What is the Co-Op?
A cooperative, or co-op, is an association in which people work toward a common purpose or beneﬁt through a jointly-owned and democratically managed enterprise. In the business world, a cooperative is a way for people to meet their own needs through a company that is owned and operated by the people who use its products and services. The CCE’s student staff Co-Op is the structure through which students can guide, direct, and take joint ownership of the work of the CCE. Our goal is to equitably share voice, power, decision-making, and meaning-making of our ofﬁce with students.
In short, this is what we have been building it to become! We have been building the foundation for this current structure to exist over the past two years, where now student employees make up the backbone of all of our student programs and have a defined role in the collective visioning of the engaged work we, as a campus, participate in. The Co-Op started back in the summer of 2018, under the guidance of CCE Director Jordan Travis Radke with support of the assistant director and paraprofessional at the time, with five main coalitions: Prison Project, Refugee Alliance, Education, Political Advocacy, and Sustainable Community Development. The first two coalitions, Prison Project and Refugee Alliance, are both student organizations that served as examples for what an integrated coalition focused on a single issue-area could look like, while the last three were newly formed groups. As this was the first year of the Co-Op, the main focus was on connecting students within each designated issue-area, and on thinking through what relevant campaigns or projects could be hosted that would support the mission of the coalition.
To sign up to get more information about the Co-Op, email our Civic Leadership Paraprofessional, Sophia Pray!
How does the Co-Op operate within the CCE?
The Co-Op lives at the CCE, which means interns are advised by CCE staff and supported by office resources, however it is a space run primarily by students in collaboration with CC faculty and staff members, and community members. Our student interns enhance the quality of all our programs at the CCE, including student-facing work, faculty and staff engagement, and community partnership building. They are integral to our office’s functioning, for they support our ability to continue ramping up our scope of work while retaining the same level of support for all of our stakeholders.
How does the Co-Op relate to the CCE's mission?
There are four main priorities for the Co-Op, which align with our office’s strategic mission and goals. These are the main reasons this structure has been adopted by the CCE:
- Formalize student leadership and voice within the CCE staffing structure
- Support, through peer-to-peer mentorship and monetary means, student-driven and locally-centered community organizing efforts
- Create a space for collaborative efforts on the Colorado College campus
- Create a stronger intracampus network to support the connection of work at CC to beyond the campus
- Enhanced shared identity among student organizations within issue areas
- Shared and public forum for all interested individuals and groups to come together, connect with each other, learn from each other, and create with each other
- Potentially one of the following: A co-created campaign action, either internal or external; Co-created project, either white paper or event-oriented; Co-created awareness week, with multiple events, actions and that involves on- and off-campus partners; or Co-created capacity-building project where focus can be for on- and off-campus
What is the structural breakdown of the Co-Op?
There are two main components of the CCE Co-Op structure: the Board of Directors, and the Coalitions. The former consists of two Co-Directors who oversee the entire Co-Op-- the Community Engaged Fellows Co-Director and the Community Engaged Scholars & Leaders Co-Director-- as well as three Assistant Directors who report to the Co-Directors. The three Assistant Director positions are for Community Partnerships, Student Organizations, and BreakOut. While each individual member of the Board of Directors has a specific focus-area, they all collectively work together to make sure their specific constituents are connected to each other, and to the resources that each of the focus areas offers. They also collectively support the work of the Coalitions. The Issue Organizers are a group of interns who each have an issue-area coalition that they oversee on behalf of the CCE. They are designated peer facilitators and connectors for students, staff, faculty, and community partners who either want to find an on-ramp to work in that issue-area or who already have relevant events, opportunities, and knowledge that could be shared and built upon.
Why join the Co-op?
- To transform ideas about change into actions
- To sharpen skills like:
- Community organizing
- Volunteer management
- Event planning
- Public relations/communications
- Qualitative research
- To gain research experience
- Potential foundation for a senior thesis
- Ideal writing sample for certain job applications
- Useful skill for students interested in studying/working on public policy
- To access campus & community mentors
- To earn hours towards CES, CEL & CEF requirements