Cooperative Living in Isla Vista

Featuring: The Faux-Op

What is a Cooperative?

A cooperative is defined as being an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically controlled enterprise.

What are Cooperative Values?

Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. The ethics of cooperative living are honesty, openness, responsibility, and caring for others.


  • Voluntary and Open Membership
  • Democratic Member Control
  • Member Economic Participation
  • Autonomy and Independence
  • Education, Training, and Information
  • Cooperation among Cooperatives
  • Concern for Community

The Faux-Op

The Faux-Op is an independently run, student housing co-operative in Isla Vista. The residents are a mix of students, musicians, artists, travelers, athletes, and any other type of person imaginable. It is called the “Faux” Op because unlike other Co-Ops, it is not actually owned by its members but is instead re-leased every year and its members change while the structure of the house remains. However, like other Co-Ops and possibly even more so, it is 100% democratically run by its residents. All other features of Co-op living still apply too such as collective food budgeting, a chore system, house events, spaces for artistic expression and discussion, and much more!

Featuring a Resident, former student, local musician, traveler, and proud Faux-Op(er): Tall Sam Jones!

What would you say a place like the Faux-Op offers people in terms of experience? What has it offered you?

The word I would use is “Balance”. After having both a conventional life as a student, and then traveling around as a homeless independent musician, The Faux-Op offers a community. The people here are loving free-thinkers and freaks! This place also offers infrastructure, organization, security, and most importantly, a family. Having a space to connect with others is something really vital to a lot of young people. It is a place that promotes freedom of expression and is an environment that has things to do constantly, but also is a home.

What should one expect when moving into a space like the Faux-Op or a similar Co-Op Space?

Expect and welcome a challenge! Co-Ops are places where you are put into close contact with different kinds of people than yourself. There is no theme to this place or anything specific that distinguishes its member other than our shared values. Be ready to encounter different perspectives, it has helped me grow a ton and has really enriched my life.

Difference between the Faux-Op and the official SB Student Housing Co-Ops?

The structure and values of the Faux-Op are very similar to those of the Santa Barbara Student Co-Op Housing organization. It is called the “Faux” Op because we don’t technically own it, unlike the official co-op houses in IV which are run by an organization. That means that it is more self-run, and that the people who serve organizational functions in the house keep changing. Our self-dependency for organization can make things shaky sometimes, but its all in good fun!

What has been the most rewarding part of your experience thus far?

The Social Aspects of the House: Always someone to talk to, party with, cook with, play music with! At the same time, it has been a place that has respected my needs and boundaries, which once again, is why this place has been very balanced for me. Friendship and Music are plentiful here!

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