Annual Report 2021-2022
A Brief History
During the Great Depression, the first cooperative house at the University of Michigan was organized by graduate students in the Student Socialist Club in 1932. The Michigan Socialist House on East Ann Street managed to cut their room and board costs down to $2 a week through group buying and hard work. By 1941, 11 co-ops had been established and the Inter-Cooperative Council (ICC) was started in 1937. Next in 1944, the ICC was incorporated as non-profit organization with its first Board of Directors and its first house named A.K. Stevens. The ICC now manages 16 co-ops and 21 properties that provide low-cost community living to over 500 students. The ICC is member owned and operated, with assistance of non-resident, full-time, and part-time staff members. The ICC continues to provide homes for students (and a few non-students) that embody quality living, community and social equality, safety and affordability, ongoing education, shared work, and life-long friendships.
“We, the member-owners of the ICC, provide a home for students that equally embodies quality living, community and social equality, all within the cooperative movement. We continuously strive to maintain and improve our organization and our houses through shared work. We are committed to furthering our education by building life skills, a strong community, and personal relationships. We create and maintain a safe and affordable environment where our members feel comfortable and at home.”
Adopted August 18, 2002
“We, the member-owners of the Inter-cooperative Council, envision an affordable living community in which equal, and educated members work together to further the cooperative movement.”
Adopted August 4, 2002
The ICC abides by the following principles of cooperation, recognized globally:
1. Voluntary and Open Membership
Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.
2. Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.
3. Members’ Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
4. Autonomy and Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.
5. Education, Training, and Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.
7. Concern for Community
While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.
Our Board of Directors
ICC President, Julian Tabron
As I reflect on this year for the ICC, I am proud of the collaborative work accomplished this year. This has been my second term serving as the ICC President and it has been a long two years in my life. Many former ICC Presidents would agree that this is a very difficult and stressful position especially for those who served for two consecutive terms. Overall, I view this year as a recovery and restructuring period. The ICC had a slow start this year due to a variety of factors that occurred in Summer 2021.
In response to the Board’s decision to increase charges for the spring/summer, ICC members created a petition-initiated referendum. You can read more about the specifics of the referendum in the CoCo report.
Unfortunately, our largest setback in the summer was the sudden closure of the Student Buyers Association (SBA). Our houses have depended on the SBA’s food ordering services for decades and we appreciate the effort and dedication of SBA’s Executive Director, Judy Raymond in guiding us during the transition process. The ICC was forced to respond within a short time frame and I am grateful for the collaboration between CoCo and Staff to set up new accounts with our vendors to ensure our houses could continue to order food without any major disruptions.
With all of these factors impacting our organization’s health, we still managed to make it through these demanding tasks.
It required resiliency, patience, dedication, and loyalty to this organization. Collectively, we had to make huge sacrifices to protect the livelihood of our fellow members, friends and family. My responsibilities as president extended beyond the normal expectations of a typical ICC President. With so many uncertainties, we had to do what was necessary to survive through this pandemic. As I reflect on this year, there are many highlights of my presidency and some regrets from our shortcomings.
As early as the spring term, we knew that all of our summer programs would be canceled which was a huge blow to our organization. Housing occupancy was at an all-time low this year and contract release requests were at an all-time high. These facts are disheartening and overwhelming to our central leadership, and yet we were still able to overcome these burdensome circumstances.
In this letter, I want to acknowledge the perseverance of our Coordinating Committee (CoCo), ICC staff, and house leadership who dealt with a wide range of challenges unique to this year. If there was ever a time to pursue fundraising strategic goals, this was the year to pilot it. I am proud of the success from our COVID-19 fundraising efforts.
Still to this day, many student housing co-ops internationally look up to us as a model example of how a co-op should operate. We have made many strides to improve our organizations financial and operational weaknesses which is why I look forward to next year. Thanks to the support from our leaders and advisors, we are confident that we can recover from these unprecedented times. CoCo has done a phenomenal job by tackling many hardships and partnering with various community partners to unite us in our mission to provide affordable student housing in a time when we needed it the most. I feel optimistic about our future and hope we can work on exciting opportunities to ensure the longevity of our properties and grow as an organization. Even at times when I am upset with the ICC, I recall all of my fond memories which remind me of why I love the ICC. My passion is fueled by care and loyalty to this organization which has impacted me in such a positive way.
When future ICC leaders read about this year, I hope they devise a plan to get through similar daunting situations. This was a historic year for the ICC. We fought through impending forthcomings. I just hope we can continue to steer in the right direction by making the best decisions possible. Without unity and cooperation, we cannot accomplish our goals. I believe that member participation and engagement will fuel the success of this organization and bring us closer together as a community. I believe in our future ICC leaders and the generations that will make up this organization.
ICC President 2020-2021
By Julian Tabron, ICC President (email@example.com)
Julian Tabron – ICC President
Nick Coquillard – General Manager (former)
Gel Henry – VP for Diversity/Education
Shannon Hill – VP for Finance
Brian Donovan – General Manager (current)
Paul Rizik – VP for Facilities Management
Ruthy Lynch – VP for Marketing and Recruitment
Bryant Hepp – VP for Operations
The Coordinating Committee, called CoCo, is made up of the ICC President, five Vice Presidents (VPs), and the General Manager. The composition of this committee has been reduced from six VPs to five VPs due to a Board proposal to combine the VP Diversity and VP Education positions. This committee holds the responsibilities of coordinating central leadership activities and ensuring organizational actions adhere to our cooperative values. CoCo also provides information to the board, including providing support for developing proposals that alter policies. Long and short term organizational planning is another important focus for CoCo and assists us in meeting the goals set forth by members and the Board.
Referendum: In late April, we received a referendum request through a petition focused on spring/summer affordability. Julian selected Bryant Hepp as the Chair of the referendum and appointed several other referendum committee members:
- Anne Lin
- Bryant Hepp (chair)
- Paul Rizik
- Ron Nelson
- Shannon Hill
- Trenten Ingell
- Their duties were as followed:
- Post notices of the referendum of the time, date and issue to be decided
- Have the ballots and information printed
- Distribute the referendum ballots to all of the houses
- Count the ballots and certify the results
See results of referendum courtesy of Bryant Hepp:
The results have been certified by the referendum committee and were approved by the Board of Directors.
- PASSED 54.84% (n = 124) Directs FinCom to create a scholarship for all ICC members who are not eligible for the MLK scholarship due to non-student status or because the fund is exhausted and are struggling to pay Spring/Summer charges. Also directs FinCom to work with the Fundraising Outreach Coordinator to increase money available for this scholarship. The ICC will commit to disbursing the scholarship amount based off the Demonstrated Financial Need calculation within funds raised by FinCom and the Fundraising Outreach Coordinator
- PASSED 74.40% (n = 125) Members can officially be released from spring/summer, spring, summer, or non-standard contracts which occur during the spring/summer term until 5 PM May 5, 2021
- PASSED 63.49% (n = 126) Waive all late fees or late fines which occur between May 3, 2021 and August 20, 2021. This will not affect the dates charges are due or the posting of Notices To Quit.
- PASSED 67.20% (n = 125) Requires that the ICC charges will be finalized and members notified thirty days before the start of the spring/summer only contract signing period. This does not include house charges.
After the referendum passed in May, we proceeded to halt late fees for spring/summer and we allowed people to drop their contracts by May 3rd. We came up with a plan to expand scholarships which include the COVID-19 relief fund Scholarships. FinCom has been assigned work to focus on scholarships.
During May 2021, we also worked on the following task below:
- Transitioned the old CoCo to new CoCo on May 1st.
- Explored some potential expansion options based on properties on the market.
- Prioritized some strategic plan objectives for CoCo.
- CoCo approved the last board meeting minutes for the 4/11 Board of Directors meeting.
- We completed the Authorized signer agreement for U-M SOAS. Ruthy, Shannon and Julian will be the authorized signers.
- Initiated a GM Censure committee and will be presenting recommendations to the Board of Directors
- Led New Member Orientation (NMO), New House Officer Training (NHOT), Board Training, and other makeup training.
Contract Release Committee Report
CRC met once to talk about vaccine requirements which may affect standing rules in Chapter 7. The ICC is considering an option to mandate vaccinations for the upcoming Fall term. We only had two contract release requests that were decided by the committee which is significantly lower than last year during the earlier stages of the Pandemic.
DFS Hiring Committee
See Nick’s report for a full update. During the month of May, we did in-person and virtual meeting interviews. After several interviews and a meeting, the committee selected Ann Desjarlais.
EHOT Summer Report
This summer has been hectic for EHOT. Three members were permanently expelled from the ICC. One individual was expelled by the ICC through a house vote open hearing and the other two people were expelled through the Member Resolution Panel (MRP) process. We put together MRP for two EHOT cases (Gel and Julian facilitated); Nick and DART chairs finalized paperwork for the outcome of expulsion.
BCL Expansion and Construction Project Report
So far, they have filled 14 out of 18 available bedrooms and they expect they’ll fill the remaining four rooms quickly. They have 14 adults, 2 children, 2 dogs and an axolotl slated to move in. For the co-op overall, they’ve filled 44 out of 49 bedrooms and have some great folks coming in.
As for renovations, they have run into delays, largely due to supply shortages and a lengthy zoning decision. The structural work is complete and they’re now working on the HVAC, electric, and plumbing. The external stonework and siding is partway complete and should be done in the next week or two. They’ve yet to start on drywall, flooring and deck building. So the property currently looks more like a construction site than a home but our contractor is confident that they’re still on track to finish before August. And the work that is complete looks great and is within budget.
Due to the loss of business within the Greek Life Community, SBA decided to shut down their business in June 2021. Judy Raymond (from SBA) mentioned that many of their clients such as the Sororities have dropped and decided to use catering companies for their food purchases. This along with the pandemic caused a loss of income for SBA. We put together a Food Task Force meeting to discuss the transition phase from SBA to a new food ordering system. Many staff, CoCo, Board, and food stewards attended the first and second Food Task Force (FTF) meeting. These FTF meetings were essential for devising a plan for the transition, to ensure food stewards, treasurers, and ICC central operations are on the same page. We discussed the transition timeline from SBA to ICC. Logistical concerns such as establishing new ICC accounts, getting cards to the houses, and getting set up with vendors like GFS, Costco, were discussed heavily at these meetings. Currently, we are considering the option to create a paid position to take on Judy’s responsibilities. The other tasks, i.e ordering, replacing lost credit cards or changing purchaser name on accounts, missing product or invoice disputes etc can be handled by the finance office. There will also not be any billing, as all the purchases will be directly assessed to each house. The vendors prefer a single point contact for orders etc., so this issue will be fine.
Many Proposals have been worked on by CoCo members. Here’s a rundown of the proposals with a brief explanation:
- Proposal to lift party ban – This proposal lifted a COVID-19 Party Ban but strongly encouraged houses to only permit vaccinated guests to their parties.
- Proposal to overhaul standing rules pertaining to AC Process – This proposal revised the formula to calculate AC unit charges over time.
Proposal to Revise SR Chapter 6. A list of proposed changes were made to revise outdated standing rules in Chapter 6 which focuses on King, Baker, and Escher specifically
- Luther Internal Expansion proposal – Proposal to increase occupancy of Luther house by 1 occupant for Fall/Winter 2021-22.
- Proposal Stipend for Gregory House – This proposal will give a small stipend to Gregory house who has only one occupant for the summer.
- Proposal to amend 12.7.G – Increase the distance of grills and bonfire pits from 5ft to 10ft as recommended by our insurance company.
- DART Scholarship proposal – Objective of this proposal is to increase compensation for DART Co-Chairs.
- Proposal for Mandatory Fall NHOT Attendance for Food Stewards and Treasurers – The proposal objective is to require all food stewards and treasurers to come to NHOT regardless of whether they attended a training in a previous semester. This proposal aims to strongly encourage houses to elect food stewards for the entire fall/winter term.
- Proposal to mandate vaccinations for the fall – If this proposal passes, there will be a mandatory vaccination requirement with the exception of medical and religious exemptions.
In response to positive cases in several houses, we prioritized filling the COVID-19 Task Force chair, Benjamin Niemann. Bryant met with the new CTF chair for training and guidance on the position. There will be a covid task force meeting, on Sunday November 21 at 2pm via zoom. House Presidents, Board and Staff members are encouraged to attend the meeting to share strategies to reduce the spread of the virus in our community. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. With the new Omicron variant outbreak, we will look into strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The following houses have had confirmed COVID-19 cases: Baker, Debs, Gregory, Nakamura, Owen, and Truth.
GM Censure and Resignation
We had two GM Censure meetings during the month of November. Staff and Board members have been invited to share their thoughts on the GM Nick, censure process, and the GM Job description. In November, the GM announced his plans to resign ahead of the November 21 Board meeting. The President and the GM have officially signed a resignation agreement after receiving Board Approval at the December meeting. The GM’s last day of employment is March 31, 2022 but he is allowed to leave at an earlier point with an advanced notice.
NASCO Board Rep Election Update
On behalf of the ICC, CoCo voted to approve Maggie O’Connor for the candidate nomination for the NASCO Board Representative election. Email was submitted to the NASCO elections committee on November 17. Next steps will be for us to decide on how we will cast votes as an organization.
At the November 7th Board Meeting, Julian gave a presentation on how to evaluate the VPs and President for the upcoming performance evaluation review process . The ICC VP and President evaluations surveys were sent out (separately) to the ICC membership to gather feedback in preparation for the Board review which is planned to take place at the first December Board meeting. Board members listened to a presentation that compiles summary results for each VP and the ICC President during an executive session. After reviewing the feedback and recommendations, the Board will vote on whether the person may keep their scholarship. Julian is scheduling meetings with the VPs individually after the meeting to discuss the feedback with the VP to offer suggestions on how they can improve in their roile. A member of CoCo will meet with Julian to discuss the feedback from surveys and the board.
Other CoCo Updates
- We covered multiple proposals during the off-season. These are the proposals in development that have been discussed throughout the spring/summer and Fall term.
- Jim Jones from CCDC sent us a letter requesting the ICC to amend FY 2021-22 budget to include CCDC dues. We used our executive powers to pass this when the Board was not in session.
- We used our executive powers to approve the Board Meeting minutes from the last Board Meeting August 15, 2021.
- Some CoCo members worked with Patti to review MAC, DART Chair, and CHR Chair positions. We conducted interviews and we selected the following candidates:
- Member Assistance Coordinator – Chloe Huettig
- DART Chair – Anna Neddoss and Regan Pitts
- CHR Chair – Sophia Meshinchi
- Most of our work and effort has focused on leading training during the month of September. We led NMO, NHOT, and Board training collectively.
- We used our emergency powers to pass a proposal to expand the COVID-19 Scholarship. We felt this was not a contentious proposal so we passed it here.
CoCo will focus on addressing some of Brian Donovan’s recommendations from last year.
Coco has prioritized Board Planning for the rest of the fall/winter Board meetings. We discussed a list of planned proposals that will be addressed and we are trying to bring forth some of the remaining proposals from last year which include Brian Donovan’s recommendations. Currently we are prioritizing the “Define All Charges” proposal which would enact a policy change to set different rates for doubles and singles. This proposal will be circulating through committees to discuss and provide feedback before bringing it to the board. There were some early discussions about the 2022-2023 budget for next year starting in November.
Member Assistance Program (MAP)
We have had some issues getting the MAP started so I have talked to Chloe to make plans to get the program started ASAP for Winter term. We hope to get the MA program up and running next week. There have been some setbacks which we’ll have to address in the coming weeks. CoCo takes responsibility for the MAP, so we will need to find an alternative solution to get members assigned.
Bloomington Cooperative Living (BCL) update from BCL Member Jasper
Great to hear from you and I hope move-in season is going well for you all up there. I hope to meet you soon on a BCL visit! With 921 we’ve had both some good news and bad news… The bad news is we likely won’t be able to move into 921 until November. The good news is this isn’t a hit to the co-op’s finances or to member housing security.
The good news: we renegotiated our lease at Goodlawn (the house we were planning to give up this year) so the co-op is paying $2,500/month rather than the previous $4,770/month. The landlord made us that offer because he couldn’t find property managers willing to take on the labor and risk of a 12 bedroom house this year. Everybody who plans to live at 921 is either temporarily living at Goodlawn or is staying with family and friends for the next few months. It’s not ideal for members but morale is high. We anticipate a somewhat higher vacancy rate than usual once 921 opens but the reduced rent should more than make up for it.
The bad news: the delays in renovations are due to a combination of permitting and supply shortages due to covid. We finally received the needed permit today so hopefully things will move more smoothly from here. I’ve cc’d Hugh in this email who can add more detail on the permitting and renovations side of things.
BCL Field Trip
Due to concerns of COVID-19, we have delayed plans to coordinate a trip to the newly purchased BCL house. Julian talked to Ruthy about scheduling a trip to Bloomington, IA for the winter term.
MSU Spartan Housing Cooperative (SHC)
We may also plan a trip to SHC for the Winter Semester.
- Working with CSG reps to see if we can receive more grant money potentially for maintenance related projects.
- CoCo members were tasked with providing suggestions to the VP Diversity & Education position description.
- Exploring ideas for accountability measures for DART Chair, CHR Chair, Rivera Coordinator, and MAC Chair.
- Planning for big restructuring proposals that will address room charges, contract signing, contract releases, share returns processes, gender ratio requirements, fall term fees, utility rates for EVs, and recommendations from the finance department.
- Looking to add a new VP position and committee possibly tied into merging the alumni team or development committee.
- Filling grant writer position[s] and seeking grant opportunities for the ICC .
COVID-19, N95 Masks, and Q&I
One of our top priorities this month is addressing the Omicron variant spread in our houses. Julian, Paul, Gel, and Bryant have all contracted COVID-19 near the beginning of the new year. This has caused some setbacks which is why we decided to meet on zoom until further notice.
Many houses continue to see positive COVID-19 cases which have caused some panic and concerns for members and house leadership. In some cases, members were allowed to relocate to Northwood housing for the 5-day quarantining period. Julian wrote a proposal earlier this month to permit the spending of N95 masks which will be distributed to all houses. He also applied for SOFC funding to offset the cost; however, they denied the request due to low funds and the availability of masks at testing sites.
After the proposal passed, Bryant and I coordinated the masks distribution efforts based on the number of requested masks on our COVID-19 support tracking spreadsheet. We received the masks on Monday 1/24/22 and have distributed all of the masks so far.
Member Assistance Program Winter Update
Julian has met with Chloe to ensure the member assistance program is up and running. Supervisors should have received their MAs and track their hours accordingly.
Proposals in Development and Proposal Priorities for Remainder of the Term
Julian will be working with Sam and Bryant to put together a more comprehensive Define All Charges and Simplify Member Charges Proposal. This should be ready for review in mid-February. We are working to complete any outstanding proposals by the end of February. Implementation for some of these proposals may occur 2-years from now.
We are also updating the proposal database which is currently being worked on by my President Assistant Izak.
Environmental Health Safety Update
Jennifer Nord EHS rep has notified me that there were 13 norovirus cases that are no longer a concern as of 2/27/22.
EHOT Winter Update
EHOT has two cases which are from Black Elk and Rivera house. Need to consult the lawyer (Fink & Fink) regarding the expulsion and eviction process. We will be meeting with case members from each house. The outcomes resulted in some recommendations for improving the house leadership;
Kagawa Fund Update
We have about $86,000 in Kagawa Funds that we could withdraw from the Shared Cooperative Council account. CoCo will wait until we fill the GM position and ask for guidance before making big financial decisions on behalf of the board.
We updated our authorized signers for our Comerica Bank account and all of the signers have signed for authorization.
Alliance Consulting Group (ACG) Partnership
I met with Rayyan from ACG who has sent us a letter of engagement to help us with leadership development and mentorship for turnover. We met with the student project manager who will be going through our leadership guide documents and providing recommendations for the ICC.
Share Return Update
Met with Brian Donovan for a share return update. He was cutting checks for share returns for spring/summer 2020.
GM Hiring Update and Timeline (Winter Update)
After the Board formed a hiring team which was led by Paul Rizik and Patti Kardia. Other members of the hiring team included Sam Limerick, Stephen Trybam, Geoff Mayers, Rosalind Madorsky, Susan Caya, and Maggie O’Connor. Julian Tabron and Bryant Hepp assisted with the Hiring Committee as well. During the hiring process, Nick Coquillard resigned on February 15, 2022 which left the position vacant for over a month. During this time Julian put together interim GM transition meetings and we decided. The hiring and recruitment process spanned just under 3 months (January-March).
The ICC offered a second interview for Holly Jo Sparks and Brian Donovan. After careful consideration, the hiring committee recommended to the Board to select Brian Donovan as the new GM. He has accepted our offer for the position for $87,000 salary and we will begin the onboarding process in late March. He will begin March 22, 2022.
Election Team Report
Bryant Hepp was the only candidate running for ICC Preisdent. The ICC Election Team shares results at the March 13, 2022 Board Meeting. The strengths, and weaknesses of the ICC Presidential Election were shared in the presentation. Bryant Hepp, current VP of Operations, from Baker House, is announced as the winner! The house with the highest voting turnout was Owen, at 91%, followed by Osterweil at 83%. Total ICC membership that participated in voting was 27.41%. The Board votes unanimously to approve of the election results. Congratulations to Bryant!
By Gel Henry, VP for Diversity/Education (email@example.com)
Facilities Management Committee
By Paul Rizik, VP for Facilities (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Paul Rizik – VP for Facilities, Baker House
Geoff Mayers – Director of Maintenance Services
Andrew Moran – Maintenance Services Coordinator
Iris Arboreal – Board Rep, Ruths’ House
Josie Weissburg – Board Rep, Debs House
Kevin Tocco – Board Rep, Truth House
Paul Rizik – VP for Facilities, Baker House
Geoff Mayers – Director of Maintenance Services
Andrew Moran – Maintenance Services Coordinator
Kane York – Board Rep, Vail House
Luke Lencioni – Board Rep, MichMinnies House
Ty Buffington – Board Rep, Truth House
The Facilities Management Committee is responsible for ensuring that the houses within the ICC stay standing. Working closely with the Maintenance Team, FamCom identifies key areas for infrastructure improvement while ensuring that houses remain within compliance with both City of Ann Arbor code and internal ICC standards.
FamCom took a more project based approach this year and the results speak for themselves. During 2021-22, we piloted an ICC seed bank, partnered with adapt – community ecology to transform the front lawn of Debs House into a native garden, finalized attempts from previous years to introduce grease recycling to the ICC, overhauled AC reporting and tracking processes, installed new standardized first aid kits in every house, installed new electrical key boxes in every house, introduced guidance for charging electric vehicles on ICC property, mapped out critical IT infrastructure for the Tech Team, submitted a grant proposal to the Central Student Government to help fund accessibility upgrades to the houses, and laid the groundwork for a partnership between the ICC and Campus Farms to bring affordable, fresh produce to the ICC.
In addition to our many projects, we successfully completed our regular tasks such as AC tracking and semesterly mock kitchen inspections.
I am incredibly proud of FamCom’s work this year and I am extremely grateful for everyone in the committee for working hard, contributing ideas, and helping us see so many of our various projects through to completion. Most of all, I’m excited to see how the position will evolve with future VPs as we move into the future.
Facilities Management Committee
By Paul Rizik, VP for Facilities Management (email@example.com)
Marketing and Recruitment Committee
By Ruthy Lynch, VP for Marketing and Recruitment (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Eli Richards – Escher
Allison Roh – Baker
Duy-Ahn Vo – MichMinnies
Amaya Farrell – Owen
Rosalind Madorsky – Nakamura
Kimlan Pham – Debs
Kyra Koprowski – MA Linder
Maria Sobrino – MA Vail
In April during the turnover period, the previous VP Marketing Amaya Farrell signed a deal with CoStar through sales rep Nicole Hancock for a listing of Escher House. We purchased their 6 month Campus Network Gold package for $1,069 monthly. We chose Escher because it is more apartment-style than most of our other houses and has traditionally been the hardest to fill, especially during the pandemic. We got professional photography of Escher (including drone shots!) included. I continued to update our availability every two days or so on the listing This deal led to some of the highest occupancy at Escher in years, hovering around 100%!
Right during the turnover period we lost a lot of contracts because of the raise in charges and the referendum that allowed contract drops with no fees for a period of time. We were not able to recover most of the Spring/Summer contract losses but we made up for that with very high Fall/Winter occupancy, finishing off at 97.50%! I would credit most of this success to our Apartments.com ad as well as people returning to Ann Arbor for in-person classes. Our occupancy looks to be very good for next Fall/Winter as well!
Misc. Committee Work
I have been posting on our Instagram and trying to come up with more content such as member spotlights, infographics, weekly roundups, relevant Ann Arbor happenings, political content that aligns with our mission, and other ICC news. We have also been communicating important ICC information through instagram like signing dates and leadership position availability. We have attended 3 very successful tabling events, including collecting over 100 signatures at FestiFall. We have also made brand new flyer designs as well as updating old ones that we have handed out at these events. I have also been taking merchandise orders and delivering items around the ICC!
To finish out this fiscal year we hope to get more merchandise out to the membership including new designs and items. We hoped to do more in person events but unfortunately the Omicron wave of the pandemic stunted those plans. I am really proud of the work everyone has done!
By Bryant Hepp, VP for Operations (email@example.com)
Anna Nedoss – Summer, Fall, Winter
Ever O’Donnell – Summer, Fall, Winter
Eli Richards – Fall, Winter
Stephen Tryban – Fall, Winter
Mir Lupovitch – Summer
Marco Garcia-Verdugo – Summer
Phoenix Kendall – Summer
Bryant Hepp – Summer, Fall, Winter
The Operations Management Committee has a broad role within the ICC – we are tasked with reviewing central policies, suggesting changes to those policies, monitoring house operations, and intervening to support house operations when necessary. At our best, we are able to tie good governance decisions at the organizational level to effective operations at each of our 16 houses. We were able to help the ICC fulfill its mission this year thanks to the contributions of all members but especially house officers, staff, and the members who served on the committee.
Over the Summer, OpsCom worked to institutionalize progress in the strategic plan towards improving conflict resolution and disciplinary procedures. Building on Phoenix’s work in DivEdCom last year, we raised awareness of the central banning list to make sure officers are able to keep access to records of who has been banned from their house and why. Anna, who also wears the hat of DART chair, worked with former Debs president Mir to evaluate proposed policy changes to how referral and expulsion processes are managed. It was a tough decision not to update those standing rules, but Mir and Anna helped the committee reach a consensus to prioritize working within the current system over creating a new one. Outside of the Standing Rules, Ever and Marco coordinated with Aleah to help publish an exciting summer issue of the Conifer Chronicle. Ron, then and now, helped us understand how our work aligns with the history of the ICC and the big picture of the present day.
As Summer turned to Fall, OpsCom was drafted into the Interim Assistance Committee, coordinating with FamCom to physically inspect each room in the ICC for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The successful transition, and the high occupancy of the ICC over the past year, reflects the dedication of our staff and the commitment of all members. It also relied heavily on the many other board members who volunteered to join us.
In Fall, OpsCom evaluated many of the major policy proposals coming out of other committees and the difficult decisions facing the board of directors. Stephen worked with Anna to perform an extensive review of proposed policy changes related to Chapter 16 of the Standing Rules. Ever and Eli helped support scenario planning for closing a summer house to operate an AirBnB. Some of the most important policy changes we supported were Ron’s proposals to revise the King House contracting rules and to update the Fall Term contract fees.
Throughout Winter, OpsCom has focused on changing the Key Performance Indicators we use to measure successful operations at the house level. Collection of these has been inconsistent except in the best of years, which limits their usefulness for both immediate decision-making and historical analysis. OpsCom has been working together to understand why the previous indicators were used, to link them to concepts that encompass our definition of successful house operations, and to find ways to collect the data that reflect successes and failures to do so in the past.
Future Direction and Goals
It is my heartfelt goal that the next VP Ops will be able to focus more on OpsCom than on CoCo, and more on house operations than central governance. All of these things are important, and the situation may be reversed in 5 years or less, but more attention to house-level operations, even if it means less policy work, will have a positive impact on member experience. The culture of the ICC is produced at each house, in close contact. I am confident that the course we’ve set this fiscal year will position next year’s VP Ops to make great progress working more closely with house presidents and officers. Some areas ripe for progress include:
- Creating consistent standards, training, and quality control for house tours
- Offering increased house president support through consistent group meetings
- Getting house buy-in for the new KPIs, tweaking them, and collecting them (even 10 straight months of consistent, high-quality data would be an unparalleled success)
State of the ICC
The ICC’s most important strengths are our members and our houses. The ICC’s biggest challenge in the present day is that neither of those are liquid, at least not when things are going right. This year’s Coordinating Committee and Board of Directors hired a new Director of Financial Services and a new General Manager. Working closely with staff, we also made policy changes to increase the speed of share returns, reduce lost income from winter vacancies, and collect the debts we owe each other in a way that reflects our values as a cooperative. The ICC made great progress towards improving financial management, transparency and accountability.
Another challenge we face is preserving relationships and building trust at the organizational level during a time of change. My hope is that we can look to our house-level operations for inspiration, where positive relationships with housemates define member experiences and often change lives. The fact that so many of us meet our lifelong friends and partners here is a strength that brings me great joy. The relationships we form, including the economic relationships, are what give us the freedom to live in community; to make good and bad decisions; and to live out values like forgiveness, generosity, and love of learning. As we celebrate this year and look towards another, I am confident that members will continue to steward our resources wisely so that these freedoms are extended to many more generations.
By Dr. Suneel Joglekar, Alumni Team Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This year, we have continued our efforts of the past year, starting with WAM 2021, which had a record number of Alumni attendees. Thanks to the use of Zoom to hold WAM virtually, we were able to have Alumni from all over the country and the world join Zoom. After WAM officially ended, the Alumni attendees shared their stories of cooperation over the years, including from the middle of last century. We were very grateful for the Alumni participation in WAM, which was only improved by the use of the virtual meeting.
With the success of WAM 2021, we developed a program to host our Alumni Coffee Hours virtually, with two events taking place in the Summer of 2021. These events went really well, and the Alumni attendees enjoyed sharing their experiences. It was really fun and informative for us current Members to hear how ICC Houses operated in years’ past, which provided key insight into how to improve the current operations of ICC Houses – it is really best to learn from experience and cherish our history as an organization!
During this year, the ongoing COVID pandemic continued to drag on, which affected our operations and plans as a team this year as well as last. We continued our fundraising effort, and worked with the ICC Board of Directors to make the Fundraising Outreach Coordinator position a more permanent and “official” position in the ICC. Our fundraising efforts started last year were maintained and revamped this year, and we have established a fundraising policy for the ICC, where future fundraising efforts will focus on programs such as development and sustainability, and we will continue to update current and past ICC Members on our fundraising efforts and areas.
This year, we have mainly been working on our team policy and operating procedures, as we have had a very small team this year (especially compared with 2019 – 2020, where we had five team members). We have helped support the ICC and our Alumni through our transitions as an organization this year, from the hiring of a new Director of Financial Services (DFS) and through the resignation of our current General Manager, with one of our team members serving on the General Manager Hiring Committee. With the new DFS, we have ensured, through FinCom policy as well as our own codified policy, that Alumni Donations will be managed with the utmost care, responsibility, and adherence to regulations. After our work this year, you can rest assured that your donations will be used responsibly for the great benefit of our current and future Membership!
We look to the next year with great excitement! 2022 is a very important year for the Student Cooperative movement and the ICC. We plan on celebrating the 90th Birthday of Michigan House (founded in 1932 as Michigan Socialist House, the first ICC House and Student Cooperative in Ann Arbor). This year is also the 150th Birthday of the College Cottage in Evanston, IL, a women’s student cooperative house which served as the blueprint for American student cooperative houses and organizations. This year is also the 80th Birthday of Jim Jones, a former ICC Member who later on served as our General Manager from 1984 – 1999, and has continued his passion for the cooperative movement by founding cooperative houses in Grand Rapids, MI, and also serves on the board for the High Five Cooperative Brewery in Grand Rapids.
I’d like to sincerely thank all the ICC Members and Alumni for their support and contributions to this organization, especially during the past two years of the pandemic. All of our hard work, effort, and compassion has paid off in maintaining the strength and longevity of this organization!
And most importantly, we would like to thank our Alumni donors from the past year, to whom we are extremely grateful. The full list of donors can be found under “Our Donors.”
While the past two years have been challenging for all of us, we are still continuing to grow and thrive as an organization. We all deeply appreciate the help and support that Alumni like you have given and continue to give the ICC. Now, more than ever, our slogan holds true: Once a Member, ALWAYS a Member!
Co-opers for Healthy Relationships
Dispute Assistance and Resolution Team
By Anna Nedoss and Regan Pitts, DART Team Chairs (email@example.com)
Anna Nedoss – Team Chair, Linder House
Finn Beaver – Team Chair, Ruths’ House
Sophia Meshinchi – MA, Luther House
Anna Nedoss – Team Chair, Osterweil House
Regan Pitts – Team Chair, Owen House
America Mendoza – MA, Linder House
The Dispute Assistance and Resolution Team is the ICC’s standing body for assistance with conflict resolution. In addition to handling requests for assistance from houses dealing with internal conflicts, DART also offers aid in navigating the processes of referral, expulsion, and banning, and external conflict mediation. DART can serve as a sounding board and a resource for effective conflict resolution and communication strategies, along with creating educational resources that promote healthy communities.
DART accomplished quite a bit over the past year! Carrying on the trend established by past DART Chairs, we made a lot of progress toward our goal of becoming a team that not only responds to conflicts after they’ve occurred or escalated, but takes a proactive approach toward conflict resolution. We responded to several Requests for Assistance (RFAs) and were able to equip these ICC houses with the tools necessary to resolve conflicts and maintain healthy intentional communities. After examining the patterns that were arising in DART RFAs, we created several workshops to help address conflicts proactively. Over the past year, DART has created three educational workshops, titled “Community and Relationship Maintenance Through Effective Communication,” “Crisis Management, Boundaries, and Consent,” and “Conflict Resolution and Restorative Justice.” We added these to our extensive library of workshops made by DART in the past, which we continue to send out to house leadership. We’ve also made progress toward our goal of increasing DART’s visibility and making sure house officers and members know what sort of resources we offer and how to get in contact with us. In line with this goal, we have been facilitators at Cooperative Leadership Training several times over the past year, leading the section on Communication and Conflict and making sure members present at the training are familiar with DART and how we can be a resource.
Over the past year, we’ve done a lot of work on improving the ICC’s accountability processes, such as referral, expulsion, and banning. We’ve helped oversee the implementation of the centralized banning policy, created materials that make referral and expulsion more accessible to members trying to navigate these processes, and have been working closely with the Operations Management Committee to brainstorm ways these systems can be updated and improved. Going forward, we have plans to continue making these processes easier for ICC members to understand through the creation of more educational materials and a revision of Ch. 16 of the ICC standing rules.
We have also worked on measures to make this job easier for future DART Chairs, including writing and passing a proposal through the BoD to increase compensation for DART Chairs, and improving the ways in which we document cases, how they were handled, and their resolution.
Doing this job is often not easy, but we are proud of what we have accomplished in our efforts to maintain healthy communities within our co-ops. We want to give a special thanks to our advisor Patti for her support, McKinney for consulting on cases, VP Operations Bryant and members of OpsCom who worked with us on Ch. 16 revisions, CHR Chair Sophia for collaborating with us on projects this year, members of EHOT for helping us support the ICC community, VP DivEd Gel for their work on CLT and EHOT, the BoD, and to all ICC members who have reached out over the past year. We can’t wait to see how DART continues to grow over the years in order to support our members and our community.
Thank you so much to our 2021-2022 donors:
- Robert Ransom
- Steve Adler
- Lawrence Gary
- Joshua Deth
- Nicholas Kuilema
- Robert Enszer
- Julie Kliever
- Allsion Sharrar
- Brian Merlos
- Alexandr Satanovsky
- Sanford Rosenzweig
- Allyson Hoffman
- Julie Kliever
- Alison Zachrtiz
- Rebecca Wolfe