Third World Co-op

Third World Co-op (TWC), located on the first floor of Baldwin Cottage, is an intentional dining safer-space for Students of Color, centering international, queer, low-income, and first-generation POC. TWC was founded on the principles of the Third World Liberation Front, and each semester members define their community values and agreements according to the current membership.

Historically, Third World Co-op has provided meals to a wide variety of speakers / performers of color who are brought by co-op members. TWC has also put on programs in coalition with other organizations that are focused on promoting speakers and activists of color; those programs have included a series of workshops with the Edmonia Lewis Center for Qwo-Li Driskill, a discussion and lecture with the Indigenous Women’s Series for Debra Harry.

Easily identified by its large wooden floor-to-ceiling windows, TWC creates a space which fosters a warm, welcoming environment that is full of sweet love, good food and mad dancing in the kitchen. 

Through the glass, members can often be spotted in front of the mural, laughing, chatting, dancing, venting about white professors / classmates / people in general, and sharing the co-op's famously well-seasoned food. TWC is a unique space at Oberlin College which offers true community and access to a lineage of knowledgeable TWC alumni. Come for the sazón, stay for the corazón. Have your exact birth place and time ready.

TWC has a housing counterpart called Third World Social Justice. TWSJ is on the third floor of Harkness Hall, and located just across the greenspace from TWC.

Did you know...

OSCA members come from the larger Oberlin College student community. As such, OSCA has always been an organization that is especially white-dominated. OSCAns of Color felt that many members were oblivious of privilege, and insensitive to racial and class issues, and so asserted the need for a space where members could feel more understood and accepted. Thus Third World Co-op serves as a “safe space for students who have been traditionally and structurally disenfranchised from OSCA.” In 1994, after 18 straight months of organizing and much pushback, Third World Co-op was officially established as a dining cooperative. 

Mural in the Third World Co-op dining area of Baldwin Cottage.

Mural in the Third World Co-op dining area of Baldwin Cottage.

“For me, being a member of TWC is about being part of a legacy and community that have emphasized change, resistance, solidarity, and the freedom of cultural and political expression.

In Third World Co-op, I know everyone's name and everyone knows mine. We are a small community in which camaraderie is great and cliques are few. I won't paint a rosy picture by saying that we're totally united both politically and socially — that's not always true. However, I appreciate the fact that friendliness overrides differences and we can come together on many issues. As a first year, Third World Co-op has been a support network that has helped me find a place on this campus, and I am excited to eat there for the rest of my time at Oberlin.”

Lauren Salazar

Preparing a meal in the TWC kitchen.

Members prepare a meal in the TWC kitchen.