Providing affordable student housing since 1932

WAM Review & Awards


TL:DR WAM keeps our non-profit status alive, allows us to celebrate each year, is representative of our community, and meant to be chill not formal.

I’ve had the privilege of attending nine Winter Annual Meetings(WAM). Not only have I attended, I was the primary staff member responsible for ensuring the event occurred. I must confess that providing support and attending is far more chill than organizing! They’ve all been unique (WAMMYs, Space WAM, Wild Wild WAM) and lately. . . digital (thanks covid.) Not only did we crawl out from behind our screens this year to be in person, we also changed venues. Historically we’ve always used the church located near Linder, King, Ruths’ and MichMinnies. While it was cost effective it wasn’t the greatest fit for our membership.

This year we rented out the Anderson Room at the Michigan Union which is centrally located and included a buffet. This year, our new Director of Education & Training (Pink) and their central leaders utilized an interfaith lens of reflection as our theme. We postponed our dinner to ensure we could support our members fasting and we broke the fast with dates and uplifting words from our VP for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Alhan. We welcomed our alumni and heard from co-op legend Jim Jones who inspired us to “Make no small plans, for they do not have the power to stir the soul.” VP for Marketing & Recruitment Ruthy gave an overview of our accomplishments throughout the year (worth checking out) and we installed our new President Keara Broome. We had enough members show up and vote to pass our referendum to support our property tax exemption.

The really really really new addition this year, was the forum play. The play process is based off the Theater of the Oppressed methodology brought to us by Pink and casted by your very own housemates. The actors created a 2-3 minute scene revolving around a housemate not washing their dish and getting called out aggressively. Guest Joker Jasmin Cardenas guided the audience through participatory actions and outcomes that really broke down the scene and gave the attendees a glance into how oppression shows up in our houses. Members were able to engage with the scene, discuss various issues, provide some context, and try out solutions that really encourage our cooperative spirits.

Nine WAM’s later. . . . that was the coolest thing I’ve experienced and the most engaged I’ve seen the entire crowd.

Did you attend WAM?

Did any of your housemates?

Has anyone shared the achievements, awards, and awesomeness of the event? I hope so.

I hope that we can continue to highlight our community and utilize WAM as a way to come together as we are not how we’re expected. 

Stop by next year. . . doesn’t matter if you live with us still or have moved on. . . we’re all a part of this vast community and welcome everyone as alumni upon departure. Just make sure you fill out your share return lolz.

McKinney V Parrish
Director of Communications

Award Winners

Cooperator of the Year: Seth Flynn

Golden Hammer: Brooke Hudson & Marius Vava

Lifetime Achievement in Maintenance: Archie Mangus

Golden Wallet: Tony DiMeglio & Tess Eschebach

David L Smith Scholarship: Kim Swineheart & Audrey Elberger



  • Seth has gone above and beyond in serving the ICC community this year as the board representative for Owen House and Member Assistance Coordinator! As a member of OpsCom, Seth has taken impressive initiative on several projects and consistently shows up to meetings ready to engage. Seth is a vocal board representative and engages with the board process in a way that is admirable and shows great commitment to the health and longevity of the ICC. As the MAC, Seth has helped the member assistance program run smoothly and efficiently, and has done great work building up the program for future years!
  • Seth has previously served as president of Owen, and currently serves as our Board Rep and is the MAC . He puts a tremendous amount of effort into making new and current housemates feel welcomed and included as a part of Owen’s culture. Additionally, he is one of the most compassionate and and committed co-opers I have met in the ICC. He truly cares about Owen house, and the broader ICC community and goes out of his way daily to serve and uplift our coops!

Brooke & Marius

  • The Golden Hammer award this year is going to Brooke Hudson and Marius Vava of Truth house. Though Truth is one of our younger properties, they certainly have had a tall task responding to maintenance requests from their 53 housemates in a building that despite its comparative youth in this organization, is certainly aging. They have both been diligent communicators, relaying information in RFAs and back to the house, in addition to their housemates reporting that “These two always seem to drop whatever they are occupied with to help support the house with any maintenance issues” and that they are “consistently motivated to serve Truth House”
  • Brooke has helped maintenance staff tremendously in troubleshooting issues around the house, from figuring out issues with drains, washing machines, the dish sanitizer, and countless other issues requiring sleuthing and on-site observation. Her diligence in reporting, following up, and responding promptly with additional information has been amazing in supporting our work and in supporting Truth House through multiple large scale projects over the past year, including some with serious logistical headaches requiring prompt communication of shifting needs. Her housemates have noticed this as well, with one reporting in their nomination that “Over the course of this year, she has successfully advocated for house needs, including helping our house repair its dishwashing sprayer, bathroom drains, and kitchen sinks” Brooke’s communication abilities and advocacy for the house are indeed par excellence.
  • According to housemates, Marius has “promptly responded to nearly every internal maintenance request, including repeated repairs to our vacuums, sprayers, and toilets” and this is certainly reflected in the RFAs we received from him, as we have brought repair parts for these items on multiple occasions to support his work. He has always been willing to troubleshoot, learn, and make repairs independently to make sure Truth’s building systems are functioning at their highest level.
  • Both of them have been instrumental in helping us troubleshoot and adjust in response to long standing issues with the heat system at Truth, as I’m sure their housemates are well aware. Once we replaced the boiler over the past summer, they took time to learn the new system with Drew, and understand how to make adjustments to the system, radiators and windows to help make their house more comfortable. We know that we can count on them to be effective communicators and leaders in the house, and so do their housemates. As reported in one of their nomination emails, as house leadership has morphed at Truth in the past year, “Brooke and Marius assumed leadership roles, communicated effectively with all housemates, and went out of their way to be as transparent as possible” Which does not come as a surprise at all to us on staff, and is why we are awarding them both with the Golden Hammer this year.


  • It isn’t often that we give this award out. In fact, we have only ever given it to one other Maintenance Manager, who coincidentally was also from Owen house, for their long standing excellent service to the house and the organization over multiple years. There must be some kind of co-operative spirit in the water over there consistently turning out excellent maintenance managers.
  • Archie Magnus has been Maintenance manager at Owen house since 2020, and in their time as Maintenance Manager, they’ve come to be known to maintenance staff as a dependable co-oper to reach out to for counsel when planning work that requires intimate, lived knowledge of the house. Their RFAs always give plenty of information to provide a solid starting point for troubleshooting issues, and they’re always responsive with follow-up information and for alerting housemates to work being done. They’re always willing to do recon and troubleshoot remotely when we aren’t immediately available in after hours situations, and seeing them progress in their skills and confidence over the years has been nothing short of amazing.
  • Their housemates say that they have “consistently gone above and beyond for maintenance projects around the house,” and that “Owen house would honestly be in shambles without Archie.” In addition to projects for the house, another housemate says “Archie is always enthusiastic to help people with their personal maintenance projects” – a hallmark of a great maintenance manager and co-oper.
  • Most recently, they have stepped up to take on some large scale projects in the kitchen that will surely serve the house well for years, leaving a legacy that will be enjoyed by many future generations of Owen House. Owen Board Rep Seth Flynn reports that this work has been “far beyond the two-hour labor credit they receive with the position,” and it has not gone unnoticed by us. This has been par for the course for Archie over multiple years, and is the reason we are bestowing the Lifetime Achievement in Maintenance award to them.
Tony & Tess
  • Kept in constant stream of communication, dug into their roles despite the hecticness of the year, and kept asking questions on their positions and what they can do to be great for their houses.

Kim & Audrey

  • In 2012, David L Smith, Owen House member from 1947-51 and ICC President in 1951, donated $75,000 to create a scholarship specifically for the house that he lived in and cared about during his time in the ICC. He wished to continue to support the environment of learning and cooperation that he experienced, and wanted for the money to help members that would be continuing to stay and give back to the community at Owen. We would like to inform you that applications for the David L. Smith Scholarship, which is offered only to eligible Owen House members, are now available.  The Scholarship will be awarded based on an essay contest, with two recipients receiving $1,000 credited to their ICC accounts. The essay should reflect on
    their times spent in the ICC, especially at Owen House, and should be around 500 words. Eligible applicants may choose from 2 topics:

    • How did your time at Owen House and your involvement in the cooperative movement have
      influenced your life?
    • How you have contributed to Owen House or the ICC?