"We Saved The Domes"! Cost-Effective, Sustainable,
Peaceful! Student Cooperative Housing at UC Davis
The Domes are a Cooperative Living Student Community at the University of California, Davis. With bicycles, food gardens, and a culture of sustainability, peaceful co-existence and non-violent communication, students learn skills for a sustainable future on the planet and help set an example for us all.
Student-owned-and-operated housing keep costs down, especially important in today's educational environment with staggering tuition expenses and
spiralling student loan debt. Additionally, they give students the opportunity to learn to live together and share experiences, resources and decision making.
The Domes provides an additional component of learning and sharing core skill building in socially and environmentally sustainable living.
Also known as "Baggins End Innovative Housing" in honor of Bungo Baggins, the "solid and comfortable" father of Bilbo Baggins in J.R.R. Tolkien's Hobbiton who built "Bag End" and lived there the rest of his life with his wife, Belladonna, The Domes consists of 14 domed houses, all made of polystyrene. While this would not be considered the most environmental material to build from today, it would be more of a hazard if torn down and then added to the ecological wastestream, and provides excellent insulation that keeps heating costs down and enery usage low.
"In 1972, inspired by geodesic domes and under the guidance of EcoSystems and the professional assistance of Central Coating Company, a group of students built their own homes at UC Davis. Once a visiting African student said that Baggins End was more like a village than any other place he had been in the USA.
"The domes were to be paid off by 1980 (in 8 years), and it was unclear whether they would be preserved after the loan was amortized. Well, they are still standing! The 'Domies' had their 30th reunion in June 2002 and their 25th reunion in September 1997. A the 25th we even had some belly dancers on hand to help us celebrate!" — Baggins End Student Built Housing at UC Davis.
"In the beginning, the Domes were not meant to last forever — only five years, in fact. Each 450-foot-square dome is constructed of 3 to 4 inches of polyurethane foam covered by a fiberglass shell. The white exterior and thick insulation keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter — just like boat hulls made out of the same materials. Typically, one or two students share the units." — There's No Place Like Dome, UC Davis Dateline, January, 2012. But The Domes, which house 26 UC Davis students, have proven sustainable by standing the test of time. The Domes community includes an ongoing emphasis on a garden-to-table way of life, raising fresh food and riding bicycles, the antithesis of both urban intensity and density and suburban sprawl, at a time when many throughout the US and the world are waking up to the need for a post-consumerist lifestyle that around cooperation with each other and with nature.
Your support for the Domies, and all the organizations and volunteers who have helped Save the Domes, in the form of a direct donation and/or a purchase of a T-shirt here at T-Shirts for Peace will help make a difference in deferring remaining costs. Every little bit helps.
Recently The Domes needed repairs. University administration planned to tear them down. On May 25 2011, UC Davis students then living in the Domes and friends and supporters staged a non-violent march and demonstration to draw attention to saving the domes, which at the time were threatened by the UC Davis administration with demolition. The protest was successful and led to the eventual granting of administrative control of the Domes and their grounds to SCHA — the Davis Solar Community Housing Association.
(Left) Students march to UC Davis administration with letters of support to Save the Domes.
(Center) Students present Non-Violent Agreements (photo by RJ Roush Photography). Click for full-sized image.
(Right) Roxanne Saraille, designer of the We Saved the Domes T-Shirts (photo by Jay Erker). Click for full-sized image.
The Domes were vacated temporarily in August 2011. Subsequently the structures and property have been repaired and upgraded with the help of more than one hundred volunteers and SCHA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit devoted to affordable, cooperative housing since 1979. The Domes were reopened with partial occupancy starting with Winter Quarter 2012. A few structures are still in the process of the final stages of repair and upgrading. SCHA hopes to have the final dome finished by Spring 2013.
The symbol to prohibit bulldozing of The Domes appeared on T-shirts during the demonstration. A design was created by Roxanne Sarraille for volunteers to print on their shirts during reconstruction in Spring 2012. We are making this design available to people who still wish to help with the reconstruction!
"Are you interested in living at the the Domes? (And are you are a UC Davis graduate or undergraduate student?) Perhaps you heard about the community effort to Save the Domes this Fall? Well, the Domes have been saved! We are now looking for applicants like you! Come join our cooperative, experiential learning community and have the chance to learn new skills and meet new people! Learn to grow produce, tend animals and bees, practice sustainable living, and organize the community through classes and workshops. All interests and skill levels are welcomed!" Read More and check out the application if interested.
There is a wonderful online comic book history of the saving of the domes by storyteller, artist, graphic designer, and student communities chronicler Alfred Twu, who also took the Baggins End Wikipedia photo above. It is a marvelous pictorial account of the ways in which the community has come together to Save the Domes and includes several informative links, including about the Berkeley Student Cooperative and other student cooperatives throughout the US. It also acknowledges the many folks who have helped Save the Domes. The list includes: The Domies, Solar Community Housing Association, Community Built Association, The California Aggie, KDVS, The Sacramento Bee, Orange Morning, The Davis Enterprise, The Davis Voice, the Berkeley Student Cooperative, Spaghetti Night, Friends of Baggins End, UC Davis Real Estate Services, UC Davis Sustainable Living and Learning Task Force, and many more.
This is an informative, comprehensive, entertaining and beatifully presented illustrated account. You will find photos inside the Domes, drawings of the total Domes community layout, the aerodynamic qualities of the curvilinear shape of the Domes compared to standard rectangular housing, and glimpses of sharing of the joys and responsibility of livng in such a community setting.
— The UC Davis Dome Homes. Photo from DavisWiki by A. Eliason February 2011. Click for full-sized image.
Copyright © T-ShirtsForPeace.org 2013.
T-Shirt Design Credits:
"We Saved the Domes" by Roxanne Sarraille. "Solitary Confinement" by Emily Dalmeyer and Jed Downhill. All others by Jed Downhill.