Our Community Spotlight features a short interview or story from a member of the College Houses community. We hope you enjoy meeting some fellow co-op alums and supporters!
Daniel Miller was a 21st Street Co-op member from fall 1998 to spring 2001. After leaving College Houses, he went on to co-found Sasona Cooperative in Austin and wrote the recipe for Wheatsville Popcorn Tofu before leaving Austin to work with co-ops nationally. He now serves as the Director of NASCO Properties, which provides financial and technical support to a network of housing co-ops around the U.S.
His hobbies include raising his seven-year-old to become a future co-oper, as well as experimenting with synthesizers and photography.
- What was your favorite spot in the co-op?
The wooden platforms that make up the commons stage. We used to disassemble them and reassemble them into long hamster tunnel-like structures that we hung around in late at night, like a smellier and more dangerous couch cushion fort.
- How have you kept in touch with other co-opers?
I’m lucky enough to work with co-opers professionally, so I get to stay connected that way. Events like the 21st Street Alumni Labor Holiday have also been great ways to reconnect with the house and other co-opers.
- If you could send a message back in time to yourself as a student co-oper, what advice would you give?
You’re not faking it. Lots of other people are also making things up as they go. People coming together and figuring things out along the way is why democracy works!
- What features would be in your dream co-op house, if you had infinite space and money to build it?
With infinite space and money? Obviously I’d replace all of the world’s housing stock with co-ops!
Assuming there are some constraints, though, I would want to create co-ops that meet the needs of more people. For example, people with kids or people with different physical abilities. I would like to bring the benefits that College Houses provides to people who aren’t served by the current student co-ops.
- What is something you want readers to do to further the co-op movement?
Think about co-ops as a movement. Houses are a means of production. Housing is something people need to do other things in their life—it’s a human right. I hope people will think about the co-op movement as a big pool of assets and collaborators that should move forward together. If that pool is used well, it can accomplish things like keeping more housing away from landlords and investors and keeping that housing in the control of the people who live there.