We own it!
When you join the co-ops you become a part-owner of the organization. We've inherited the houses from the generations that came before (beginning in 1932!) and we pass them on to the next generation.
Keeping costs low by working together!
Because there is no landlord making a profit, the co-ops are the best deal in town. How do we keep our costs so low? We cooperate! Everyone shares the house, the work and the democratic governance of the house and organization.
What do you mean by working together?
This varies from house to house, however most houses require that each member put in around 4 hours of work per week to make the house and organization run. The jobs vary from cooking to cleaning to being a house officer to sitting on an ICC committee. It's democracy in action. It's also a great opportunity to learn about anything from cooking to fixing faucets. Most houses also organize a "work holiday" each semester in which all the members of the house work together for one day to complete special projects on the house.
How am I a part of the decision-making at my house and in the ICC?
Each ICC house is autonomous from the organization with regard to house policy decisions. We adhere to a cooperative principle involving one member = one vote. Therefore each member is intimately involved with the governing of their own house.
At the broader organizational level, day-to-day governing is a responsibility of the Board of Directors. Each house has one elected board representative to vote on behalf of the house, so each member is represented at the ICC board level. The Board sets policies for the entire organization by drafting proposals and voting on them. The policies governing the organization are gathered in a document called the Standing Rules. Changes can be made to the standing rules through the proposal/voting process at the regularly scheduled board meetings.