Students of Georgetown, Inc.

Students of Georgetown, Inc.
Students of Georgetown, Inc. (The Corp)
Type 501(c)3 non-profit
Founded Georgetown University, 1972
Headquarters Washington, DC, United States

Students of Georgetown, Inc., or "The Corp", as it is commonly known (pronounced with the "p", /ˈkɔrp/), is a 501(c)3 non-profit public charitable organization at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and is the largest entirely student-run (501)c3 non-profit corporation in the world, with seven subsidiary companies generating annual revenues in excess of $4 million.[1] Only undergraduate students of Georgetown University work as employees or sit as members of the Corp's Board of Directors, distinguishing business operations at the Corp from other student-run companies such as Harvard Student Agencies, which allows non-students and alumni to serve as board members.

As a registered Charity, The Corp's profits fund grants for student organizations, as well as scholarships for students, with each recipient being chosen by The Corp's Philanthropy Committee or Board of Directors.

The other entirely student-run business located at, and independent of Georgetown University is the Georgetown University Alumni & Student Federal Credit Union (GUASFCU), the largest entirely student-run Credit Union.

Vital Vittles is the largest of seven businesses currently owned and operated by The Corp. Referred to by the company as "services", these businesses also include three campus coffee shops called Uncommon Grounds, More Uncommon Grounds (MUG), and Midnight MUG, a convenience store called Hoya Snaxa,a printing service called Corp Ink and "seasonal" services — Student Storage and Shuttles [2] — which only operate at the beginning and end of each semester for storage and during the holidays for shuttles.


The 1970s


The Corp finds its roots on May 2, 1971. On the preceding day, large-scale May Day protests took place throughout Washington, DC, ending in clashes between protesters and police. Protesters sought refuge from the Metropolitan Police Department by coming to the campus of Georgetown University where, on May 3, Rev. Robert J. Henle, S.J, the university's president, authorized the police department to use tear gas to disperse and remove the visitors. Many students were caught in the middle of the violence.

In October of that year, Student Body President Roger Cochetti and Vice President Nancy Kent determined that the only way to protect students' rights was to form a separate legal entity that would have the authority to challenge the university's actions. The Student Government subsequently incorporated the undergraduate students of Georgetown University as "shareholders" in a new organization called "Students of Georgetown, Inc." in order to provide a means of filing lawsuits on behalf of students against the university.


On March 6, 1972, Students of Georgetown was officially incorporated as a non-profit organization in the District of Columbia.

Cochetti described the organization's goals as "to assert and protect the inherent rights of its members and the community" through the use of powers available to corporations, such as making contracts, borrowing money, and receiving property.[2] The organization soon began using its independent status to develop and expand a number of new businesses designed for students' needs. It is not known when the organization formally adopted the name "The Corp."

Shortly thereafter, students began selling extremely low-cost yogurt and water on the University's Healy Lawn to fund the fledgling corporation—at times to the same demonstrators whose gassing had prompted the group's formation. The program, In September 1972 the Corp assumed control of The Book Co-op—another, older student-run business. The Book Co-op is the only Corp business to actually predate the Corp.

The Corp opened its first storefront called "The Record Co-op" or "Diemusbiederplatz" in the basement of New South Hall that same month.


In 1973, the Corp expanded to open three new services.

In August, the Corp opened the Furniture Co-op to assist students living off-campus with the troublesome task of moving into and out of the often-cramped Georgetown Townhouses. In its first year the Furniture Co-op moved roughly 400 items.

On September 6, 1973, the Corp utilized a $14,000 grant from the university and $3,500 gift from Student Government to open its first shuttle service. The program, Corp Shuttles, was developed to provide transportation to and from the Alban Towers, student housing located roughly 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the university's main campus. The program suffered from a lack of rider support and little to no funding. With the construction of new residence halls and apartment complexes on campus, the need for the service ended, and operations were re-absorbed by the university. Today the program has expanded to become the Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle (GUTS), which operates five bus circuits in the Washington Metropolitan area.

In November 1973, Corp Travel was opened. The new business provided much-needed travel assistance for the growing number of students who chose to study abroad during part of their college career. Today, roughly 40% of Georgetown University undergraduates study abroad before graduation.


On January 25, 1974, the Corp finally sued Georgetown University, claiming that the university's actions on May 3, 1971 were discriminatory.

Three days later, The Corp opened Vital Vittles in the basement of the New South Hall dormitory. Vital Vittles (or "Vittles") was an expanded version of the original Food Co-op. Within the decade, the university would open its first large-scale dining hall in the same space.

In April 1974 the Corp sponsored the first annual Vincent Lombardi Tennis Tournament for charity. The tournament raised $6,000 in its first year and featured athletes such as Stan Smith and Jimmy Connors. The tournament lasted only three years, being discontinued in 1976 because of legal issues with the United States National Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA).

During the summer of 1974 Corp Travel separated from the Corp for various management reasons. It re-joined the Corp in 1979.

In October 1974, the Corp was denied tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service. That same month, the Corp helped start the Georgetown University Recycling Program.


The year 1975 marked the first time that the Corp had been in existence since the arrival of all four contemporary undergraduate classes. As the corporation's founding generation moved on, its successors were left to face the problems associated with maintaining a large company, regaining tax-exempt status, and developing better relationships with the university it had just sued.

In January 1975 the Corp restructured its upper management, deciding to institutionalize one-year terms for its officer and managers. In February, the Corp agreed to pay rent to the university in order to solve legal questions related with the tax-exempt statuses of the Corp and the university itself. The new costs strained the company's ability to operate, and that summer the Record Co-op and Vital Vittles were forced to merge into one business, nicknamed "Audio Vittles."

While other parts of the Corp consolidated or were closed, the company continued to pursue new ventures. In September 1975 the Corp began Corp Concessions for athletic games. The university later canceled the concessions contract with the Corp in favor of Hoyas Unlimited, a booster club that hired work-study varsity athletes.


In 1976 the Corp's Board of Directors voted to pay its top management for the first time.


In 1977 the Corp began Summer Storage—a business that allowed students to store their belongings during the summer break. Though closed twice during the 1980s and redesigned five times, the business continues to operate today as Corp Student Storage.[3]

In November 1977 Vital Vittles began selling bongs and condoms.


Barely four months after Vital Vittles began to sell them, Georgetown University blocked the sale of condoms.

In April 1978, the Corp's Board of Directors voted to participate in a boycott of Nestle because of allegations that Nestle was selling baby food and baby formula in third world countries made with non-potable water.

Also in 1978, the Corp opened Corp Typing. Long before the mass-production of desktop printers, this service gave students the opportunity to have Corp employees type their papers for a fee. Corp Typing's sister service, Corp Copying, also opened in 1978.


In 1979, the Corp moved Vital Vittles' non-food sales into the new Saxa Sundries drugstore, which opened in the basement of Georgetown University's Copley Hall.

Also in that year, the Corp was denied tax-exempt status for the second time.

The 1980s


On September 23, 1980, the Corp applied for tax-exempt status for the third time.


In March, the IRS awarded the Corp tax-exempt status—refunding several years of back taxes to the corporation.

Also in that year, the university canceled its contract with Corp Concessions in favor of Hoyas Unlimited.

In October, the Board of Directors changed the pay system for the Corp's officers and managers from a salary to a wage system.


In January, the Board of Directors restructured the Corp's management again to include three officers: Executive Vice President, Vice President of Operations and Vice President of Finance.

Later that year the Corp opened the Alban Annex—a convenience store in the Alban Towers apartment complex similar to, but smaller than the Corp's Vital Vittles.

Also in 1982 the Corp expanded the role of its marketing divisions into Corp Advertising, which provided graphic design services for university clubs. That same year, the Corp closed its Summer Storage business. It was re-opened two years later.[3]

In November, Saxa Sundries moved to the basement of Healy Hall.


Throughout the 1980s the Corp struggled to redefine its relationship with its parent organization, the Student Government. In 1983 the Corp's Board of Directors renamed the position of Executive Vice President to President of Students of Georgetown, Incorporated and officially recognized the Student Government President as Chairman of the Board of Students of Georgetown, Incorporated. This relationship placed additional strain on the Corp, which sought to uphold its independent status. By 1990, the Corp would break its ties with the Student Government altogether, and become a completely independent organization.


In 1984 the Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team won the NCAA National Championship. Also in that year, the Corp proposed the opening of a new ice cream shop. The business would eventually be located in the empty space above Wisemiller's Deli on 36th St. NW.


In 1985, the Corp opened its new ice cream parlor, which was named The Cone Zone by a campus-wide "Name the Store" contest. The store suffered from its bad location and could not compete with Thomas Sweets' ice cream parlor only a few blocks away. It was closed by the end of 1986.


In February 1986, the Corp's Board of Directors lifted its ban on the sale of condoms in its stores. However, the move proved to be largely symbolic as no Corp service has sold condoms since the university banned their sales in Vital Vittles in 1977.

1988, 1989

Apart from its initial creation, the single most significant event in the history of the Corp was the construction of the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center. After the building's construction, the Corp transferred its main office and all of its services to the new building. The services at the time included Vital Vittles; Saxa Sundries, which was later incorporated into Vital Vittles; Corp Travel, which closed in 2000; Movie Mayhem, which was replaced with in 2005; Corp Typing (a resume and term paper typing service that closed in the early '90s); and Corp Advertising, which was closed and internalized as the Corp Marketing Department in 1997.[4]

The 1990s: The coffee decade

In the 1990s, the Corp formally severed all of its ties with Georgetown University. What had once been an independent organization operated by the university's student government developed as a completely autonomous company.

In 1991, the Corp celebrated its 20th birthday with a weekend full of events on campus and specials in the stores. The Conelles played in McDonough parking lot, door prizes were awarded at the pub, and the comedian Jake Johansen was brought to Gaston Hall. Both the Conelles show and the Jake Johansen show were free to students.

The controversy over condoms erupted again in 1992 when the Corp again tried to sell them in Saxa Sundries. As part of its lease at the Leavy Center, the Corp had to have a university-approved product list, which it did. On that list included the item of "health aids". Corp management solicited input from the medical and nursing schools that condoms were indeed "health aids" and thus were permitted by the lease. Condoms were ordered and delivered to Saxa's stock room for eventual placement on the shelves. Management informed the university of this planned action, at which time the university stated that it did not consider condoms an approved item under the lease. The university also pointed out that the lease stated if an "offending" product was not removed from the store's shelves within 24 hours of a university protest, the university would exercise its rights as landlord to temporarily close the Corp's stores until the items were removed. On the eve of the planned stocking of condoms on Saxa's shelves, management held a General Meeting to assess the reaction of Corp employees to this possible closure action. The majority of employees argued against stocking the condoms, saying that by putting the Corp in jeopardy of being closed, management was not truly serving the students. Given this argument, management reversed course and decided not to stock the condoms. The supply in the Saxa's storeroom was donated to other organizations on campus.

Also in 1991–92, several major capital expenditures were made: The back offices were remodeled with new desks, a new phone system, and new computers; and a new Point-of-Sale system was purchased for Vittles and Saxas. Saxa's main supplier was switched to McKesson, and Vittles became the largest independent seller of Coke products in the mid-Atlantic region.

In 1994, the Corp won a bid to construct Georgetown University's first coffee shop in the university's Leavey Center. Beating out bids from rival companies, the Corp opened Uncommon Grounds a year later.

In 1999, the Corp built upon the success of Uncommon Grounds and opened a second coffee shop, More Uncommon Grounds (MUG) in the lobby of Georgetown University's Intercultural Center.

In 1997 Corp Advertising was closed and internalized as Corp Marketing Department, the organization's chief marketing division.

The 2000s: The Corp today

In 2000, the Corp closed its Corp Travel business and opened a film developing store called Full Exposure (FX). FX was closed five years later.

In 2003, the Corp opened its third and latest coffee shop, The Midnight MUG, in Georgetown University's Lauinger Library.

In 2004, the Corp launched and began to use a website to conduct the Book Co-op service more efficiently.

In 2005, the Corp closed its Full Exposure film developing service and Movie Mayhem video delivery store, and created Corp Information Technology and

In 2007, the Corp terminated its ailing service, citing a failure to generate profits, inability to compete with business such as NetFlix and iTunes, and a lack of student demand for a campus-based DVD delivery service. The last deliveries were made to students in December and the Web site was permanently taken offline.

Later that month, the Corp launched a new Web site,, which modified the existing Student Storage business model to allow for online purchasing. The new site also allows for expanded Corp e-commerce across all services.

Current businesses

The Food Co-op, or Vital Vittles (est. 1972, 1974)

The descendant of the Corp's oldest original business, the Food Co-op, Vital Vittles is the Corp's oldest and largest original business, employing over fifty students. The Food Co-op began is operations as a fruit and yogurt stand for the newly-created Corp in 1972 and joined the Book Co-op and the Record Co-op in the basement of Healy Hall. Two years later, the Corp expanded its food selection by moving the business into the larger basement of the New South Hall dormitory. The popularity of the location prompted the university to establish its first large dining hall in that space.

The Food Co-op, now operating under the name Vital Vittles, later moved back to the basement of Georgetown University's Healy Hall, then to the basement of the university's Copley Hall dormitory. In 1989 it moved for the final time when the Corp moved all of its operations to the new Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center, where it shared a space with Saxa Sundries. When Saxa Sundries closed its operations, the space of both stores was combined into one, allowing for the expansion of Vital Vittles into a large grocery store.

Student Storage (est. 1977, 1980, 1982, 1990, 2005, 2007)

Corp Summer Storage was originally founded in 1977 as a summer storage service for Georgetown undergraduates, ostensibly providing an option more convenient than leaving belongings with friends. In 1982 the service was closed, only to be re-opned again in 1984. In 1990, a shipping element was added to the service, which became Corp Shipping & Storage. However, with the introduction of several competing shipping services close to campus, the Corp found that there was little market for the new addition [4]. In 2005, the service transformed itself once again into Student Storage, which offers storage for the summer break, as well as study-abroad storage for semester and year-long terms. The final transformation of Corp Student Storage took place in December, 2007, with the launch of a new Web site, The new site eliminated the need for paper contracts, making the service one of the first Corp services to dramatically reduce its environmental impact. The new site allows for greater competition with off-campus storage competitors, while still allowing the Corp to offer students the lowest prices.

Uncommon Grounds (est. 1994)

The first of three coffee shops opened by the Corp, Uncommon Grounds was begun as a joint project by the Corp and the Georgetown University Office of Student Affairs.[5]

One of the newest undertakings of Uncommon Grounds has been a "drink of the month" program. Every month, the proceeds from the sale of one specialized drink are donated to a charity chosen by the coffee shop in an effort to further the philanthropic purpose of the company.

Uncommon Grounds also provides a catering service under the name of Uncommon Catering. In 2007, Uncommon Catering took its catering to a new level by catering GAAP (Georgetown Admissions Ambassadors Program) Weekends. This was crucial as it exposed Uncommon Catering to a wider audience within Georgetown and immediately increased demand. This was also significant in that it was the first time any Corp service competed directly with Marriott for the GAAP weekend catering contact. The newfound demand for Uncommon Catering, unfortunately, outweighed the number of the employees at Uncommon Grounds and Uncommon Catering began exploring the feasibility of expanding as its own service. As it currently stands, Uncommon Catering is continuing to grow and is working internally to spin-off from Uncommon Grounds to become its own service within the corporation.

MUG (More Uncommon Grounds, est. 1999)

MUG was opened in 1999 in the Galeria of the Georgetown University Intercultural Center. It began as a mobile coffee cart, an extension of Uncommon Grounds. In the last few years, though, it has established itself as a full coffee service for the Corp. Rather than pay monthly rent to Georgetown University, MUG pays its rent through scholarships, giving ten student scholarships each year.

The Midnight MUG (est. 2003)

The Midnight MUG is the newest coffee shop operated by the Corp. It was developed in partnership with the Georgetown University Lauinger Library, where it is located.

Hoya Snaxa (est. 2003)

Opened in August 2003, Hoya Snaxa is the Corp's youngest storefront service

In 2003, after more than three years and $188 million in development, Georgetown University completed construction on its largest dormitory structure, the Southwest Quadrangle.[5] Anticipating the needs of the Quad's 900+ residents, the Corp opened a convenience store on the ground floor of the structure's central dormitory, Kennedy Hall.[6] The Corp sponsored a campus-wide contest in the spring of 2003 that gave Georgetown students the opportunity to name the new store. The winning entry, Hoya Snaxa, is a clever take on the University's sporting cheer, "Hoya Saxa!" Although cashiers were hired in the spring of 2003, Hoya Snaxa's original management team consisted of employees "borrowed" from the Corp's flagship grocery store, Vital Vittles.

In an effort to meet the demands of its costumers, Hoya Snaxa gradually added new products throughout its second year, including ice cream, Phillies cigars, and concert tickets. These expansions proved profitable; in its second fiscal year, Hoya Snaxa posted its first-ever positive net income, with revenues up 21% from the previous year.[7]

During its third year of operations, Hoya Snaxa expanded its services to include sandwiches, Skoal tobacco products, and hummus. A slushie machine was installed in the summer of 2005.[8] Although revenues continued to climb nearly 24% from the year before, the store's gross profit dropped 3% during its third fiscal year.[9] It was near the end of this year that Hoya Snaxa reached $1 million in cumulative revenues.[9]


Corp Accounting

Directed by the Controller and reporting to the Chief Financial Officer, Corp Accounting tracks the organization's cash flow and investments. Because many Corp services have developed different business models, the Corp Accounting department centralizes the Corp's sprawling accounting needs. Individual services are assigned one or two accountants that work with the service director to monitor purchasing as well as store operations.

The accounting department adopts a similar structure to other Corp services with a service Upper Management. The Upper Management consists of the Controller, an Assistant Controller/Director of POS Accounting, a Director of Personnel, and an Accounts Payable manager.

Corp Accounting provides its employees with a fundamental understanding of how the company is run. It is the last line of defense that ensures the continual operation of the services.

Corp HR

The Corp Human Resources Department has a staff of two managers—the Director and Assistant Director—who oversee the company-wide functions of hiring and payroll. In addition, a director of federal work study works under the HR director to oversee the employee status of all work study employees. The Corp became a federal work study employer through Georgetown University in 2005.

Corp IT

The Corp's newest addition, Corp Information Technology was created in 2005 as the Corp's internal technologies management department to deal with the organization's increasing systems and network administration needs. Later that year it was awarded a contract to construct the website for the Georgetown University Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim–Christian Understanding.

Corp Marketing

The Corp Marketing Department was originally an internal marketing division of the Corp. In 1982, it was expanded as a business called Corp Advertising and provided graphic design services for Georgetown University student clubs. In 1997, Corp Advertising was closed due to decreased business and re-internalized as the Corp Marketing Department. It once again serves as the Corp's internal marketing division.

Philanthropy Committee

The Corp Philanthropy Committee (CPC) was founded in 2005. The Committee is responsible for the entire Corp Philanthropy budget. The CPC also is charged with administering Corp Scholarhsip. The CPC was created to help those groups and students on campus who could not find funding otherwise. Its composition includes one member from each business—or "service" -- as well as, an at-large Corpie, and an at-large member from the student body. The CPC is run by a chairman and a vice chair. The chairman is an at-large member of the Corp Board of Directors.

Corp Ink

Corp Ink was founded in 2011 as a development of the IT+Marketing department. It is the newest of the Corp services and currently falls under "seasonal services." Corp Ink prides itself in being the cheapest printing service in Georgetown with fast delivery.

Board projects

Turkey Shuttles

The Turkey Shuttles progam was established as a Board Project in 2004 [6] and continues today. The Turkey Shuttles provide low-cost bus transit for Georgetown University students on their way to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport, and Union Station before the Thanksgiving holiday. Estimates suggest that the Turkey Shuttles program saved Georgetown students roughly $7,000 in transportation costs during each of its first two years in operation.[10]

Bunny Shuttles

The Bunny Shuttles program was established in the Spring of 2006 as a sister-program to the Turkey Shuttles service project begun two years earlier, but ended because of a severe lack of interest and profitability in 2011. Like Turkey Shuttles, Bunny Shuttles provided low-cost bus transit for Georgetown University students on their way to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport, and Union Station before the Easter holiday.

Past businesses

Over the years, The Corp has closed several businesses which failed to generate revenue it saw as sufficient to fund the organization's needs. A list of these businesses includes an ice cream store called The Cone Zone and the Full Exposure film developing business.[11] One business, the Saxa Sundries drug store, was annexed by its sister business, the Vital Vittles grocery store, which continues to operate today.

Food Co-op 1972–1974 The Food Co-op was the first business operated by the Corp and later became Vital Vittles. It was started in the basement of New South Hall, a dormitory on the Georgetown University campus. In its earliest form the Food Co-op sold only yogurt and Coca-Cola.[12]
Record Co-op (or Audio Vittles) 1973–1975 One of the original businesses started by the Corp (and, during the Spring of 1973, its largest), the Record Co-op sold vinyl records out of the basement of Healy Hall for two years. It was renamed "Audio Vittles" when, in 1975, it merged with the Vital Vittles grocery store. In 1979 all record sales were transferred to Saxa Sundries.[12]
Furniture Co-op 1973-198? Another of the original businesses started by the Corp, the Furniture Co-op sold used and discount furniture to nearly 700 students during its first year of operation.
Corp Shuttles 1973-197? An ancestor of the current Georgetown University Transportation Shuttles (GUTS), Corp Shuttles provided service to roughly 300 students living in Arlington, VA and the Alban Towers apartments in Washington, DC. The Shuttles were later replaced by the university's free GUTS system.
Corp Travel 1974–2000 One of the longest continually-operated business by the Corp, Corp Travel closed its doors in 2000 due to an increase in online travel planning. The Corp replaced Corp Travel with Full Exposure.
Saxa Sundries 1979- An original sister-store to Vital Vittles, Saxa Sundries sold non-food items to students for nearly twenty years. Both Vital Vittles and Saxa Sundries moved from the basement of Georgetown University's Copley Hall to the new Leavey Center in the early 1990s, where Saxa Sundries was assimilated into the operations of Vital Vittles.
Summer Storage 1984–1990 Summer Storage was resurrected in 1984 due to student demand. It was replaced in 1990 with Corp Shipping and Storage.[12]
Shipping and Storage 1990–2005 In 1990, the Corp expanded its Summer Storage business with a new business which provided students with the option of shipping their belongings home during the summer break, in addition to storing their items on the Georgetown University campus. Shipping and Storage was replaced in 2005 when the Corp decided to cancel its shipping program. Today, Student Storage allows students to store their belongings on campus during the summer break, or either semester.
The Cone Zone
Corp Typing
Full Exposure 2000–2005 The most recently-closed Corp business was Full Exposure (or FX), a film developing service based in Georgetown University's Leavey Center.

In 2000, the Corp's Board of Directors acquired a $104,055 loan to purchase equipment for the opening of the new business. Throughout its existence, the business was plagued by competition with rapidly-improving digital photography technology.

By the 2005 Fiscal Year, expenditures for FX rose to a total of $89,010, but increased digital camera usage by students hurt the business's revenues and, within 5 years, rendered it obsolete. [7][8]


External links

  • [9] Students of Georgetown, Inc. homepage.
  • [10] Corp Student Storage online contract sales
  • [11] Homepage of The Hoya, Georgetown University's student newspaper.
  • [12] Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union homepage.

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