Hello!  We are delighted that you are interested in ICC Austin.  We’ve got answers to many of your questions below.

First things first, the basics

ICC Austin is a 501c-3 non-profit organization that operates on a cooperative basis.  Our mission is to provide quality, affordable, and healthy cooperative housing for students with financial need.

ICC Austin owns nine different cooperative houses in the west campus area which range in size from 15-31 student-members.  Each ICC Austin house offers a unique community environment. We welcome all Central Texas students who are working to obtain their higher education!

Living in a cooperative house is a unique and empowering opportunity that will enhance your college experience.  We have a dedicated, 4-person staff that is here to support you and provide guidance to make your cooperative experience one that you will remember for a lifetime.

What is a co-op?

Cooperatives are people-centered organizations owned, controlled and run by and for their members.  Cooperatives bring people together in a democratic and equal way.

As businesses driven by values, not just profit, cooperatives share internationally agreed principles and act together to build a better world through cooperation. Putting fairness, equality and social justice at the heart of the enterprise, cooperatives around the world are allowing people to work together to create a more sustainable future.   Learn more about the cooperative business model here.

So how does cooperative living work?

There are 3 distinct aspects of cooperative living that are important to understand: shared resources and labor, community building, and democratic control.

Shared Resources & Labor

One of the most unique parts of cooperative living is an equal sharing of resources and labor (chores).  The membership pools its money (rent) and labor to provide housing, amenities, food, and fellowship in a supportive community environment.  There is no need for you to buy your own pots and pans, shop for groceries every week, buy living room furniture, cook every day, etc.  Sharing resources results in affordable housing and a living environment that teaches life skills for the future.

All members are responsible for an equal share of house labor (typically 4-5 hours/week).  Some examples of labor assignments are house maintenance, food preparation, cleaning, house leadership, and managing house finances.  House members decide what jobs are important and find a way to distribute chores evenly.  This both keeps the cost low and the houses running smoothly.  

Community Building

ICC Austin strives to be a diverse, inclusive, and accessible community.  We welcome students of varying backgrounds, cultures, sexual orientations, abilities, and beliefs.  Living with housemates who are different from you can sometimes be challenging, but we will provide you with all of the tools you need to navigate these hurdles. 

Each semester we offer a wide-array of educational opportunities to enhance your formal education.   Trainings encompass topics such as: conflict resolution, consent, mental health, leadership development, bystander intervention, understanding racism, and more!  We have a full-time staff member dedicated to ensuring our communities are healthy and functioning well.  

Democratic Control

The ICC Austin membership, 188 students, democratically control the organization.  Each ICC Austin house has its own set of rules and policies – that you set!  You and your housemates will work together to create the environment you want to live in.  In order to do this, you will have house meetings, typically every other week, to talk about important issues and make decisions.  

Additionally, the membership elects the ICC Austin Board of Directors which governs the organization.  The Board sets the goals and long-direction of ICC Austin and ensures staff is following the strategic plan and adhering to the policies set by the Board.


Testimonials

“My experience in co-ops has taught me to deal with people from different backgrounds. Arguing with people effectively will be a skill for the rest of my life. (I am still working on it though, most arguments don’t end pretty). My favorite thing about coops is the delicious and healthy food we can make. The location and price are just givens.” – Arrakis

“I love my Co-op because it’s my home! I sleep here, I eat here, but I really do live here. Co-ops are amazing to me because they really do teach a wide variety of people to live together and create a functioning home. We share the chores, we eat around the table, we hang out together, and we help each other when we need it. I can definitely say that living in a Co-op and has affected my life and my viewpoint far more than living in an apartment ever could.”  – Eden House

“I LOVE my co-op. My co-op is more than the place I live. It’s the people I live with. Moving into my house put me with 14 complete strangers who quickly became some of my favorite people. Co-opers are extremely friendly people. We do everything together. From political rallies, to parties, plays and art exhibits, our house is active together. When I see them on campus, there’s always a wave and a smile. There’s always someone around to have fun with. There’s always someone around to do homework with. I feel like I am really a part of something wonderful.”  -Eden House

“If I won the lottery, I’d still live in French House. The co-op is a completely unique living situation and incredibly gratifying experience that money just can’t buy. Rent notwithstanding.”  – French House

“I lived in ICC for four years, and in my time there I grew more than I ever have in any one place. It was the freedom of expression and the acceptance of my fellow co-opers which allowed me to become the person who was burgeoning to come out inside. To any searcher who’s wanting to grow, I would strongly recommend ICC as a living option. It is the only college living where you can be who you are, become who you want, and along the way, have an excellent time.” – Former ICC Member


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