Believe it or not, there is life beyond the 'Street.'
While the majority of students were paying close attention to Bicker and sign-ins last week, a significant number of sophomores and juniors were setting their sights on coops.
Though actual numbers vary considerably among the three coops –Brown, Lockhart and 2 Dickinson – most members said there is a growing interest in dining alternatives.
Brown coop – the only non-vegetarian coop – had 40 students on its wait-list last Friday. The list was randomized this past weekend, yet students can place their name on the list anytime during the semester. Brown member Miki Terasawa '98 said this is the first time that Brown has been forced to select members.
Currently, the coop's membership stands at 25 and at least eight places will be available next year following the departure of its seniors. This is a large increase from last year's membership that stood between 12 and 14.
"There has obviously been a growing interest in coops over the past two years," she said. "As Brown becomes more well-known, we hope to get more members."
The coop is talking to University administrators to "see the best way to let people in," Brown coop member Chris Beeson '99 said. "We're trying to sort it out right now. (Because of the high numbers) I hope that the University would think about making a new coop."
Lockhart coop, which began last year with approximately 20 members, currently has 6 students on its wait-list. The current membership stands at 22, and at least 11 spots will be available next year after the seniors graduate. Last semester, the coop's membership stood at 27 students.
Like Beeson, Lockhart member Casey Rothschild '99 said the growing interest in coops reveals a high demand for additional facilities.
"We're trying to get a fourth," he said. "All the wait-lists are almost full and the coops are at maximum capacity at the moment."
The 2-D coop, which had 78 students on its wait-list last year, was only able to garner interest from 41 this year. Ransom Richardson '98, a 2-D member, said the drop in numbers can be attributed to the coop's long wait-list last year.
While 20 2-D members actually live at the house on 2 Dickinson Street, 20 other members live elsewhere. "We try to keep the numbers in the house around 20," 2-D member Pete Rowinsky '98 said. "Any bigger than that, and we will need inspections like in restaurants."
Selecting members from the list "is a real issue of contention," Rowinsky said. "At discussions during house meetings, we have tried to set ourselves up as a place that doesn't discriminate. Even if you're vegan, you will not have priority."
All three coops appear to work in friendly cooperation with each other. Terasawa said every Sunday last semester, 2-D, Lockhart and Brown would have brunch together at 2 Dickinson. However, the coops have not been having the brunches this semester, she added.
"It was a really good experiment," she said. "It showed good communication between all the coops."
Current and prospective members of the coops cited three main reasons for why they chose to enter coops: a love of cooking, a desire to join a different social atmosphere than the 'Street' or living independently and the low financial cost – less than $1,000 a year – significantly less than the cost of an eating club.
Rowinsky, who is one of the bread bakers at 2-D, said that the coop is not as radical as it used to be. "It started out as a free-love experiment, then became a lesbian coop, then a house filled with 30 cats and (it) has finally become more mainstream," he said.
Emily Rosenzweig '99 said she liked the "low key atmosphere" of Lockhart. "It's not a huge rah rah. You get to know people and feel comfortable with them quickly. It's not like a club, which has so many people you don't know," she said.