Co-op group seeking new members

By Carolyn Smith

Arizona Summer Wildcat

When Paul Patton moved from Texas to Tucson two years ago to start a community housing project, he had no idea he would have to wait for a fraternity to move out of their designated house to start his co-op.

The house at 503 E. University Boulevard still has the Sigma Alpha Mu's letters on it, but on August 1, the Spadefoot Housing Cooperative, founded by Patton, will begin living there.

"Last year we missed getting the house by half an hour. The landlord was obligated to renew the fraternity's lease if they wanted to and they just barely made the call on time ... we were very disappointed," Patton said.

Presently there are five members of the co-op, and they hope to recruit 18 members in order to have a full house. Fliers have been put up around the university area to target students, faculty and staff, but anyone can fill out an application.

The co-op proposes to have:

¨open membership

¨a close-knit community

¨participatory democracy

¨an environmentally responsible and healthy lifestyle

¨a group of interesting people

¨shared cooking and housework.

After filling out an application, previous members meet with the prospective member and vote whether or not the applicant will be allowed in the co-op, based on a consensus.

"What we want to know about a prospective member is if they really know what a cooperation means and if they will be committed to it," said Gabriella Deeds, the Spadefoot's secretary.

In addition to paying a flat rate for their room and community food, each member will work 5 hours a week and sign a one-year membership, Patton said. If members decide to drop out of the co-op they hope to have a waiting list of people who could move in immediately.

All decisions regarding house management, rules, membership, and finances will be made democratically at the meetings, Patton said.

Although some decisions will not be made until August 1 when the co-op actually begins, current members have been brainstorming for possible activities to do as a community.

"We hope to organize a program of educational events ─ inviting professors to dinner and possibly sponsoring small lectures and poetry readings," Patton said.

Diane Kreinberg, a 34-year-old single mother, said she appreciates the idea of having an extended family for her 11-year-old son mid


"It's going to be a crash course in life for my son. His grandmother and I are his main contacts 90 percent of the time, and I want him to be around more people ─ and hear about other people's experiences," she said.

The Spadefoot Housing Cooperative group is a member of the North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO). NASCO and its affiliate, the Campus Cooperative Development Corporation (CCDC) provide a source of financing for the purchase of buildings to be used for co-ops.

For information, contact Gabriella Deeds at 622-4510 or Paul Patton at 628-8954.

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