Mission & History

Our Mission

Our mission is simple:

Through cooperative action, MOSAIC seeks to develop a diverse, inclusive community that inspires and empowers creative, conscious, sustainable living.

For almost 20 years, MOSAIC has sought to put our mission statement and our values into practice by providing housing to students and others near Northwestern with a focus on community, environmental sustainability, social consciousness, openness, and empowerment.

Our History

The idea to start a co-op at Northwestern was conceived by a small group of friends in 1997, who were frustrated by the lack of an off-campus community at NU. Using a handbook downloaded from the Internet, the group recruited others to join their endeavor for “constructive inspiration, empowerment, and environmental conservation”. A house at 2013-2015 Ridge Avenue was founded, and in September of 1998, the first 12 co-op members moved in and began to organize a system by which to run the house.

After a year of trial and error, the co-op was running successfully and ready to welcome new members for the following year. Membership grew steadily, prompting MOSAIC in 2002-2003 to expand to its first apartment, which was maintained as an extension of the main house until summer 2003. The last year at the Ridge location housed just under 30 co-opers from 2003-2004.

MOSAIC relocated to our current 13-person house at 2000 Sherman Avenue, now known as the Zooo, in June of 2004. For more than 12 years the Zooo has anchored MOSAIC, providing a cherished space for generations of new co-opers.

While the Zooo has survived and thrived, most of the co-op’s attempts to expand beyond the Zooo between 2004-2014 were unsuccessful, with additional houses lasting a year or two at most. For years, the co-op’s long-standing dream of expanding to more houses seemed beyond reach.

A New Era?

In the fall of 2015, MOSAIC’s second house, the Treehouse, opened its doors to its first generation of co-opers! Located at 1427 Elmwood Avenue, the Treehouse now has its own thriving community in addition to that of the Zooo.

In order to set the groundwork for becoming a multi-house co-op, MOSAIC has reconfigured our internal processes so that both houses have a say in the co-op’s overall governance. Each house is an integral part of the larger MOSAIC community.

As we enter our second year as a multi-house co-op, MOSAIC has lots of opportunities in front of us to continue to grow the co-op into a more inclusive, creative, sustainable, empowering, and cooperative community. With our first year in this brave new era of MOSAIC under our belt, we’re ready to build on our achievements and learn from our challenges to better serve the needs and aspirations of everyone in the co-op.