What is the ICC?
What Are Co-ops?
Co-ops are organizations and businesses that are owned and operated collectively, for the mutual benefit of their members. In 1844, a group of English textile workers formed a shop to purchase goods they couldn’t afford by themselves. This group, later known as The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, was the first official cooperative. Today, co-ops exist in variety of sectors, such as farming, retail, manufacturing, energy, and (of course) housing.
Struggling college students established the first housing co-op in Ann Arbor in 1932. Others quickly followed their example. In 1944, the houses formed the Inter-Cooperative Council to coordinate operations of the co-ops. We’ve been here ever since! We’re now one of the largest student housing co-ops in the country. For more on the ICC’s history, take a look at our timelines.
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.
We, the member-owners of the Inter-Cooperative Council, 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.
All people have equal worth. Open membership and non-discrimination are strongly held values in the ICC, and both are based on the assumption that all people are created equal. This tenet is central to all co-ops and is the basis for democracy.
2. Member Control
Control of resources in order to meet needs is a right. Co-ops give control to members who use their services, rather than to investors who want to make money. By being co-op members, we actualize our belief that people have the right to have control over resources based on need, not profit.
3. Individual Responsibility
There is value in individual contribution. As individuals, we have both the right and the responsibility to contribute to the best of our ability. The ICC believes that anyone is capable of sound decisions and actions, given access to resources and information, and the power to utilize them. Without the effort of individuals, there can be no group effort.
Wise use of resources is intrinsic to our mission.By reusing, recycling, and reducing resources, ICC actualizes our belief that all of the world’s people have the right to enough to meet their basic needs. We pledge to continuously look for ways to care for the earth.
Individuals working together are more effective than those working alone. Respect for individuals, while working together for mutual gain and support, makes cooperatives examples of the highest human values in action.
Working together allows us to improve our members’ lives in many ways. We are many co-ops in one, providing food, computers, laundry, newspapers, gardens, entertainment, training in business operations and management, etc. We look to continuously improve our members’ quality of life.
The ICC is its own most reliable resource. The ICC attempts to be a self-reliant organization, and to enable its members to be self-reliant individuals. Whenever possible, we use our own resources to solve problems before we look for outside help.
Our diversity is one of our greatest strengths. Since its beginnings, ICC has actively created a community of people from all places, backgrounds, beliefs and lifestyles. We do not discriminate by race, gender, ability, sexual preference, nationality or any other category. We broaden our perspective and remove old prejudices by living together, and help change society by setting an example of respect and acceptance.
Community is the key to our success. Community is a sense of belonging that connects all of us to one another. This idea is what drives us to improve our houses, and make them into homes. We try to spread this feeling to as many as we can. It influences our decisions on expansion, as well as on programs and services at both the house and organizational level.
Community requires the participation of empowered members.In the ICC, participation in work and the social life of the co-ops is as important to success as the payment of charges. Participation reinforces the sense of community that makes a co-op last, even as individual members come and go. But for a community to succeed, participation must lead to empowerment; members exercising control over decision-making and the actual operations of the co-op.
The co-op should benefit both current and future members. Many members worked to build the ICC for us, and it is our job to be careful stewards so that the ICC will be here for many members to come. Because of this, we choose to buy houses rather than rent them, and to spend the money to keep them in good repair. We are grateful to our 20,000+ alums, and pledge to pass on an ICC that can serve 20,000+ more.