Re: How do the committees work in your community?
From: Denise Meier and/or Michael Jacob (
Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 19:34:21 -0500
We early on mandated participation on a committee or as a taskholder for
all adults and have never enforced it, even with subtle social pressure.
It became recognized that certain people were not going to contribute. In
all cases so far, there has been a partner who did contribute, and so the
household was considered to be contributing. 

We have noticed a considerable lag time between new people joining and
their actually diving in and getting their hands dirty. It's probably
partly not feeling empowered to make changes or suggestions, and partly
just needing to learn what's going on and what they can contribute....

I remember being at a northern california regional conference
several years ago, and hearing someone from one of the Davis groups say
something like this: "I realized that the rules we would have to enact to
make everyone's contributions equal would turn our community into a place
I didn't want to live in". 

I've always been the kind of person who keeps track of who does what and
how much and when, and easily gets resentful (just ask my husband!) but
that thought got through to me somehow. You need to kind of relax a little
about it.... 

Denise Meier
Sebastopol, CA

On Mon, 6 Apr 1998, weigel wrote:

> Greetings! I am a new member of couhousing-l and involved in the 
> RiverRock Cohousing (Martinez Park Cohousing) group which is just
> gearing up to break ground in Fort Collins, CO. Being in Colorado
> we have had the opportunity to visit different cohousing communities
> and see them in action.
> What I am hoping to get feedback on is how your community deals with c
> committee participation.  We have several new members who are not 
> currently active with committee work, and there is lots going on.  Some
> communities we visited have a requirement (eg membership on a primary
> and secondary committee), some rotate members among committees, and I am
> sure there are other approaches.
> Our membership and marketing commmittee is interested in how we can 
> increase involvement at the committee level, but we are not sure if
> we feel it appropriate to mandate participation.  Of course the issue will
> soon go in front of the entire community, but I was hoping to get some
> input from what has worked (and has not worked) in other places
> To give a feel for our size -- we will have 34 units on completion, 4
> different unit types ranging from 1 br to 4 br, with potential to increase
> space with finished basements.  I can`t recall the current count, but my
> recollection is aroung 90 persons, with a few units unsold.  So there will
> be a significant population when we are all together.
> Also of interest, the question of renter participation in committees.
> Thanks for any input
> Stephanie
> sweigel [at]

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