Is the Corp really “The Largest Student-Run Corporation in the World”?

Add another 300+ employees and then we’ll have ourselves a real competition….

The Corp likes to boast that it is “The Largest Student-Run Corporation in the World!” It’s a pretty impressive superlative. Unfortunately, it’s one that the Harvard equivalent of the Corp, Harvard Student Agencies (HSA), also claims, verbatim.

So who earns the title? Let’s see how the Corp and HSA stack up:

  • Number of Employees: Point to HSA
    The Corp: “nearly 200 students” according to their website.
    HSA: “more [than] 500 students” according to their website.
  • Number of Services: Point to HSA
    The Corp runs seven services: one grocery store, three coffee shops, one snack shop, a catering service and a storage service
    HSA runs nine “agencies”: a laundry service, an advertising agency, a book publishing agency, a student employment agency, a rental equipment service, a center that supports undergraduate business initiatives, Let’s Go Publications and a separate agency that handles Let’s Go’s advertising.
  • Total Revenue (2008): Point to HSA
    The Corp: $1,515,277 according to 990 disclosure forms
    HSA: $1,899,915 according to 990 disclosure forms
  • Net Assets on hand at the end of the 2008 Fiscal Year: Point to HSA
    The Corp: $1,341,380 according to 990 disclosure forms
    HSA: $5,840,702 according to 990 disclosure forms

On sheer scale, it’s something of a blowout. With HSA dominating all four categories, it looks like the Corp is not actually “The Largest Student-Run Corporation in the World”—not even the largest on the East Coast. Don’t worry, though, it’s not like Harvard outranking us is anything new…

Update: But! Looking at HSA’s Board of Directors and Management Team, it’s clear that while HSA may claim that it’s “student run,” they definitely get support from adult staff members and alumni. Ultimately it comes down to what your definition of “student run” is: if we’re interpreting it as entirely student-run and -operated companies, the Corp still takes the cake.

16 Comments on “Is the Corp really “The Largest Student-Run Corporation in the World”?

  1. I remember hearing somewhere (probably in a tour!) that Harvard has grad students and faculty on their board. If this is true, it probably makes the Corp the largest *entirely* student-run corporation in the world.

  2. Yeah, if you look at the HSA website you link to, their board and management include non-students. I think that the deciding factor in a competition for being the biggest student-run company is to actually be student-run, not just student-operated.

  3. Good try at knocking the Corp. This whole post should be changed. You have 3 paragraphs and a long bulleted list, all punctuated with a big “Whoops, we didn’t really research this, did we?” Journalism at its finest, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Voice.

    And if you think that the “non-student Board” is insignificant, imagine the difference between a company that 100% totally rotates its management, top to bottom, every 2 years,VERSUS a company that gets to maintain institutional knowledge and stability of an entrenched faculty Board. It really makes the Corp much more impressive that it overcomes the constant change in leadership. And it’s also what makes the student experience so much greater.

  4. Vox has been prematurely posting a lot of stuff recently without really thinking it through. Is there an editing process or are all of the bloggers responsible for self-editing?

    I love the voiceblog but perhaps you should all ask yourselves “Really??” before every post, just to make sure.

  5. re: Frank et al.,

    In fairness the HSA website does say it is the “largest student run corporation in the world” – Id say the fault lies with their definition of “student-run” rather than Voice reporting…

    Im a little tired of people jumping to “TAKE IT DOWN” whenever they read a criticism of student groups on campus. One of the best things about blogs is that they create a space for issues to be discussed on campus and the opinions stated in blog posts are just that – opinions – usually just of the post author. If you disagree with what Juliana or anyone else posts on the blog – feel free to leave a comment, but I think that saying the posts should be taken down just because you disagree with the issues that they present is a little pretentious.

    Back to the post, Id agree that the Corp’s success is way more impressive than HSA’s – especially when you compare net revenues to net assets. Even so, I dont think we should get caught up in comparing ourselves to Harvard just on size and revenue. What we should be focusing on is the quality of service to students. The Corp probably has HSA beat on this one: Id take coffee shops and grocery stores over book publishers and advertisers any day…

    HSA does have some services that I think the Corp could look into – laundry services cheaper than other on-campus options could be nice, also I think funding undergrad business initiatives would be a cool service. Any other ideas for new Corp services?

  6. The Corp is a cult.

    Watch out for voodoo curses, Juliana!

  7. “Im a little tired of people jumping to ‘TAKE IT DOWN’ whenever they read a criticism of student groups on campus.”

    “Take it down” is our way of criticizing you. Kinda sucks when students tear each other down for no reason, huh? So when the Voice decides to use its ability to reach an audience for the purpose of knocking student groups, those students are going to turn around and knock you. In the end, it’s pointless and stupid, but student groups are going to defend themselves when campus media takes a shot at them…especially a needless and factually inaccurate shot.

  8. im fine with criticism, I think what you are referring to is called censure…

  9. Do we know that HSA is a corporation? If it isn’t, then the Corp probably is the largest student-run corporation.

  10. Haha

    Two quick things regarding the posts Hunter and Frank said:

    1.) I am in no way affiliated with the Corp, so I am not defending myself or anybody else, I’m just making an argument.

    2.) The caps lock was supposed to make it clear I was joking, trying to gently poke fun at the rabble-rousing that happens on these blogs. Think of it as “They took our jorbs!” from South Park.

    I do think that Vox needs to be careful about what it posts and be suspicious whenever it thinks it has found a “scoop” and do a quick “Is this douchey?” test, though.

  11. oh, sorry didnt catch the sarcasm…though the rabble rousing is sometimes hilarious.

  12. Hi there, Vox. Corp CEO here. I think the argument has basically played itself out in my absence from Google Reader (well timed), but had I been around, I too would have brought up the difference between Harvard’s “student-run” and the Corp’s “student-run”. Semantics, always screwing everything up, I know.

    Two of the hardest parts about being “student-run” are (1) the institutional memory problem that comes with 100% turnover every year and (2) handling accounting work that, every year, is audited to ensure we’re in compliance with generally accepted accounting principles. Which we are, every year.

    If we had adults on staff, these things and others might be easier. But we don’t, because we’re “student-run”. And that, to us, means 100% full-time undergraduate students at Georgetown in every leadership position from shift manager to Board of Directors. So anyway, good catch with HSA – they make the same claim – but I think we’re right, and soliciting my argument for it might have made a difference in the way the article was initially presented.

    The Corp is but one of Georgetown’s “student-run” organizations – GUASFCU, GERMS, and yes, Vox Populi, among them. Keeping all of us honest is what Vox does. Sometimes, we’re better for it. But I think we can all agree that as students, we have bigger fish to fry on campus than semantics. And the less we argue about this, and the more we argue about wireless, or safety, or Lauinger (as a united student body), the better chance we have to actually make progress. Just throwin’ it out there.

  13. I agree with Ryan that reaching out to him for comment would have kept this from being an issue. Sure, you wouldn’t have been able to post the “gotcha” aspect, but it would have still been an interesting piece on the Corp’s “student-run” competition and would have highlighted the truly unique aspects of the Corp. (Again, I am not a Corpie.)

    Ryan, I do find the last sentence of your post to be a bit strange coming from a Corp CEO… None of that stuff is really in the Corp’s mission. Important issues, but a bit strange for you to bring up. Sort of a non sequitur.

  14. I think it’s important to recognize that the Corp was founded for students serving students. Anything that betters the Campus could be considered the Corps mission. While they are not quite where they need to be yet, I hope the the 09-10′ leadership will bring them back to the old mission. As for the critics… try spending more time helping the community and wasting less time on fighting the organizations that aim to do so.

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