When looking for a quick lunch, coffee during a late-night study session, or basic groceries, Georgetown community members turn to The Corp. As the world’s largest student-run 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, The Corp values its mission of “students serving students.”
However, recent hiring cycles have raised concerns over The Corp’s hiring process and its diversity measures. Some say that diversity within the organization feels tolerated but not encouraged.
“[Corp Hiring tries] to check a box to fulfill the diversity requirement rather than trying to make connections and bonds with people,” a Corp barista told the Voice on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal issues.
The Corp disclosed to the Voice that the percentage of employees identifying with various ethnic groups is either consistent with or greater than that within the Georgetown population. However, it did recognize an underrepresented Latinx population in the Fall 2022 new hires with 1.3 percent in comparison to the university’s approximately 8 percent.
Since before the diversity issue was raised in the Fall 2022 semester, The Corp has been hosting town halls for its employees. In response to the issue, upper management dedicated certain town halls to diversity, giving employees a platform to share their thoughts. According to The Corp, the town halls were attended by about 30 out of over 350 Corp employees.
“If your company is telling you that something needs to be changed, you need to take that into account and really respond, and I don’t think that was done particularly well, but I do think having a platform for everyone to speak and it being open to as many people as possible is really powerful,” the barista said.
Despite continuing concerns from employees, The Corp’s upper management believes that the town halls were an effective way of receiving feedback and has considered employee perspectives when going through the Spring 2023 hiring process.
Diversity issues are handled by The Corp’s Human Resources department, known as People Operations (POps). However, there is no specific position within The Corp designated solely to diversity and inclusion at this time, placing substantial duty on the POps team to handle such tasks.
“[POps does] a lot of the diversity and inclusion training, but at the same time they have so many other responsibilities to take care of that their main focus isn’t always that,” the barista said.
The Corp is also working with Leaders in Education Advocacy and Dialogue (LEAD). LEAD is part of the Center for Multicultural Equity & Access, a Georgetown organization dedicated to exploring diversity issues and providing support to students.
“The Corp has partnered with LEAD to bring in two external student facilitators to evaluate our current hiring training and provide a more in-depth, yet practical bias training,” The Corp wrote.
On campus, The Corp is known for having a strong social culture, with tight-knit communities between employees of the same Corp location or service. Some communities, though, are related to identity as opposed to service. The Corp currently has five affinity groups: Qorp (for LGBTQ+ employees), Shea (for Black employees), Incorporado (for Latinx employees), CorporAsian (for Asian American Pacific Islander employees), and GS(Cor)P (for first-generation and low-income students in the Georgetown Scholars Program).
Advocates for diversity in The Corp are looking for a stronger emphasis on affinity groups as a potential solution for inclusivity issues.
“It’s more of a show than an actual meaningful group, so this would be one place to improve upon and really have those groups work together and have spaces where they can feel comfortable and connected to others with similar backgrounds,” the barista said.
The Corp’s upper management is working on increasing funding and autonomy for its affinity groups and promoting community outreach. Employees try to remain hopeful that their voices are being heard and that such actions will contribute to a more diverse and inclusive working environment.
“I have seen a lot of growth in the past semester with my specific service, and I am excited to see where it goes because I know there are a lot of great people on their way up in the Corp,” the barista said.