396. City of Berkeley Applauds Sherman Hall Earthquake Retrofit

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Coop Name: Berkeley Student Cooperative N° of Employees: 21
City: Berkeley N° of Members: 1300
Country: United States Year of formation: 1933
Website: http://www.bsc.coop Twitter: Link
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The Berkeley Student Cooperative is a 501c3 nonprofit housing cooperative that provides affordable housing in room and board houses and apartments to students at UC Berkeley and other Bay Area colleges and universities. Presently the BSC has over 1300 student members living in or eating at twenty student housing cooperatives around the UC Berkeley campus. Each house is democratically run, and we all contribute our labor to help keep our housing costs affordable. Founded in 1933, the BSC is the largest student housing cooperative in the United States. We are a member of the North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO), an association of housing, food, and worker cooperatives in the US and Canada.

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On April 29, 2012, Co-opers and friends warmly celebrated the start of the Sherman Hall Seismic Retrofit. This is the ninth house the Berkeley Student Cooperative is retrofitting and the first using only member savings (50%) and alumni donations (50%). We are very grateful for the generous support of Li Chu (Sherman, 1960s), Renee Schneider Judd (1940s), Helen Black (the first House Manager), and Sara Ishikawa (1950s). By not incurring further debt, the BSC keeps co-op housing affordable for future generations of students.

Berkeley City Councilmember Laurie Capitelli, himself a Sherman alum (a boarder in the 1960s) presented a City of Berkeley Proclamation congratulating our achievement. California Assembly member Nancy Skinner was represented by her District Office Manager Mark Chekal-Bain.

During the summer of 2012, construction crews worked on strengthening and insulating the first floor walls and excavating under the building in preparation for foundation work. Work finished in August.

Although the City of Berkeley does not yet require retrofitting of most older buildings, as a progressive landlord the BSC plans to retrofit at least one building every summer to improve member safety and limit potential damage in upcoming earthquakes.

Author of this story
Alfred Twu
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