An online petition for a new vegetarian co-op has been circulating on campus since Feb. 6, asking University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 to consider establishing a new co-op in the Dickinson Street Annex housing. The goal of the petition is to gather 200 signatures, and, as of Wednesday, 190 people have signed the petition so far.
Aleksandra Taranov ’15, who came up with the idea for the petition, explained that student demand for a new co-op on campus currently exceeds the supply. Taranov noted that three of the four co-ops on campus — the Brown Co-op, the Real Food Co-op and the 2 Dickinson St. Co-op — are filled to capacity this spring, and 2D alone has a wait-list of 25 people as of Feb. 6.
Taranov also explained that even though the new co-op would be vegetarian, the students who have expressed interest in joining it are not all vegetarian.
“I wanted to make the co-op membership possible for all students who wish to participate,” Taranov said, noting that in the past decade the membership size of 2D has grown from 35 to 54, and the wait-list has ranged from 25 to 50 students. She added that 2D was only able to accept everyone on its wait-list for one semester in the past four years.
Jasmine Race ’15, who signed the petition, noted that discussion surrounding the new co-op is not new.
“Throughout this year people have been saying, ‘You know, we should start a new co-op,’ ” she said. “So people have been talking about it in this past year, but not seriously, and then a few weeks ago Aleksandra decided to start the petition.”
Students who have signed the petition generally pointed out that the co-op could be a great experience on campus, and the creation of a new co-op would allow more students to have an opportunity to share that experience.
Ryan Miller ’17 explained that he signed the petition because he believes co-ops provide a great opportunity for students who like food and cooking but don’t have time to cook for themselves, and that there should be more opportunities for students to participate in a co-op.
“I have a dream that one day my grandchildren will come to Princeton and find a row of co-ops in the houses on Dickinson Street,” Damaris Miller ’15 said, explaining that she believes the creation of a new co-op would help co-ops to become a flourishing, long-lasting University tradition.
Evangelie Zachos ’14 noted that the University has been paying little attention to co-ops compared to the other dining options and that she feels that co-ops do a lot of things that the University should be proud of and support.
When asked about the benefits of co-ops over other dining options, Race said that co-ops, contrary to eating clubs, provide students with the opportunity to mix and mingle with graduate students in a friendly, close-knit environment.
“I noticed that after cooking and eating together, you come to know your co-op members as human beings, rather than solely as academic peers,” Race said.
Taranov noted that co-ops can also foster a culture of responsibility and cooperation on campus.
“It functions by the cooperation of the students on a campus where so much success happens to be very individual and academic,” Taranov said.
The petitioners are currently in the process of meeting with administrators to discuss the petition.