Behind the Counter: How the Corp balances its motto of “students serving students” with its role as a social institution

March 1, 2012

“One of the reasons I came to Georgetown was because of the Corp,” said Stephanie Wolfram (MSB ’13). “I came here during a random weekend, someone was showing me around and showed me the Corp, and I thought it was awesome that students were running this business.”

Even though a concussion prevented Wolfram, who is the Corp’s incoming Chief Operating Officer for 2012-2013, from making the application deadline in her first semester, she still maintains, like many Corpies before her, that her time at Georgetown has been defined by Students of Georgetown, Inc.

Founded in 1972 by then-student body President Roger Cochetti (SFS ’72) as a way to protect the rights of students, the Corp has grown from a few small co-ops in the 1970s to a veritable corporation, offering seven services that bring in over four million dollars in revenue per year. In 2011, Corp Philanthropy donated over $40,000 to student programs and initiatives.

Calling itself the world’s largest entirely student-run business and non-profit, the Corp acts as one of the University’s flagship organizations—Blue & Gray tour guides prominently feature the Corp to prospective students. But while the Corp is genuinely a business enterprise, the fact remains that it is run by undergraduate students. The Corp inhabits a unique space—as a multifaceted business, it copes with health inspections and day-to-day operations; as a student organization, it is a social outlet for its employees. Emails forwarded to the Voice anonymously by Corp employees reveal that the organization sometimes struggles to internally balance these roles and its status as a non-profit that must answer both to the University and to the District government.

As a non-profit unaffiliated with the University, the Corp is subject to inspection and regulation by the District government. When the D.C. Department of Health sends an inspector to campus, the Corp triggers a lantern system to make sure its employees are on guard and health-code compliant.

According to emails obtained by the Voice, when a health inspector was on campus, at least from a period from Apr. 28, 2011, to Oct. 13, 2011, the senior management would declare “Code Black,” during which health regulations were to be more strictly enforced.

During a “Code Black” on May 2, 2011, outgoing Chief Operating Officer Brooke Heinichen (COL’12) wrote in an email that “All employees on shift today must wear closed-toed shoes and have their shoulders covered. All coffee employees must wear hats. No scoopers in chai buckets, ice machines, or left on counters. No standing water (put the spoons under running water).”

“Code Black” was called at least three times in 2011. From the emails, it appears that coffee employees were only required to wear hats during these periods. Consequently, Heinichen requested that Corp employees collect any extra hats: “Any Corpies who can bring hats to any Corp service will save the day! As many hats as possible, as soon as possible.”

When initially asked whether there was a special protocol during health inspections, both outgoing Chief Executive Officer Alex Pon (COL ’12) and Heinichen responded negatively. “People are just supposed to stay clean on shift,” Pon said. [Full disclosure: Pon was formerly the Voice‘s Director of Technology].

When the Voice asked Heinichen about her “Code Black” email, she said the Corp inherited the term from previous classes “as a way of saying be on your game, the health inspector is here.” Heinichen insisted that all Corp establishments are always health code compliant.

Available inspection records did not reveal any major health code violations.

In the same interview, Heinichen said that hats are not required attire for coffee-shop employees. However, the Voice received an internal email to the Corp’s senior management sent after the interview when the hat question was asked. In it, Heinichen wrote, “Hats are the only thing that we technically do wrong.”

According to D.C. Health Code (Subtitle B, section 502.1), as long as employees serve unpackaged foods—like muffins and bagels—they are required to wear hair coverings. In fact, in anticipation of this feature, the Corp instituted a company-wide policy requiring all employees to wear hats. During the Voice’s investigation, former Vice Chair of the Corp Service and Outreach Committee Andrea Wallach (NHS ‘13) notified Midnight Mug’s staff of a new Corp-wide policy. “Everyone is required to wear hats on shift,” the Feb. 27 email to the Midnight Mug listserv reads. “[T]he health code demands it. There is no excuse for not wearing a hat on shift (and this includes people working outside the hours of usual health inspector visits) … THIS CORP-WIDE POLICY STARTS IMMEDIATELY.”

In a recent email to Corp senior management, Heinichen abolished the term “Code Black” from the Corp’s vernacular: “Let’s get rid of the term Code Black—eradicate it from use,” she wrote.

As one of the biggest and most visible institutions on campus, the Corp acts as a support group and a social outlet for its employees.

“What I found in the Corp is a family,” Wolfram said. “I got here and I really was struggling with the adjustment coming so far from home…I just had the hardest time making friends and finding my place. And I got in [the Corp] and I found a support system and people that supported me and helped me through all of my problems.”

The organization’s social ties are strengthened by the parties it throws for its employees, including welcome parties, a Christmas party, and a yearly blowout at the Georgetown Holiday Inn.

In celebration of the Corp’s “victory against the Department of Health”—the receipt of a nearly perfect health inspection certificate—Heinichen wrote in a May 2011 company-wide email that “I’ve arranged a huge party at the Holiday Inn on Wisconsin tonight with an open bar just to celebrate.”

At the beginning of the Voice’s investigation, Heinichen and Pon were asked in interviews if company funds were ever used to buy alcohol for official Corp parties. “The money comes primarily from tips, and employees contribute to the purchase of alcohol,” Pon said. “The Corp does pay for limited amounts of food and things like that. We also have an employee appreciation party at the end of every semester, and that’s sort of like room rental, and that sort of thing.”

Later, when asked about the mechanism through which employees contribute to buy alcohol at Corp-sponsored parties, Heinichen said “it’s informal.”

“There is an allocation in HR to pay for the venue and the catering. If people drink before or have alcohol, it’s not anything we have jurisdiction over or fund,” she said. “It’s not something that I regulate. It’s something that some social leader in the store decides to organize completely independent of our stores’ operation.”

According to internal memos obtained by the Voice, the Corp’s human resources budget was almost exclusively devoted to parties in the past. However, in recent years, management has rethought its HR budget, with an eye towards boosting legitimacy as a non-profit.

In an internal memorandum dated Jul. 6, 2009, entitled “Human Resources Budget,” then-Chief Operating Officer Phillip Goodman (SFS ’10) explained how the main office HR fund was expanded to be more than a party fund. “Traditionally, the human resources (HR) budget has primarily funded solely alcohol-related activities; very few line items on the fiscal year 2009 (FY 2009) budget covered expenses that were wholly non-alcoholic,” Goodman wrote. “In FY 08 we spent approximately $29,000 on HR and $35,000 on philanthropy.”

In large part, the memo describes changes Goodman wanted to make to the Corp’s financial structure. To him, these changes were important for improving the Corp’s legitimacy as a nonprofit: “When the IRS looks at our tax filings that are based on the prior year’s accounting records, it may investigate spending on HR versus living up to the organization’s mission; the mission that enables the organization to be a not-for-profit company under US tax code.”

He explained that such a substantial but otherwise unspecific HR budget would look odd to auditors. “A larger HR budget will draw more attention from the IRS than a smaller one or one clearly aligned with philanthropic contributions; our philanthropy budget and spending in a given year should well exceed our HR budget and spending.”

In Goodman’s view, decreased scrutiny from the IRS was just one potential benefit of expanding the function of the HR budget. “An HR budget that incorporates more than just spending money on parties would: (1) facilitate the realization of our new focus on professional development; (2) make our HR budget less of a ‘party slush fund’; and (3) reduce the rather controversial nature of our current HR budget,” the memo reads.

Outgoing Chief Financial Officer Scott Munro (COL’12) wrote in an email to the Voice that all event- or party-related expenses are and have been filed under the Human Resources expense for the Main Office and Accounting. The Main Office HR expense was $31,847 in 2010 and $27,294 in 2011, according to the Corp’s Annual Report 2011, the most recent available report.

In response to the 2009 HR budget memorandum, Munro recognized that Corp funds are and have been used to purchase alcohol. “I will level with you and say that a portion of our budget ends up getting used for alcohol,” he wrote in an email.

Yet Munro said much of the Main Office HR Budget is used for food and venue at the Holiday Inn. “In terms of the 27,000 dollars in MO [Main Office] budget. Like I said, a large portion of that goes towards the Holiday Inn rental charges, which do include alcohol fees, but they also include a substantial fee for space, DJing services, and other auxiliary services that the Holiday Inn provides us.”

Although acknowledging that company funds are used to purchase alcohol, Munro emphasized that the money used to purchase alcohol has been decreasing since the memorandum in 2009.

“The Corp has changed a lot over the past 4 years,” Munro wrote. According to him, the amount used on alcohol “is immensely minimal compared to the overall HR budget, and in those cases it’s not designated for alcohol use ONLY. Each service is allotted…maybe 20-60 dollars a party [not including the Holiday Inn party], depending on the size of the service. This money can be used for food, decorations, and a small amount of alcohol. If you’ve ever hosted a party 20 dollars is barely enough for anything BESIDES food and decorations. This money is not designated for alcohol, in any way shape or form.”

A significant portion of the Corp’s party funds are allocated towards the Holiday Inn—“well over 60 [percent],” according to Munro. The Corp’s public position has consistently been that the Holiday Inn checks participants for identification during their employee appreciation parties and welcome parties for new hires. “They card at the Holiday Inn,” Heinichen said.

Victoria Gamlen (COL ‘12), a two-time Holiday Inn attendee and former Corp employee at Hoya Snaxa, corroborated this policy. “Everyone, including myself, was carded before entering the ballroom and then given a wristband if they were able to drink,” she said. “I was never encouraged by my managers to bring a fake ID.”

Some managers, however, do encourage their employees to subvert Corp carding with fake IDs. The then-Hoya Snaxa Director of Personnel, addressed the carding issue in a December 2011 email to his staff: “Bring your fake, open bar at the Inn.”
Another email dated December 2008 shows the then-Director of Personnel for Vital Vittles encouraging Vittles employees to come with fake IDs in tow: “Bring your ID that says you’re 21 (wink wink) or find a Corpie that looks like you.”

Neither Pon nor incoming CEO Michael West—who replaces Pon as acting CEO today—responded to a request to comment on encouraging underage Corp employees to use fake identification.

The organization caught flak from the University last semester for one of its initiation parties.

Earlier this year, the Office of Student Conduct contacted the Corp about dangerous levels of alcohol consumption at a Corp event. Director of Student Conduct Judy Johnson sent an email entitled “Alleged CORP Initiation” to a group of senior Corp members regarding incidents on Sept. 25, 2011.

“According to the information forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct from the Department of Public Safety (DPS), a student was discovered in [a New South bathroom] in need of medical attention due to excessive alcohol consumption,” the email reads. “According to the DPS report, the student was allegedly involved in an off campus CORP ‘initiation.’” Later in the email, Johnson requested that the recipients meet with Student Conduct to discuss the Corp’s “possible connection with this incident.”

By all accounts, Corp management changed its party policies in response to the incident. “Last semester we dealt with Student Conduct in an annoyingly serious reprimand about hazing,” Heinichen wrote in a Jan. 12, 2012 email. “[A]nd we cracked down by separating any party content off of our store-sanctioned listservs and by banning the term initiation.”

Heinichen went on to enumerate what this no-initiation policy would look like from then on. “Don’t, under any circumstances, force or pressure a new or old hire to drink, and actively stop others from doing so. In every email that contains an address for a party, include a message that no one will be forced to drink,” the email reads.

“This is annoying, and I recognize that. You can write it off by saying, ‘Mom wants to remind you that no one is forced to drink alcohol at X event,’ or ‘Brooke needs you to know that…’ Put the fun-killing on me. That’s fine.” Later in the email, Heinichen referenced two new hires who were put under Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service’s care, calling it “unacceptable.”

New CEO Michael West emphasized that the Corp takes allegations of hazing very seriously and builds disclaimers to that effect into their interview policies. “The Corp does not engage in hazing of any kind. There is absolutely no pressure to drink at any event,” he wrote in an email to the Voice. “We begin every New Hire Interview with this disclaimer, and we hold true to it.”

According to West, the initiation in question was essentially a misunderstanding. “Previous to this incident, The Corp did not engage in hazing of any kind,” he wrote. “We welcome, we don’t initiate…It’s a party that got the wrong label attached to it.”

When asked about what they wished for the University at large to know about the Corp, employees consistently respond about how much time and energy they spend trying to serve fellow students.

“What I wish that people saw more is how every decision we make, we obviously think about the wellbeing of the company and the employees,” Wolfram said. “Georgetown students are at the forefront of our minds.” Whether it’s opening Uncommon Grounds at precisely 8 a.m. every day to serve the regulars, or moving thousands of boxes from the path of a hurricane, Corp employees emphasize the company’s motto of “students serving students.”

Munro said he thinks the student opinion of the Corp—and the attendant press coverage—should focus more on the Corp’s relationship with the University. Although the Corp does a service by training future business people, it still has to pay rent. “If you want to know the real travesty about The Corp, it’s that even though we give so much back to the community, teach 264 Hoyas how to run a business, and attract potential students to Campus, we still pay the University upwards of $270,000 in rent every single year,” he wrote in an email to the Voice.

“That’s the real story in all this, but nobody ever bothers to comment about it, because it doesn’t make The Corp look bad,” he wrote. “Just a thought from someone who will be graduating soon, has seen too many stupid articles written, and would like to see one that actually makes a difference written.”

Author’s Note: The names of the then-Hoya Snaxa Director of Personnel and the then-Director of Personnel for Vital Vittles have been removed at the latter’s request. The Voice initially reported that the 2008 quote was by the then-Director of Vital Vittles, which has been corrected. The quote, however, was accurate. Other slight corrections have been made.

Connor Jones
Connor Jones is the former editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Voice. Before that, he edited its blog, Vox Populi and the features section. He was a double major in mathematics and economics and is from Atlanta, Ga. He can be reached at cjones@georgetownvoice.com.

Read More

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
John Steward

What is the point here? A student was sexually assaulted on campus this past week. The safety of our residents ought to be the feature story. This article serves no purpose as Munro notes at the end. Go to Saxby’s they never where hats. Initiation? are you kidding me? There are fraternities on campus and organizations such as the Credit Union actually initiate their new members. Look at athletic teams on campus.

@John Steward

Saxby’s, never! Where hats?


The Corp bought alcohol in the past? Don’t tell President Coolidge! Twenty-three skidoo!

Honestly though, what is the point of this? The Corp tries to be extra clean during health inspections? They have parties sometimes? I wish campus media spent half the time investigating the administration that they do on trying to slam student organizations. At least then all students could participate in the smugness, rather than just the staff of the Voice.


Phil Goodman was the CFO, not the COO in 2009.

Not Greg Monroe

overblown. classic Voice.

Also, @TheVoice how was your beer Olympics a few weekends ago? I’m sure there was no underage drinking at all during that event. Oh, and that time (last semester) when two of your writers drunkenly evaded DPS in Leavy, tried to use the Voice office for sanctuary and then fell through the ceiling into the debate office while attempting to escape. Didn’t the university threatened to evict you?

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

As an aside, the only thing the Voice contributes to this campus is bad writing. And bigoted attacks on Markel Starks (tehe).


Mr. Jones,

I honestly love how you end the article with Munro’s quote. It gives the reader a perfect summarization of what the content of the article actually says: I tried to make the Corp look bad, ignored the real story, and wrote a bad article.

Honesty, as a writer, why in God’s name would you put that quote in the story? It leaves the reader with the impression that he just read an article that was bad. Is that the note on which you wanted to leave your article?

I’ve defended the Voice over the Hoya for my entire time at Georgetown. This is the first time I think the Voice has completely failed its audience. Instead of focusing on superb reporting and quality writing, it seems that the Voice tried to use the available information to fit its preconceived notion about the Corp.

From paragraph two, the writing is terrible. Let’s break it down. What does Wolfram’s concussion have anything to do with the story? It’s completely irrelevant. It distracted me from the next four paragraphs. Maybe saying something like, “Being hired by the Corp her second semester…” yada yada yada. The “Even though…” bs makes zero sense. It’s the first example of terrible writing, and there’s many more throughout the entire article. Maybe next time you should focus more on your quality of writing instead of making an institution look bad.

Furthermore, you basically state two separate facts throughout the article – the Corp doesn’t wear hats when it needs to and that they drink underage. This is worth of a feature? I could tell that by going into every Corp service, see them not wearing hats, and hearing them talk about their weekend behind the counter. Boom, I have the same story as you. I hope you didn’t waste too much time on this.

The points you made, in fact, aren’t even the least bit substantive. Does any one expect the Corp to be able to perfectly follow health code with a bunch of part-time, student employees who get paid minimum wage? Every single cup of coffee and bagel and whatever I’ve received from the Corp over my tenure at Georgetown has been clean and hasn’t had any hair on it. Isn’t that the point?

As far as expensive underage drinking goes, the Credit Union has two parties at Holiday Inn every year. Rugby has Rugby Ball. Run for Rigby has a ball. Party for a Cause has bar nights. A wide variety of organizations have open bars at Rhino. Do you think that no one else has ever suggested through email or word of mouth that someone should bring a fake id. Or is the fact the Corp did it a small number of times through email a story? Why is the Corp’s expensive underage drinking a story when all those other organizations do less for the community and have the same type of events?

Looking at initiations, from what I saw over my four years, I would have much rathered been at a Corp initiation party, where my friends were all carried home if they were too drunk by a responsible sober monitor, than other ones. My friends at Club Baseball had to embarrassingly go streaking on campus. My friends at Rugby had to drink God-knows-what. And I’m really getting bored writing this comment, so my other friends at acapella groups, varsity athletic teams, and regular Georgetown organizations won’t be told in detail – but they were all conducted much more irresponsibly than the Corp’s initiation.

I know that when Clare Malone or Tim Fernholtz was the Editor in Chief back in the day, they didn’t allow anonymous sources. Besides that, they would not have stooped as low as to have used emails from a student without their permission. To the current editor, that’s just classless. You’re not only making yourself look bad, but you’re making ions of Voicers look bad. It reflects poorly on your ethics and your character. It makes you look petty.

Lastly, to the writer, reflect on how long this took you. Realize that was a giant waste of time. Realize you’ll never get that time back. Next time, write the story. Don’t try and make the story. It won’t go your way. Again.

Deep Throat

As some have noted above, there may be very little point to this article. Particularly if you have some semblance of a social bone in your body and so are aware of the significantly more social societies on campus (alliteration, you’re welcome).

However, one can’t help but be impressed with this investigative reporting. They appear to have emails dating back as far as 2008, as well as emails that certainly would have been on more private list serves belonging exclusively to Hoya Snaxa and Vital Vittles employees. As such, were these emails to be limited to one source who still attends Georgetown, Connor \James Risen\ Jones would appear to have found a senior hired their first semester Freshman year at Vital Vittles and is currently, or at least was in December 2011, on the cross over listserv to Hoya Snaxa. If he has multiple sources, well then I suppose even further kudos is due.

Regardless, this is all child’s play. Get the B-Frat listserv and perhaps we’ll have an article worth reading.


To the commenter above, did I actually read that correctly that you actually encouraged harassment of Connor Jones just because he wrote a stupid article? YOU POSTED HIS FACEBOOK PROFILE! Do you have any idea how unconscionable that is? Have some respect, for God’s sake.

Deep Throat

On second thought, having just noticed the link to Connor Jones’ facebook profile posted above, it does not surprise me that this underage drinking was interesting to him.

On third thought, directed at ‘EXCUSE ME?’, it’s not difficult to find an individuals facebook – thank you for the capitals though, I was confused as to your temperament before you made that addition.

@Deep Throat

I’d be impressed If there wasn’t evidence that The Voice accessed the e-mails illegally. More to come on that later I’m sure.

Noel Keefer

Investigative reporting? If you check the police records you will find that Corp members emails were illegally hacked by the sources for this article. Wow-they hacked back to 2008. So you are impressed that they are great thieves. Stealing is stealing, not investigative reporting. The Voice has stooped to an all time low.


Bravo sir Bravo.


@EXCUSE ME? I agree. No one should be posting someone’s Facebook here. But don’t tell anyone to respect this kid. He doesn’t deserve it right now. Respecting his privacy is different than respecting his person.

Corp employee

I work at The Corp and I’ve worked at restaurants, and it’s standard for people to get more stringent with technical policy once the health inspector’s in town, mostly because a lot of the regulations are totally arbitrary (you need to wear a hat to serve a bagel? what?).

Underage drinking is pretty standard as an organization, and, as @Deep Throat mentions earlier, our “initiation” pales in comparison to B-frat’s, where I had friends who literally had to buy a full suit only to have it destroyed by upperclassmen when they were pledging. The Corp is a very supportive and warm place to work; this false concern about the health of our new hires is overdone.



Yes, you did, but I wouldn’t call it harassment, more like accountability.

Do you have any idea how unconscionable it is rail against underage drinking when you are yourself guilty of the offence? Be happy I didn’t post facebook pictures of Connor Jones in the act. Although if you’d like to see those, I’d be more than willing to oblige.


Let me see if I have this straight.

The list of things the Corp does wrong according to this article:

1. Don’t wear hats at coffee shops.

2. Take extra steps to ensure compliance with health regulations when inspectors come to campus. (As the previous poster mentioned, this is incredibly common. I worked at a supermarket for 5 years. We did this all the time. I guarantee every other food service provider on campus does the same thing. Also “Available inspection records did not reveal any major health code violations.”)

3. They have social events where ::gasp:: college students drink. (By the way, how many other campus organizations have large end-of-semester or end-of-year events?)

OK, now things the Voice has done wrong JUST FOR THIS ARTICLE*:

1. Based on some posts above (and the fact that Corpies genuinely love the company and wouldn’t air its internal correspondence like this), I am pretty confident someone associated with the Voice committed several felonies by hacking into other people’s email accounts.

*So we’re ignoring the long history of terrible writing and that time some Voice writers got high, stood out in a hurricane, and then destroyed the Hoya’s office.

I think the Voice should probably think for a minute before casting the next stone. I’d like to see someone from the Hoya (a real student newspaper) investigate how these emails were obtained.


This article is truly tragic. Between the severe lack of fun comments on Vox Populi (what happened, GU student body? Why so quiet?) and this kind of drivel, I’m about ready to go pick up a copy of The Hoya. Don’t make me do it, Voice!

Garlic Salt Bagel

Obviously we all get fucked up in student groups, however when we drink in our social clubs, club leaders foot the bill. The Corp uses money it makes off of student purchases that could be going to its charity work, and instead spends it on booze. The Corp is a company, not a club. I have no problem with Corpies playing Edward 40 hands on a Tuesday afternoon, but they shouldn’t be using the company money to do that.

Nevertheless, I still fucking love those garlic salt bagels. CORPOSAURRRRRRR!

In Defense

I personally think this article depicts the Corp in a fair and honest light. It’s a well-researched piece of journalism that shows the difficulties faced by a student-run organization.

The main criticisms of the Corp here are that 1) the services knowingly violated the health code for a sustained amount of time and 2) that a significant portion of their operating budget goes to alcohol and parties. The author does not make a judgment about these facts but merely presents them to the reader.

I personally think that the health code requirements are unnecessary, and I personally think that the drinking age should be lowered. However, it does make me think twice about an organization that would deceive both its employees and its customers by knowingly violating the health code, and I don’t think that “students serving students” should mean that such a large percentage of the Corp’s profits go toward serving their own employees alcohol.

That being said, I look forward to my next chai at Midnight Mug. I just hope that the Corp can use this article for self-improvement.

@Garlic Salt Bagels

Actually, almost all of The Corp’s purchases are made by employees and store management. Also, Credit Union?

@In Defense

Agreed, and from what I know of The Corp, it always uses articles like this to improve itself, even if some of these comments make it seem other wise.


@Garlic Salt Bagel,

Do you know how many companies spend exorbinant sums of money on employee appreciation and social events? ALL OF THEM.

And most of those companies pay their employees much better than the Corp does. Corpies sacrifice a larger paycheck because the company gives a bit back to employees through the “club”-like social aspect. If you take that away, then salaries better go up.

It’ll end up costing as much, if not more, for customers.


\Actually, almost all of The Corp’s purchases are made by employees and store management.\

Really? Have you ever been in Vittles at lunch when it seems like half the hospital staff shows up? Or Midnight, after 6 PM? Or MUG between classes? The Corp is big, but no way is its workforce large enough to account for anything near $4 million in purchases each year.

Another point – the $40,000 HR budget is NOT a significant portion of the operating budget (which, as previously mentioned, hovers around the $4 million mark). So its unfair to say that the Corp is spending a significant amount of its revenues on booze. In fact, the largest expense for the Corp is Cost of Goods Sold – in other words, paying for the things we then sell you. Another large expense? Rent. Take a look at the numbers in the last annual report – you’ll be stunned.


Sorry Corposaurus,
I’m afraid pesky things like \facts\ don’t make their way into Voice articles.

Garlic Salt Bagel


Fair point. I’m sure Goldman, UBS, and Credit Suisse use their profits to lavish employees with company parties, but I doubt that UNICEF does the same. The Corp is a non-profit.

I don’t really get the payment argument. Honestly, instead of putting money in the HR budget to spend on booze they should just boost everyone’s salaries by the same amount and make them pay for alcohol or events out of pocket. It appears more honest, even if the economics of it are the same.

But like I said before, this won’t change anything really other than temporarily boost views for the Voice and piss off the Corp into wearing hats for a month. Not life-changing, but mildly entertaining.


Why can’t the Corp just pay it’s employees more and ask them to pay for alcohol out of their own pockets? That would avoid the ethics of the drinking issue entirely and bring the Corp in line with other student organizations.

I think the article makes a good case that the Corp has turned into an obnoxious, insular frat subsidized by Flex Dollars. Also, as these comments demonstrate, they incite almost mafia-like loyalty.

@Garlic Salt Bagel / @Corposaurus

@Corposaurus I can’t believe I’m taking the time to respond, but you misinterpreted what I was saying. Clearly the campus community uses The Corp’s services, but The Corp uses a tiny fraction of those precedes on alcohol, and as the article itself mentions, much more of it on professional development, alumni relations, etc. I was actually saying that it’s the employees themselves or store managers that actually end up paying for alcohol (not purchasing everything from The Corp)….

@Tim Also correction in one comment, the HR budget is around 30,000, the Philanthropy budget was “40,000” which is actually incorrect as The Corp gave back $48,000 last year. This actually boosts your point, seeing as $30,000 is much less relative to the $4.6M in revenue The Corp brought in last year…

@Garlic Salt, actually UNICEF, Habitat for Humanity, and other big foundations spend HUGE amounts of money on alcohol and employee appreciation and fundraising activities… So that’s just blatantly wrong. Thanks for playing though. They’re also only required to grant out 5% of their asset base, they can do whatever the fuck they want with the rest.

That brings up another point: The Corp is a 501c3 because it is an educational institution. The Corp gives back to the community because they think it’s the right thing to do, and it is in the By-Laws for the company, not because of any legal requirement.

Research before posting comments is recommended.


ahahahahahahahahahahhaha subsidized by Flex Dollars, is that why The Corp has over a million transactions a year? Is that why customers from the med-school, B-school, administration, and community come to their services? If anything Flex Dollars can be a nuisance for The Corp because the administration charges something like a 4% or 5% fee per GoCard transaction.

And if The Corp paid it’s employees more that would hurt the community immensely more than a couple dollars spent on alcohol. When the current Officers cut their pay rates by 50 cents (to help the thankless community) that meant $3,000 dollars less in payroll expenses. You do the math if you want to raise the pay of 264 other employees….

Again, more research would be helpful here friends.


I’m pretty sure nothing in this article is a surprise to anybody who at one point left their dorm or had more than one friend.

The interesting point is if the stuff pulled by the Corp were done by a frat or sorority at any university with actual greek life, they’d be shut down immediately. Georgetown doesn’t allow frats or sororities because of concerns about hazing, drinking and selectivity. All things rampant in the corp. Even the community service bent reeks of a frat.

In sum, the corp is a glorified coed frat that peddles gross coffee in stores with university subsidized rents. Cool.


Hazing? What “Hazing”? Are you confusing The Corp with B-frat?


Name for me 3 student organizations that: (1) don’t hold an event to welcome new members (and that’s what the Corp does–NO ONE IS HAZED), (2) hold events where there is alcohol, and (3) have some kind of defined membership.

Also “selectivity” sort of comes from having to hire people. Do you want people to just sign up for a shift at Vittles at the SAC fair and then wander in when they feel like it to work a register? So while you’re at it, name for me a single company that does not hire people “selectively,” but rather has open membership for anyone who wants to work.


People need to relax. If anything, this article makes Corp leadership look competent, professional and eager to make changes for the better. None of the quotes are detrimental. And let’s get real, everyone knows all of this about the Corp anyway. This is far from a smear article.


Agreed. Put it to rest.


I feel as a UG twice-a-week opener, I ought to make a small correction:

We open at 7:30 a.m. goddamnit! Not 8. And yes, that half hour less of sleep means a lot to me.


@ Senior – I think this is why people are annoyed. The article has a tone of attempting to act as an expose, yet offers actual quotes that make Corp leaders look efficient and responsible. It feels as though the author was purposely trying to find dirt on the Corp for a traditional smear article, came up kind of short, and made a big deal out of a handful of unrelated small things.

Simply put, it just smells of bad journalism, and to some extent, at the Corp’s expense.


Voice legitimacy comes and goes (mostly goes) but the Corp is forever.

But at least the Voice isn’t picking on a single person this time (re: Markel Starks).

Sweet Journalism

1. The Corp does not haze. At my welcome party as a new hire, I explained that I did not want to drink too much, and I wasn’t made to drink anything I didn’t want to.

2. The Corp pays for Holiday Inn. Our employee appreciation party. It pays for an open bar. This sums up to a negligible amount of money compared to the Corp’s annual revenue.

3. Stores save tip money to pay for alcohol at all other parties. If the store doesn’t get enough tips, the employees put in cash.

4. Every organization on campus has an initiation-like event. Most of them will straight-up call them intiation. This year, The Corp moved away from that.

5. This piece took advantage of unfortunate leaks of emails that were taken out of context.


To all the Corp people, sorry you got owned. Excellent reporting in this article.

So funny that commenters here think the Corp must have been hacked because the Corp employees love the Corp soo much. Apparently not!

Real Story

I think the real story here is how The Voice got a hold of this wide ranging array of emails. Internal memos sent by Corp officers, some of which are quoted in this article, are sent to a small group of upper management officials, a group of people I can’t imagine willingly forwarding emails to the Voice given the out of context passages that have been found within, and lack of disclosure that has accompanied, past articles about The Corp. Furthermore, any person who was on the Upper Management that would have received Phil’s emails in 2009 (a junior or senior then) would no longer be a Georgetown student. So this article asks the reader to believe that the Georgetown Voice got in touch with an alumnus Corpie to supply some of these quotes – or better yet, that an alum reached out to the Voice to supply “damning” quotes on an organization that they worked hard to better? I find that very hard to believe.

But in all seriousness, there is a high likelihood that email accounts had to have been hacked to get the quotes used in this article, and if so, the author, and The Voice, could have a much bigger problem on their hands then whether or not a Midnight MUG employee is wearing a hat while making their chai latte.


Hi everyone,

To add a comment that wasn’t addressed by the article by Mr. Jones, I just thought that I’d take an opportunity to emphasize how proud I am of the Corp Service & Outreach Committee this year. Two weeks ago, many members of the committee gave up their Valentine’s Day evening to make cards for Georgetown Retirement Home residents, while others delivered roses, coffee and candy to the Allied Barton guards posted all around our campus. In addition, I’m so proud of their efforts to equip, sponsor and cheer for our young friends of Kenilworth Elementary school and their basketball teams this winter. Keep an eye out for more service projects and outreach in the spring! The Corp will be helping with the CSJ sponsored Education Week as well. I’ll be at these events and available for comment. I think my volunteers have worked hard enough to deserve a celebration!

Very sincerely,
Will Cousino

Happy spring break!


In the above sea of predominantly misinformed comments, one blistering blunder shines through. I forget the name this person used to post this comment, since most of these names, like most of you, are irrelevant. But accusing the Voice of hacking into an email account is utterly pointless and unjustified. Have any of you ever seen these kids? They can barely print a paper, let alone build even the most basic brute-force software.


I love how the comments made by Corp supporters state facts, and those stated by the opposition just say the articles correct, despite the clear support of facts given in these comments.

Would one anti-Corp comment please give a logical argument defending the author?

Furthermore, can we all agree, no matter what side we’re on, that this was a shitty piece of journalism. Authors out there – don’t you think you could have done a much better job with the given information.

Voice – silence the Corpies about this hacking issue. Let an independent, third party, non-Corp, non-Voice affiliated person see the source’s emails and post something about it on Vox. Let both parties agree on the person (cough, Erika Coen-Derr, cough), and let’s squash the issue. That 1) protects the source and 2) protects the Voice.

Also, it would be nice to see an ethical defense of using private emails from the Editor in Chief. After all, this isn’t Wikileaks, this is a student newspaper.



Also, congratulations to the book scholarship winners this semester!


So basically I’ve learned three things from this article:

1. The Corp is a lot stricter about health codes when they know an inspection is coming. This is pretty much universal when it comes to the food industry. Granted, it’s not the way it should be, but I’ve seen much worse things go on besides people not wearing hats or leaving scoops in buckets.

2. Members of the Corp drink together, many of them underage. And how is this different from any other group on campus? Thank you to whoever called Captain Obvious.

3. The Corp provides its members with alcohol. Ummm…grass green, sky blue. I’m not entirely sure of the laws surrounding small business finances, so correct me if I’m wrong, but The Corp is independent from the university so I’m pretty sure they can do what they want with their profits.

I’m confused. Is this supposed to be investigative journalism? Mr. Jones, your ability to incite conversation is somewhat admirable, but your ethics are extremely questionable. As an outsider myself, I’m sure what The Corp did to you, but next time leave your emotions of out your \investigations.\


It is unbelievable that you, Mr. Jones, would publish peoples’ personal emails about underage drinking. These names are now permanently smeared and will show up whenever googled. As an underage drinker yourself, I’m appalled by the lack of consideration for the future of your fellow peers. Respect peoples’ privacy, especially when it’s about something that doesn’t affect the student body in any way. This article should be removed from the internet immediately to protect the names you’ve published.


Corp leadership, you should probably call off your dogs. These absurd comments (hacking? really?) have damaged your reputation more than the article itself in my mind. Then again, the Corp board is probably in on the flaming as well. Try some actual PR. By not acting like a legitimate non-profit corporation, you’re confirming to everyone that you are just an immature, entitled pseudo-frat.


that brings up a good point about violation of privacy. Really unethical of The Voice not to annonomize sources cited from an anonnomous source. Id really like an investigation into just how the Voice got these emails, because if it wasnt through some voluntary source, maybe this newspaper shouldnt continue publishing until changes have been made.



I thought Voice staff weren’t allowed to comment on their on articles?


@Anon: The Corp is a non-profit. The author’s point wasn’t that they aren’t separate from the university, it was when they advertise themselves as a philanthropic business, the students expect a little more money to legitimate causes and a little less (or none) to alcohol.

And how was this at all unethical?

People, this isn’t the NYT, and there aren’t that many big scandals on campus. This was a pretty good feature for a student newspaper. Corp management, maybe a memo to your staff to ease up on this kid for writing an article?

Finally, there was a hair in my muffin last week. I’m all for the mandatory hats.