Student-Run Coop, Jazzman’s Share Underground

There’s a new brew at Guilford.
In March, another coffeeshop will open in the underground, but this time it will be a student-run cooperative operating in the late night college-kid hours.
“It will be more than just a source of coffee and sandwiches,“ said James Shields, director of community learning. “When you start a coop, there’s more to it than just trying to sell stuff.”
A cooperative is a business jointly owned and operated by its members. For the Guilford Student Cooperative Association, Inc (GSCA), “the people who own it, the people who manage it and the people who work in it are all the same people, and they all own the organization,” said professor of business management Alice Stewart.
The cooperative coffeeshop was launched last semester, when a group of students learned that Subway was leaving and took the opportunity to make the area a common space more deeply rooted in the Guilford community.
“It could provide a gathering place for the community,” said Stewart. “There are a lot of people on campus at night -students, CCE, faculty – and there really isn’t any common place for people to go. So it could allow different people to congregate who don’t congregate now.”
Approval for the GSCA coffeeshop began when the students contacted Student Activities and, according to senior Naman Hampton, “basically pitched the idea to as many people in administration as possible.”
The idea had barely gotten off the ground when they learned that Sodexo already planned to open a coffeeshop in the underground. Though disappointed, “it just had to happen anyway,” said first-year Celeste Palladino. “It’s really important to us to have a space that’s not the library or the computer lab where people can get together.”
Vance Whittlesey, general manager of dining services for Sodexho, supported the students. “My first reaction was: how’re they gonna do that?” Vance said. “But the more I got to know some of the students and learned how things work here at Guilford, I just said this will be a great idea.”
Sodexho has agreed to let the students share Jazzman’s space and equipment, saving the GSCA hundreds of dollars. The cooperative coffeeshop, however, will sell only fair trade, organic coffee.
“It’s giving the money and the value to the farmers who actually grow the product,” said sophomore Kammaleathahh Livingstone. “We’re concerned with ‘people over profit.’ We’re trying to keep in mind all the people that would be affected by this coffeeshop, and that’s why we really wanted fair trade.”