Please join us in welcoming new members to the NASCO Board of Directors. NASCO's dedicated board members help us remain responsive to the needs of the co-op movement. During this unprecedented time, we look to our board directors to keep us grounded in the increasingly important work of our members and our larger network as we continue to provide resources, direct assistance, and connection to the North American cooperative sector.
From left to right: Hadron Chaudhary, Madeleine Durante, Caroline Elbert, Josh Graham, Alec Martinez, Julia Selig, and Lana Wong. Not pictured: Katie Isme.
Hadron Chaudhary has been involved with Cooperative Housing at the University of Maryland (CHUM) for three years, serving last year as president and this year as treasurer. His initiatives have focused on communicating, legislating, and partnering with the city of College Park and the University of Maryland to make affordable housing more accessible and student voices more powerful. He studies geology and English at the University of Maryland and aspires to work in the science communications field, or with aquatic invertebrates.
Madeleine Durante (she/her) works to advance abortion access and solidarity economies through moving funds in abundant community. Maddy is a fundraiser at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, where she manages mail, email, and telemarketing campaigns. She also works with Bluestockings Bookstore, Café, and Activist Center, The New York Abortion Access Fund, and the National Network of Abortion Funds at the nexus of fundraising and base-building strategy. A second-year NASCO Board appointee, Maddy is excited to continue connecting movement-building efforts on a national level to the cooperative housing network in New York, where she lives in the collective home H(e)art House.
Caroline Elbert has been an active part of the communities movement since 2016, primarily in two urban communes in the Federation of Egalitarian Communities. The most exciting thing about cooperatives is that they're a non-extractive economic model that trains members to be empowered, financially literate, and more intentionally connected to one another. In school, Caroline studied metal sculpture and public administration and has yet to meet another person who's trained to use a blow torch and write policy memos. Caroline is a bike-enthusiast living in Washington, DC, has practiced Ashtanga yoga for 14 years, and is trying to read 20 books in 2020.
Josh Graham (he/him) is a co-op’er from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been involved with Neill-Wycik Co-operative College in some capacity since 2008, both as a member and as staff. In 2016 Josh had the good fortune of attending NASCO Institute for the first time and has been eager to become more involved since then. He is excited to join the NASCO board and to further assist in the mission of creating and maintaining affordable co-operative housing for students, as well as building a more just and equitable society through co-operation and activism at large.
Alec Martinez is an activist urbanist from the border city of Laredo, Texas. As an urban planner, he has worked on everything from comprehensive plans and urban agriculture policies to democratic placemaking and safe street initiatives. As an activist, Alec has organized in his community through Red Wing, a group dedicated to civic education and advocacy on issues like water rights, immigration, and economic democracy. Alec graduated from Cornell University with a degree in urban planning and is a Truman Scholar and Next City Vanguard. He believes that the cooperative movement is essential to building a better future for all people.
Julia Selig Julia (Hoo-lia) first joined the cooperative movement in 2015 as a member of the Inter-Cooperative Council in Ann Arbor, MI. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Julia is passionate about community building and growth. During her time in ICC Ann Arbor they have worked on member engagement, managed and developed projects, and interned as an event organizer for NASCO Institute in 2018. For leisure, Julia likes to tend to her plants, enjoy films, and spend time outdoors.
Lana Wong started the co-op journey at Waterloo Co-operative Residence Inc (WCRI) while studying at the University of Waterloo. Fascinated by members' self-determination on the co-op's values, how the co-op is organized, and what the future holds, Lana joined WCRI's development project and served on WCRI and NASCO boards. Through participation in the wider co-op sector, taking courses on co-ops and governance, and serving on co-op boards for close to a decade, Lana brings business understanding, governance foundation, expansion mindset, and co-op spirit. At work, Lana is a finance professional with recent experience in financial planning & analysis, business controlling, and data management. Other ongoing co-op endeavors also include serving on a regional housing co-op federation as Treasurer and in the sector growth and expansion committee.
This year's Active Member Representative is Katie Isme of the Boulder Housing Coalition. A message from Katie:
My name is Katie Isme and I’m super excited about cooperative living! Coming from a large family with many siblings and then expanding to many friends all over the country has taught me a lot. I think that generally ignorance and fear can be overcome if a person is willing to get outside of their comfort zone. I deal with challenges as best I can and try to work for the greater good of the community. With time and effort, I hope that this movement can propel our world and into a more loving and more joyous place.
We thank you, our membership, the board, and our nominees for participating in one of the most important aspects of being a part of the North American Students of Cooperation – electing leadership that will drive our organization and our movement forward.