About EXCO

At EXCO, the Experimental College of the Twin Cities, everyone can teach or take classes and all classes are free. EXCOtc is a collective of Experimental Colleges in the Twin Cities that shares visions of a better world, offers free and open classes and is building a community around education for social change.

EXCO's Chapters

EXCO-TC is made up of three collaborating organizing chapters: Macalester/St. Paul, the U of M, and the Academia Communitaria. The first chapter based out of Macalester (EXCO-Mac) began in 2006 and a second one based out of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (EXCO-UMN) began in 2008. We are excited to be developing chapters all over the Twin Cities and are open to both campus and community groups starting chapters. While we all share in the process of creating free and open classes, each chapter has its own unique identity, history, expression of its goals, and responds to the needs of the communities it serves. Read about the history of each EXCO chapter through the chapter links above.

Talks and presentations about EXCO

Can be found here at the media center.


What is EXCO?


The Experimental College of the Twin Cities (EXCO) is a collective dedicated to supporting community initiated educational opportunities as a means for social change. Classes organized through EXCO are spaces of learning where people share their talents in an inclusive, open, non-hierarchal, and non-coercive setting.  EXCO brings together community members, organizations, and movements to engage in a shared education mission.  Therefore, EXCO has many parts:


We Are a School

We work to bring together community members who have expertise to share with participants seeking out information and education not otherwise found in traditional institutions.  We have course offerings 3 sessions a year—where there are no grades, no requirements, and where learning is shared by all.  We believe that EXCO classes are opportunities where educational is accessible to everyone.


Our core principal is that everyone can teach or take classes and all classes are free.


We Are a Community

From our organizing collective, to our participants, to our facilitators, and to our community partners, we bring together dedicated community members working together on shared progressive goals.


We Are a Movement

EXCO aims to transform education.  We seek to change the nature of education from within our own universities as well as transform the purpose of education.  We aim to partner with and help other movements in their educational goals.

Our Beginnings


EXCOs can be found all over the nation and have their roots in free school initiatives in communities and universities started in the 1960s. 


Our EXCO started in 2006 after students fought the institution of classist admissions policies at Macalester College. We grew in 2007 with the addition of a chapter at the University of Minnesota started by students organizing around access issues caused by the closing of General College and other administrative policies made apparent in the 2007 AFSCME strike. In December 2008 members of the Latin@ community created our first community based chapter—the EXCO Academia Comunitaria—with a Cedar Riverside chapter planned to launch in Fall 2010.


As our EXCO was founded through struggles and collective action, we are committed to connecting education and activism, theory with praxis, and all learners with facilitators.


Accomplishments to Date


Since our first session of classes in Fall 2006, we have grown from 6 to 12 to 20 to 50 classes—with new classes and facilitators being introduced all the time.  We have grown from 60 participants a session to nearly 500.


We have been able to support other community organizations and centers through holding courses there—gaining interest and members for those groups along the way.


We have seen EXCO classes become activist groups, seen amazing friendships and relationships come about throughEXCO, sometimes triggering new types of organizing, solidarity, and even new organizing chapters.


EXCO is a place to live and learn community building…


Where we go from here…


As we continue to build our EXCO community, our ability to offer classes and to connect with community groups will help us get closer to realizing our vision of social justice. 


Facilitate A Class!


Want to facilitate a class?  Classes take on many formats and meet in locations all over the Twin Cities.  While facilitators are volunteers, we may be able to provide support to facilitators for materials and honorariums.  Course proposal applications can be found on the website.


Become an Organizer!


Want to get involved? As a collectively organized organization, everyone has an equal say in planning EXCO’s future. We are looking for volunteers to help with publicity, organizers that can plan events, talented facilitator trainers, fundraisers, and individuals wanting to network and connect to community organizations. It is only through all of us working together that we can continue to transform education in the Twin Cities!