The Keep Cottage is located on 154 Main Street, just a block from the art buildings and across the parking lot behind Stevenson dining hall. Keep houses 54 students and feeds a total of 78 dining co-opers. The basement is home to the Oberlin Bike co-op as well. So it’s a convenient location if you’re an adamant biker. Keep’s food policy has recently been amended and labeled “vegetarian, vegan and meat-friendly.” That is to say, each meal is supposed to always have a substantial (i.e. protein-rich) vegan option if either cheese or meat entrees are served. It should be noted to meat-lovers however, that though we call ourselves meat-friendly, meat is served once or twice a week at the most.
Just as our amiable food policy title suggests, Keep is an inclusive and friendly co-op for eating, living, or just hanging out. Keep is on the larger side in terms of member count, but it is anything but intimidating for somebody new to the co-op. People are welcoming and it isn’t hard to feel a part of Keep’s tightly-knit community. Keep takes issues of privilege and oppression into serious consideration to promote equality and openness in their space. There is also always an air of informality in Keep. For example, people rarely eat in the dining area, but rather bring their meals into the lounge or if the weather is nice, out to the big stone porch which usually gets full sun during lunch.
The inherent relaxed feeling to Keep is bolstered by people that truly care about the democratic process. For most decision making, there is a consistent and thoughtful dialog which deters apathy. This enthusiasm, though crucial to running a successful communal living space, can occasionally cause keep to get “bogged down in minutia” as one co-oper aptly put it. Like any co-op, it can be rough getting through times like interim, or voting about controversial issues, but Keep’s communicative atmosphere usually allows for responsible efficiency.
Overall, Keep offers a place to feel at home that is dedicated to excellent, nutritious food (complete with a wall for cooking tips and food comments), kind souls, music, circus ‘arts,’ bicycles, vegan desserts, great bagels and general good cheer.
— Glennon Beresin