Courtesy of Cornell University

The Wari Cooperative, one of Cornell's eight co-ops, participated in the mosey on Feb. 21.

February 11, 2019

Open House Day Highlights Unique Qualities of Cornell Co-ops

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Cornell’s eight cooperative houses opened their doors last Sunday to undergraduate and graduate students looking for housing for the upcoming school year.

Hopeful students participated in the co-op open house day — known as “Mosey” — and met with current residents to talk about their residential experience. The co-ops, which are completely self-governed, will then choose members for the next academic year.

The selection process takes place in the two weeks following the open house, during which students are invited back to participate in house events, ranging from game nights to house dinners.

Prospective students are expected to attend these events during those two weeks so they can get to know the residents and become acquainted with the different co-op environments.

Final selections are made by current residents through voting or a lottery system, said Julie Paige, director of Off-Campus and Cooperative Living. Wari, one of the co-ops, also uses interviews as part of their selection process, said Wari resident Amari Sealey ’19.

Paige said she believes that the cooperative houses offer students small communities that are “true to freedom and responsibility.”

“The co-ops are a very unique living experience on campus and students living in the co-ops gain life skills beyond what you would gain in a residence hall and even in off-campus apartments,” Paige said.

In the cooperative residences, students are given responsibility to manage a house budget and delegate tasks to residents through a chore system. For houses with a meal plan, their residents will take turns preparing meals for themselves and their fellow co-op residents.

The residents also elect their own officers and liaisons for the year to help manage the homes in the absence of any live-in staff, according to Paige.

“The officers of the co-ops also have a value-added experience,” Paige said.

Each co-op also chooses a representative for the Inter-Cooperative Union, according to Sealey. The union helps the co-ops communicate and coordinate programs throughout the year for a larger sense of community and represent the interests of co-ops to the university.

Although each cooperative house has its own selection process, most of them will review applications on a rolling basis and finalize their future residents in early February, according to the Living at Cornell website.

Sealey, who has lived in the Wari Cooperative since her sophomore year, said that her experience in the cooperative system has been marked by growth.

“There’s a lot of compromises, so I’ve gotten to grow a lot and that’s what I really appreciate,” Sealey said. “The people in the co-ops are the best people that I’ve met, not even just from Wari but from other co-ops as well.”