Beyond the Student Co-op

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By: Michael Stephens – Chrysalis Resident and Board Rep.

If you’re like I was a few years ago, you might think “co-op housing” is practically synonymous with “student co-ops,” and if you’ve ever shared a campus with some of those, you probably have a pretty distinct picture in your head of what “co-op life” entails. And if it’s anything like the picture I used to have in my head, key aspects of cooperative living like sustainability, affordability, and intentional community might seem secondary to, say, for example, the aspect of “wild parties.” Of course, all co-ops, student or not, are about a whole lot more than that. But if, through firsthand experience or secondhand perception, you’ve formed an image of co-ops as a place for undergraduate students with undergraduate priorities and sensibilities, I’d like to take a moment of your time to dispel that myth and share some of the wonderful benefits of adult co-ops like the BHC!

Disclaimer: My experiences in both student and non-student co-ops are in no way universal to either type of co-op, or even to the specific houses I’ve lived in. Also, this is in no way meant to disparage my student co-op – I loved living there with every fiber of my being, and I miss lots of things about it very, very much! This is simply a list of boons I’ve discovered about the BHC that altered my preconceptions about co-op living, and might alter yours too!

  1. Instead of everyone being at mostly the same place in their life (undergrad), here you’ll have housemates with an amazingly wide variety of backgrounds, vocations, and life experiences, who can introduce you to a lot of new perspectives and interests!
  2. Single occupancy bedrooms are the default – no more sharing Twin XL bunk beds with a roommate!
  3. The BHC is not an insular organization, but rather has a wide network of mutually beneficial relationships with other organizations in the community, from membership in local bus pass and car share programs to getting food from organizations like Boulder Food Rescue and Community-Supported Agriculture!
  4. There is a great deal of accountability for member responsibilities like attending house meetings and doing chores, and housemates display a great deal of respect for each other’s varying lifestyles by following rules like quiet hours. Uncooperative behavior is a rarity!
  5. Most of your housemates have years of experience cooking for themselves, and have gotten quite good at it – no more undercooked tofu stir fry for every communal meal!

And there are a whole lot more benefits just waiting for you to discover, so if any of that sounds appealing to you, apply to join the BHC today and see what lies beyond the student co-op!

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