To establish an organization to promote and develop cooperative living at Oberlin College in accordance with the Rochdale Cooperative principles so long as such activity is not inconsistent with the fundamental principles and policies of Oberlin College.
To purchase, lease, enter into contractual arrangements with Oberlin College and/or others, or otherwise acquiring facilities for housing and feeding student members attending Oberlin College and to furnish such facilities to student members at actual cost.
To buy and otherwise acquire food and other supplies for the rooming, dining, living and studying of student members attending Oberlin College to be sold to them at actual cost.
To borrow money and issue, sell, or pledge bonds, promissory notes, or debentures, payable at specified times or payable upon the happening of a specified event or events secured by mortgage, pledge, or otherwise to accomplish the purposes aforesaid.
To arrange and provide for the social and cultural enrichment of its members at actual cost.
And, in general, to do all things necessary or incidental to fully accomplish the foregoing purposes.
The principles which guide modern cooperative organizations, including OSCA, were formulated in 1844 by a group of textile workers in Rochdale, England who were fed up with the exploitative nature of the market during the British Industrial Revolution. They decided to pool their money and open a small retail store which operated on principles which have become the foundation of modern co-ops.
Membership is voluntary without any social, racial, political or religious discrimination. OSCA membership is based not on seniority, but on a random lottery number system.
Each member has one vote. All elections and meetings are open to all members and all decisions are accountable to them. In OSCA, we make decisions collectively and openly. All members are responsible for participating in the decision-making process.
Limited return, if any, on equity capital
Invested capital is paid at the going rate, or less. Nobody should make a profit off of their investment in the co-op. This doesn’t apply to OSCA because we have no investors.
Distribution of economic savings
Savings are distributed back to members usually in the form of a patronage refund. Any money that OSCA does not spend during the year is refunded to members.
Education of members
Regular meetings, education of members and outreach into the community are provided according to the principles and techniques of cooperation, both economic and political. Education goes on constantly at all levels of OSCA.
Cooperation among cooperatives
To strengthen themselves and to serve their community better, cooperatives need to work together in every way practical. OSCA does this in part through its memberships in North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO), Campus Cooperative Development Corporation (CCDC) and the Federation of Ohio River Co-ops (FORC). We also try to keep close ties with other Oberlin co-ops such as the Co-op Bookstore, the Bike Co-op and the Good Food Co-op (GFC).
Co-ops hold no general cooperative membership in any social, religious, or political organization and promote religious and social tolerance. For OSCA this means that while individual co-op members are free to affiliate themselves with a particular political, religious or social organization, OSCA as a whole must remain neutral.