Oberlin Blogs

Oberlin in the outside world?

June 21, 2010

Zoe McLaughlin ’11

I may have mentioned this in passing, but for those of you just tuning in, this past year I ate in Pyle, one of Oberlin's co-ops. My main reason for joining Pyle was that all of my friends were doing it. Admittedly, this is a pretty bad reason to do anything, but it turned out well. I got to eat good food, hang out with my friends, and cook bread, which is the only food that I enjoy making.

I also got to learn a lot about consensus and discussions. I won't try to explain the consensus process. Suffice to say, it involves thumbs and the point of it is to make a collective decision. It's not voting. It's not supposed to be voting at all.

One very exciting aspect of the co-op discussion process is that you get to use a lot of hand symbols to signify things. There's the thumbs, but there's also a crude representation of a llama (apparently) to make a proposal and knocking in the air to signal agreement with a statement.

I have some problems with the consensus system and with the very lengthy discussions we tended to have in Pyle, but, really, I have problems with them in the same way that I have problems with vegetarianism--I could never wholeheartedly do it, but I see the point, and I'll be a champion for it outside of Oberlin because, if nothing else, I've gotten used to it.

This became quite clear last week. My church had a conference to discuss some changes in how we operate and then vote on said changes. I spent most of the time knocking and making little llamas in my pew, mainly for my own benefit.

In all seriousness, though, the co-op has taught me a lot about decisions and about making up my mind. In previous years, I've always been a little nervous in these meetings. I may be a member--and therefore someone with a vote--but I'm still a lot younger than anyone else present. Or at least it feels that way. This time, though, I knew what points I wanted to mention if no one else did, and I was entirely confident in my vote. For this, I have my co-op to thank.

Responses to this Entry

Hey Zoe,

I should start reading your blogs more. They're so fun to read!

Regarding co-op discussions, I totally agree with you. You summed it up really well in the last paragraph.

I actually have an answer to a question you posed in an older post. On why we made the collage in the con lounge, even though one of the seniors was recital hopping that day: We met at the con lounge because I was also recital hopping (there were 3 senior recitals that day!!! and they were all from my studio!). I was working on it with Sophia in the con library, then had to leave for the recital. So I told her I'd meet up with her again after the recital. After the recital, I was pleasantly surprised to see that everyone was in the con lounge. Also slightly horrified because we now had to figure out a way to drive said senior away from the collage party.

Posted by: Jessica on June 28, 2010 2:20 PM

I am apparently blog-hopping and came across this post with Jessica's comment. I am very amused...haha. Hope you are both having wonderful summers :)

- the "said senior"

Posted by: Vicki on July 6, 2010 12:35 PM

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