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Moving In

Moving into the co-op can present some challenges to those who have never experienced co-op life before. Some new members are moving into a group living situation for the first time; many more have never lived in a co-op. This section will attempt to provide you with an idea of what to expect in your first week here.


This is the period between terms when most new members move in. Before Fall and Winter terms it is three weeks, and before Spring and Summer terms it is one week. During this time most old members leave for vacation but members have the option of staying over interim for free if they will be staying in SCA the following term. There is no food provided during Interim and no "official" jobs, but members who choose to stay in the houses over interim must work together to keep the house running. Don't be surprised if things seem a little chaotic when you move in - soon the term will start, jobs will be running smoothly, and the house will be back to normal.


Three weeks before the end of a term Interim Coordinators are elected by each house and trained by the House Membership Coordinator, House Treasurer, and Job Coordinators. This person is essentially responsible for everything in the house during Interim.


The House Membership Coordinator, who is responsible for corresponding with and giving tours to prospective members and accepting applications and deposits, is your contact person for becoming a member of SCA. If you have any questions regarding your application, rules of the house, dates and times of important events, or other things, this is a good person to talk to. This is also the person you will pay the rest of your deposits and NASCO fees to, and who will give you the keys to your room. Sometimes these responsibilities are taken on by the House Interim Coordinators, who oversee house functions during school breaks.

There are three important events for new members at the beginning of the term: New Member Orientation, the General Membership Meeting, and the first House Meeting and Job Lottery. These events are described below.


New Member Orientation is an important but informal get-together for, yes, you guessed it, new members. It is coordinated by the Membership Coord, Interim Coord, or other old members. A house tour is usually given at the beginning of orientation, followed by a general overview of what the house and corporation are about. A preview of the meetings to come (General Membership and House) will also be given. Any questions you have about the co-op or upcoming events are welcome and encouraged.


General Membership meetings usually occur only once or twice per term and often follow a dinner for all members at one house. The first General Membership meeting usually occurs on the first Sunday night of the term. This meeting is a forum to elect corporate officers, make major policy decisions, and distribute information to the membership. Under General Membership (see Governing Bodies) you will find a list of corporate officers with brief descriptions of each. Not all positions are elected every term (many are year-long positions,) so you should ask your Membership Coord what positions will be elected at the next meeting.


The first house meeting of each term usually takes place the day after the first General Membership meeting. Three very important things happen during and following the house meeting. During the meeting we introduce ourselves and begin the social journey of living together. We also elect officers to keep the government and food system running and the building maintained. The Job Lottery is the method by which house members choose jobs for the term. (See Work Responsibilities if you are not familiar with the work expected of members.) The number of job points required varies from house to house and term to term, you will be told at the house meeting how many job points are required. As you may have figured out, attending the house meeting and job lottery is very important; if you do not, you may be stuck with the least desirable jobs, not to mention not knowing your housemates.


Your new room should be relatively unmarred and clean when you move in. Occasionally, due to an inconsiderate past member, you will not find it in such condition. Should this be the case, the co-op will supply plaster to patch walls, painting equipment if necessary, and cleaning supplies. Time spent on necessary improvements to your room may be counted as Work Party hours for the current term (see Work Responsibilities under Co-op Life.) If needed, SCA will supply a mattress, a desk, a chair, and a dresser.


You must sign a membership contract before receiving your keys. The contract is a legal agreement between you and SCA in which you agree to pay membership fees, abide by the rules and regulations of your house and SCA, contribute your share of work necessary to run the co-op, and live in a manner conducive to sharing a house with many people. Make sure you read it. If you break the contract, you may lose your deposit and will be liable for all fees due, in addition to possibly being evicted.


The co-op is an organized sharing where, through mutual acceptance of responsibility, the tasks necessary to maintain and operate each house are divided equally among all members. From this exchange is generated an unspoken agreement which might appear thus: "I'll clean the bathroom if you'll do the dishes," or, "I'll mop the floors if you fix the stove." Occasionally a member chooses not to uphold their part of the agreement, sometimes to the extent that conscientious members are taken advantage of. Members might do well not only in holding up their end of the deal, but in conferring their expectations of job performance by other members. Consistent inquiry provides checks by which each member can assure themselves fair and equal share of the load. Don't forget words of encouragement and appreciation for a job well done.