The Campbell Club and the Lorax Manner are taking applications for next year.
Located next to each other on the block of Alder Street between 16th and 17th Avenue, these venerable buildings represent two of three co-operative housing options (the third, the Janet Smith Graduate Student Co-op, is reserved for grad students).
The standard rate for a room at either co-op is $398 per month, which includes food and Internet. Tenants can move in at any time during the year and can get their deposit back within 30 days.
“The dorms are crazy expensive,” said Jarrod McClung, a current Campbell Club resident who has previously lived at the Lorax. “Here, it’s very affordable for everything.”
Both the Campbell Club and the Lorax are known for their activist leanings. In the early 1990s, the co-ops were a major center of operations for grassroots environmental organization Cascadia Forest Defenders. This is how the Lorax, which opened in 1990, came to be named after Dr. Seuss’ paragon of environmental activism.
To this day, the co-ops maintain an ethos based on social justice. The Campbell Club regularly hosts house shows for organizations like Food Not Bombs and Black Mesa Indigenous Support. These shows have developed a reputation as safe party spaces for queer students, students of color and other marginalized groups.
“(The Campbell Club) offers a space to party,” said Lorax resident Kelsey Rankin. “I’m not constantly bro’d out on. It’s better than a lot of other party spaces because it’s a better space for people of color and different gender and sexual orientations to party.”
The Lorax also hosts events, including art parties and the occasional concert. But according to Rankin, it’s more of a low-key environment.
“The general personality of the Lorax is more introverted,” she said. “It’ll just be people reading in the Vortex together or going to the river together.”
The Vortex is the Lorax’s living room, known for its ability to “suck people into the most random conversation for hours on end.”
Both buildings are located in the heart of “Greek Row,” but the co-ops pride themselves as an alternative to fraternity and sorority life, often acting as homogeneous environments.
“There are frats and sororities, which provide one type of community,” said Rankin. “Some people don’t fit into those communities, so co-operatives give that space for people who just want to live differently and together.”
This entails a lot of shared responsibilities. If you can’t handle a lot of work, the co-ops aren’t for you.
“On different nights, people cook dinners, do different cleaning jobs,” said Campbell Club resident Ellie Johnson. “That makes it a lot easier because when we’re working together on different jobs, we can maintain certain things about the house.”
But if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty once in a while, the co-ops can be a great living environment for students of all backgrounds.
The Campbell Club has a capacity of 28, the Lorax 25. If co-operative housing appeals to you, you can apply at https://sites.google.com/site/scawiki/apply-now.
Follow Daniel Bromfield on Twitter @bromf3