Sunday, 24 February 2013

Orientation Sheet, Golden Lentils 2002

These are selected excerpts from a member orientation sheet for the Golden Lentils Lodge from 2002.

1. Welcome

2. Expectations from Orientation
An overview of what ACHC is all about, how it all fits together and how you can play an active part. These types of gatherings I find essential, if not also a little bit boring(!) - because our coop relies so heavily on oral communication and storytelling to pass on knowledge and experience.

3. Agenda...

4. History of Assiniboia - maybe the larger picture (ie. NACHA, CHF, etc)
The history of ACHC is a little fuzzy, to say the least. My understanding is as follows. Our history begins as student housing through the UofA. In 1967, this coop began originally called Campus Cooperative Association Ltd. (We are still affiliated with the university - storing our archives in BARD and often listing vacancies through the housing registry). Originally there were roughly 20(!?) houses in the coop all in and around this area. These houses were sold over the years because the coop fiances went, and continued to stay, awry... theoretically things are under much better control now! The last house to be sold was Suite Manors (next door to Lentils) about 5-6 years ago, allowing the coop to pay off the mortgages to all the houses. Since then the coop has been putting aside $880 a month (the original mortgage payments) such that we are now in a position to purchase or build(!) another house.

5. Philosophy
Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality and solidarity. Cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
- voluntary and open membership
- democratic control
- member economic participation
- cooperative autonomy and independence
- education, training and information
- cooperation among cooperatives
- community
(excerpt from the International Cooperative Alliance Statement on the Cooperative Identity, 1995)

What about Assiniboia philosophy? As we currently practice:
- sharing and communal living
- we are our own landlords, responsible for maintaining properties, membership, etc

6. Structure

There are three houses in the coop (Muse, Golden Lentils, and Usalama)
Each house selects a House Rep who ties the house to the Board. The House REp brings concerns/news from the house to the Board and vice-versa.

The Board is composed of 6 positions all of which are held by members ofthe coop. Elections are held twice a year; individuals holding positions may run for re-election.

Semi-Annual General Meetings

Committees (Current and Past)
- Membership
- Maintenance/Budget
- Bulk Purchase
- Expansion

The Light gets in from the Crack in the Wall

The most recent artistic addition to the co-op, painted in the living room at Muse House by member Ilara Stefaniuk-Gaudet and her father, Michael Gaudet, is the resulting creation of a comment made by a co-member wishing to use the crack in the wall for a good purpose; and thus, a giant tree was born!  The sun is actually coming in through the crack in the wall; perhaps a metaphor, and perhaps just a fabulous covert cover-up operation.  The mural is entitled "Dare to be Different", and was just completed in January 2013.  There was an unveiling ceremony at the Board Meeting in February at which it was very well received by the Co-op Community.

A Legendary Chalkboard

A Day in the Life of 1984

Notes in the message book of an unnamed house by unnamed residents, found in the basement of the Golden Lentils Lodge. 

"Need for house meeting to dispose of possibly hypothetical surplus in 'ambrosia'"

"The honey pot is a yet another sticky disaster - please take care - let us work shoulder to shoulder, to advance into a joyous future which is unsticky but still sweet"

"I'll say goodbye here since I won't likely see you before you leave. I hope your cups are durable, fences far away, bears few and far between, and I hope our paths cross again some time"

Miscellaneous Minutes Record, January 4th 1987

That "the name of the new house be Usalama House. This is the Swahili name for Peace".

Letter from the Campus Co-operative Association (1977)

In a letter we found from 1977, the following information was given:

The original intention of the 1967 Association (from which the Assiniboia cooperative was later born) was to provide housing for mature students. Campus Co-Op, the name of the cooperative by 1977, allowed single adults to live in the co-op as well.
In 1977, Campus Co-Op owned one house and rented 10 others, and had approximately 65 members. Each house involved single adults renting bedrooms and sharing cooking facilities and common areas.

In an section entitled 'recommendations,' the letter reads: "Initially we would like to point out that a definition of a co-operative may not be necessary and if it is to be included should not be elitist or otherwise be more restrictive to incorporation that the current legislation. People join co-ops for a variety of motives varying from strong ideological points of view to those who join for economic advantage."