Wednesday, October 7, 2009

10/5/09 Meeting Minutes

Ciao Chums,

Meeting minutes from Monday are below, including important action items. As a general rule of thumb, even if you are unable to attend meetings, please feel free to engage in ways that you can. We appreciate all & any help!

1. 2 new members were at the meeting: Amanda Shirazi & Sarah Eisenstein... woohoo!

2. We gave them a brief overview of our efforts so far, explained the committees, and our current initiatives.

3. Amanda will contact the Green Business Club to find out when their meetings are, and potentially go to one to do outreach--especially for finance/business savvy people.

4. Amanda will bring us information on a "civic engagement" grant the Sociology Dept is sponsoring. It's due 10/30. We might be able to apply for it. More information on the details of the grant at the next meeting.

5. We need to be in contact with a lawyer ASAP, so that the many legal questions that we raise can be answered rather than just float around in the air. Natalia or Deirdre--will you look into information about the SGA lawyer?

6. We will have to expand our housing philosophy in the beginning, and most likely start by renting a few houses in the same neighborhood for many reasons. First, there are few viable houses in the price, size, and zoning range that we are after. Second, we have no established credit or money. In the case of renting, we will have to ensure that the landlord will allow us to rent as a Cooperative Incoporation, as opposed to individuals. This will help us establish good credit, and in turn, will later help us get the necessary loans to purchase a downpayment.

7. New ideas for finding a few houses in the same neighborhood include:
-Contacting seniors we know who live in College Park to find out the status of their house (will people be living in it next year?), the status of their landlord (cool or lame?), and the status of their neighbors (will we be able to throw parties?)
-Go to the City Council meetings and ask their advice about cool landlords who we could rent 2-3 houses from, within close proximity of one another. (The City Council knows all the landlords personally, so they'd be a good resource for this. They also meet once a week. Who knows when and where they meet????)
-Search on Craigslist
-Go to Off Campus Housing for more resources and advice

8. Dave will ask his landlord if we'd be able to rent his house as a Cooperative Incorporation

9. There are a number of specific properties that we're in the process of looking into or need to look into:
-Cash Reality: up for SALE... although we might be able to convince them to do a Rent-to-Own deal because they will have trouble selling it. there's a zoning problem, since it's zoned for business. We need to talk to a lawyer, because if we're technically a corporation, we might be able to rent as a "housing business". Their phone number is 301-345-2151
-College Perk: the new owner was not extremely receptive to renting to a group as opposed to individuals when Rachael talked to him. Dave met with him on Tuesday...more info to follow. There are a number of small houses behind the Perk that are part of the same property, owned by the same person. We might be able to rent all of those houses?
-College Park Motel: off Route 1 before Berwyn Road. Apparently many other student co-ops around the US have renovated old motels/hotels and turned them into Co-ops. Will someone (Natalia/Tanya) write or call the City and ask about this property?

10. We need a good MAP of the City of College Park!--Sarah agreed to find one for us... we will all reimburse her next week, so bring some small change.

11. New meeting structure: No more filling people in when they arrive late to the meeting. Instead, they can ask questions afterward, or just read the meeting minutes when they're sent out. It takes too much time and is inefficient to fill in late people. That said, PLEASE COME ON TIME IF YOU DO NOT HAVE OTHER ENGAGEMENTS!

12. Ways to help orient new people: Create a short written summary of how CHUM started, where we are now in the process, and our tentative timeline. Also, arrange one-on-one meetings to talk and fill people in. Direct to blog. Send informative websites.

The End.

**AMANDA--1) report back with Green Business meeting time & place 2) bring information on Socy grant
**SARAH--1) bring city of CP map
**NATALIA--1) find out about SGA Lawyer 2) work with tanya to inquire about the College Park Motel property
**DEIRDRE--1) find out about SGA Lawyer... you or natalia
**TANYA--1) find out when & where weekly City Council meetings are (maybe just call) 2) work with natalia to inquire about the College Park Motel property
**DAVE--1) ask your landlord about renting as a co-op 2) bring report back from College Perk
**JOE--1) buy your ticket for NASCO 2) register online for the conference 3) ask the food co-op if they'll give a small donation 4) make party facebook event
**RACHAEL--1) begin drafting summary orientation for new member

****ALL--Reach out to your friends who are seniors living in houses in College Park...ask for the status of their house, landlord & neighbors. Bring report backs to next meeting.

Next week's meeting will be structured with report backs from Action Items!

Thanks for all your hard work.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

9/28/09 Meeting Minutes

CHUM Meeting Minutes --- 9/28/09

1. NASCO Institute
o National student co-op conference in Ann Arbor, MI, November 6-8.
o Our goal is for at least 2 of our CHUM members (Rachael & Josef) to attend in order to learn more about starting the co-ops.
o Cost = $290 per person if registered by Oct 5th (yikes)…actual cost is not due until the day of the conference.
o In order to fundraise the money, we will:
a. Have a CHUM party at Joe & Dave’s house (more below)
b. Ask the Food Co-op for a small donation (JOE)
c. Look into collapsing SGA organizations that have travel $ in their budget… usurp their moo-la (JOE)
d. Call Jim Jones to try to get a discount (RACHAEL)
o Party Fundraiser
o Either Oct 16 or 17 (JOE, DAVE…WHICH ONE?)
o At Joe/Dave’s house… 4902 Cherokee St (N on Rt 1)
o Buy 1-2 $50 kegs
o Charge $5 per person
o Promote like whoa

2. SGA Budget for Spring 2010
o DUE: Fri Oct 2
o Strategy: ask for as much money as possible
o Reality: they’ll offer you less than what you ask for, then you go petition for why you should get more money
o Josef’s writing a draft, then sending to Natalia to take to our SGA representative
o Potential things to include in our budget:
a. $ for security deposit
b. $ for rent while house is unoccupied
c. $ for fundraiser
d. $ for workshops  cooperative ownership, consensus building, coexistence, non-violent communication, etc
e. $ for advertising
f. $ for conferences
g. $ for lawyer
h. $ for legal fees (if we have to change the zoning on any property it’s going to cost money!)

3. Incorporation
o Incorporation form was signed by the core group: Deirdre, Natalia, Tanya, Josef, David, and Rachael
o The mailing address is the Food Co-operative… Joe will ensure that we get our mail when it goes around in the circle at their meetings
o Deirdre will send in the incorporation form ASAP
o Deirdre will put up the cost for incorporation ($25?)… next meeting we will each contribute to the incorporation cost

4. City of College Park Live & Work in College Park Application
o Application is for a grant from the City of College park for $35,000 toward a down payment on a house in College Park that has been foreclosed upon and that is being purchased by first-time home buyers
o Tentatively, we have not found a suitable property to purchase for ownership, especially not a foreclosed upon house
o Application on-hold until/unless we find a viable property

5. University Blvd House
o The property is currently zoned as commercial property.
o It would take 2 years, $5,000 in legal fees, and a valid argument that the area’s demographic has “changed” in order to change the zoning
o House is out of the running for above reasons

6. College Perk Coffeehouse property
o College Perk is currently up for rent as a “commercial/restaurant property”
o This could be an ideal property for our cooperative since it already has credibility in terms of location and is a nice size house
o We need the phone number for the realtor to ask the following questions:
a. How is the house zoned?
b. Is housing still an option for the house?
c. Who’s the owner?
d. What’s the cost per month? (rent)
e. What’s the status of the houses in the back that are also part of the property?
f. What’s the hopeful move-in date for the property?
g. Was the house foreclosed upon?
h. Would it be possible to set up a rent-to-own deal?

7. Grants
o Pepsi grant is due Oct 16th.
a. We can request money for basically any event on campus.
b. We can use this money to help fund a fundraiser, to generate money for start-up costs.
c. Josef and/or Tanya will work on this
o Tanya found 4 grants: two for non-profits dedicated to helping with low income housing opportunity, and two for first time home-buyers.
a. What are the due dates for the first time home-buyers?
b. We are not a non-profit corporation yet, although that is our eventual goal. We first must incorporate before applying for non-profit status

8. SECU Bank Account
o We need to open a credit union bank account in order to begin establishing ourselves as a business
o Rachael will open this account ASAP

9. SGA Act for money
o Natalia is working on the SGA Act, applying for up to $15,000 for our efforts
o We will need to outline exactly what the funds would go to
o This is not an immediate need… can work on in the Spring

10. Treasurer
o We REALLY need a treasurer and/or someone who has experience creating budgets, business plans, etc.

11. Outreach
o Expanding our core group by 3-5 people would be ideal
o Start by bringing your friends who you know are interested to the next meeting
a. **You have all been made officers on our facebook group. I updated the group to be titled CHUM, Inc. You can INVITE YOUR INTERESTED FRIENDS TO JOIN OUR GROUP!
o Create fliers targeted at business-minded people (RACH)
o Create fliers targeting freshmen (RACH)
o Rachael will bring her old fliers to next week’s meeting


Josef: request funds from food co-op for NASCO institute, look for collapsing SGA org funds, draft SGA budget & send to Natalia

Tanya: Get Pepsi grant info from Joe

Natalia: Get SGA budget from Joe & work on it with SGA rep

Deidre: Mail in incorporation forms, let everyone know how much money we owe you

David: Give Rachael College Perk phone number and County Zoning phone number

Rachael: call Jim Jones about NASCO Institute discount & budget suggestions, call College Perk & ask 1,000 questions, call county and ask about zoning for College Perk, open SECU bank account, create new outreach fliers

ALL: Outreach!!!  invite your interested friends to our facebook group!!

(send in items you think should be worked on)

1. Updates from 9/28 Action Items
2. Reconnecting with Tim Uber (or different realtor if he’s out of contact) to look for more houses
3. Field trip to Food Co-op meeting in order to see how they run their process… CHUM developing a decision-making process
4. Moving forward on finding a lawyer… or possibly using the student group lawyer
5. Flyering

Friday, April 17, 2009

Meeting 4/17

Hi All!

Central to establishing our co-op is EDUCATION. Let's self-educate a bit at the following websites:

Here are the notes from today's meeting... We've created a timeline of goals leading up to house acquisition.


June 2009:
o 3 more core members
o contact with NASCO (top priority)
o finish presentation/movie
o rough drafts of by-laws and mission statement
Fall semester:
o detailed financial plan – spreadsheet
o cost estimate
attend November NASCO workshop
apply for scholarships
sign-up for workshop
establish as a student group
by September
get support of SGA
finding a house

We also talked on the phone with Jim Jones.
Some notes from that conversation:
Logistics- operational details
o how to let people in
o how to deal with labor
o pet policy
o what kind of food
o Champaign, Urbana co-op website
find building first
o tailor to size of building
o ideal size?
o difficult to buy a building
o no one will give us money
o students are second-class citizens
o borrow 95% of value of house
o 80% from bank max
o loan funds
o co-operative borrows
o NASCO properties
o find your own resources!
o too early to find a building
o to discuss in May: what kind of building to look for
o look into incorporating
o the community of urbana champaigne co-operative housing C.O.U.C.H.
handbook for brooks house
May 4- dinner with peeps
July 19 or 20- meet up with phone dude

Our goals for NEXT WEEK:
o start the process of incorporating
o finish C-ROOTS film

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

4/10 Meeting Minutes

Here are some updates from last week's meeting, to keep everyone in the loop...

* Tanya Lyapustina is an awesome new member dedicated to working on the co-op project with us. Woot! We are super happy she's on board
* 11:30 on Fridays at the co-op is our official meeting time until the end of the semester
* Natalia, Deirdre & Rachael were also at the meeting... Dave couldn't attend due to a prior committment

* We recapped our goals for the end of the semester:
o Create timeline & benchmark goals leading up to Fall 2010 cooperative house
o Outline and choose a financial option, and make progress & contacts in that direction
o Present at Community Roots (April 30th)
o Establish & maintain a blog
o Create a Mission Statement
o Compile Bylaws from other cooperative houses
o Get 3 more core-members to join our initial efforts

* We decided to prioritize our presentation for the Community Roots meeting
Presentation will be two-fold: 1) VIDEO 2) What is co-op housing?


o Talking about & displaying the ills of housing in College Park & the potential for cooperatives as a viable, awesome solution
Part 1--horrible housing in CP: commons & parkside (no neighbors), outside of the view... oh no, they're building another!, horrible knox box landlords (show broken stuff), etc..
Part 2--happy images: gardens, sharing meals, sharing chores, etc...
Part 3--explinations/voice-overs: student power & ownership, community meals, responsible housemates, social consciousness & activism, meaningful friendships, community, connections, etc etc...
o Deirdre's boyfriend & friend (Jeff & Andrew) do a lot of film work... they will film us & edit FRIDAY APRIL 24
BY 4/24 WE NEED:
people to testify about their housing in College Park (friends, us, whoever)

2. What is Co-op Housing? (reallllly simple power-point or handout)
3 main points we'll 'hit' them with
1-CHEAP: show 2 charts: UMD price comparisons, Peer University price comparisons
2-STUDENT OWNED & MANAGED: consensus driven, democratic, 1 person/1 share, initiative-based, etc.
3-COMMUNITY: meals, parties, meaningful connections, fun, coolness, etc...

* Next week (this Friday 4/17) we will focus on (tentative):
o Time line
o NASCO/financial connection
o Mission Statement

* Don't forget to mention co-op housing to all of your friends! See if anyone you know wants to be committed to the process. We need 3 more core-members!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


So we have this blog now so that we, you, and everyone else can keep track of this process, and accomplishments big and small, of creating UMD's first co-op house. Wooo!!

Ok, so we have an excellent core group now committed to making this thing happen: Rachael, Deirdre, Dave, Natalia, and Tanya. We are looking for at least 4 more people to be part of the core group in this Co-op Housing Project! Let us know if you're interested, ok??!

Ok check this out:

It's a blog about revamping College Park, and the plans that are going on. This is the section about housing. So you know the University View? They are building TWO MORE in front of the existing one!?! Do we really want these housing options to take over even more than they already have? Check the link out and see what you think.

Some notes from our last meeting. We developed some:

Tangible Goals by End of the Semester:
  • have a set timeline for the whole process
  • outline and choose financial option, and make contacts in that direction
  • ** NASCO (North American Students of Cooperation) is an org that will sometimes fund students to buy the house and then lease it to you, letting you have complete autonomy in running the house. Probably our best bet, so we are going to work toward making that happen!
  • have a speaker come and talk about co-op housing
  • create a video and presentation to show Community Roots and other student groups--something that can be used next year as well
  • establish a blog (ESTABLISHED!)
  • have a cohesive mission statement
  • compile bylaws
  • get 4 more people on board!

Our current meeting time is Friday afternoons at 11:30 am, outside of the food co-op in Stamp. Join us if you wish! For any reason. Even if you just wanna hang out.

Our facebook group is

This shall be updated further soon!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009