OSCAlums represents the alumni who have benefited from the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association’s 50+ year legacy of participatory democracy. OSCAlums believes a vital OSCA contributes to a thriving Oberlin.
OSCAlums advocates for OSCA and its members, connects alumni, and affirms the ways in which OSCA generates enduring, critical, high-impact learning experiences as part of an Oberlin education. As alumni, we recognize OSCA as being among the most important aspects of our educational and social experience at Oberlin.
We are committed to the following:
- Encourage alumni participation, engagement and financial contribution to strengthen OSCA as a critical asset of Oberlin College and Conservatory.
- Encourage alumni participation, via financial contribution and participatory engagement, to strengthen OSCA as a critical asset of Oberlin College and Conservatory.
- Enhance the long-term sustainability of OSCA by providing support and continuity for OSCA leadership and programmatic initiatives.
- Promote research and fellowships that strengthens and champions OSCA and enhances OSCA’s impact on communities in Oberlin and beyond.
- Sponsor events and programs that support OSCA and advance opportunities for personal, educational and professional exchange between alumni and current OSCA members.
- Support experiences for democratic discussion and create awareness of systems of oppression by building opportunities for creative participation and empowerment.
- Promote understanding of, and appreciation for, OSCA’s financial model of parity and equitable control of capital.
- Support OSCA’s collaboration with local, national, regional and international networks of cooperatives, and share ideas from cooperative movements at large and in the world.
Our work is organized independency from OSCA, but we will always work in coordination and partnership with OSCA.
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Co-ops have been part of student life at Oberlin College since 1930, with the first living and dining co-op approved by the college in the fall of 1950. Founded on cooperative ideals with social and political goals, these co-ed co-ops sought to prepare “productive, resourceful members of a democratic society” while actualizing Oberlin College’s motto of “Learning and Labor.”
Formally incorporated in 1962, the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA) grew over the next half century to become the second largest student cooperative in North America. Since it's founding, OSCA’s student-led co-ops have served as laboratories for leadership, grassroots democracy, and community-building as well as incubators of entrepreneurship, business development and creativity. Today 20% of Oberlin students are OSCA representling cooperatives in 16 different locations. OSCA's cultural footprint on campus exemplifies that the principals learned and practiced in OSCA co-ops positively influence, and add to, the Oberlin experience.
Upon leaving Oberlin, OSCA alumni vigorously pursue personal and professional lives directly and indirectly influenced by their co-op experiences. OSCA is often credited as being among the most important and enduring element of many members’ educational and social experience at Oberlin.