About the Space
The Che Cafe Collective is a longstanding collective space on UCSD campus, and has existed since 1980. Collectives are just communities dedicated to functioning in as anti-hierarchal a way as possible. This means that we make all our decisions via unanimous consensus, and everyone at our meetings has the same power to block decisions.
The Che Cafe Collective is a reflection of everyone in the collective at any given time. As such, we have multiple subcollectives that reflect different aspects of the space. Here is a list of some of the subcollectives and what their focus is:
Booking: This subcollective is responsible for event planning and program organizing in the space. Live music events of any genre, student org events, theater projects, movie screenings, and any other event that requires organizing and booking a time and date in the space is figured out in this subcollective. If you are interested in the music scene, or in organizing events, this is the subcollective for you.
Kitchen: The Che Cafe has a slightly atypical* commercial kitchen setup, and has been providing vegan food to show-goers and passersby for decades, circumstances permitting. We have a sellers permit, and are in the process of getting the kitchen up and running on a regular basis, as well as selling prepackaged vegan snacks and other items, like Slingshot Organizers, and DIY Che Cafe shirts! If you are interested in cooking vegan food, food handling, or managing product ordering and meal planning, this is the subcollective for you!
*Due to certain limitations of the building, we do not have a functioning hood in the space. We instead use a commercial propane grill in the courtyard. We also have a double-decker electric oven, and are in the process of updating our electricals to fit its requirements.
Mutual Aid: As of Fall 2022, Mutual Aid UCSD became a subcollective of the Che Cafe Collective. Its main projects are acquiring/distributing food donations, maintaining the Che Community Fridge, and facilitating our regular study/open hours. Open hours are important for providing a space for students and non-students alike to study and socialize, and to keep access to the community fridge open to the public and as easy as possible. For current open hours please see Hours. The Mutual Aid subcollective also sometimes facilitates recurring events like Fiber Club and Leftist Movie Night. If you are interested in mutual aid, activism, combating food insecurity, or building community, this is the subcollective for you!
Others subcollectives such as the Policy, Finance, Education, Social Media, Maintenance also exist, but meet less frequently. As the collective grows and circumstances allow, these groups may begin to meet on a regular basis and other subcollectives may manifest. If you don't know where to start, and just want to get a feel for the collective and the space, no worries! Just come to our General Meetings in person or on Zoom on Mondays at 7PM. All proposals drafted as subcollective meetings must be consented on at these general meetings, so it's a great way to get an overview of what's going on.
Subcollectives exist so that different individuals in the collective can focus their energies on what they are most interested in, but there is no rule against participating in more than one, and there is often a lot of overlap between the responsibilities of the various subcollectives. Taken together, all these non-hierarchical groups are the Che Cafe Collective. For a list of when and where subcollectives meet, please see Meetings. If you want to know more about what collectives are, or how they work, you're in the right place. Read on!
How do I Join?
All you have to do is volunteer! Anyone can volunteer at the Che -- it doesn't matter how old you are, or if you're student at UCSD. Everyone in the collective is a volunteer, and so nothing happens at the space without volunteers like you! Working in our co-op / workers' collective, and learning to cooperate with others in a non-hierarchical setting can be a very valuable experience. For UCSD students, you may even be able to put it on your Co-Curricular Record. Benefits to volunteering at events are free admission and food (if food is being cooked). So please come out to any event to volunteer. If you wish to volunteer try and show up an hour to half an hour before the listed door time. Or start coming to our meetings! You will find a list of our various meetings in the "Meetings" tab, but our main general meetings are on Mondays at 7pm on Zoom and in-person.
What does Volunteering entail?Volunteering can entail any task that helps the show and space run. This can include any of the following: signing people in at the door during events, supervising the space during events, helping set up sound system/PA/stage, helping tear down after an event, sound engineering, cleaning up afterward (trash, bathrooms), crowd control, kitchen duties, study hour supervision, checking and answering emails, maintaining a social media presence, keeping track of attendance, creating schedules, maintaining newsletters, communicating with bands and other third parties, handling money, archiving and maintaining our zine collection, outreach, event organizing, and more! Of course, no volunteer is expected to do more than they can or want to, and no one is expected to do all these things by themselves. The more volunteers, the less work each volunteer has to do and the more fun we can all have!
Are there things I can do other than Volunteering at a show?Absolutely. We have various other projects you can help with, different meetings that help to keep the space running, and different levels of responsibility and commitment. There are basically three concentric circles of responsibilities in the collective- each one is a little more involved than the last.
1) Volunteer member - Show up day-of events, or whenever the space is open for maintenance or activities. Just hang out and help whoever is in charge/supervising at that time (the RR). Take as much or as little responsibility as you want! Just do your best to communicate what your level of commitment is! Let people know beforehand that you'll be there, so the core members know how much support they will get. You do not need to come to meetings to be a volunteer and be part of the collective space. Volunteers are general members, they just have taken on a smaller amount of responsibility. Even being on our discord means you are a general member, because you are participating in the space in some fashion.
2) General member - Come our meetings, and ALSO volunteer when you can. Our main decision making meetings are Mondays at 7pm, and everyone gets a vote (we decide things via unanimous consensus). This gives you a voice within the collective. Volunteers are members too! But if you don't come to meetings, you're forfeiting your decision-making power, to an extent. You can still voice your opinion, of course. But it is difficult to participate in decision making if you're absent from meetings! You also get to know the collective better if you come to meetings. Meeting attendance is the only real difference between volunteer and general members.
3) Core member - Volunteers, come to meetings (although you're allowed to miss some), and is able to take primary responsibility (RR) for events. A core member has been around long enough to know how the collective works, is familiar with the theory of our collective (e.g. the Red Docs), and knows all the core/general members pretty well (e.g. has developed strong communicative and working relationships with other members of the collective). These members have the code to the building, and so at least one core member needs to agree to open the space for events, etc. For an event to happen, a core member has to agree to be there--that is the only functional difference between a general and a core member.
Note: To become core, you must go through a process called a clearness (which is just like a casual meeting/interview with the rest of the collective about why you should have free access to the building). If you're interested in being core, start coming to meetings!
This is the breakdown of how the space is able to run. An event cannot happen without a core member present, but the collective needs general and volunteer members just as much! Without the general members and volunteers, the core members would have to do everything themselves, and get burnt out. Without the core members, the space would be locked all the time. As a member of the Che, you should feel comfortable to commit as much as you are able, according to your ability and desire!