Mission and Purpose

For more general info about us, click here.


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.


Between our two houses, MOSAIC consists of more than 21 people! Most MOSAIC members are undergraduate or graduate students at Northwestern, but we also have some recent alumni and other working adults. We have an open membership policy: anyone who can commit to the expectations of membership is eligible to join the co-op.


At its core, MOSAIC is all about community. We have communal meals, house meetings, and co-op events. We hang out together and support one another. The co-op is a place where countless people have made lifelong friends (and even a few future spouses!). We strive to make the co-op more than just a place to eat and sleep.


Living Consciously

Many members are drawn to MOSAIC because it offers a space for “living consciously”. This means different things to different people, but in general, we strive to be more intentional in how we relate to one another and to the world around us, and we work to be mindful of each other’s needs. We also challenge each other to recognize the social, environmental, economic, and political consequences of how we choose to live.

Additionally, as an organization committed to creating a living environment that is safe and nourishing for everyone, we strive to implement anti-oppressive practices within the co-op. We do not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, or classism, and we do our best to make the co-op a space free from discrimination and oppression.


As an organization, the co-op is thankful to have two wonderful community spaces. We often host our own events, ranging from community dinners to parties to the Zooo’s famous quarterly Open Mic Nights.


We also occasionally share our resources in support of other progressive endeavors. The co-op has hosted events, meetings, documentary screenings, and get-togethers for various Northwestern student groups and other groups, including Rainbow Alliance, SEED, and the IIRON Student Network. If you’re interested in seeing if the co-op could host an event for your group, email us!