many of the displaced students regret the loss
little power other than a mere recognition of the             of their quiet, beautiful homes brings up the
fact that a particular building has historic value.           question of the importance of these qualities in
The owner still retains power over the structure,             student housing.
although any plans for exterior changes may                   A natural setting is important to members of
require review. The only building that would be               Synergy and Phi Psi. Both houses have large
worthy of this kind of recognition would be Phi               lawns and are surrounded by trees. Synergy has
Psi — about which very little is known.                       fruit trees, a garden, compost bins, and chickens
The University itself, however, keeps records in              — features not found in most other row houses
the planning office of past campus evaluations                — which contribute to a farm-like rural atmos-
(see Appendices for documents). Buildings on                  phere very much removed from the faster pace of
campus are evaluated in terms of value to the                 activity closer to campus. Both Synergy and Phi
University, outside community, students, history,             Psi are located on hills, and offer spectacular
etc. A list of “untouchables” including the Quad              views of the foothills, campus, and the South Bay
and Stanford Mausoleum was compiled,                          area. Synergy house is quite noticeable from the
including evaluations of older campus buildings.              foothills as a large red house with white windows
After the earthquake evaluations were made for                which complements its setting in the tall
some of the damaged buildings (including Phi                  eucalyptus and pine trees. Three tall palm trees
Psi, Synergy, Delta Tau Delta). The evaluations               grow at Synergy, and can be seen rising above the
serve only to inform the decision-makers of the               roof of the house. The large garden area and
value of the structures, and no recommendations               generally secluded space allow residents the
were made either for or against their preservation.           opportunity to engage in outdoor projects and
Considering that only extremely valuable                      enjoy the space for recreation.
buildings such as the Quad are considered
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         68                Recommendations and Alternatives

Having a natural setting has a soothing effect on               • Please save the pool table if possible (it is a
residents. Just being able to watch the sunset               very valuable antique).
from one’s window or swing in a hammock at                      • The wood floors/walls are important to Phi
dusk for a short time can leave one feeling                  Psi.
refreshed and renewed. Synergites often ate
dinner or lunch outside.                                        • Chimneys/Fireplaces are very important to
                                                             Phi Psi.
The houses themselves offer an affinity to
residents also. Phi Psi is a special case of this, it        Synergy Structural Improvements
being a beautiful large house, but Synergy can               Additions/Enhancements:
also be included. Phi Psi is known for its large
rooms and fireplaces, and the house is con-                      • Convert the 2nd floor bathroom to be co-ed
structed in a farmhouse-style architecture that              (it is currently quite small when divided in two).
many other houses can match in shape, but not in                 • Install TIP or Ethernet wiring in any rebuilt
scale. Synergy, with its white pillars, French               walls.
doors, and red shingled exterior is also a beautiful
house. Living in an aesthetically pleasing                       • A sundeck on the roof would be nice.
situation begins to foster a community just by the           Valuable Aspects of Synergy:
residents’ attachment to the location itself. The
fact that one has to walk through the common                     • Please save murals wherever possible.
areas to get to one’s room lends a natural                       • Please save the chicken coop if possible.
inclination to stop and chat, or just hang out, an
activity that builds community. Synergy and Phi                  • The wood floors/walls are important to
Psi also have murals painted by former residents,            Synergy.
a feature that has helped intensify bonds to the
houses. Sometimes students would even paint                  Changes in Co-op Programs This Year
their own murals, or even their own rooms,
knowing that their changes would last for others
to enjoy in the future.
We find increasingly a trend in student housing
toward compartmentalization, toward large
student dormitories, toward carefully landscaped
gardens. Perhaps this was why students preferred                             Synergy       and      Phi   Psi
alternatives such as Synergy and Phi Psi — to                Transition
escape the long dormitory halls or the cookie-               Phi Psi Transition
cutter rooms, or just to live in a place that seemed         At a dinner with Chip Bartlett, RA at the AD
more like home, a place with a kitchen, a living             house (soon to become Phi Psi), the only
room, a yard.                                                structural recommendation we came up with was
                                                             a need for increased cutting board space. A wood
                                                             table might remedy this situation. Also, burners
                                                             are needed on the stovetop.
                                                             Chip and I discussed setting up a meeting at the
                                                             beginning of Spring Quarter at the AD house for
                  Phi         Psi        Structural          anyone who is interested in the house next year.
Improvements                                                 Exempt spots, house positions, and house
Additions/Enhancements:                                      government will be topics of conversation.
    • Convert the 2nd floor bathroom to be co-ed             I talked with Lara Rosenthal, who was food
(it is currently quite small when divided in two).           manager at Phi Psi before the earthquake. She
                                                             strongly recommended Cal-Fresh Produce as a
    • More lighting in biggest common room on                supplier of produce. For house and bathroom
first floor.                                                 supplies, they used Faunders. For dairy products,
    • Fireproof the attic so that it can be used for         they used the Creamery. For dry goods, they
house activities.                                            used Rykoff, although they were considering
                                                             switching to an organic food supplier.
Valuable Aspects of Phi Psi:
    • Please save murals wherever possible.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                       69                Recommendations and Alternatives

Synergy Transition                                         Outreach to the Stanford Community &
For a smooth transition into “Synergy at the               Priorities Until the End of the Year
Groves,” I recommend the following steps, in no            We believe that the problem of filling the co-ops
specific order (in a weak attempt to avoid                 in the past has been largely due to lack of infor-
hierarchy). This is by no means a comprehensive            mation or misinformation about the co-ops. We
list — I am sure other items will arise as the time        feel that a strong outreach effort would help more
draws nearer and we dwell on this some more.               students see co-ops as an attractive living situ-
But for now:                                               ation. We would like to muster a united co-op
    1. Obtain ASSU displaced household funds               outreach program this spring, in order to show
for spending on transitional purposes (i.e. kitchen        students the diversity that actually exists among
items, paints for murals, retreat/advance).                the co-ops. We would especially like to concen-
                                                           trate on making the currently unhoused co-ops
    2. Figure out how many Synergites are                  (Columbae, Phi Psi, and Synergy) more visible,
returning, sort out exempt spots and some                  providing them with extra support to compensate
managerial positions. I suggest one of the exempt          for their lack of operational facilities.
spots be allocated to a “transitional manager”,
who will be responsible for many of these items.           Priorities
    3. Locate possible storage spaces for incoming         Our fist task was to prepare the list of priorities
Synergites.                                                for the closed co-ops to be placed in the 1990
                                                           draw book. The following list was submitted to
    4. Assess the kitchen in every way, shape, and         Jack Chin late in February.
form. Find out how much of the University food
service equipment remains, how much we have to
gather, etc.                                               Proposed Special Priorities for Columbae,
    5. Locate all of the dispersed Synergy stuff           Phi Psi, Synergy 1990
among the offshoot houses.                                 2nd Priority: Students who:
    6. Print ample copies of Living In Syn for                A. Attend a community discussion/informa-
incoming residents.                                        tional meeting (dates to be announced.)
    7. Write up a one sheet consensus description.            B. Participate in a house related job or project
    8. Draw up a “blueprint” of the rooms in both          (to be explained at the meetings)
houses and propose various organizational                      OR do a house job (cook crew/ dish crew) at
strategies (i.e. communal living options, doubles,         one of the open co-ops
singles, octuples, etc.)
                                                              C. Sign a house agreement for Columbae, Phi
    9. Co-edify the bathrooms.                             Psi or Synergy
    10. Set up the Alternative Periodicals Rack            3rd Priority: Students who attend a discussion/
and Synergy Library in Lasuen’s back room.                 informational meeting and sign a house agree-
    11. Make sure the transitional manager and at          ment
least one other person arrive at least one week
prior to Autumn Quarter in order to set up
various accounts (dry goods, dairy, produce,               If you have questions or are unable to attend one
phone), set up the kitchen, start the garden, order        of the meetings, please call:
the chickens, visit the bees, establish an opium           Columbae: Raquel Stote 328-1954, Sally Otto or
den, bake bread, change the world.                         Matt Price, 321-5135.
    12. Have a weekend advance with all residents          Phi Psi: Bruce Wooster 328-1040, Chip Bartlett
(maybe at Point Reyes?) the weekend before                 328-7118
classes commence or the first weekend of the
quarter. Perhaps this can be organized by the              Synergy: Eric Rose or Eric Schwitzgebel 494-
RAs.                                                       9058, Maggie Harrison 856-8568
    13. Dream up all sorts of co-operative/ com-           Outreach
municative exercises for the first house meeting.          Our next undertaking will be to plan the meetings,
                                                           write up the house contracts, and design priority-
                                                           obtaining activities. Dates for the meetings
                                                           haven’t been set yet, but will probably be
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        70                Recommendations and Alternatives

assigned by the Housing Center from their                   During this week representatives from all the
calendar of open houses. We envision at least               co-ops will be doing all sorts of fun, attention-
three meetings, at which people from Synergy,               getting stuff in White Plaza during the lunch
Columbae, and Phi Psi will make presentations,              hour. Suggested activities include making food,
answer questions and explain the special house              playing games, musical performers (we might be
jobs. Prospective residents will be able to sign the        able to get one of the old Phi Psi house bands to
house agreements at these meetings. Contact                 come play); basically making ourselves visible as
people for each house will also have agreements             fun, happy people. There was a suggestion that
that prospectives can sign on an individual basis.          one day be devoted to each co-op, but that idea
Ideas for special jobs have included “Columbae-             has been put on the back-burner for fear that a
Phi Psi-Synergy Nights” at open co-ops,                     potential Terran might be turned off by
massive bread-baking sessions at Elliot Program             “Hammarskjöld Day.”
Center, Bechtel, or open co-ops, watering trees in
the foothills, decorating the fences around the
closed co-ops, or helping in a house job at an off-         The Co-op Union
campus co-op. We will probably host the                     We Recommend the Formation of a Co-op
meetings in a classroom, Tresidder or on the                Union
Columbae lawn.                                              The Union would be structured of 1-2 represen-
    Turning to united co-op outreach, at the                tatives from each member house. Membership
February 28th meeting we formulated and com-                would be voluntary for each house, renewable at
menced several plans of action.                             the beginning of every academic year (in
                                                            September). The Co-op Union would not take
    1. Study breaks and dorm outreach meeting.              away the autonomy of individual houses, but
Representatives from each co-op will visit dorms            would foster co-operation and community
and talk about the different co-ops. They will              between those houses. This would not be a
either do the presentation at dinner or other               governing board setting rules for individual
specified times, or guest host dorm study breaks            co-ops, rather it would be a place to discuss
at house meetings, providing food representative            issues that will affect all co-ops, and a place to
of each co-op. The presentation could either be             support the efforts of individual co-ops. Each
made to a cluster of dorms or to individual                 house must maintain their autonomy in making
dorms.                                                      decisions on issues that affect only their own
    2. Tabling in White Plaza, and contacting
people from the petitions.                                  A strong and active co-op community is our best
                                                            outreach tool. A co-op union would be a good
In the weeks before the Draw, a co-op table will            way to get this out. Instead of one house
be set up in White Plaza, with food and infor-              sponsoring or hosting an event, the Co-op Union
mation about the co-ops. Students may be able to            could host an event. Frosh often don’t know that
sign house agreements at this time.                         a particular house is a co-op. The Union would
During December and January signatures were                 provide the community with a higher profile and
collected to gather support for the re-opening of           better publicity.
Phi Psi, Synergy, and Columbae. Signers were
asked to mark whether or not they would put a               Functions
co-op on their draw card in the future. Members             The functions of the Co-op Union could be as
of this task group will contact those people, to see        follows. There are many possible directions that it
if they are still interested.                               could go, but we feel that in order to build a
    3. Co-op booklet.                                       strong and diverse community, the following
                                                            functions are necessary. The examples listed with
1989, the Inter Co-op Council, produced an                  each function are merely to illuminate some of the
informative brochure entitled Co-operative Living           ways in which the Co-op Union could act in a
at Stanford. This group will update the brochure            given area. They are not recommendations for
and distribute it to people on the petition, to all         future agenda items. All examples come from
dorms containing frosh, and to other potentially            discussions with other co-opers, imagining how a
interested folks.                                           Co-op Union might work.
    4. Co-op week — a.k.a. “Seven Days of Co-               • Liaison between the Larger Co-op Community
operation.”                                                 and the University and Row Administration. In
                                                            the union tradition, we support collective
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        71                Recommendations and Alternatives

bargaining as the way to gain more power and                Some Additional Discussion on Function
legitimacy. In the same way that a letter signed by
18 black students carries less weight than a letter         There are many other possible functions that have
signed by those same 18 as the BSU; so would a              been mentioned during the course of this process:
letter or proposal signed by the Co-op Union                Establishing an emergency fund; providing
carry more weight than one signed by 5 or six co-           financial support for the projects of the entire
ops. In this role, the Union could support and              community, or individual houses; establishing
lobby for a need of the entire community                    relations with other co-ops in the area and
(graduates student spots, more program funding,             working with them on programs, or events;
hot tubs for every house..), or it could speak in           establishing an office and part-time staffperson;
support of a proposal from one particular house             leasing or buying additional houses. We do not
(“The Co-op Union supports Columbae’s                       feel that it is wise to recommend that the Co-op
proposal to have an RA collective instead of an             Union take on any of these functions in its initial
RA.”) This group could also lobby the Row                   charter. Many of these, while perhaps good ideas,
office to keep more co-ops open in the summer               seem to be functions that the Co-op Union
since Theta Chi is always oversubscribed.                   should consider adding at a later date. At this
                                                            point, there is very little long-range planning
• Organize Free and Accessible Co-operative                 ability among the members of the campus co-ops
Education and Skills Sharing Programs based in              and in order for any of these functions to be
the co-ops, primarily to meet expressed needs and           maintained, the co-op union must be functioning
desires of co-op members, but open to the whole             strongly on its own feet first. There needs to be a
campus community. Examples of programs:                     strong and empowered vision of the present and
Reading/Discussion groups on Co-operation,                  imagination about what is possible to do
Women’s and Men’s issues; workshops led by                  tomorrow before one can dream about what might
co-opers on breadmaking, crafts, car repair,                be possible 2 or 5 or 10 years from now...
gardening, aerobics, bicycle repair, and any other
skill that we can share. There is nowhere in the            Funding
University where you can learn any of these and             We Recommend that the Union be Funded,
other useful skills. In the Co-ops, we have a vast          but as yet there is no general consensus on where
wealth of knowledge; we should share this with              that money should come from, or, in fact, how
each other and non-co-opers.                                much is necessary. One suggestion is that each
• Sponsor Co-op-Related Programming: Speak-                 house pay a flat membership fee each year, but
ers, arts, music, dance, political events, public           the individual houses get to determine from
service events, barbecues, parties, etc. The Co-op          whence that money should come. Another
Union could plan joint events between the Co-op             suggestion is that as each house joins the Union,
community and other non-co-op housing groups                that each house member pay a small fee for the
throughout the year which would strengthen our              year to help fund the activities (perhaps
position in the housing draw. In addition, the              $10.00/year?). Half of this money could be spent
Union could be a tool for strengthening the                 on the current year and half on the following
multicultural programs and appeal of the co-ops.            year. This little altruistic twist is to insure the
As a Voluntary Student Organization (VSO),                  continuity of the Union; it is a commitment on the
there is a great deal of funding that we can solicit        part of the members to the future existence of the
in order to sponsor larger events, or more                  Union. After the first year, however, current
frequent events, or a series of events.                     members would be spending the money of the
                                                            members from the prior year and giving money to
• Coordinate Outreach for the Draw: In addition             the following year...Clever? We think so. There
to all of the work throughout the year, at Draw             are also ASSU and Program Board funding that
time, the Union could organize the necessary all-           might be available. Below are listed possible ways
co-op outreach and publicity, perhaps with a                to spend some of this money.
better eye to the diversity between the co-ops than
we have had in the past. The Union could be the
mechanism through which we present all of the
                                                                       Ideas for Projects
co-ops and their differences, with each house still                  (of the Hella-cool Hypothetical)
responsible for their own outreach as well. We
are each distinct communities, but we do have                        Co-operative Union
some things in common in how we live.                       The FALL —
                                                              Workshop on “Approaching Co-operation?”
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        72                Recommendations and Alternatives

   All-co-op weekend semi-educational retreat               surfaced in times of crisis or around outreach
                                                            time. It is hard to get people active and excited
   Evening festivity (lunar event?)                         about a group which they see as serving little real
   Student-led Skills Sharing—expenses,                     purpose. We have attempted to develop a
         materials                                          recommendation for a group with a specific set of
                                                            functions to meet what we see as needs of the co-
The WINTER —                                                op community.
   Printing up Co-op Handbooks for the Draw                 Q. If we had such a hard time getting people to
   Co-operative Education Program                           be interested in the Co-op Council, what will
                                                            make this any different?
                                                            The house representative to the Union could be
   Student-led Skills Sharing                               compensated for their activity in behalf of the
The Lovely SPRING (Since we all know that                   house and community by treating it as a house
more happens in the Spring):                                job, or even as a managerial position. It is perhaps
                                                            advisable that this position rotate every quarter,
   Outreach program to dorms (materials, food?)             but this decision is up to the individual houses to
   Other outreach stuff: flyers, White Plaza                make.
         Happenings. . .                                    Q. Will this detract from the vitality of the indivi-
   Chat with Administrators                                 dual houses and the commitment of members to
                                                            their own individual communities?
   Student-led Skills Sharing
                                                            Although once a house joins, every student in the
   All-co-op hedonistic retreat                             house is a member, the Co-op Union should not
   Forum discussion: Marginality and                        really place any additional burden of commitment
         Counterculture?                                    on anyone other than the house’s representatives.
                                                            The commitment of the representatives should not
   Refund or Savings (purchase of a solar                   draw them away from the house, and could even
         Winnebago?)                                        draw them deeper into the house community. The
The general idea is to sponsor one program, one             time commitment of the Co-op Union
fun activity, and one skills sharing each quarter           representatives shouldn’t be any more involving
initially, adding outreach in the Spring. Or less if        than SCAAN, the Women’s Center, the
that seems too ambitious.                                   Mendicants, or the crew team.

Some Additional Questions, Objections, and                  Ethnic and Cultural Diversity
Possible Solutions
Some additional discussion seems to be called for           Summary of Recommendations
to respond to some of the most common prob-                 In order to encourage ethnic diversity in the co-
lems raised.                                                ops, we have broadly outlined three areas that
Q. Is this just a new name for the Co-op                    merit our attention and action. Firstly, in Spring
Council?                                                    1990 we should launch an educational and
                                                            informational campaign about co-operative living
The Co-op Union springs from the same needs                 at Stanford directed towards the ethnic commu-
that the Co-op council has attempted to meet,               nities. Secondly, when we are rehoused we
however, it is significantly different in structure,        should make a creative and concerted effort to
agenda and commitment. It should be looked on               raise issues of multiculturalism and interact more
as a new organization. One notable difference is            with the ethnic communities. Thirdly, we should
that it will have some independent funding. It is           consider the possibility of adopting an affirmative
also an organization that each house will have to           action policy which gives priority to students of
make a conscious decision to join and member-               color in the draw.
ship carries with it obligations — one or two
representatives and a possible monetary contri-
bution. The Co-op Union is also designed to fill a             A co-op is a place where people live
specific role in the community and as such has a                together and learn to accept and
very clear agenda. Much of the criticism of the                appreciate differences among them.
Co-op Council seems to stem from the problem                            — Classmember
that it was a group without an agenda. It primarily
Co-operative Living at Stanford                       73                Recommendations and Alternatives

                                                           four ethnic theme houses with flyers about co-
Background                                                 operative living.
Lack of ethnic diversity and multiculturalism has
been a problem in many of the co-ops,                      In addition, we have paved the ground at each of
particularly Synergy, Phi Psi, and Columbae.               these communities for their hosting Spring
Heterogeneity, cultural diversity, and the                 informational programs about the co-ops. These
celebration of difference are concepts theoret-            programs could be panel discussions with
ically aligned with and essential for the true             representatives from several different co-ops who
manifestation of our co-operative ideals. This             have varying perceptions of co-operation. Ideally,
inconsistency between our ideal and our actual             co-opers of color would be participants in the
constituency points to an aspect of our program            panel. Along with scheduling the programs at
that merits considerable analysis and revision.            Lathrop, Okada, Ujamaa, and Zapata, we could do
                                                           programs or at least make announcements at
What is it about co-operative living at Stanford           AASA, BSU, MEChA, and SAIO meetings. The
(although this problem is not limited to our               co-ops should also sponsor late night study
campus co-operatives) that is at most alienating           breaks with fresh bread, home-made beer, and
and at least unattractive to ethnic students?              enthusiastic co-opers at each of the dorms. The
Although the theoretical ideals of co-operation are        need for outreach programming is urgent, given
far from exclusionary, the co-ops are historically         our lack of houses as bases for our activities.
rooted in the white male “back to the land”
movements of the sixties. Ethnic communities are           Lastly, other Spring outreach activities could
instrumental in advocating and enacting change in          include formal gatherings between co-op and
many facets of progressive politics, but the co-           ethnic communities which would provide
operative movement has remained primarily                  opportunities for communication. This could be
Anglo. Granted, co-ops are not popular living              manifested through inter-community parties with
options for the majority of Stanford students.             music from various cultures or community-wide
This fact undoubtedly contributes to the reluc-            service projects with sponsorship by and
tance of many students of color to voluntarily             participation from both the co-ops and the ethnic
separate themselves further from the rest of the           communities (such as the AIDS Education
University by choosing to live co-operatively. We          Project or the student support for the Webb
recognize also that many students of color who             Workers).
are interested in co-operation are, understandably,        Expanding the theme of ethnic diversity into a
drawn to their own ethnic communities. Still,              broader theme of general diversity and celebration
these realities do not alleviate the necessity for         of difference, we should do similar outreach
examination of and action to overcome our own              programs in other “different” communities
homogeneity.                                               which have traditionally been better-represented
                                                           in the co-ops. This would include informational
                                                           programs or study breaks at the Gay, Lesbian,
                                                           and Bisexual Community Center, Hillel, and
                                                           meetings of the newly-formed support group for
                                                           students in financial distress.
               Solutions                                   We need to communicate with the ethnic
A. Outreach in the spring of 1990 offers an ideal          communities on campus about co-operation, the
forum for members of co-op communities                     diversity of meanings it has for us, and the variety
concerned with our lack of ethnic diversity to             of ways it is enacted in our houses. Diversity and
address students of color and heighten awareness           celebration of differences are essential for co-
about the benefits of co-operative living and the          operative living: we must strive to reach a mutual
variety of ways it is manifested at Stanford. We           understanding with ethnic communities of our
have already begun by posting literature at the            common and divergent goals.
ethnic theme houses which explained our concern            B. Along with generating awareness in ethnic
about the lack of multiculturalism at co-ops,              communities about co-operative living and the
hypothesized about its causation, and asked for            options available at Stanford, it is essential that
suggestions and creative solutions to the problem.         we, as co-op residents, question our own roles in
The flyers were followed up with informal dinner           making our communities culturally sensitive and
discussions on these issues. Future plans for              conducive to ethnic diversity. One obvious forum
outreach should include specifically targeting the         for change is the increased discussion of racism
                                                           and multiculturalism within our houses. This can
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        74                 Recommendations and Alternatives

be encouraged from a variety of routes:
sponsoring workshops in the houses such as
“Unlearning Racism,” inviting Ethnic Studies
professors and students to dinner for informal
discussions on specific related topics, working in
coalition, as the co-op council, with ethnic student
groups on campus, celebrating diversity by
bringing ethnic musicians to our houses for
parties, and generating discussion and analysis of
these issues by writing in the house journals,              Options for the Future
painting murals, or even putting scratch pads for
ideas on the bathroom walls. Next year, when we
are at last rehoused, we must follow-up the spring          Co-op Office
outreach programs at Lathrop, Okada, Ujamaa,                Option
and Zapata with specific programs or celebrations           Establish a co-op office that would provide
organized collaboratively with these houses. For            infrastructure and perhaps staff for various co-op
example, Phi Psi could sponsor a Kuumba dance               activities.
performance or Columbae could co-sponsor or
participate in the annual Chicano “Celebration of           There are several different possible models for a
Resistance.”                                                co-op office. One is that of the community
                                                            centers, in which staff paid by the University
C. Along with initiating changes within our co-             operate in space that is supplied with office
ops, we could adopt a policy which gives priority           equipment, phones, etc. Another is an indepen-
to underrepresented groups in the draw, therefore           dent space operated in one of the existing co-ops,
guaranteeing that any minority student who                  with equipment obtained by donations, etc. A
chooses to live in a co-op is able to. Although this        third is a separate subunit of residential education,
policy may arouse considerable controversy, it is           as there is now the Row Office. A primary
a clear statement of our priorities and the                 concern is that any staff would be selected either
importance we deem to multiculturalism in our               directly by co-op residents, or with substantial
communities. In informal discussions with co-op             student input.
residents and members of Stanford’s ethnic
communities, we have heard both encouraging                 Background
and skeptical opinions about the viability and
desirability of this route to enacting change. Next         Currently, the only support the co-ops receive
year, after the implementation of the suggested             from the University is that common to all row
solutions outlined above, this issue should be re-          houses. Diana Conklin and Jack Chin of
evaluated. A concerted and true effort to change            Residential Education have responsibility for the
our communities by making them more                         co-ops as part of their larger responsibility to the
conducive to multiculturalism and celebratory of            row, but their role is typically limited to benign
difference is a pre-requisite to the adoption of            neglect or to representing the interests of the
this policy.                                                University when there is conflict. They do at
                                                            times serve as advocates for the co-ops within the
                                                            larger Residential Affairs and University systems,
                                                            but only out of the basis of personal commitment,
                                                            not any structural relationship to the co-ops.

                                                              A co-op is a house and it’s inhabited
                                                               by people. They co-operate. They
                                                              want to be there. A co-op is anything
                                                                      people want it to be.
                                                            In terms of facilities, there is also little support for
                                                            the co-ops. Such basic office equipment as
                                                            computers, copiers and phones could be as useful
                                                            to the co-op community as they are to the other
                                                            University community centers.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         75                 Recommendations and Alternatives

Pros                                                         Future
• Any level of staffing could provide support to             This proposal needs to be raised in Residential
  co-op programming.                                         Education and in the broader Student Affairs
                                                             bureaucracy early on. Inasmuch as the University
• The staff position is flexible — it could be part-         is cutting its budget in the current period, it is not
  time students, as at the LGBCC (Lesbian, Gay,              likely to commit any significant funds in the near
  and Bisexual Community Center), a half-time                future. However, as with all demands for Univer-
  co-ordinator as at the Women’s Center, a part-             sity support for the various community centers, it
  or full-time dean as at the other community                takes time for the University to see things as
  centers, an official such as the Fraternity Affairs        priorities, and the earlier we start making the case,
  adviser, or a Residential Affairs person.                  the sooner we can hope to see our goals (or some
• A professional level person could provide                  of them) accomplished.
  invaluable liaison and advocacy within the Un•             In the interim, the houses could do things them-
  An office could provide a central location for             selves to create a de facto office — set aside some
  resources such as books, periodicals, etc.                 space in one of the houses for inter-co-op
• Volunteers working in an office would increase             resources, contribute to the hiring of a student
  our sense of inter-co-op community                         staff person on a part-time or trial basis, etc. With
                                                             one of the houses living over the Row Office next
• There is precedent in the Women’s Center, the              year, some of the facilities questions may be
  LGBCC, and the Chicano Community for                       amenable to compromise (can we use their office
  students having an input in selecting staff.               equipment? In the evenings?).
Cons                                                         More generally, however, this whole idea depends
• Any such proposal would cost money. The                    on there being a consensus evolved that having
  University has little these days. The co-ops               any kind of inter-co-op infrastructure is a good
  have till now never chosen to spend substantial            idea. Supporters of co-op unity and expansion
  amounts on centralized activities/facilities.              need to communicate their vision and a sense of
                                                             its viability to the broader co-op (and non-co-op)
• The largest gains (the added clout from                    community. The advantage of this proposal is that
  professional-level staff) have the largest costs.          it could be self-reinforcing; it would bring
• There is some conflict between co-operative                resources to the efforts to create a stronger and
  egalitarianism and the power vested in staff of            more visible community.
  any kind.
• There is not a lot of space in the University.             Co-op Contract with the University
• The University administration acts like it really          Option
  doesn’t like more than token student input in              That a contract be established between co-op
  decision making.                                           residents and the University clarifying the
                                                             responsibilities of each party.
Any proposal that includes staff will cost money.            Such a contract could cover any number of
One possible hook is replacing some of the                   issues, from responsibility for maintenance and
responsibilities that existing Res Ed personnel              cleanliness, to a lease on one or more of the
have for the co-ops. Another is outside fund-                houses. The basic goal is to clarify the
raising — would the co-op alum network support               obligations and responsibilities of both the co-op
a staff position? The houses themselves could                residents and the University, to eliminate distrust
contribute a substantial amount, perhaps as                  and hostility caused by ambiguity about expec-
“matching funds” to a University contribution. It            tations. Establishing honesty about expectations,
should also be noted that the University does                mutual accountability, and clear channels for
provide funds to other communities in the form               grievances could bring a major benefit to all
of free room and board to RFs, a full-time                   concerned
fraternal affairs adviser, etc. Leland Stanford’s            Such a contract could be negotiated by either
commitment to co-operation also provides lever-              residents of a single house, or by the Co-op
age for arguing for such a position, as well as for          Council or Union on behalf of as many of the
democratic selection of any persons hired.                   houses as wished to participate. Among the
                                                             issues which are likely candidates for inclusion
Co-operative Living at Stanford                      76                Recommendations and Alternatives

• Maintenance and cleanliness. What are mutually          • Increase sense of collective responsibility
  acceptable standards? What maintenance is the           among co-op residents.
  University’s responsibility, what is the co-ops         • Establish clear process for grievances and
  responsibility?                                         conflict resolution.
• Respect for co-op initiated improvements.               • Reduce time and energy spent defending co-
  Guaranteeing the preservation of murals,                ops.
  gardens, etc.
• Expectations for the draw. How many unfilled            Cons
  slots in how many consecutive years can the co-         • Ambiguity of responsibility on behalf of co-
  ops have before they face termination?                  ops: who signs each year? Who is accountable?
• Leasing. Could one or more of the co-ops lease          • Elimination of flexibility: if contract says “ X
  their houses from the University, increasing            open spots in Y years and you’re closed,” you
  their autonomy, taking responsibility for               lose your space to argue
  utilities, certain maintenance, etc.?
                                                          • Some practices that are currently ignored might
• Other unofficial practices. The University has          be explicitly prohibited in establishment of
  long turned its back on widespread co-op                contract.
  practices which bend standard University
  housing policy.                                         Possible solutions
                                                          There is no simple answer to “who signs for the
                                                          co-ops?” Especially since not all co-ops may
                                                          wish to participate in such a contract, or might
                                                          have different needs, they might have to be done
                                                          on a house-by-house basis. Ideally each house
                                                          would renegotiate/ratify its contract in the fall,
                                                          when all new residents are present.
Background                                                The question of loss of flexibility is going to
Ambiguity about responsibilities and expectations         remain, as it is the main trade-off for eliminating
has long been a source of tension between the co-         the ambiguity of expectations. The contract would
ops and the University. Issues such as the                simply have to be such that co-op residents
preservation of murals and gardens have been              understood and took responsibility for
frequent points of contention. Unfilled spaces in         maintaining their commitments, and felt comfort-
the Draw have repeatedly led the University to            able that expectations and sanctions for their
threaten to close one or more of the co-ops, and          violations were reasonable.
have drawn co-op residents into extensive and             The final issue about currently ignored practices
distracting battles to preserve their existence.          is also difficult to solve in advance. There is in
Conflicts over standards of cleanliness have in           fact no way to predict what issues the University
recent years led to the University’s imposition of        might find objectionable if they were raised
its own cleaning service on Synergy.                      explicitly. This would require extensive
The establishment of a contract or contracts              discussion among co-op residents in advance of
between the University and the co-ops would               any negotiations.
make mutual obligations clear, would limit
arguments about what is or is not appropriate and         Process/Futures
make it possible when necessary to spend more             This spring would be a good time to establish this
energy on solutions. Jim Lyons, Dean of Student           process, as the interim situations established for
Affairs, has said that there is no reason in              the 1991-92 school year provide greater
principle that such a contract could not be               ambiguity than usual in expectations. Immediate
established, including the possibility of one or          discussions with Residential Affairs staff and
more of the houses being leased from the                  those who will be living in the co-ops next year
University.                                               could address such issues as responsibilities for
                                                          cleanliness and expectations for the draw. This
Pros                                                      would provide a useful precedent for further
• Increase honesty and trust between co-ops and           elaborations of such contracts.
University.                                               The long term issues such as inter-co-op respon-
• Clarify and protect rights of co-op residents.          sibilities in such contracts, and the possible
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         77                Recommendations and Alternatives

leasing of houses, are properly discussed at either               residents to allow everyone to
a co-op council meeting or by the individual                    contribute towards providing food,
houses at such time as they deem appropriate.                   shelter, entertainment and educa-
                                                                      tion. — Classmember
Resident Fellows
Option                                                       Currently, Diane Conklin, Dean of the Row,
                                                             serves as RF equivalent for the Row, inasmuch as
That one or more of the co-ops establish a Resi-             she selects RAs and receives student transcripts,
dent Fellow or similar non-student position, such            and is the first recourse for serious crises.
as “visiting scholar/activist.”
A Resident Fellow (as currently defined by the               Pros
University) could live in any of the existing co-            • Bring substantial resources and continuity to the
ops, if s/he were willing to live in a regular room          co-ops.
and participate fully in the process of the house,
and forego some of the kinds of authority that               • Provide an additional liaison to the University
RFs typically exercise. Alternatively, an equiv-             on issues of concern to the co-ops.
alent position of “visiting scholar/activist” could
bring many of the same advantages, primarily                 Cons
bringing the kind of resources typical of older              • Difficulty of finding persons willing to
persons, without having to fit the existing RF               live/participate in co-ops.
definition so precisely.                                     • Creating non-hierarchical role for a traditionally
Such a person could serve both for a single                  hierarchical position.
house, or alternatively for more than one, or all, of        • Getting University to expand definition of
the co-ops. They would serve as educational,                 eligible RFs, or to embrace a new program for
programming and counseling resources to the                  non-students living in student residences.
individual house and/or the co-op community.
They would be expected to have an expertise in               • Cost to the University of losing housing spaces.
some area relevant to the co-ops or to the theme             • University expects to select RF independent of
of a particular house, and a commitment to co-               house concerns.
Background                                                   The issues are different depending on how close
RFs are currently chosen from University faculty             we choose to conform to the existing model. If
or “senior administrative staff.” They live in               we want a more-or-less traditional RF, the
cottages attached to University residences, and              hierarchy issues will have to be addressed, as well
receive free room and board. They are expected to            as those of finding candidates. One option is
select the RAs for their residence, to foster                simply to make the program contingent on
programming of various kinds, particularly                   finding acceptable candidates. Then the Univer-
related to their own field and interests; to serve as        sity also faces the question of costs; in the current
academic and personal advisors, and promote                  climate, one student-year of room and board is
pluralism within the residences. They are                    not trivial. We would have to argue that the same
expected to serve for two years, with possible               benefits that other houses get from RFs, which
reappointment. They are selected each spring by              are not disputed by the University (on the
the Associate Dean of Student Affairs and the                contrary, they are highly acclaimed as successes
Dean of Undergraduate Studies, on the basis of               of the Res Ed system) would apply in co-ops as
recommendations from a selection committee.                  well.
                                                             If we chose a more radical model, where the
     Co-op: A house of ‘co-operative’                        “RF” didn’t have to be faculty or “senior”
     living, where people ‘co-operate’                       staff, we have the option of having the person pay
      with one another to achieve the                        their way as well as participate fully; we would
  common goals of the house, dividing                        also possibly have a larger pool of candidates.
   the larger chores, almost impossible                      We would have to sell the program on the basis
                                                             of the same benefits that RFs bring. In either
       or at least rather difficult for a                    case, arguing for residents’ input into the
   single person to do, amongst all the                      selection process would require specifying the
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        78                Recommendations and Alternatives

unique nature of the co-op communities, although            to live in such a system? Many of the most active
the selection process for the Chicano Dean has              residents of the houses in the past have been
established a very helpful precedent.                       people who chose another University house
                                                            above co-op’s. Would the elimination of 006’s
Future/Implementation Process                               (those who select “any University housing” as
Implementation for the 1991-92 school year is               an option in the campuswide housing draw) be
probably impossible at this point; conversations            worth the sacrifice of self-selection?
with the relevant persons (Jack Chin, Diane                 How would such a draw be structured? Hammar-
Conklin, Alice Supton, Norm Robinson) could                 skjöld’s draw selects from students who have an
begin this spring, with an eye to feeling out the           interest in international relations. Would it be
University’s concerns and possible support. A               appropriate for Columbae, in similar fashion, to
consensus would have to be developed next year              ask “who is the most nonviolent?” Should the
as to which of the various models to strive for,            Co-op Draw be prior to the University Draw and
and for which houses. An individual house could             allow only those with a commitment to co-opera-
pursue this process on its own, or the co-op                tive housing?
union could negotiate for the whole co-op
community.                                                  Another possibility would be to simply assign a
                                                            higher priority to people who put co-op’s as their
                                                            first choices in the draw. This would ensure self-
A Separate Co-op Housing Draw                               selection and would allow more people who want
Option                                                      very much to live in co-ops to do so. A possible
That the co-ops have a separate housing draw.               drawback would be that there would not be as
                                                            many random surprises.
The concept of a separate housing draw for the
co-ops at Stanford has been considered. The idea            This issue, as the above discussion portrays, now
was talked about once in class and was further              raises considerably more questions than answers.
discussed at one of our task group’s Coffee                 It has been viewed by our group with
House meetings. It has not been made clear, as of           considerable skepticism, but it might in fact some
yet, that this is the direction in which the Co-op          day be an idea worth addressing again.
Community should be going. Further, it has not
been a priority of our group so it is probably              Future Co-op Buildings
unlikely that we have considered all of the details
that such a choice might entail. There are clearly a        Faculty Houses and Stanford Land
number of questions that we must ask of                     Introduction
ourselves:                                                  If the co-ops at Stanford wanted to expand could
A. Would a Co-op draw contribute to creating a              they obtain more old fraternity houses on the
better, more ideal community, or would it work              Row, rent faculty houses, or lease land from the
against the non-exclusionary values of co-                  University and build new houses? What is
operation?                                                  possible? We asked these questions of Charlotte
                                                            Strem of the Stanford Planning Department,
B. Would there be a demand for such a draw?                 Larry Horton, formerly Director of Residential
C. What would be the format of the draw?                    Education, and Norm Robinson, current Director
                                                            of Res Ed.
D. How is this issue connected with other issues
of housing, such as priorities and exempt spots?            Locating New Student Housing on Stanford
In response to question A, the majority of our              Lands — What’s Physically Possible?
class saw the concept of a draw as being segre-             Stanford’s land holdings extend from
gational, which is not at all the desired effect.           Arastradero Road to Sand Hill Road, and from El
However, confusion has abounded in our                      Camino Real to out past Interstate 280, excluding
discussions more than clarity. Would a draw                 College Terrace (the residential neighborhood
allow us to have a community of “neat co-                   between Page Mill Road and Stanford Avenue).
operative people?” Do we want to try to make the            There are thousands of acres of land, some leased
decision about who should live in our houses?               to ranchers and farmers, some dotted with
                                                            telescopes and radio receivers, some with research
Though there is some danger of elitism that is              companies, some leased to commercial business
threatening, making choices possibly ensure a               for income, and some sporting faculty housing
more co-operative and therefore better func-                [see map].
tioning community. Would enough people want
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        79                Recommendations and Alternatives

The Land Use Plan for the University allocates              (apartments?) planned for construction in the
the land to these different uses, trying to keep            Stanford West area (currently slated to house
similar functions together. But the plan is flexible        Stanford employees and employees on Stanford
and can be changed if necessary. In particular,             land).
land can always be switched over to academic use
(including, presumably, “residential education”)            Faculty Ghetto
since education is the highest goal of the                  There are some parcels of land in or near the
University.                                                 faculty area on which small student houses could
                                                            be built. It might be possible to lease a house
Land near SLAC, the Research Park, or the                   from Stanford in this district or sublease from a
Shopping Center are probably not desirable for              faculty member. Although Stanford owns all the
student housing, but most of the other land would           land, faculty members own their houses. When
be acceptable. For example, a house like Synergy,           faculty members move away or die, their houses
with an emphasis on living in tune with the                 are sold to other faculty members in a complex
natural environment might fit well in some of the           procedure overseen by the administration.
more rural ranch lands (Piers Ranch, Webb
Ranch, Guernsey Field, Stanford North and                   The Planning Office would be concerned about
South). A traditional house might fit well on land          the noise and different lifestyle of students living
near existing faculty housing on Junipero Serra             in a faculty neighborhood, but it would be
Boulevard or near other houses on Alpine Road,              possible if the neighborhood did not mind and
Sand Hill Road, or Arastradero Road. But land               the student house was more-or-less contiguous
close to the academic central campus or in the              with current student housing.
faculty ghetto area is probably most appropriate
and most convenient for students. The Planning              Ranch land — Piers Ranch, Webb Ranch,
Office has tried to concentrate student housing             Guernsey Field, Stanford North and South
within the circle defined by Campus Drive to                These areas are largely undeveloped and further
minimize traffic and safety dangers and to make it          from campus than the faculty housing. There are
easier to administer. But, like Hopkins Marine              existing ranch houses and buildings that could be
Station and overseas campuses, unusual                      converted to housing or new structures could be
situations could probably be accommodated.                  built. Generally these lands are leased for 51 or
                                                            99 years, but probably a small parcel of land
Central Campus                                              could be released, if necessary. Student houses in
There are two parcels of land where new houses              these areas should probably be small, because,
might be built: (1) in the faculty area across the          being farther away, they might have trouble
street from Governor’s Corner — the faculty                 attracting large numbers of students. Also, to
houses will eventually be converted into academic           develop in these areas it would be necessary to
program houses (like Owen House, etc.) and (2)
the land on Campus Drive behind the Knoll and
between the Alpha Delt House and the fraternity
cluster — this space is too small for a dorm, but
about the right size for three row houses.
The reason they have not yet built on the land                           persuade environmentalists both
behind the Knoll is that row houses are                     on and off campus that the impact would be
considerably more expensive per student to build            minimal.
than dorms, so it would seem the possibility                Reasonable Options
would be closed until Kymball is fully built. After         Given that almost anything imaginable is possi-
Kymball is fully built, however, the University             ble, what are the advantages and disadvantages of
expects to be able to guarantee four years of               the most reasonable options?
undergraduate housing. If this is the case, then
the University will not feel pressure to build new          The University Converts an Existing Row or
houses and will concentrate on other projects.              Fraternity House to a Co-op House
                                                            This has been the traditional way of setting up
Other Academic Lands                                        new co-op houses and would probably be the
There are other places outside of Campus Drive,             easiest. Res Ed is most convinced of the need for
but still within the main academic area where               new co-ops by very strong demand in the Draw,
houses could be built, primarily in the medical             but it may also be possible to argue on
center, Searsville, and West Campus areas. It               educational grounds — particularly if one makes
might be possible to secure one of the dwellings            reference to Leland Stanford’s founding grant
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        80                Recommendations and Alternatives

and point out that co-operative living teaches              Resident Fellow and so might not be able to
students important things. The decision to build            provide the same educational programming
Kymball as a mid-size dormitory (rather than a              opportunities, but it would provide a different
group of Row houses or some other configu-                  kind of educational experience (equivalent to
ration) was based on the strong demand for                  living off-campus).
Roble and Toyon and the types of educational                If the house were personally subleased from a
programs that are possible in such a structure.             faculty member, the house could be completely
To decide what new housing is needed, Norm                  independent of Res Ed and so would demand
Robinson forms a committee of students, faculty,            complete responsibility by the residents for all
and staff who discuss the advantages and                    operation, maintenance, and governance. They
disadvantages of different options. It might be             would also be required to find replacements for
advisable to get a member of the co-op union on             anyone who leaves. But it would probably be
such a committee next time one is formed.                   possible to include graduate students (perhaps
Residential Education also decides to what use              only grad students), staff-members, or other non-
houses with dying programs should be put, but in            students (especially if they were somehow
a less formal manner. They will probably be open            Stanford associated).
to lobbying and constructive suggestions.                   A Co-op Union or Alumni Group Builds N e w
The University    Converts    an   Existing   Large         Houses on University Land
Faculty House                                               If there were a strong Co-op Union or Alumni
Faculty housing only becomes available when a               group it could, perhaps, build a house on land
professor moves out. These houses are probably              leased from Stanford. The University does not
in great demand, so we would probably have to               have a policy against this, but because building
make a very convincing case for student co-op               codes and contract demands are so stringent (the
housing.                                                    University maintains control over the structure
                                                            and function of the house, and over rent prices)
The big, old houses near the Row, if converted,             no group in recent years has pursued this option.
would have a nice, homey atmosphere with
personalizable spaces just like the existing Row            Arguments in favor of co-op union ownership
houses.                                                     (or subleasing)
                                                            If we built a house ourselves, with our own
The larger houses located further away from the             money, we could do it regardless of the
Row would be quiet and more removed, providing              University’s opinion about whether we needed
access to nature, and a less urban environment,             more co-ops.
but it would be necessary to persuade the
neighbors and the Planning Office that students             We could personally select the people who live in
would not be noisy or disruptive.                           the house, rather than subjecting people to the
                                                            draw. (The University does not like this aspect of
The biggest difficulty is that most of the larger           fraternities, but perhaps they would be
houses are not designed for a student residence.            negotiable.)
According to Norm Robinson, for moral and
liability reasons, the University requires student          We could paint the house whatever color we
housing to meet stringent health and safety                 wanted, mow our own lawns, sleep on the roof,
requirements (fire sprinklers, fire escapes, multi-         stay open year-round, design the rooms in
ple, wide stairways, industrial-size kitchens, etc.)        whatever fashion we wanted; we could implement
which often costs more than tearing them down               our ideas of the architecture of an ideal co-op:
and rebuilding. Norm told us that they had                  environmentally sound, large kitchen, etc.
considered converting houses to residences                  We could do our utilities independently and
before (such as Owen and Mariposa), but                     reduce energy consumption to lower rates.
determined that it simply made more sense to
convert them to program offices since this                  Also, if successful, the co-op union would
required relatively little expense.                         eventually pay off the debt, after which time rent
                                                            would be profit, and the union would gain money
The University or Co-op Group Converts           an         and power.
Existing Small Faculty House
We could perhaps convert a smaller faculty house            Arguments against co-op union ownership (or
to a small co-op for only a few students (4-10).            subleasing)
This way, it would be easier to meet University             It would be very difficult to build a house from
health and safety requirements. A small house               outside for less and keep it up to University
like this would not have a Resident Assistant or
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         81                Recommendations and Alternatives

housing standards; they estimate about $55,000/              lobbying group, keeping these various options in
student for a row house.                                     mind.
If demand lagged, the University could take over             Off-Campus Houses
and change the theme of the house (the
University would not allow a house to be built               Potential idea: Establish an off-campus student
with the proviso that it always remain a co-op or            co-operative house.
fraternity).                                                 Pros:
The University wants to control the pricing                  House would be autonomous and not dependent
structure and standards (the University distributes          on University support.
debt service and utilities, for example, equally             A house such as this would be a wonderful
across students — they do not want class                     demonstration of the strength of the Stanford
differences determining where people live; the               co-op system.
only reason houses may differ slightly is that the
s e r v i c e s vary, e.g. maintenance, cleaning,            Being exempt from University regulations, this
cooking). The co-op group could have about as                house could be kept open year-round, and could
much control as Theta Chi does now, but could                theoretically see less resident transiency and
not expect much more independence than that.                 turnover (no guaranteed year rules), and could
                                                             increase the diversity of ages and backgrounds of
The University wants every student residence to              residents of the house by allowing students and
be run by the same set of University guidelines.             non-students to live together.
It is difficult to run a 25-person row house
economically (especially if it has food service,             Cons:
RA, RF) and for the University the smallest                  Current student demand for co-op living is not
economical size is now 60-person. The Univer-                high enough to warrant another house.
sity would be reluctant to have more smaller                 Funding difficulties (obviously)
houses in existence that, if the co-op failed, they
might eventually try to run like a Row house                 Few already existing houses are physically suited
                                                             to our vision of an effective co-op (especially
The University puts a high value on academic                 regarding size limitations)
programming as led by a Resident Assistant (RA)
and Resident Fellow (RF), so they would want                 Legal difficulties: It’s more expensive and
this to be part of the deal.                                 difficult to insure a house with such transiency
                                                             among residents and no single owner.
Arguments in favor of University ownership
The University has money and power, so they                  Administrative difficulties: Purchasing and
will guarantee the solvency of the co-op, provide            running a house is a long term obligation and
insurance, and do extensive repairs and major                would require a strong organization or group of
modifications that perhaps a student group could             individuals committed to the long haul.
not afford. When things go to hell, University can           Any mistakes or failures on the part of the co-op
clean it up. The co-op union avoids financial risk.          or its backing could have serious consequences:
If the house participates in the draw, it can be             bankruptcy, lawsuits, and the like.
assured of filling, with 006’s if necessary; if it is        Possible solutions to these problems:
not in the draw outreach would be much more                  Demand is not an unalterable constant. It is
difficult (we would have to persuade people not to           strongly affected by outreach, and is also affected
participate in the draw).                                    by the supply of houses. The fact that several off-
                                                             campus co-ops kept operating until their leases
Conclusion                                                   ran out indicates that there is still some demand
We have no particular recommendations. If,                   for co-operative houses off campus. This is still a
however, students do want eventually to imple-               formidable concern, however, and should be
ment some of these options, it would be advisable            considered carefully if ever the co-ops decide to
to have a strong co-op union and a strong                    try buying their own houses.
outreach program. We might want to push the
University into encouraging students to take                 There are a number of possible sources of
responsibility for their own lives. If it ever               funding the co-ops could pursue, and the two
becomes the case that there are a good number of             student co-operatives which have recently built
students who want to live in co-ops but are                  student co-operative housing offer two models
unsuccessful in the draw, they might form a                  for how we could proceed. The new co-ops at
Co-operative Living at Stanford                           82                Recommendations and Alternatives

U.C. Davis were built buy a developer along with               NASCO and the NCBA in sorting out their
some other houses on campus. Presently the                     funding. The National Co-operative Bank pro-
houses are rented from the developer with some                 vided a mortgage to Qumbya. Other possible
portion of the rent ($10 per person per month the              sources of funding may include philanthropic
first year, increasing $11 the second year, $12 the            organizations in the Stanford area.
third year, and so forth for ten years) being                  To give an idea of the sums of money that can be
collected in a co-op development fund to be used               collected by students (neglecting alum donations
for the purchase of the houses. After six years the            and other sources of money for the downpay-
co-ops will be bought outright, and the co-ops                 ment), if 250 people paid $10 per quarter for 10
have a 60 year lease for the land on which the co-             years, the group would have over $100,000
ops are located, after which time the University               (including interest). It’s easy to invent other
may continue to allow the co-ops to live there or              scenarios for collecting money, but specifics are
may choose to do something else with the land.                 not very meaningful until a further plan is
The main feature of this method of funding is that             devised.
there is a long period during which funds are
collected so that the co-ops have some equity with             The availability of houses for sale which fit our
which to buy the houses. David Thompson, one                   criteria is impossible to predict five or ten years
of the organizers of this funding, strongly                    before such a house might be bought. Fairly large
recommended to me that we set up a similar such                houses do exist in the vicinity of Stanford (and in
development fund; $10 per month, he pointed out,               fact one 7,700 square foot house was recently
is about 3% of rent.                                           offered by Foothill College for the cost of
                                                               moving it from the site on which it sat), but the
At the University of Chicago a group of students               selection of houses is somewhat of a problem. It
started Qumbya Cooperative “to provide                         should be noted that co-ops at other colleges are
co-operative living for students and others in a               often 10 to 15 people instead of Stanford’s 30 to
friendly, democratic environment.” They bought                 50 people. If the Stanford co-ops were to build a
a house that now houses 13 of the 22 members of                house there is no way we could afford to
the co-op; it cost $206,300 including renovations,             duplicate the architecture of the present Row
and the students had very little equity. The                   houses.
National Cooperative Bank gave NASCO
Properties (which owns the co-op) a mortgage                   As far as administrative, legal, and insurance
loan for $144,000; the Berkeley and Madison                    difficulties go, we would be well to join NASCO
student cooperative associations loaned them                   and utilize their expertise dealing with these
$27,500; the Kagawa Fund of the NCBA lent                      problems. The house could be owned indepen-
them $20,000, and the remaining $14,800 came                   dently of the Co-op Union so as to avoid direct
from Qumbya member loans and shares.                           liabilities to the remaining co-ops.
These examples point out some of the resources                 Conclusion
available for funding and expertise.1 Both of                  We don’t recommend the purchase of an off-
these co-ops had a lot of expert assistance from               campus co-operative unless demand seems to
                                                               necessitate it, and unless a very strong, well-
                                                               established, well-staffed, highly organized co-op
1Reference people include:
                                                               union exists to administer such a house.
Gohn Gauci
Kagawa Co-op Development Fund                                  We do suggest that consideration be given to
NCBA                                                           starting a fund devoted exclusively to long-term
(202) 638-6222                                                 projects for the co-ops. This fund would be
                                                               jointly administered by the Co-op Union and the
Robert Cox                                                     Co-op Alum Network.
Campus Co-op Development Corporation
NASCO                                                          We also suggest that the co-ops consider joining
(313) 663-0889                                                 NASCO so that we have access to people with
                                                               expertise in exactly the kinds of problems that we
David Thompson (listed elsewhere in this document under        are likely to face if we decide to undertake such a
U.C. Davis)                                                    project.
Ingrid Avots
Loan Officer
National Capital Bank Development Association
1630 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20009
Co-operative Living at Stanford                       83                Recommendations and Alternatives

                                                           • Unless you’re interested in paying for the
Outreach to Other Co-opers                                 damages, let the University repair the damaged
In an attempt to solicit community input for the           • Unless significant demand is proven, students
issues discussed by the SWOPSI class, flyers               should not even consider requesting relocation of
were sent to all unhoused co-op community                  faculty housing.
members and posted on large poster paper with
pens attached in the four housed co-ops. Accom-            • Off-campus co-ops are a good idea, but it is not
panying them were draft copies of the first half of        the University’s place to manage or finance them.
this report. Unhoused members were asked to                • Find a more effective and attractive outreach
call, mail or drop off their comments to the               program than a bunch of hippies hanging out in
members of the Class Outreach committee.                   White Plaza.
Another flyer was distributed to advertise the
Community Meeting. Copies of these flyers are                              *        *         *
in Appendix ???. No responses were received
except on the poster at Kairos. Three in-depth             I feel that a co-op council would be more
comments were written.                                     detrimental than constructive. Kairos (and the
                                                           other co-ops) has its own character. I didn’t draw
Kairos is noted for remaining independent from             into Columbae or Synergy for a reason — I
the other co-ops at Stanford. [For more detailed           wouldn’t have been comfortable there. A co-op
information about the character of Kairos House            council would in all likelihood be controlled by
please see the Appendix] Kairos has repeatedly             members of these houses, and I wouldn’t want
been an exception in our class discussions about           them making decisions for me. Support for the
the future of co-ops at Stanford. The majority of          displaced co-ops is important, but not to the point
class members are from Columbae and Synergy                of establishing a structure (the council) that will
houses. In our discussions we often found it               result in the demise of Kairos’ current makeup.
difficult to know if our ideas represent the
interests of the co-op community at large. Kairos
served as a constant reminder that cooperation                             *        *         *
can take on diverse forms.                                 • Outreach is imperative! From reading some of
The three responses received from the poster at            the comments regarding the co-ops, I think it is
Kairos follow. Their tendency to disagree with             obvious that a significant portion of the Stanford
the class’s tentative suggestions became a focus           residence community has a very blurred view of
of class discussion. We deliberated about what             what co-ops are and how they operate. Sugges-
we should recommend and what we should not                 tion: each house selects representatives to go out
because it might not represent the desires of the          to the dorms (frosh especially) and discuss co-
co-op community. Class members feel the                    operative living at their respective residence.
following responses are important and valid                White Plaza harassment and idiocy just don’t do
opinions. We incorporated the expressed disfavor           anything for the community.
of a co-op union by formulating the union in               • Infrastructure good for implementing above
such a way that it would be totally voluntary by           mentioned program, but very restrictive in most
each house, and that its existence would not harm          other areas. No $$. “All co-op” events are not
either members or non-members.                             for me.
It is important to note that Kairos, having very           • Are any civil engineers qualified and
little involvement with the co-op community, was           knowledgeable enough to evaluate plans? Are any
the most responsive to the class’s outreach                of us professional engineers?
                                                           • Off-campus houses? Stupid idea! We can’t
                                                           even fill the houses we have now on campus!
                *        *        *
• I don’t think we need a large co-op council and
I certainly don’t want to finance one. Doesn’t
Stanford have enough bureaucracy already.
• There is no significant need to justify a co-op
Co-operative Living at Stanford                  84                            For Further Reference

                          For Further Reference

Below are listed some places to go for more information and some of the most useful sources that we
used in the class. There is a wealth of information on the Stanford Co-ops that has been accumulated
in the archives and libraries of Synergy and Columbae. In addition, Columbae has an extensive library
of books and periodicals on co-operatives and co-operation including almost every book published by
the North American Students of Co-operation (NASCO). All of the materials from the class, including
all of the readings can be found in the co-op archives at Synergy and Columbae. Professor Henry
Levin, in the School of Education, is a good resource person on workers’ co-operatives. The Stanford
University Libraries also contain many useful books on the subject of co-operation.

Altenberg, Lee, An End To Capitalism: Leland Stanford’s Forgotten Vision, 1989. In Sandstone and
       Tile, Journal of the Stanford Historical Society, February 1990. Documents Leland Stanford’s
       advocacy of co-operatives as a “leading feature lying at the foundation of the university”.

Synergy House, Living in Syn, 1978, 1988. An in-depth look at a specific co-op community,
      combining the history of the co-op with a manual for its operation.

Blimling & Schuh, Editors, “Increasing the Educational Role of Residence Halls,” New Directions
      for Student Service, Number 13, 1981.
      Provides a philosophical base for evaluating the educational benefits of campus co-op living
      from the point of view of residential administrators.

Levin, H., “Economic democracy, education, and social change”, in Prevention Through Political
       Action and Social Change, G. Albee and J. Joffe, eds. University Press of New England, 1981,
       pp. 164-185.

Melnyk, G., The Search for Community: From Utopia to a Co-operative Society, Black Rose Books,
      1985. Melnyk looks at a variety of co-operative traditions — liberal, marxist, socialist, and
      communalist — and presents a theory of “social co-operatives”.

North American Students of Co-operation (NASCO), various publications. Ann Arbor, Michigan:
Co-operative Living at Stanford   85   Appendix B
Co-operative Living at Stanford                   86                                         Appendix

In the following pages you will find a collection of articles and papers that contain information about
the crisis, the class, individual co-ops and our attempts to come to terms with the constantly changing
“Movers and Shakers,” a brief summary of the meetings with the Administration after the earthquake,
compiled by Robert Abrams.
“The Co-oper,” November 1989. The first issue after the Quake.
Syllabus, SWOPSI 146: Co-operative Living and the Current Crisis at Stanford.
A Community Survey. This survey was distributed to a broad range of the Stanford Community.
Co-op Alumni Survey. This survey was sent to more than 300 former Stanford co-op Residents
using lists from the Co-op Alum Network.
Two flyers produced by the Class Outreach Committee to inform the other co-opers of the doings of
the class, and to provide updates on the negotiations with the administration.
Community Meeting Agenda, February 28.
Kairos: An Ethnography of an Unknown Stanford Co-op, describes in some detail the attitudes
and practices of residents of one of Stanford’s co-ops which sees itself as different from the others.
Off Campus Co-ops. Brief descriptions of several off-campus co-ops, many spin-offs of campus co-
Historical Values Index. University documents compiled after the earthquake that assess the
historical values of the closed houses. The work was done by a committee in the Stanford planning
office, including a student. The first two pages are the results of a quick compilation of material from
University archives on the houses. The “Historic Values Index” sheet attached to the end gives an
indication of how the University views houses such as Synergy, Phi Psi, and Columbae.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                    87                                          Appendix

As you may know there is a SWOPSI course in progress (SWOPSI 146) that is studying
“Co-operative living and the current crisis at Stanford”.

In the first part of the class we have studied the history and theory of co-ops and the current status of
all co-ops at Stanford. A report on this work will be available next Wednesday (14th Feb.). At that time
we will distribute copies of the report to all co-op houses on campus and to the larger groups of
unhoused co-op members off campus. Anybody else is welcome to pick one up at the class next
Wednesday (7 pm, 4th floor Sweet-hall). If you want more copies please call Dave Nichols at 856-
8568 and I will try to get them to you.

The second half of the course will study future options for co-ops at Stanford. This will include :
  • Rebuilding options for Columbae
  • Transition of Synergy and Phi-Psi into new houses
  • The relationship between Res-Ed. and the co-ops
  • Co-ops in the Draw
  • Co-op outreach programs
  • Innovative options for new co-ops
  • Development of the co-op council

We would like all co-op community members to be able to participate in this process. There will a co-
op community meeting on Feb. 28th at 7 pm, location to be determined. In the meantime there will be a
newsletter which addresses specific issues distributed around the 16th Feb.

Decisions are being made based on our class reports. This may affect your future. Any input you have
will help us represent the community more effectively. If you have any general comments on the future
of co-ops at Stanford please write them on this sheet.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                  88                                         Appendix

                  FUTURE OF CO-OPS AT STANFORD

                       SWOPSI 146 : NEWSLETTER 1

The SWOPSI course “Co-operative living and the current crisis at Stanford” is organizing a public
meeting for all co-op community members and other interested parties.

The meeting will be
7 pm on Feb. 28th at education 133 (Cubberly).
The purposes of the meeting are :

1) To keep the community informed about decisions that the University has made about the future of
co-ops at Stanford.
2) To get input on possible future directions for the co-op community.

At this point we would like your views on topics that we will be covering in the second part of the
course. The following task groups have been set up.
We would like you to express your opinions on these topics. The results of this work will be included
in the final report of the course.

You can contact
Dave Nichols : (856 8568) 3339 St. Michael Drive, Palo Alto, CA 94306
or Jim Welch : (329 1079) Kairos House, 586 Mayfield Ave., Stanford

Columbae Structure
To make idealistic and concrete suggestions for structural changes and improvements to Columbae
when it is repaired.

Synergy and Phi-Psi Transition
Keep tabs on University decisions regarding the two programs next year.
How to make the transitions easier based on the character, history and goals of the programs. Once new
houses are chosen, make assessments of space usage, organize kitchens, gardens etc.

Preparation for the 1990 draw. Organize new priority mechanisms, meetings for prospective co-op
members. Prepare housing agreements.
Dorm outreach, presence in White Plaza, articles in “Daily”.

Co-op Infrastructure
This task group recommends:
A newly organized co-op council to,
Plan “All co-op” events                       Educate on co-operation
Social events and programming                 Public service/political events
Organize outreach                             Establish a financial base
A $10 per person, per quarter charge to finance the above
A strong unified co-op voice to communicate with Red-Ed and the administration.

Co-op housing / Stanford
Development of a co-op office as a separate establishment to coordinate students. A co-op
representative to be present at all University closed door
Co-operative Living at Stanford                    89                                          Appendix

meetings. This could be an RF or there could be RFs in addition to this post.
Consider a housing contract for co-ops, a long term guarantee of housing.
Affirmative action to increase ethnic diversity in co-ops.
Possible changes in the draw procedures for co-ops, a separate co-op draw?

Synergy and Phi-psi structures
Obtain plans and document damage. Analyze plans, cost, budget, repair time line. Consider alternative
repair options, e.g. student involvement.
Investigate possibility of getting houses declared historic landmarks. Analyze the aesthetic values of the

Faculty houses and Stanford land
Long range possibilities of increasing the number of co-ops by obtaining new housing on Stanford
land. Convert large faculty houses to co-ops, construct new co-ops on Stanford land.

Off campus houses
Possibilities of increasing the number of co-ops by obtaining off campus houses. Research funding
sources, loans, grants, alums. Investigate legal

Co-op outreach
Keep everybody informed about what is going on. Provide a mechanism for
community input. ( That’s us ).
Co-operative Living at Stanford                   90                                         Appendix

                         7-9 PM WEDNESDAY FEB 28
                               CUBBERLY 133

                                          All welcome


Report / Updates

Housing for fall ’90
Report on process and discussions so far concerning locating Synergy and Phi Psi; discussion of any
questions remaining open.

Co-op / University relations
How should co-ops interact with Res-Ed? Should there be an independent body, representing all co-
ops, to present the co-op point of view? Would co-op relations with the University be improved if there
was a written housing contract? Consider the possibility of a “co-op fee” to fund an independent all
co-op group, support joint co-op activities and provide capital for co-op improvements. Should there be
a separate co-op draw?

What can be done to foster multiculturalism in co-ops? Lack of ethnic diversity and multiculturalism is
a problem facing the co-ops, particularly Columbae, Synergy and Phi Psi. We are in the process of
talking with members of ethnic communities at Stanford about reasons for and ways to ameliorate this
problem. Should we institute some form of affirmative action policy?

How should we do outreach? Why we want to have unified co-op outreach this spring. Emphasize
presentation of the diversity among co-ops. How can we improve the multiculturalism of the co-ops?
What sort of outreach does this involve? Program suggestions?
Co-operative Living at Stanford                      91                                            Appendix

                             A Community Survey
Participants in SWOPSI 146 will be writing a report about residential living at Stanford. By this survey,
and personal interviews, we hope to understand Stanford community perceptions of residential living.
Please help us by answering the following questions. Then return the survey to the person who gave it
to you, or at the SWOPSI office in Sweet Hall. Thanks!

1. Circle your class:   frosh sophomore         junior            senior graduate

2. A) What is the name of your current residence?

  B) In which other residences have you lived while at Stanford?

3. On a scale from one to six, rate the following in terms of importance to you and current satisfaction:
(Six is the highest rating; one is the lowest.)

                                                                Importance          Current Satisfaction

  A. Relationships to the people you live with:                   ___                    ___
  B. The building you live in:                            ___                     ___
  C. The location of your residence:                              ___                    ___
  D. Your studies:                                                ___                    ___
  E. Your social life:                                            ___                    ___
  F. Meals:                                                       ___                    ___
  G. Low room and board bills:                                    ___                    ___
  H. Residence responsibilities:                                  ___                    ___

4. Circle your sex: female male

5. I’d rather live in a: (Rank your top two choices; circle your last choice.)

  ___trailer            ___off campus ___theme house               ___co-op

  ___apartment          ___fraternity           ___dorm                  ___other row house

6. Not including your own residence, how often do you visit:

                                  daily             weekly            quarterly      yearly          never

  A. other dorms:                 ___               ___               ___            ___             ___

  B. fraternities:                ___               ___               ___            ___             ___

  C. co-ops:                      ___               ___               ___            ___             ___

  D. other row houses:            ___               ___               ___            ___             ___
Co-operative Living at Stanford                      92                                             Appendix

7. For the following categories, please rate the average fraternity, co-op, and dorm resident on a scale
from one to six. Choose a six if the category is highly applicable, and a one if it is not at all applicable.

  A. Tolerance for different viewpoints.

        Dorms: ___      Co-ops: ___ Other Row House: ___ Fraternities: ___

  B. Weekly drug/alcohol use.

        Dorms: ___      Co-ops: ___ Other Row House: ___ Fraternities: ___

  C. Arrogance.

        Dorms: ___      Co-ops: ___ Other Row House: ___ Fraternities: ___

  D. Quality of intellectual atmosphere.

        Dorms: ___      Co-ops: ___ Other Row House: ___ Fraternities: ___

  E. Sexual close-mindedness.

        Dorms: ___      Co-ops: ___ Other Row House: ___ Fraternities: ___

  F. Low level of community involvement within the residence.

        Dorms: ___ Co-ops: ___ Other Row House: ___ Fraternities: ___

  G. Political diversity.

        Dorms: ___      Co-ops: ___ Other Row House: ___ Fraternities: ___

  H. Emphasis on good health.

        Dorms: ___      Co-ops: ___ Other Row House: ___ Fraternities: ___

  I. Outward friendliness.

        Dorms: ___      Co-ops: ___ Other Row House: ___ Fraternities: ___

  J. Cleanliness of their residence:

        Dorms: ___      Co-ops: ___ Other Row House: ___ Fraternities: ___

8. Have you ever considered living in a co-op? If you have, which one and why? If you haven’t, why

9. Any Further Comments?

                                                                        printed on recycled paper
Co-operative Living at Stanford                          93                                           Appendix

       Kairos: An Ethnography of An Unknown
                   Stanford Co-op
                                                              When asked by non-resident students where they
                                                              live, residents are often required to explain where
by Jim Welch                                                  the house is located, and why they ever decided to
                                                              live there. Some say the house has a reputation in
Introduction                                                  wider student circles as the “house of love,” and
Kairos House is a Stanford University co-opera-               in the co-op community as apathetic and
tive housing facility for thirty-five sophomore               mainstream. The two reputations generally keep
through senior undergraduates. As a community,                people from wanting to live in Kairos. It is,
it is ideal for anthropological study. It is a closed         though, one of the easiest houses on the Row (the
community, limited to registered students, and is a           section of campus where fraternities and old
focus of most residents’ social lives. Many                   fraternity houses are located) to draw into, and
residents eat, sleep, study and socialize primarily           has a room priority system that guarantees fifth-
within the house. The community, as it is                     year seniors and returning residents singles.
considered in this paper, is composed of a varied
group of students inhabiting the house from the               In addition, the house is run as a co-op, although
end of September, 1989, through the present time,             quite a bit differently than other co-ops on
March, 1990. This time span includes two                      campus. Residents hire cooks from within the
academic quarters, Fall and Winter. Between the               house and have complete responsibility for
two quarters two women and two men left and                   maintaining their house. There are four managers
were replaced by new residents. I am a resident of            elected at the end of each year for the following
the house and am among the majority having                    year. These are Financial Manager, Operations
never lived here previous to the 1989-90 academic             manager and two Food Managers. They meet
year.                                                         before the residents arrive each year to decide
                                                              how the house will be run. They decide how food
My research included interviews with a random                 will be ordered, how house jobs will be
sample of fifteen percent of the residents (chosen            distributed and enforced, and any other structural
by who was available at the specific times I                  decisions necessary to make the house work.
conducted the interviews), a two-page
questionnaire distributed among the residents at              Room draw is done on a priority system designed
the end of the first quarter, a five page survey              by Kairos residents in a previous year. All other
distributed during the second quarter, and                    decisions that require resident input are made by
observation and participation as a native of the              majority vote. Managers and others often make
community. The first survey was returned by                   smaller decisions on their own if they feel the
ninety-one percent of the residents while the                 house will not object. Unlike other co-ops, Kairos
second was returned by only fifty-four percent.               has no official theme such as vegetarianism, or
The first supplied all the statistical data, while the        political or environmental activism, or alternative
second is only used as an indicator of perceptual             lifestyles. Traditionally most of these
ranges and a source of specific opinions. The                 organizational structures are perpetuated year-to-
lower return rate of the second survey may be                 year because residents have thought they work
caused by numerous factors. The five-page length              and the managers like them. The residents are
was cause for a number of comments by people                  free to change any of these decisions, but they
who thought it was too much to ask (although                  generally do not.
others said it only took a few minutes and was a              One main result of this structure is that Kairos
reasonable thing for me to request). During                   draws an eclectic group of students each year.
winter quarter I was also less involved in the                The current makeup of the house is seven
house on a social level. This may have caused                 returning residents who were guaranteed either a
some people to feel less motivation or obligation             single or were elected last year to management
towards my survey.                                            positions and receive both singles and waived or
There are a number of permanent characteristics               reduced board bills, four transfer students who
about Kairos that contribute to the unique cultural           for the most part requested co-ops but had no
scene among its residents. Kairos is relatively               specific knowledge of Kairos House, seventeen
unknown to the Stanford community at large.                   students who were restricted in their choice by
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         94                                              Appendix

bad draw numbers or unguaranteed status and                  that there is a ‘culture’ of Kairos active during
had no previous conception of Kairos other than              this academic school year, I am asserting that
that it is a less ‘granola’ co-op than some of the           there is a system of commonality and behavior
others, two students who had not known much                  that a non-member does not participate in.
about Kairos but were strictly attracted to the              Furthermore, only as a member can one truly
fifth-year student guarantee of a single, and two            understand what it means to function within this
students who wanted to be in one of the more                 system.
“hard-core” co-ops but were excluded by the                  As a member of the culture, I can identify
draw. I do not have data for the other three                 perceptions that other members hold and relate
students.                                                    this to my own experience of non-Kairos culture.
There are a few important trends here. The first is          Kairos culture is unique in that it is a brief
that residents had either bad draw numbers or                improvisation by students from varied back-
unguaranteed status. Second, they appreciated the            grounds. Rather than being a fully entrenched
fact that Kairos is a co-op, but did not want to live        lifestyle, it is a series of year-long participations.
in those with stronger reputations. Third, the               It thus seems to me that Kairos is not so much a
residents tended to draw in by themselves or in              case of culture forming the individuals, but of
small groups. Very few new residents seemed to               individuals forming their culture. I cannot
believe before living here that this would be an             determine, therefore, how Kairos residents are
optimal environment. As we shall see, after living           tricked into behavior by their culture, but I can
here for one quarter, the majority of residents              analyze what Kairos culture is to its members and
considered this the best dorm and the most                   how it got that way.
exciting and supportive community they have
lived in during college. During winter quarter               History
people’s perspectives changed somewhat. There                The history of Kairos is important in its
became a growing dissatisfaction with the Kairos             surprising continuity with the present. The
environment for many people.                                 student makeup of Kairos is largely random, but
It is appropriate to mention at the start that one of        what seems to remain throughout time is a
the most important things about Kairos fall                  tendency to be discreetly deviant. Kairos has not
quarter was that it was closed for twelve days               been a co-op for long, and as the present house
after the 7.1 earthquake in October, 1989. The               manager said, it doesn’t matter if it is a co-op or a
social dynamics of the house were quite unique               self-op, it has always been the same and always
and profound before this incident, but were                  will. To a large extent this is probably true.
hurled into a rare transition that set many                  Kairos does seem to have occupied a specific
standards for the remainder of the year. The                 niche in the University for years. But the fact that
earthquake provides a good contrast to the                   it is now a co-op is important to its character, and
behavioral changes that have occurred in winter              will probably be more important as time goes on.
quarter.                                                     Kairos House was originally built and used by
I would like to note briefly what my agenda is in            the Delta Chi fraternity. The house was built in
this paper. Recent anthropological theory has                1910. The construction and furnishing was
often equated social analysis with identifying the           supervised by student member Earle Leaf. In
metasocial in culture. That is, finding the                  1935, the house was rebuilt to roughly its modern
underlying layers of significance that are at the            condition in what was called at the time “French
root of cultural behavior. This seems to me to               Chateau” architecture.
often be an anthropologist’s search for causes of            The house became a self-op in 1968 because the
behavior that even the participants themselves               Delta Chi fraternity did not fill the house and
would not recognize. It seems to be a search for             could not pay its bills. As a self-op, the residents
ways that people are tricked by their culture to act         managed all house upkeep and hired a cook. This
a certain way. Although I am not willing to                  is reputed to be the beginning of “the Kairos as
completely toss this method out, I have identified           we know it”. Its fundamental organizational
some problems with it through the study of                   structure was set at this point, and according to
Kairos.                                                      rumor so was the personality of the house. From
As a member of the community I am studying, I                the 1971-72 school year through 1977-78, Kairos
can see that there may be levels of cultural                 was listed in the Draw Book as a special program
significance that I cannot recognize because I am            house with no special sign-ups that is co-
embedded. I will maintain, though, that this does            operatively run. Although house management,
not make my analysis worthless. When I assume                upkeep and cooking policies were not changed, in
Co-operative Living at Stanford                       95                                           Appendix

1978-79 Kairos ceased to be identified as co-              in with him. Eventually the University discovered
operatively run. This may indicate the presence of         him and kicked him out. Afterwards, though, they
an ambivalence about Kairos’ identity as a co-             decided that the space could be made into a room.
operative that has persisted to the present time.          The wall was opened up and a window was
In 1980 or ’81, Kairos began the kitchen policy it
now has. Reportedly, in the fall no one liked the          In the early eighties, the first female house
cook. The house took a vote and decided to fire            manager was elected. There was a managers’ log
her at the end of the quarter. They decided that           book that was used by the managers and was
everyone would cook each week until they found             never seen by anyone else that caused severe
a new cook. Over Christmas vacation, everyone              difficulties this year. It contained many passages
was to go home and find a recipe that could easily         that those holding the book did not want a female
be cooked for fifty people. During winter quarter          to see, most likely because it contained
people liked cooking, and it worked so well that           chauvinistic statements. An attempt was made to
they decided to continue it, only hiring cooks             erase parts, but that didn’t work. The previous
from within the house instead of everyone                  manager decided to hold the logbook until the
cooking. At this point, as Diana Conklin, Director         next male manager was elected, but it has never
of the Row, put it, Kairos began its evolution into        been seen since.
a co-op. It remained a self-op until 1986-87 when          The house was never particularly “co-opy.” It
it was listed as a row house with a special                never invested energy into participating with other
priority. In 1988-89 it was first listed as a co-op        co-ops. Reportedly it is more involved with the
with special priority. The management of the               other co-ops now than it has ever been. The
house never changed, though.                               character of the house used to go in a three-year
In 1981-82, Kairos received a large pool table that        cycle. A new group of sophomores would draw
now sits in the back common room. It had                   into the house, bringing with them new ideas and
previously been in one of the Toyon eating clubs           energy. Because at this time returning residents
(student-run eating co-operatives). That club              were guaranteed a place in the house, this group
closed that year, and the University needed a              would live there for the following three years.
place for the table. At Toyon the table was used           They would manage the house and determine the
exclusively for the game “squash,” a rowdy                 social character of the house. When they
game often involving twenty people where one               graduated, a new group would draw in.
rolls the cue ball with the hands to hit the active        The house has had consistently good relations
ball, the point being to never let the active ball         with the University. Around 1986 and 1987 it did
stop or be sunk. The table was in very bad repair          not do as well in the draw as usual, but other than
as a result of this activity, so the University            that it has filled without any problems. This is in
offered to give Kairos the table if the residents          contrast to some of the other co-ops which have
would refurbish it. For two hundred dollars paid           had a difficult time filling in the Draw and have
by the residents, the table was removed from the           had their status as co-op threatened by the
eating club, redone, and delivered to Kairos. It is        University. It seems that Kairos seems attractive
an incredibly heavy table, with three large slates         to a larger student population than some other
of marble. After a very difficult struggle it was          co-ops. Although the house has never been hard
moved into the house. The only problem was that            to get into, it has consistently been filled.
its weight warped the floor. Pieces of wood stuck
under the legs on one side remain the solution.            The character of the house has never been typical
The pool table is an example of what has always            of other Row houses or dorms. Kairos has been a
been a trend at Kairos: the willingness to be              mystery to Diana Conklin since 1978 when she
extravagant if everyone agrees.                            began working at the Row office. She has never
                                                           heard it referred to in conversation by students,
In 1984-85, Facilities completely renovated the            and she cannot pin it down in her mind. She
house. According to a resident, relations between          senses it is different than other houses and
the house and Facilities were exceptionally good           fraternities, but she does not know why. She
at the time, so the process was friendly and done          describes it as low-key, with an ethos of not being
to everyone’s advantage. They redid the carpets,           demanding or strict, kind of easy-going,
walls, and most notably remodeled the kitchen.             comfortable, and friendly. She says hers is a
In 1983, the quad on the third floor was turned            positive image, but with no detail. “It is the one
into a quint. Apparently there was a person who            house I shrug about,” she says.
wanted to live in an attic space adjacent to the
quad. He moved in, stretching an extension cord
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         96                                              Appendix

                                                             stable, supportive houses. But the sentiment of
Where We Come From                                           virtually all Kairos residents, as mentioned earlier,
In the first quarter survey, the residents                   is that most are too extreme, “isolated from
consistently and repeatedly stated that Kairos is            reality”, and exclusionistic to the mainstream
incredibly diverse. Of course many different                 types most “Kairosians” consider themselves.
things were meant by this comment. The diversity             To most members, Kairos seemed the most
was generally considered in relation to other                comfortable, relaxed and accepting house
residences on campus and to each person’s place              available.
of origin. Often what was being referred to was
people’s viewpoints such as political orientation,           This mutually shared expectancy of Kairos has
their interests and personalities, or their                  shaped the community in many ways. One of the
backgrounds. Asked again in the winter, many                 earliest manifestations of this is the attitude of
residents have a different view of diversity at              “our house”. Residents think of our ugly and
Kairos. Although people remain content that there            more-than-slightly run-down house as their
is a higher level of diversity at Kairos than in             home. Being a co-op, we are very independent in
many other residences, especially the other co-              how we maintain our house and how we use its
ops, many feel the need for more.                            features. Intervention from the University is
                                                             minimal, but when it occurs, residents are critical
The members of the Kairos community come                     and resentful. This attitude is common with
from an assortment of backgrounds. The majority              college students, but in a large dorm the presence
is of course mainstream white. Thirty percent of             of the University is so strong it is impossible not
the house is non-mainstream in culture or                    to yield to it. At Kairos on a number of occasions
ancestry, but this sector is comprised of eighty             residents attempt to do what they want anyway or
percent women. The economic class break-up, as               challenge the University’s decisions. At other
defined by residents’ own definitions, is nearly             times, they mostly forget that the house is owned
half upper-middle class, a quarter middle class,             by the University.
with the rest roughly equally divided between
lower, lower-middle and upper classes. Most                  It may seem a coincidence that while virtually all
members of the non-mainstream ethnicities and                residents attribute their arrival here in large part to
economic classes have expressed an awareness of              default or logistical advantage (a guaranteed
their differences, but satisfaction that they are not        single), there was a virtually unanimous set of
significant because the house is itself so diverse.          expectations of and hopes for the community. I
No one has expressed a feeling that s/he has been            believe the fact that people came here individually
treated unfairly because of any such difference.             or in small groups as a nearly last resort and had
This is a trend that will be discussed in greater            no idea who else would be in the house
detail later, but is important to keep in mind               determined to a large degree what their attitude
throughout the analysis.                                     would be. First of all, people who are not open to
                                                             close association with random people would have
I mentioned earlier the categories of residents’             opted for a less mysterious house even though
motivation for living in Kairos. The two largest             the options were very limited. Secondly, not
groups were strangers to Kairos who chose the                knowing at all who would be here made people
house as the best environment given a disad-                 hope for the best and try to create a positive
vantage in the housing draw, and the returning               environment with whatever they were handed.
residents. The ethnic and economic groups cut                This hypothesis will be explored in greater depth
through these motivational groups with no                    later.
differentiation. Both motivational groups, though,
expressed a unanimous desire for a “home” or                 Socialization
“house” as opposed to a dorm. Due to the                     No one knew what Kairos would be like before
Residential Education program, all residents                 they arrived in the house. Yet, the returning
except transfer students have experienced dorm               residents knew pretty much what they wanted it to
life. Everyone, whether or not they enjoyed that             be like. The returning residents for the most part
life at the time, has come to want a place to feel at        occupy management positions and are thus in a
home or to avoid the “sterile, calculated life” of           powerful position to form what they want. At the
the dorms. A number of people have divorced                  beginning of the year, they made a concerted
parents or unstable families and feel the need for           effort to start things out right. They presented the
support and consistency. Many others have home               way the house is run as crucial to all of our well-
lives they appreciate and would like to                      being, not really opening the structure of
approximate as much as possible at college. The              management to community formulation. They
co-op communities at Stanford are well-known as              had a clear idea, derived from their experience the
Co-operative Living at Stanford                        97                                              Appendix

previous year, that things could be really bad if           requires only an average of one hour per week of
everyone didn’t work hard for the house as a                work. The difference is that Kairos residents pay
whole.                                                      roughly two to three hundred dollars more per
In response, many people rapidly realized that
Kairos requires a high level of participation from          A couple of residents did not even know that
each member. Although there have been numer-                Kairos is a co-op before they moved in. One such
ous problems, especially at first, with people              person said that when she found out, she thought
doing all their jobs and volunteering for work that         she might have to grow tomatoes or something.
was not officially required of them, the norm was           The other residents are divided between those that
set: it is not okay to neglect the house. This type         say co-op status had an effect on their living here
of participation in the house is one example of a           and those that say it had no effect. Because most
Kairos theme. That is, it is expected that residents        people that live at Kairos did not place it as a first
make Kairos a priority in their lives.                      choice, it must be remembered that their decision
                                                            was often based upon a shortage of choices.
At Kairos there seems to be a priority to have fun          Those that say co-op status had a large effect on
together, and the generous funds allocated to do            their choice mention the advantages of required
so seem to demonstrate this. While most                     involvement in the house, the small community,
residents dislike the fraternity lifestyle, Kairos          the value of working together and being
early-on developed (or perhaps perpetuated) the             responsible for oneself.
distinctly non-co-op attitude that “we are Kairos,
and we like to rage.” From some residents’ per-             The advantages of a non-dorm atmosphere was
spectives, this priority has subsided somewhat              mentioned by one resident. He said that he was
during winter quarter. To reflect upon the                  “psyched to deal with cooking and cleaning
strength of the concept, though, the perception             provided that it didn’t take too much time.” This
that people have not participated as much in                parallels the attitudes of other residents who said
house social activities has created emotional               they liked the idea of co-operation and leaving the
conflict for those residents.                               ‘mainstream’, but did not want to join the co-ops
                                                            with reputations they considered disagreeable.
Kairos residents are very aware that they are
different and that they have their own way of               Those that say co-op status had no effect on their
doing things, but in contrast to other co-ops, as           choice to live here cited varied alternative reasons.
one resident put it, they don’t have the attitude           Some include the promise of a single, the open
that “we are a co-op, and this is our aura”.                kitchen, the lesser work commitment, and the
Perhaps instead they think of themselves as a               house-style structure. One person said that if
pleasantly unique group of random people who                anything, the co-op status was a negative feature.
choose to do things their own way. As will be               These people seem to have viewed co-op status as
apparent later, this attitude is not unanimous, but         unrelated to the character of the house, or as a
forms a prevalent attitude from which some                  work agreement that was neither good nor bad.
people deviate.                                             Most residents did not draw into Kairos for the
                                                            extended definitions of co-operation: environ-
Perceptions of Co-operation                                 mental awareness, political revolution, social
Kairos’ status as co-op was not a singularly                change, feminism, deviancy, or consensus, for
important factor in people’s decision to live here          example. They either did not care that Kairos is a
as it may be in some other co-ops. Yet, it is a             co-op, cared only that it is a small and interactive
large contributor to the make-up of the house. It           community, or that the cooking and cleaning
is important to remember here that Kairos first             organization was more appealing. Kairos resi-
became a co-op in 1988, and never changed its               dents, without exception, do not actively try to
organizational structure in the process. As one             create an alternative co-operative lifestyle in the
member put it, it is a co-op “by a fine line.” It is        house. There is no explicit concept of co-
the only Stanford co-op to hire cooks from within           operation as a process for social interaction and
the house. The others require weekly cooking                residents do not associate it with larger social or
shifts from all residents. Because cooking is               political goals in their expressed behavior.
optional at Kairos there is a lower work
commitment than at the other co-ops. For                    What Kairos as a co-op does mean to many
example, even when Synergy, another Stanford                residents now that they have lived there for six
co-op, had University cleaning, weekly work                 months is that people depend upon one-another,
commitments averaged two and one half hours.                and are responsible for themselves independently
Kairos does its own cleaning and cooking, but               of the University. They feel they have the
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         98                                            Appendix

freedom to make choices, and many feel that a                virtually everyone still favors being a co-op.
sense of ‘community’ has developed.                          Because Kairos was not a co-op before 1988 but
                                                             had the exact same structure, the effects of Kairos
The definitions residents have of co-operation in            being a co-op are to a significant degree a result
the context of Kairos tend to be limited to what             of the effect on its reputation.
one resident called the administrative level. It is a
commitment to work together, and for some it is              There seem to be three primary factors mentioned
to want to be a community and to be independent              by residents that they believe relate to the reputa-
of the University. The meaning of co-op status,              tion of Kairos. First is the association with the
however, goes beyond this for many people. On                other co-ops. The second is the idea that Kairos
the positive side, many people feel that co-op               is often considered the most “mainstream” of
structure fosters a strong social bond. One                  the co-ops. The third is that Kairos is in general
woman who did not care that Kairos is a co-op                unheard-of in the Stanford community at large.
noticed that the house is more unified and                   Diana Conklin’s comments mentioned in the
requires co-operation, trust and honesty as a                History section are indicative of a defiance Kairos
result. Another resident said that there is a more           has of classification. It is easily clumped with the
conscientious crowd that draws in because they               other co-ops or with row houses in general by
are willing to work with everyone else.                      mainstream Stanford students. It is also easily
                                                             regarded as the un-co-op by members of other
Because many residents tend to appreciate that               co-ops. In general, though, it seems to most
self-reliance and autonomy are important, they               residents that no one even knows it exists.
also find that people who do not fulfill their
responsibilities add a negative quality to co-               As a co-op, Kairos seems to attract people who
operation. One person who said the problem with              are willing to contribute and are “mellow” or
Kairos being a co-op is that he hates house jobs             “laid-back.” Many residents consider this a
is the subject of many others’ complaints about              positive factor. They feel that if Kairos were not a
the lack of co-operation. Those who don’t                    co-op, people who are unwilling to do their share
contribute, they say, make the whole system                  of the work or who are unwilling to be involved in
frustrating. At Kairos, this is a legitimate com-            the house would draw in. It is also notable that
plaint. There are those who are the constant foci            Kairos is not as ‘hard-core’ as some of the other
of complaints about irresponsibility. Statistical            co-ops and does not have a theme. For those who
data about who missed their house jobs support               had more than a vague awareness of the co-ops at
these complaints. As one resident who feels                  Stanford, Kairos seemed to present an option of
strongly that people tend to contribute                      co-operative living to the more moderate
inadequately said, “...some people decide that               population. For those who had never heard of
their own needs are more important [and] it puts a           Kairos, it was an appealing structure with many
strain on others.”                                           benefits such as single rooms and an open
There are some in the house who feel that being a
co-operative is negative in other ways. One                  Those who feel that being a co-op has a positive
person said that the problem is that some people             effect on the reputation of Kairos say that it
do not want to be part of the community. Here he             serves as a self-selection process in the Draw and
identifies that co-ops are a more involved form of           tends to attract a more unique mix of people.
community. Another believes that being a co-op               There is also an appreciation by many residents
is associated with the placement of too much                 that Kairos does not attract the “hippy, granola
pressure on people to participate socially in the            types” that they perceive are attracted to some of
house. This dilemma will be discussed in greater             the other co-ops. The many people who draw into
detail later. Another resident feels that the house          Kairos as a low choice seem to pick it as a house
is too “hyper-liberal” as a result of its co-op              that offers a lot as a co-op, but a more attractive
status. As a result he feels afraid to voice his             solution to them than the other co-ops.
moral views.                                                 Perhaps the importance to Kairos of being either
Most of the people mentioned above define co-                easily clumped together with the ‘hard-core’ co-
operation in a very limited sense, but associate             ops or seen as the non-co-op is its role in the
more involved social processes with it. They do              process of prospective residents who do a limited
not, however take the ideal as far as it can go.             amount of research for their decision about where
This will appear as a trend in a later analysis of           to live. Many of the people that draw in are
residents’ perceptions of themselves in compari-             willing to participate and like the idea of co-
son to other co-ops. Despite the negative charac-            operation, but are not looking for a high work
teristics expressed about Kairos being a co-op,              commitment.
Co-operative Living at Stanford                         99                                              Appendix

As a co-op, Kairos has a very authoritarian                  people are willing to put in the effort to make the
management structure. As mentioned in the                    changes. As one resident stated, those that make
introduction, large decisions are made by majority           the decisions are the few that care. For example, a
vote, while smaller decisions are made by                    resident complained to a manager that the kitchen
managers on their own and presented to the resi-             should be reorganized. The manager suggested
dents as made. Part of this is due to the person-            that it would be a good idea if he were to
alities of the specific managers in office this year.        reorganize it himself. The resident responded,
It is also due to the job descriptions themselves.           “Never mind.”
The managers receive exempt spots in the draw                The general dissatisfaction with the co-operative
(automatically are assigned to Kairos), first room           structure is explicitly due to people not contribut-
pick, and either a full or seventy-five percent              ing enough, or not communicating enough. The
board bill reduction. In exchange for this, and in           contradiction is that the same people say, as will
order to decrease the amount of work the other               be seen later, that they moved into Kairos or like
residents are required to do, the managers are               Kairos because it is not as fully co-operative as
expected to completely manage their specific                 some of the other co-ops.
areas. Thus, for example, all kitchen needs
including food ordering, shopping, menu plan-                Kairos Defines Itself
ning, and organizing cooks are done by two
people.                                                      Kairos is most easily defined in comparison to
                                                             other living options at Stanford. There is a
By choosing this organization, Kairos is fulfilling          prevalent attitude among residents that Kairos is
its full responsibilities as a Stanford co-op: self-         different than everywhere else. Residents cite
organization and student cooking. The choice is,             autonomy, a home-like feeling, a laid-back char-
though, to maintain a minimum level of                       acter, diversity and a sense of ‘community’ as in
commitment with the maximum benefits.                        contrast to dormitories. Most residents say the
Co-operation is a priority, but happens within a             advantage over a dorm is great. The contrast with
hierarchical structure of managers and residents.            other co-ops is perhaps more telling about the
The managers are in practice often given license             community, though.
to make smaller decisions because the residents
figure they know more about the issue (only the              In a general sense, Kairos residents identify the
shoppers know what the prices are) or because                other co-ops as “too granola, spaced out, not in
they care more (because they are more involved               touch with reality,” “earth-loving feeling,”
with many of the processes of the house). Yet,               “dogmatic, impractical,” “granola and hippy,”
residents are not all satisfied.                             “more co-opy than us,” and “more homoge-
                                                             neous.” There were many comments that resi-
Although some residents respond with complete                dents like the other co-ops but wouldn’t want to
approval of the management system, the majority              live there, or like lots of the people in the other
say that the managers make too many decisions                co-ops but think the scene is too much. One
on their own. Both managers and residents say                person emphasized that the other co-ops are a
there is too little communication between man-               good idea, but simply do not work. He feels that
agers and residents. People express the desire to            Kairos is more realistic. Impressions and percep-
have more input in what food is bought. As it                tions Kairos residents have of the other co-ops
stands, there is a wish list for food. The food              can illustrate how they perceive themselves.
managers use their own discretion to decide what
they will buy. This is not an objective process.             The perceptions of Terra were split between those
For example, a reason cited for not buying a                 that think of it in a negative sense and those who
certain food was that “it tastes like dog food.”             think of it positively, and a couple of people who
Similarly, one day a box of corn dogs appeared in            said they know nothing about it. One person who
the freezer. When asked why it was bought, a                 considers Kairos more laid back than the other
food manager said that one of the people that                co-ops also feels that Terra is a bit more laid back
went shopping saw it and liked it. “Besides,” she            than the ‘hard-core’ co-ops. One other identifies
said, “anyone who takes the time to shop has the             it as “cool, but mainstream.” Those who
right to buy whatever he wants.”                             conceive of it as a negative place call it “large, not
                                                             much community, boring,” “too dark,” “lame,”
Some residents emphasize the efficiency of such              “and as consisting of “video games types.” In
a system. It takes a minimum effort by the                   these comments there is apparent both a rejection
majority of the people. The trade-off, though, is            of normalcy and an appreciation for
that people feel decisions are being made for                moderateness.
them. The problem is that it does not seem that
Co-operative Living at Stanford                    100                                            Appendix

Columbae was seen in a more generally negative         “mellow” people. The co-op status thus is seen
light. Only thee people expressed an appreciation      by many people at Kairos as a positive thing that
for or approval of how they perceive the character     creates an appealing atmosphere, but also as an
of Columbae. These three called it interactive,        ideal that can be taken too far or can be mistak-
politically involved and funky. The others             enly associated in a general sense with counter-
expressed dislike based on concepts that it is         culture.
“too emotional,” “overly ‘earthy,’” “very              This same viewpoint is apparent in the opinions
counter-culture, concerned with process,” “ a          Kairos residents had about joining an all co-op
good idea taken too far by nearsighted zealots,”       council. The majority said they were not in favor
and “dirty.”                                           of joining such a council. Most of these residents
Hammarskjöld did not receive comment by many           cited Kairos as too different from the other co-
people. There were no negative comments about          ops for it to gain anything, or that joining could
it. Most people that said anything noted that it is    threaten the individuality of Kairos. References
the international theme house and has a lot of         were made to how ‘granola’ the others are, and to
graduate students. Most people who knew about          the political nature of the other co-ops. Two
it felt there were interesting people there.           people believed that Synergy and Columbae
                                                       would probably dominate such a council, and said
Phi Psi was unknown to two people. Those who           they perpetuate “an acceptable co-op mold” and
commented on it for the most part had positive         are dogmatic. These people did not want to
things to say: “cool,” “nice people,”                  participate in such a council. Two people pointed
“awareness, activism,” “mellow.” Four people           out that the University is not apprehensive, and
commented that they perceive it as a drug haven,       thus we do not need to organize against an
and one person said that the co-ed showers there       imaginary common enemy.
are strange. It was equated by one person to
Theta Chi.                                             Those who believe Kairos should join felt there
                                                       are things that all the co-ops have in common to
Theta Chi received largely good comments. A few        gain, but emphasized that the individuality of
people considered it closest to Kairos in              Kairos must be maintained. Some felt a larger co-
character. Comments included, “interesting             op community feeling would be good, but they
people,” “less co-opy than Synergy or Colum-           doubt if many Kairos residents would want to
bae,” “artsy,” and “gorgeous.” Theta Chi also          participate. Two people felt that it would be
was identified by one person as strange because it     advantageous only for cost sharing or to improve
has co-ed showers. Another feels that it is            living conditions, but that there was no substantial
cliquish.                                              need.
Synergy was considered equal to Columbae in its        Another standard for self-identification by Kairos
“counter-culture, anti-mainstream” quality. Peo-       is diversity. As mentioned earlier, in the first
ple called it “weird,” “off the wall, real partici-    survey residents almost unanimously felt that
patory,” the “most extreme,” and the “ultimate         Kairos is very diverse. I asked this question again
stereotype co-op.” It is interesting that the          in the winter and received a very different answer.
general comments people made about other co-           Only a few people feel that Kairos is not at all
ops were roughly the same as those made about          diverse. One such person referred to cultural
Synergy and Columbae. Similarly, the comments          diversity, the other to diversity in social relations.
about co-ops in general often included Synergy         The latter feels that friends in the house tend to be
and Columbae as examples. The fact is,                 alike. The others were split between those who
Columbae and Synergy were the only two that            think Kairos is very diverse and those who think
received many comments about counter-culture           it is more diverse than many other places on
and extremeness. The only co-ops that came             campus, but not diverse in all respects.
close were Phi Psi for its supposed drugs and co-
ed showers and Theta Chi for its co-ed showers.        The shared view of all these people is that there is
                                                       a wide variety of interests and personalities in the
It is clear that Kairos defines itself as mainstream   house. One person mentioned that shy people are
and moderate in comparison to the other co-ops,        included and encouraged. Another said there are
although there are two co-ops that people felt are     many different political views represented. One
similar to Kairos: Terra and Theta Chi. Although       other said that although there are not many
there is a sentiment that the co-ops “like Synergy     extremists in the house, many different views are
or Columbae” are too extreme and alternative,          accepted and represented. The only person who
there were a large number of comments referring        felt uncomfortable in the house because of a
to the other co-ops as having interesting and          political orientation or interest is one who is very
Co-operative Living at Stanford                    101                                            Appendix

religious and conservatively oriented. This person     for ‘community’ in a residence, and would like
says that people in the house assume that there is     there to be ‘community’ at Kairos. The degree to
no higher being and probably do not pray. His          which they are satisfied may perhaps indicate
feeling is caused by what he considers the             how they perceive the concept of ‘community.’
moderate-liberal make up of the house. In              The responses were varied. A few people con-
contrast to Kairos residents’ perceptions of the       sider Kairos to have a very good level of
other co-ops, though, they feel that more diversity,   ‘community.’ One such resident attributed it to
especially on the moderate or conservative side        the amount of co-operation required by the work
are respected and tolerated.                           residents do. Others called the community sup-
While many of those who feel Kairos is diverse         portive, caring, trusting, reliable, and full of people
state that there are many minority groups repre-       who get along well. These people seem to value
sented, those who feel Kairos is not diverse in all    the emotional interaction and stability of the
respects specifically state cultural or racial         community environment. Others felt that Kairos
diversity as lacking. A few people said that there     has an average or fair level of ‘community.’
may be more minorities represented in Kairos           These residents felt that there is not a lot of
than in Stanford in general, but that it is not        mutual co-operation, consideration and that
enough. Regardless of the actual diversity of          people seem to be too concerned with themselves.
Kairos (this can hardly be determined in an            If it is taken as fact that a significant number of
objective way), the standard is set: people at         people do perform their house work below the
Kairos want diversity. Those who say that Kairos       community’s standard, the split level of satisfac-
is not diverse enough are saying that they desire      tion may be due to different ideals. Those that are
more. Those that say it is diverse unanimously         satisfied focus on the emotional support they find
say that they they like that factor and consider it    here, considered by all these residents to be much
an important part of the Kairos environment.           greater than in their past experiences at Stanford.
Kairos’ identity as diverse, mainstream, realistic,    Those that are dissatisfied may look for
laid-back and independent characterize the senti-      ‘community’ in mutual obligation and participa-
ment that Kairos is a unique living environment.       tion, which they feel are lacking.
One important trend here is that many Kairos           There were a few who say they do not look for
residents see themselves as too unique to have a       ‘community’ in a residence. They say either that
commonality with the other co-ops. As we saw           they simply cannot expect it from a house this
above, though, the contrast is with two specific       large or that they find it elsewhere. For those that
co-ops, Synergy and Columbae. The antagonistic         do seek ‘community,’ especially a direct level of
attitude against perceived control by co-ops is        involvement with the house, these people who do
similar to that of management of dorms by the          not look for ‘community’ are a source of
University. Kairos is seen as autonomous from          dissatisfaction. This attitude is paralleled by
the University to the necessary degree, and            comments on the ‘social scene’ in the house.
similarly autonomous from other residences. This
trend will resurface in the section on social life     There are those who feel very content and
where people feel that as a unit Kairos needs no       fulfilled by the specific scene here. One such
participation from outsiders. It is important to       person says she does not expect much from a
keep in mind at this point that residents do not       residence, but finds that Kairos has a good
consider Kairos’ status as co-op all that impor-       balance between being supportive and people not
tant. Most people do favor the designation, but it     being invested one hundred percent. Others find
is not a primary criterion for self-definition.        that there is always enough appealing social
People believe in the organizational structure of      events going on to meet their desires. These
Kairos, but do not identify with the other co-ops      people also do not have high social expectations.
to any significant degree, and do not think of the     One resident in this category said, “my wild is
designation as a determining factor in the charac-     pretty mild.” Another does not enjoy large
ter of the house.                                      crowds, but rather individuals that are willing to
                                                       talk and interact.
Social Life and Personal Interactions                  At the other end are those that are not content
Kairos can be described as a community in the          with the social life. A few complain about the
sense that people live together. To what degree        people who do their own thing. As one other said,
can this definition be expanded for Kairos?            his one regret about living in Kairos is indicated
‘Community’ can be seen as a form of unity             by the question, “why would people rather study
based either upon location or upon common              on a Saturday night than come to their own
interest. Most all residents say that they do look
Co-operative Living at Stanford                    102                                         Appendix

house’s party?” Others comment that there              not feel any particular gravitation towards their
should be more in-house activities. The problem,       nearest neighbors may associate themselves with
though, is that people do not show up when there       the rest of the house in a broader way rather than
is a party. Especially during fall quarter, but also   forming strong bonds with particular people.
during winter, many people have commented that         Another is familiarity. Those who are returning
the best fun they have had in the house is at small    residents for the most part knew each other
in-house gatherings or parties. For an all-campus      before this academic year started, and naturally
party during the winter, people were supposed to       felt a bond. Those who did not spend much time
distribute flyers to advertise it throughout           in the house all say they have significant lives
campus. By the time the party started, only a few      elsewhere and think of Kairos as a place to sleep
had been taken from the stack. People                  or eat more than anything else.
commented later that they just didn’t care if other    These groups were not characterized by any
people came. They had invited their friends, and       major personality, economic status or ethnicity
other than that, they just wanted to party with        trends. Seeking an alternative trend might be
Kairos people. These are the people that look for      appropriate. At the time I figured that Kairos
involvement from other people in the house. To         residents may have grouped themselves by the
their disappointment, the party was almost empty       types of interaction they desired from each other.
of Kairos residents as well as outsiders.              It seemed that those who needed a responsive
The other source of dissatisfaction with the           affiliation with a group and were ready for such a
Kairos social scene is a perception of disjointed-     commitment tended to participate in the tighter
ness and cliquishness. In the fall quarter survey,     groups. Those who did not need the affiliation
many residents express the opinion that Kairos is      within the house, were not ready for a close web
uniquely lacking in exclusive cliques within the       of dependency, or were satisfied with a broader
house. Because the house is small and there is a       sense of community participation did not
strong tone of acceptance of diversity, the social     associate themselves specifically within the two
associations that did exist within the house           strongest groups. Quite admittedly there were
presented a problem for some people. The norm          deeper psychological motivations present in the
as I analyzed it was togetherness, and when            groups. Those mentioned, though, were directly
certain people perceived any level of exclusion,       related to the more significant trend of acceptance
they explicitly considered it an obstacle. I took      and inclusion of diversity.
seating charts of who sat next to each other at        It seemed that none of the groups were
dinners for a three-week period. Although the          considered less “okay” or less a part of the
data sample was small, a number of personal            house. For many, they were rather different ways
preferences were revealed. These preferences           that many people felt a part of the house. For
related directly to an explicit and often discussed    example, the two more cohesive groups, the quint
second-third floor dichotomy.                          cluster and the returning residents contributed the
The third floor was socially dominated by the          most to the second-third floor dichotomy. This
quint, a five male room. With several strongly         dichotomy was simply a perceived difference
associated people on the third floor, their room       between the make-up of each floor, reflecting the
served as a gathering place for many third floor       mutual exclusion of the social groups that
people and a few second floor people who were          dominated the floors. The dichotomy took on a
close friends. The second floor housed all of the      pseudo-territorial nature. The fact is the two
second year residents who formed a cohesive            groups liked and respected each other very much.
social group. There were also a few smaller            They liked working together and had very similar
clusters of friends that lived on the second floor,    desires for the house as a whole. This is what
but who did not interact to any significant degree     made the two groups an explicit and talked-about
with the third floor group. The second and third       dichotomy. The members wished the distinction
floors both had a number of people that did not        between them could be broken down.
interact with any group in specific or did not         In the winter quarter, as a few residents noted,
spend much time in the house at all.                   many friendships have shifted. Some people have
There are innumerable reasons why the members          become more interactive with people they had
of each group participated as they did. An             never been close to before, and some old
obvious one was room locations. People tended          associations became less involved. Although one
to associate with those who lived close-by even        resident mentioned that the third floor still
when they might have gotten along just as well         seemed isolated, most others felt that there are
with many other people. Similarly, those who did       many smaller cliques and groups that now act
Co-operative Living at Stanford                    103                                          Appendix

independently. One notable change serves as an         house expressed the feeling that they were not
example for the general trend that people are not      accepted in the community.
interacting in the house in winter as much as they     Another trend is the wish that the house were
were in the fall. The quint which served as a          closer and more intimate than it is. This seemed
social center for a large group no longer hosts        curious during the fall when most residents were
many gatherings. The quint residents tried having      also very pleased and surprised by the unusual
two room parties during the quarter in a specific      degree of unity that did exist. Likewise, as the
attempt to rekindle the spirit that they felt had      level of participation decreases by many members
disappeared since the first quarter. The first party   of the house, the wish grows even stronger. It
enjoyed a reasonable attendance, but everyone left     seems that the one follows from the other in that
soon after midnight. The second party was very         if there were not such an obvious potential for
poorly attended.                                       unity and support people would not consider it
This change is due to people being busier than         possible in University housing. In other words,
they were in the fall, to their dedicating more time   people only want it more because they have
to friends outside of the house, and I will argue to   already had so much of it.
the passage of time after the earthquake crisis. In    The returning residents seem to have instilled in
the surveys in the fall, many people stated the        the rest of the members a common Kairos
importance of the earthquake experience. People        identity that includes a self-awareness that they
relied on each other and found a community of          are different than most other campus dorms and
people that cared. Many trends began at this time      co-ops. Residents believe that they are realistic in
that were important factors for the first quarter,     how they approach the house, and that the very
but have dissipated somewhat through the winter.       fact that they aren’t idealistic makes it work even
Behavioral trends may have changed, but                better. For example, during one house meeting
dominant expectancies of behavioral trends have        during the earthquake crisis we were discussing
not.                                                   how we could help other co-ops who would not
                                                       be returning to their houses. A number of
House-Wide Trends                                      comments were made such as “I’m an ass-hole,
One of the most important trends is the social         but an honest one,” and “let’s face it, we’re anal
pressure to be in the house a lot. As mentioned        compared to the other co-ops.” Residents talk
earlier, many people expect and hope that others       about how they are relatively apathetic to campus
will make Kairos a priority in their lives.            and political issues, more materially-oriented, and
Although this was a stronger factor during the         eat lots of meat. These attitudes are not universal,
first quarter, the standard remains in the form of     but most everyone believes it is perfectly okay to
disappointment in those who do not involve             be that way, and that there is no reason anyone
themselves and the feeling by those who don’t          should be willing to change. These attitudes
participate a lot that they are disliked because of    contribute to Kairos’ marginal role on campus
it. This point is best demonstrated by a peripheral    and its internal cohesion.
member of the community who spends very little
time in the house. Other residents have expressed      The Kairos community is also especially
that she seems like a very “cool” person and           conducive to trying things this set of people
they wish she were around more. From her               wouldn’t normally venture into in a more
perspective, though, Kairos is saying something        “normal” environment. This happens within
very different to her.                                 relatively conservative limits. Different people
                                                       have said that they chewed tobacco, smoked a
Her most memorable experiences at Kairos are           cigarette, smoked pot, did alcohol drinking rituals,
when she has been persecuted for not being more        drunk to an excess, or went to a bar for the first
a part of the house. Strikingly, this woman drew       time. Others have neglected school work like
into Kairos for similar reasons to everyone else.      never before, tried to surf, have expressed a
Knowing that she wouldn’t be around much, she          willingness to take the drug XTC if others would,
wanted a house with a “relaxed, open-minded            and have expressed deep feelings and problems
atmosphere”. She hoped it would be okay to be a        to people they would normally never open-up to.
less-than-fully-integrated member of the commu-        These residents find this a unique situation, most
nity. These are standards that the fully-integrated    specifically because most of these practices are
members continue to expect and uphold. But the         not common within the house. There is no social
acceptance of diversity seems to stipulate that you    pressure to do these specific things, and yet there
participate fully in the community. Of those that      is a sense of support for such experimentation.
returned the winter survey, the two people who
spend a significant part of the time out of the
Co-operative Living at Stanford                     104                                          Appendix

A nearly universal trend is an awareness that you       changing their behavior, but they perceive the
have to get drunk with everyone before you really       difference and wish it could be improved.
bond with them. Kairos residents drink often and
most everybody included at least one drinking           The Earthquake
event in their most memorable experiences with          The residents were scattered throughout campus
the house. There are residents who do not drink,        when the earthquake hit, but soon afterwards
but even they have said that some of their              most everyone convened on the lawn in front of
strongest bonding experiences with other                the house. Our Resident Assistant told us the
residences were when the others were drunk. A           house was officially closed until further notice.
primary cause of the drunk bonding experience is        The experience at this point was primarily happy
the nature of the drug. But another has to do with      and exciting due to strong community support,
residents’ attitudes towards the community. It          although we all had the typical emotional
seems apparent that many people in the house            difficulties. When it became apparent that we
feel dependent on the house and are extremely           would most likely not be allowed in the house for
grateful for what it offers them. Alcohol allows        the night, people ran inside against the RA’s
them to express this. It is quite characteristic of     wishes and grabbed a few possessions, some
the house to be talking informally with people in       food and all the alcohol in the house.
a small group of drunk residents and have
someone with whom you have little affiliation to        That night we were the only house on the upper
come up and say they love everyone, or hug you          Row to remain congregated in front of our house,
and say they just wanted to say how much s/he           and we had a “blow-out” drinking party with a
appreciates you.                                        bonfire. The next day and a half were fairly
                                                        confusing. We were told the house would be
This standard is reiterated as the house grows          closed for a week or two at the minimum, and we
more fragmented. In order to initiate social            were not immediately given any place to stay.
bonding experiences, people tend to buy alcohol.        This period was very difficult for Kairos
The quint, as mentioned before, bought kegs for         residents because we received progressively
its two second quarter parties, advertising that it     worse news about the status of our house. At one
was time once again to get drunk together like the      point we were told the house would almost surely
quarter before. Similarly, at the traditional quarter   be closed for the year.
end party, the house always elects to buy a large
quantity of alcohol in anticipation of the              The residents of Kairos were very devastated.
uninhibited interaction that will result.               People talked at length about how important the
                                                        community had already become to them and that
The nickname the “house of love” is generally           they wanted more than anything to live with the
referred to as a regrettable stereotype we have         same community for the remainder of the year.
inherited from the past. Residents in general           On the third day we were given the Casa Zapata
dislike the hippy connotations it carries but find it   lounge to stay in, and a majority of the house
humorous that it persists despite the stubbornly        decided to forgo other more comfortable
mainstream make-up of the house. As a few               temporary housing options in order to stay
residents expressed, the great thing about the          together in the lounge. The lounge became a
name is that they all continue to be themselves, as     center for the house including many of the people
mainstream as they care to be, but they feel they       who opted to live elsewhere. Prejudice against
have experienced the freedom to feel emotions as        these others was blatant, though. They were
a community that are stereotyped to the extremist       unreservedly called traitors and deserters. Many
“crunchy, vegetarian thing”.                            of the “traitors” felt this was an expression of
In the next section I will explore a case that is       their desire for them to be a part of the group, but
identified by every resident as one of the most         others found this alienating and were very
memorable experiences of the first quarter at           uncomfortable even walking into the lounge.
Kairos. The earthquake crisis and its aftermath         The house displayed a surprising involvement
was probably the single-most influential factor in      with the other co-ops during this crisis. The
the development of Kairos culture. It involved          Stanford co-op community made a huge effort to
most every positive community standard I have           plan for its joint future. Kairos joined the
mentioned. Although some of the trends begun            discussions, attended all the meetings and actively
during the earthquake have begun to reverse             shared information. At the same time, though,
themselves in the opinions of many residents, the       Kairos had a unique attitude that it would not wait
standards were set. The residents may be                for the University or the other co-ops to decide its
                                                        fate. A number of residents did everything in their
Co-operative Living at Stanford                   105                                         Appendix

power to locate off-campus housing to                 supported by the statements of other residents or
accommodate most of the Kairos residents. We          what I believe is self-conscious observation. I
were ready at any moment to lay thirty thousand       regret if I have construed my own view of the
dollars down on a house. This period of time is       community or that of a few people as the view of
quite memorable to all residents. Those who lived     the whole.
in the lounge feel they formed the strongest          Kairos is a unique place if for no other reason
bonds with other residents then. Many others saw      than that its members consider it to be. The
the positive experience those in the lounge were      potential that the members feel they have to create
having and expressed the desire to be able to join    a supportive and fulfilling community continues
in it (extreme work loads or other social             despite the apparent decrease in behaviors that
commitments were cited as preventing them).           foster such a feeling. They have experienced
At the end of the first week out of the house, we     involvement in the type of community that many
were told that Kairos would reopen the following      desire, and know what they wish would return.
week. The ecstasy everyone felt is indescribable.     The obstacles are that, as one resident mentioned,
That night we threw a party in the Zapata lounge      the residents are flaky about contributing to the
that remains many residents’ most memorable           house, and that there are many residents who
party. Some Kairos residents continued to have        simply do not desire to make Kairos the main
strong involvement with the other co-ops that         focus of their social lives.
would not be let back in the house. We made           The residents this year consider themselves very
decisions to change a common room in the house        different than any previous year’s group. Yet, in a
into a new room for a displaced student and to        sense, the strong sense of affiliation most people
open up fifteen eating associate spots for            feel from the house ties them to what is
displaced co-op residents who wanted an               analogous to a fraternal tradition. There are
alternative community affiliation. These decisions    numerous traditions at Kairos that are expensive,
were consciously not as generous as they could        require work or are a troublesome inconvenience
have been. Residents were aware that they didn’t      that have not been opposed by a single resident.
want to change the character of the house by          For example, a huge effort is made on a variety of
admitting too many ‘hard-core’ co-opers, and          occasions to welcome previous residents back to
that they would be unwilling to forfeit many of       the house in a very costly way, even though only
the comforts of the house that would be required      a handful of residents ever met them before.
by opening up more living spaces.                     Similarly, people at Kairos tend to accept
When we returned to the house, the mood was           decisions that are handed to them because they
very different. There were new friendships,           were made by previous residents. According to a
stronger group affiliation, and significantly         number of older residents of Kairos, the
deteriorated clique barriers. At the same time,       importance of ‘community’ has always been a
schoolwork that had been neglected during the         tradition, and likewise, the dedication of
period of displacement forced most residents to       ‘mainstream’ types to the community has always
work harder than ever. This was a difficult thing     set Kairos apart.
for many because they had come to depend on
the community for social and emotional support.
As a result, schoolwork continued to be ignored
throughout fall quarter, and yet people say that
they suffered because they were not spending
nearly enough time together.
It is hard to convey just what I felt and what many
other residents explain what they felt during this
experience. The most significant factor is that it
remains such an important memory for everyone,
and was the single-most important time in the
formation of Kairos culture.

Because I am a resident of Kairos, it is
impossible for me to effectively distinguish
between my view of the community and any
other. Everything I have written here has been

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