The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Guilford welcomes the return of the student-run Greenleaf Co-op

Greenleaf, the coffee cooperative located in the basement of Mary Hobbs, began as a conversation two and a half years ago between then sophomore Vanessa McGreevy and others on the porch of Mary Hobbs. The original co-op opened in the Underground in 2003, continuing through the ’03-’04 year. When the booths and gritty cigarette smell of the Underground were removed in the beginning of this academic year, so was the co-op.

Guilford gave $50,000 to the co-op to start over from scratch and re-open in Mary Hobbs.

“Overall, I think a space like this is a really needed thing on campus,” said senior and co-op member Kammaleathahh Livingstone. “A lot of people have given us congrats, because this was sorely needed.”

Greenleaf opened April 5, making a profit that paid for all the supplies, such as coffee and milk.

“It is nice to have somewhere to go that’s not such an intense study place, to hang out and sip coffee,” said junior Ben Taylor upon his first visit to Greenleaf.

Sophomore Ruth Murray said: “It is cool. I am back the second night. Last night some guy challenged me to play chess and I beat him in three moves.”

The co-op houses eight tables made by junior Joe Szyleyko, some of which have engraved chessboards and chess pieces. Szyleyko made the tables from plywood and two- by- fours.

Psychology professor Eva Lawrence donated a couch and papa-san chair. Students donated two other couches, creating an inclusive environment in the space.

Co-op visitors are to enter and exit through the backdoor of Mary Hobbs that leads directly into the basement.

Before the opening of the Greenleaf, co-op members met with Mary Hobbs residents to communicate the hours and listen to any concerns.

“Most of the concerns were about noise,” said Livingston. “We agreed that we would only have bands and open mic’s on the weekends.”

“It is a great thing to have on campus,” said senior and Mary Hobbs resident Clelie Steckel. “But I think it might be compromising the living situation of the residents.”

“I think it is wonderful,” said junior and Mary Hobbs resident Jesse Bryan. “My only concern is that our kitchen is not blocked off.” The basement of Mary Hobbs also houses a kitchen for its residents.

“Co-ops were created in the first place when there was some sort of lack for resources,” said Livingston. “We don’t exactly have a lack of access to resources here (at Guilford), but what I think is lacking here is community cohesion. I think the co-op, on a very broad level, is about people coming together under that idea and trying to create more community.”

The Greenleaf provides a physical space, while Counter Culture Coffee provides organically grown free-trade coffee. Hot and iced teas and syrups come from Fortuna Enterprises, while bake-goods come from Ninth Street Bakery.

Prices range from a shot of espresso for $1 to a flavored double macchiato for $2.90. A 12 oz. coffee is $1.50 and there is no extra charge for soymilk.

“We determined a lot of the prices from the cost of goods and we marked it up a little bit to be able to expand the product and plan for the future,” said Livingston. “I personally want it to be more than just a space.”

“I think that there is a lot of desire on campus to take action,” said junior and co-op member Bryan Cahall. “The co-op provides a space for the cultivation for other projects.”

“Eventually I would love to see that Guilford have a cooperative program much like Oberlin’s,” said Livingston. “When you come in as a student, you are wondering which co-op you want to be involved in.”

A statement written by co-op members in January. reads: “Progress is reflected in the organization’s new name: the Guilford College Student Cooperative Association (GCSCA). The appellation aligns with the idea that we seek to support and promote the implementation of a wide variety of cooperative initiatives; the co-op is not merely a coffee shop.”

“GCSCA is not exactly up and running yet,” said Livingston via email. “The ideas and vision are there.”

“There is a lot of racial division and I really want the co-op to be claimed and owned by everyone, the vision is that it is here for everyone,” said Livingston. “Something I have been trying to do is talking to the director of multicultural educations SĀŠkinah Hamlin and Holly Wilson, the Africana coordinator.”

“The administration cannot implement anti-racism by itself any more than just making sure there is a quota that is met,” said Cahall. “A lot of times it seems like that if there is a certain demographic obtained than we are suddenly progressive. But it requires actually being anti-racist. This would provide a space and a home base for those kinds of issues.”

“I don’t have the idea that we are the ones that are going to be taking this on, that this is our project,” said Livingston. “We want to be conscious of these issues and help address them, I don’t think the co-op can solve them. It can be one thing that adds to the solution instead of creating more conflict.

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