Friday, August 29, 2008

So the Synergy house website provides a pretty detailed account of the history of the co-op. Interestingly, the concept of the co-op seems to owe its origins to the ambitions of several students, as well as the capitalist philosophies of Leland Stanford. Sen. Stanford’s idea that “cooperatives” allowed workers to “organize, operate, and own their own industries” translated into the 1891 establishment of the Stanford University Cooperative Association, which functioned as the university’s first bookstore. During WWII, the co-op philosophy extended into student housing, when the Walter Thompson Co-op became the first housing cooperative. Before this, the house served as the campus’s Japanese House, and following the bombing of Hiroshima, the entire co-op was terminated. Housing co-ops on campus were finally revived in 1970, with the creation of Jordan House and Columbae. However, Stanford’s co-op renaissance was mainly due to housing co-op success at other universities like UC Berkeley—by now, the Leland Stanford co-op philosophy had largely been forgotten.

See you all very soon!


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