Current Member Frequently Asked Questions

Click here for move-in information for contract signers

Current Members FAQ Tabs

  • Contract Questions
  • Central Level Questions
  • House Questions
  • Workshift Questions
  • Kitchen Questions
  • Miscellaneous

Can I still get a transfer after move-in day to my house?

For Summer, there is no transfer list after the semester starts.  For the Academic Year, you can place yourself on the transfer list starting on the first day of the semester. If you move into your house and want to live in another, tell the housing office as soon as possible. In the meantime, get to know your house. We would bet money that it is awesome, and you will visit it after you move to another house, so start making some friends! The whole fun of moving around the co-ops is having friends everywhere! Get busy.

Are housing switches allowed between individual members?

You may trade house assignments with someone of the same gender. Both of you need to be assigned to a room and board house in order for the trade to be possible. People in the apartments may trade with one another as long as there are no studio or one bedroom apartments involved. In order for trades to be officially recognized and legitimized, you must provide written notice to the Central Office. Most trades cost $25 with some exceptions. Contact us for more details.

What happens when you can’t make a rent payment on time?

Communication is key! Make sure you know ahead of time and talk to us as soon as you know you won't be able to make a payment on time. You need to contact Pat Jang or another bookkeeper at Central Office and they will tell you about payment arrangements and extensions, which will make your life much easier. Arrangements can be made for all types of situations, so just go have a chat with the Bookkeeping Department and your problems will likely be solved. Otherwise, there is a $20 fee for missing the payment day, and this fine may increase the longer you hold off payment without making alternate arrangements. View more about payment policies.

Will housing deposits be returned after I move out of the co-op?

Your security deposit will be returned to you after you leave the co-ops if you have no outstanding balances or fines with the BSC. In order to receive the security deposit, you must make a written request providing an address to mail the refund check to. You are also encouraged to put your deposit toward a lifetime membership to the Alumni Association which will provide you with years of co-op fun. Deposits are normally mailed about 3 weeks after the end of the semester.

Can I sublet?

Subletting is specifically prohibited. Subletting can result in termination of your contract with penalty. If you wish to move out and want to minimize additional fees you need to pay, please contact Central Office.

How do I report pest and bed bug concerns?

More information on concerns regarding pests and bed bugs and how to report them can be found here.

How can I become involved in Central Level committees?

Anyone can participate in Board, even if they aren’t Board members! Hooray!! If you want to get workshift for participating at the central level, run for Board Rep. If you just want to help out the cause once in a while, check out the Board website, which can direct you to the right committee. Email the VP to find out what projects they’re working on and when you can attend their meetings. Committees include Internal Affairs, External Affairs, Member Affairs Committee, Finance Committee, and Safety and Maintenance Committee. We always love extra help at central level, so please get involved! Click here to learn more about Board committees

What jobs are offered at Central Office and Central Food & Supplies (Central Kitchen)?

There are many member jobs between 8-17 hours per weeks which cover the workshift requirement and give rent credit for hours above workshift requirement. Check the Hiring Commission site at hicom.bsc.coop for current job openings.

How does Central Food & Supplies (Central Kitchen) work?

Orders are collected from the Kitchen Manager of each house and orders the food in bulk. Food is purchased from wholesale vendors. Once the food is delivered to the co-op warehouse, workshifters slice meat and cheese, organize and pack each house’s orders and deliver them to each house. CFS accounts for the majority of Central Level workshifters.

Are scholarships available to pay housing?

YES! The BSC Alumni Association funds many scholarships. Find out more about scholarships.

What can I do if I am unhappy with the work of our house’s managers?

The house manager is a good person to speak with. They should be aware of keeping up good relations between the management team and the house. If you feel that you cannot speak to any of your managers, go to CO. The Member Resources Supervisor is there to help you and has a relationship with the managers as well. Additionally, if you feel that you would like to speak to your managers, but need some help doing so, the Member Advocate can meet with you to discuss the problems.

What is squatting?

Squatting is staying in a room. Consider the following scenario: Jenny has 2 points and has been living in her room for one semester. Janey has 9 points and has been living in her room for 4 semesters. Janey needs a change of pace and really, really likes Jenny’s room. At room bids, Janey states that she wants to bid into Jenny’s room. UH OH! What will Jenny do? Janey has more seniority! Never fear, Jenny. You can squat in your room and no one can take it until you are ready to move out. (Or if you screw up and get kicked out… but that’s not really likely, is it?) Squatting right may not apply for temporary rooms, summer assignments, or rooms reserved for disabilities.

What is the purpose of the point system?

Total equality is great, but granting increasing privileges to people as they continue to live in the co-ops is an incentive for more people to become and stay cooperative! Basically, it’s just fair. If it didn’t exist, I doubt many people would want to live here.

How do you become a house manager?

The best way to do it is to talk to your current house manager to find out if it’s a job you’d like to do, then nominate yourself (or have someone nominate you) when election time comes. Make a moving speech, make sure you can make all the training dates, and become elected. House managing is a mixture of responsibility and sensitivity, so brush up on your people skills as well as your common sense before rushing into the job.

Can guests come to eat at the co-op?

All houses allow you to bring guests to eat at your house. Some houses have a policy about guests (guests only twice a week, donation box, etc.) Check with your house Kitchen Manager or house manager about your house’s guest policy. It comes down to the fact that we like friends, but no one should overstay their welcome. Let’s face it, it’s our food.

Why are the house council meetings so long?

Some house councils are long, some aren’t. Some houses struggle to get their members to talk, so if your house council seems long, first appreciate the fact that your membership cares about the issues it’s discussing before approaching your president to discuss how your meetings are managed. Nobody likes to waste time, so if you feel like things are lengthy for no reason, talk to the managers/president. It might be the case that your house should be discussing everything it is in order to make everyone feel heard and welcome in the house. Short meetings might reduce communication, which is never good. Ask your president to use the skills they learned in training to keep meetings efficient, but open and welcoming to all concerns. Also ask your managers if they could be more available so that more problems could be solved outside of meetings with the appropriate managers.

Are there quiet hours in the co-ops like there are in the dorms?

Most houses do have quiet hours, but they are usually more flexible than in the dorms. Some houses also institute 24 hour quiet hours during finals to make studying easier. Ask your house manager what your quiet hours are. Also feel free to go to him/her anytime if you feel that the house is too noisy. Noise should be expected during the day, but not to excess. Don’t put up with excessive noise if you feel it’s unreasonable—talk to the HM.

What are workshift hours?

The magical things that keep our houses clean. When people do not do them, houses get dirty, and all the magic is gone. Workshift is a fancy way of saying chore, so when you do workshift, you’re covering your own overhead that would otherwise go to someone else. For example, if you lived in a fraternity and someone you hired cleaned your living room, you would have to pay them. In a co-op, you clean your own living room, which means YOU are the one getting paid (in this case, reducing your rent). Workshift is the backbone of the co-ops, so do it right.

What does it mean to buy and sell a workshift?

Some houses will allow you to buy and sell workshifts. Ask your workshift manager if your house allows this. It’s basically a way to get all the workshift done more flexibly. Consider the following scenario: Janey needs to study for her midterm, but she has dishes on the night before. She puts her dish shift up for sale a week in advance. Jenny has a midterm two days after Janey’s and is in a similar predicament, so she places her dish shift up for sale as well. Noticing that there are now workshifts they can do, each buys the other’s workshift and all is good. This may vary at different houses, so ask your workshift manager!

Click here for more basic details about workshifts.

What happens when you aren’t able to pay your workshift fines on time?

You should talk to your workshift manager, perhaps with the assistance of your house manager. Many workshift managers are flexible about making up hours and would often rather have a clean house than a wad of your cash in the house account. If you start getting down hours, go talk to your managers and they’ll try to help you out. If you do run out of time to pay your fines, you might be charged a late fee. Again, make sure you’re communicating with your workshift manager so you’re all on the same page. All houses do fines differently, so find out for sure before going down hours! If you still have fines at the end of the semester, they will be turned over to CO. If you feel that your fines were unfair, you can appeal them to AdCom, at which point you will debate with your workshift manager (or another representative from your house) about who is right. AdCom will decide swiftly and justly. If you feel the need to use this option, please speak the member advocate. If you still owe fines after moving out of the organization, they will be taken out of your security deposit and anything not covered by the deposit will turned over to a collection agency.

Do co-opers have to do workshifts during Thanksgiving and Spring break?

Most houses institute temporary workshift sign-ups for these breaks. You are not responsible for your regularly scheduled workshifts in these cases, but if you stay in the house you are expected to do workshift according to the expectations of the workshift manager or whatever your house has agreed on. See your workshift manager to find out more about temporary workshifts and breaks.

Why do we put all of our food in sealed containers?

Because we are sanitary, upstanding citizens and we hate food poisoning. Sealed containers are important when dealing with food, especially if it is leftover (every time you contact food it becomes a little bit more contaminated, so ensuring that it contacts as little as possible is very important). To-go containers are not as effective at blocking icky things from food, so don’t worry about dirtying another container when you transfer your food from a crappy container to an awesome one—you’re just doing what’s best for your health. Also, don’t put metal in the fridge!

What's the deal with the sanitizer not being a dishwasher?

You're probably going around saying, "People tell me that the sanitizer is not a dishwasher, but I don't believe them, because it seems so unmistakably dishwasherlike." Well, things are not always as they seem. The Sanitizer (or Hobart) kills people's germs by briefly blasting the dishes with very very hot water. This does not mean it washes your dishes. In fact, if you leave food on your dishes and sanitize them, the food petrifies and is virtually impossible to remove. On the bright side, you don't have to sanitize pots and pans, Tupperware, graters, or measuring cups unless you ate off them. DO sanitize cutting boards, as the sanitizer will work wonders at removing meaty juices. Ask your workshift manager for more details about the sanitizer; your house may have different rules about what needs washing only and what needs sanitizing as well.* *This and the following questions were borrowed and modified from the Center for High Energy Meta-Physics web page who borrowed and modified them from the Enchanted Broccoli Forest web page at Stanford.

Who makes the kitchen so messy?

Demons. (Also people who don't make absolutely sure they put all their stuff away.)

How can we prevent people from destroying our kitchen with their filth?

If you see someone leaving stuff around the kitchen, you can say, "Are you done with this?" and start putting it away. This should make them scurry to help, and if they don't, at least it's a little cleaner. It's good to get in the habit of putting away one or two things for other people while you're cleaning up your own stuff, even when they would probably clean it eventually. It is friendly and it also helps people realize that someone does notice the stuff they leave out. Don't hate people who need this extra reminder, or you will soon be very bitter and angry.

Why shouldn't I hate people who make the kitchen messy?

Most people mean to put their stuff away, but don't for various reasons. Besides the obvious (forgetfulness, laziness, drunken stupor), there are gray areas in cleaning responsibility, which can lead to messy areas in the kitchen. A few examples: If someone gets out the cream cheese and someone else uses it afterwards, who puts it away? (The last person who uses it, otherwise the first person will be waiting in the kitchen all morning). If someone bakes brownies for the house and then goes away before they are all gone, who has to wash the pan? The last brownie eater or the baker? (Ideally the brownie finisher would, but if that doesn't happen, it's the baker's responsibility.) And how many dishes does a Hobart rack really hold before you have to get out a new one? (Just get a new one out already. It's not that hard.)

Why can't I put metal cans or containers in the fridge?

The combination of acids in certain foods and air exposure can corrode the can.  Also, it is not possible to seal the can in the way a plastic bin can be sealed.  For these reasons, metal cans are not allowed per City health code.

Where do all the spoons (forks, cups, bowls) go?

To people's rooms.  Trash audits have also found that much silverware is also sacrificed to the garbage by irresponsible members.

Can co-opers go to other co-ops to post their flyers for non-coop events?

Things can only be posted inside. Most houses have an events board for this purpose. Ask someone in the house where you should post such flyers.

Why are the co-ops great?

The Co-ops are great for many reasons, the first being that we are awesome. The second reason is that paying $750/month for rent (OR LESS, depending on your position) is almost unreal in the Bay Area. The third is that we make the decisions, because landlords are for chumps. If you need more reasons, just look around your co-op.

What can I recycle and compost in my house?

FOUR WORDS, MY FRIEND: Reduce, reuse, recycle, rot. In that order. You can do your best to reduce your consumption (you’re already doing a better job than most by living in a co-op), then reuse as many things as possible (e.g. jars, bags, clothes, etc), and THEN you can think about recycling and composting.

Compost:
Dirty printer paper, paper towels, toilet paper, yard waste, food waste... anything that will rot.  As for waxed cardboard (like half gallon milk cartons and the dark brown boxes that produce comes in), the city picks this up and takes it to a big compost mountain in the Central Valley. Your house may also have a house compost bin, with a more limited list of what can go in it.

Recycling at Cloyne Court:
All plastics, paper, cardboard, metal, and glass go into the recycling bins.
Recycling at all other co-ops:

Paper bins: Printer paper, junk mail, newspapers, non-corrugated cardboard etc.  NO waxed cardboard.

Cardboard bins: Corrugated cardboard only.

Cans/Bottles/Plastics: Aluminum and steel cans, glass bottles, plastics #1 and #2.

Purple bins: Plastics 3-7

Pink bins: CLEAN plastic bags.

Click here for more info about recycling in the BSC.

Miscellaneous items:
Electronic waste, styrofoam, chemicals, scrap metal, and, other unusual items are collected separately.  Check with your managers.