First U of I Men's Cooperative
Nabor House was the first cooperative men's residence successfully established by students at the University of Illinois. So catching the idea was that nine other men's cooperative houses were organized in the next five years. A number of the other coops looked to Nabor House's constitution and organizational structure for guidance in settling their own organizations. While the economic advantage was probably the most attractive aspect of a cooperative, another that is vitally important to the success of any organized house and has been abundant in Nabor House is fellowship.
George J. Wright, '53, addressed the importance of the fellowship in the April 15, 1950, Nabor Nubbins: "One certain quality which is common to...cooperative housing does much to make this type of organization a success. That is the fellowship which is developed by the members through working, playing, and studying together. Too great an emphasis cannot be placed on this quality. I think that Nabor House abounds in this trait, and we have plenty left over to share with the others.
Recognition as a Cooperative
Although Nabor House was approved by the University as a local social fraternity, it preferred to and did operate as an independent organization. It had applied earlier for recognition as a cooperative fraternity, but the University had no such classification, nor did it even have one for men's cooperatives. But finally, Garrett's and others' efforts paid off. The Division of Student Housing eventually recognized cooperatives. The Dec. 12, 1942, Nabor Nubbins describes the event:
Dec. 3, 1942, marked another high point in Nabor House history. On that night, we received official recognition as a cooperative by the Division of Student Housing.
Cooperative League Formed
When the men's cooperative housing movement began, Garrett Loy foresaw a great potential advantage in linking with other cooperative units to gain purchasing power. So Garrett promoted organization of the interested houses into some sort of consolidation or union. In a meeting of representatives from Nabor House, Illico, Club Mortonia, and Barbizon on Tuesday, April 9, 1940, the Cooperative League was formed, and Garrett was elected its first president. Dr.s R.W. Bartlett and C.L. Stewart, Honorary Nabors, were elected faculty advisers of the League and provided it guidance and economic expertise. A number of Nabors served as house representatives to the League and as officers.
Nabor House Cited
Some men's cooperatives did not reorganize after WWII, but interest in cooperative living was nevertheless strong in the post-war years. Several men's and women's cooperatives were functioning. Nabor House remained at the forefront of these and was often cited for its effectiveness. In the spring of 1950, Nabor House was featured twice in a series of five articles by the Daily Illini. The house was cited as an example of both the economy and education of cooperative living. The DI featured Nabor House as the oldest men's and one of the truest coops on the campus.
Then, Gene Windchy of the Daily Illini staff published in the May 29, 1952, issue of that paper an article on Nabor House. This article, along with numerous ones published in the past, served to acquaint the public with Nabor House and what it stands for. The article was written in conjunction with the announcement that the University would sponsor two men's cooperatives in the fall. Nabor House was fortunate that it had been observed closely to help guide the establishment of these coops.
Read Windchy's 1952 article on Nabor House HERE.
Although the story was written decades ago, it sums up rather well what Nabor House is about and why it has stood the test of time and remained so strong when most of the students' cooperative residences have now fallen by the wayside.