• The Uncommon Fund

    Funding Student-Driven, Entrepreneurial, Creative, Refreshing, Sustainable, Uncommon Ideas at the University of Chicago. ANYONE CAN APPLY- regardless of age, major, or interest!

    Be sure to look at our new goal: Sustainable Projects!

  • About Us

    What and who we are.

    We Make Your Vision a Reality

    The Uncommon Fund is a pool of money allocated by University of Chicago Student Government aimed at supporting creative and innovative student projects and initiatives on campus. These projects and initiatives range from one-day events to large-scale endeavors. The goal of the Uncommon Fund is to encourage students to take action on campus in creative and “uncommon” ways. The fund is also unique in that it does not require RSO status for individuals or groups to apply.

    Additionally, one Uncommon Fund board member and Center for Leadership and Involvement (CLI) staff member are assigned to each project to help ensure its success.

    Working Together

    The committee is comprised of nine students: a non-voting Chair, one Student Government College Council member, one Student Government Graduate Council member, and six students selected from Student Government and the previous year's committee. The committee is advised by the Student Involvement Adviser from the Center for Leadership and Involvement (CLI) and the Student Government Vice President for Administration.

    The Uncommon Fund’s funding ultimately traces back to the student life fee, as part of the student life fee is contributed to Student Government, which then allocates a portion to the Uncommon Fund.

  • Get Started

    Are you interested in getting involved with the Uncommon Fund? Well, then you’re in the right place!​


    You've completed your application? Congratulations!

    Next steps: Submit a one-minute Youtube or Vimeo video proposal to uc.uncommonfund@gmail.com explaining your uncommon project idea and the value your project brings to campus/ the community by Friday, February 19th. For examples of different proposal videos, please visit our Youtube Channel for a playlist of past video submissions.


    We will also provide you with an Uncommon Fund budget sheet. Here, you will list your itemized budget for the funding of your project and email back to us at uc.uncommonfund@gmail.com for review. You will hear if your project has passed the initial CLI first round review by Friday, February 19th at latest.

    (Video: 2013 Uncommon Fund Project Sample Video Proposal. Read about it here).

    Application Timeline

    Our Application Schedule:

    2nd Week: Online Application Opens
    3rd-5th Week: Submission Period
    6th-7th Week: First Round Review Period
    8th Week: Public Voting Period
    9th Week: Deliberation and Follow-Up
    10th Week: Decision Notifications

    If you would like some more insight into how to apply to the Uncommon Fund, please check out our funding guidelines.

    (Picture: 2015 Uncommon Fund Project, UChicago Bubble Soccer. Watch one of their bubble soccer games in action here).

  • A New Uncommon Fund

    Out-of-the box, original, clever, sustainable ideas.

    Our Goals

    Since 2007, the Uncommon Fund has awarded funds with a fundamental mission to bring your uncommon ideas to fruition, all while making UChicago a better place.

    This year, we’ve initiated an additional goal- sustainability. We owe it to you, the students, to make sure that the Uncommon Fund can continue to support innovation at the UChicago for years to come.

    (Video: 2015. UChicago Admissions Channel).

    Our Intentions

    We are fortunate enough to be allocated a pool of money dedicated to funding outside-of-the-box ideas.

    We recognize the importance of funding these ideas responsibly, and making a clear distinction between fun, high-risk ideas and projects that fall short of bringing value to campus.

    (Video: 2012. University of Chicago Chanel).

  • 2016 Uncommon Fund Projects

    Congratulations to the 14 projects we've funded this year!

    StoryArts Summer Camp

    What: StoryArts Summer Camp will continue to connect the undergraduate experience with the surrounding community and foster civic collaboration, by providing the connection for UChicago students to design and lead the curricula for their summer camp.
    Allocation: $3,000.00

    Check it out here!

    Gargoyle Consulting Workshop Series

    What:  A 7-week comprehensive workshop dedicated to helping graduate and PhD students pursuing careers in management and discipline specific consulting by inviting speakers and disseminating the relevant skills and methods necessary for success in the recruitment process.
    Allocation: $2,000.00

    Check it out here!

    Uncommon Hacks

    What: The University of Chicago’s first annual Hackathon (4/17 @CIE) with an uncommon, UChicago take on the traditional Hackathon experience of working collaboratively and vigorously to develop interesting, creative, and valuable software products.
    Allocation:  $3,602.40

    Check it out here!

    Clubsueto:  Silent Disco in Mansueto

    What:  An after hours Silent Disco in the Manseueto Library, complete with DJ, dancing, and lights.
    Allocation: $1,600.00

    Check it out here!

    Stop Telling Our Campus to Smile

    What:  A 2-3 day artist residency with Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, a famous street artist on public sexual harassment and creator of "Stop Telling Women to Smile" – a world renowned and highly covered art series. Complete with lectures, small workshops, and portrait series inspired by UChicago!
    Allocation: $3,279.00

    Check it out here!

    Simultaneous Rocket Launch

    What:  During Spring Quarter, the project leaders of the Simultaneous Rocket Launch want to organize and host a number of open workshops where university and non-university members can come and build and launch their own little model rockets in a group rocket launch!
    Allocation: $548.95

    Check it out here!

    Short Story Vending Machine

    What:  A compact vending machine that prints student written and inspired short stories, poems, and creative writing for free. Get your literary fix on the go!
    Allocation: $623.60

    Check it out here!

    Monumental Women

    What:  Monumental Women is a project designed to honor the work, impact, and significant contributions of Dr. Georgiana Simpson and Marion Talbot, two influential women of the University of Chicago. When implemented, these busts will be the first monuments of women in the entire city of Chicago!
    Allocation: $9,500.00

    Check it out here!

    Make Chicago Smile

    What:  Make Chicago Smile aims to encourage positivity and to create avenues for students to express joy and care for others through an array of random acts of kindness. They plan on uniting students who seek not only intellectual dialogue but also the ability to create something that has an impact on others on campus.
    Allocation:  $276.00 

    Check it out here!

    Green Careers Panel

    What:  The Green Careers Panel will be an on-campus, panel event early in Spring Quarter with speakers from a diverse array of environmentally related jobs and backgrounds, including large NGOs, governmental organizations, small nonprofits, and green businesses.

    Allocation: $572.00

    Check it out here!

    Third Annual Sexy Men of UChicago Calendar

    What:  The third year of the annual, infamous, "Sexy Men of UChicago" calendar! This year's calendar will portray sexy men in various locations and activities -- ranging from making art, playing sports, and studying-- in order to emphasize a different version of sexy: UChicago sexy.
    Allocation: $2,000.00

    Check it out here!

    Your Biggest Regret

    What: This project was inspired by a video of New Yorkers responding to a public chalkboard with the question, "What's your biggest regret?". As college students, we commonly find ourselves missing the very moment we're in - this project is an opportunity to consider that idea.
    Allocation: $400.00

    Check it out here!

    The Doomsday Clock

    What:  How close are we to destroying our world with dangerous technologies of our own making? The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (a Harris School Publication!) knows, and publishes a biannual announcement of this “time” on the Doomsday Clock. Despite the visual metaphor, there exists no physical manifestation of the clock. The goal is to work with the Bulletin to create a large public art piece on campus that will be the actual Doomsday Clock!
    Allocation: $7,500.00

    Check it out here!


    What:  Popbuy provides businesses connections to target student customers and students access to niche goods that would be inconvenient to obtain otherwise. This organization seeks to make a social impact, as well as a mutually beneficial relationship, between university members and the local community.
    Allocation: $440.00

    Check it out here!

  • Past Projects

    Here are some projects we've funded in the past:

    BridgeMe​ at UChicago

    When: Funded in 2013.

    What: BridgeMe is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the experience of international students and to facilitating cultural exchange across college campuses. Through building networks of universities and organizations, BridgeMe hopes to connect leaders driven behind similar goals to collaborate in their activities and programs.

    BridgeMe currently utilizes a peer-mentor network that spans 18 universities to connect international and domestic students. We are proud to report that the U.S. Federation of UNESCO Clubs presented BridgeMe with the April 2014 Club of the Month award for outstanding work in advancing UNESCO's mission to promote international collaboration in order to advance human rights and universal respect for justice.

    Check them out here!


    Sexy Men of UChicago​

    When: Funded most recently in 2015.

    What: A favorite of the UChicago student body, the Sexy Men of UChicago calendar is somewhat of a tradition now. The calendar is a humorous take on the sexy calendar business (traditionally featuring young, scantily-clad women) as it instead offers the UChicago student body an opportunity to come together to vote for the twelve “sexiest” men on campus. It’s just another chance to spread some UChicago love.

    Where can you check it out? Look around campus- you’ll probably see one of the calendar boys in one of your classes, at the dining hall, or on the quad.


    Maroon TV

    When: Funded in 2015.

    What: Maroon TV provides a news channel devoted specifically to the University of Chicago— for students, by students. With channels on cTV and online stream, Maroon TV gives UChicago students the outlet to produce their own shows and gain practical media skills, giving their creativity a campus-wide outlet. Its programming station is also an avenue to provide exposure for existing talent around campus, including special lectures, cultural shows, theater productions, sporting events, and Greek life.


    Check them out here!

    Through My Asian American Eyes

    When: Funded in 2015.
    What: Through My Asian American Eyes is a student-led initiative that creates a space where Asian-Americans at the University of Chicago can explore their identities as minorities, participate in conversations around race and diversity, and stand in solidarity with other minorities who also encounter structural oppression. This initiative aims to use photo-narratives to illustrate the diversity of Asian-American experiences and defy the monolith perpetuated by the misconception of the "model" minority.

    Check them out here!

    Kitchen Sink

    When: Funded in 2015.
    What: Kitchen Sink is a student organization that seeks to foster creativity and visual arts at the University of Chicago, through providing students with materials, space, and a community for drawing and painting . Every Wednesday on the second floor of the Logan Center, Kitchen Sink allows students to engage in painting sessions, group critiques, and other art enrichment activities.

    Check them out here!

  • Get to Know Us!

    2015 - 2016 Uncommon Fund Executive Committee:

    Elizabeth Miller


    Year: College, Class of 2016
    Bio: Elizabeth is a fourth-year in the College. As the Chair of the Uncommon Fund, she is excited to bring creative and interesting student projects and initiatives to campus, and looks forward to nurturing students’ entrepreneurial spirits. A born and bred New Yorker, Elizabeth thrives in a business community, and approaches her work with a mindset that embraces critical questioning, service, ingenuity, and continuous improvement.

    Sammie Spector

    Vice Chair

    Year: College, Class of 2017

    Bio: Sammie is a third-year in the College. As Vice Chair, she is enthusiastic about creating new and effective communications and outreach for all sectors of the University. She looks forward to working together to bring a wide wealth of innovative, significant, and truly uncommon projects to campus this year. Sammie spends her time as manager of the campus coffee shop, Hallowed Grounds, where she basically lives, and involves herself with visual arts and creative writing on campus.

    Yuqi Ge

    Marketing Director
    Year: Graduate School - Physical Science Division, Class of 2016

    Bio: Yuqi is a first year graduate student in the Physical Science Division. Originally from China, she has been in the United States for more than six years and has spent a semester abroad in Berlin, Germany. She studied Economics and Architecture as an undergraduate and has an interest in experiencing exotic and diverse cultures. She is excited to promote uncommon projects that people are passionate about.

    George Kitsios

    Marketing Director

    Year: College, Class of 2019

    Bio: George is a first-year in the College. As a native of New York City, he is fan of the Yankees, New York style pizza, and urban architecture. He also DJs private events and dances in his spare time. George has always had a passion for student government and helping his community, having served as Class President for three years at Stuyvesant High School. He is excited to promote innovative and creative projects on campus with the Uncommon Fund.

    Holly Rapp

    Marketing Director

    Year: College, Class of 2016

    Bio:  Holly is a fourth-year in the College majoring in International Studies. She comes from Cleveland, Ohio, where she explored interests in urban development and Irish Dance. On campus she has been involved with Student Government, the Neighborhood Schools Program, and Senior Class Gift. She is excited to serve on the Uncommon Fund Committee because she is awed by the student innovation it fosters and believes it is part of what makes the UChicago experience so special and unique.

    Benjamin Lanier

    Year: College, Class of 2019

    Bio: Ben is a first-year in the College intending to major in Economics and Statistics. He is currently also a new member of The Blue Chips, and he is an Operations Associate on The Chicago Maroon's Business Team. Previously, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of his high school's Student Union, where he signed on a $10,000 corporate sponsor, and last summer he interned at a boutique investment bank in New York City.

    Sharan Subramanian

    Operations Director
    Year: College, Class of 2018

    Bio: Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, Sharan is a second-year in the college intending to major in Economics and Public Policy. He is the Founder and President of “Invest in Chess,” a chess advocacy initiative, and is extremely passionate about education and making a difference in the lives of others. Sharan is excited to be a part of the Uncommon Fund and looks forward to funding exciting and impactful projects!

    Susan Sun

    Technology Director

    Year: College, Class of 2019
    Bio: Susan is a first-year in the College. As a committee member, she looks forward to extend outreach and foster development within the community. She is excited about the new ideas and uncommon innovations that the student body will be able to plan and create this year. Hailing from San Francisco, Susan appreciates a well-made boba tea and has an affinity for cold weather.

    Deimante Tankus

    Event Director/ Secretary

    Year: College, Class of 2018
    Bio: Deimante (Deima) is a second-year in the College. As a member of the committee, she is eager to initiate and strengthen communications between the Board and the student body in the most transparent way possible. Originally from Lithuania, she is devoted to developing the built environment in creative and sustainable ways. She also has a soft spot for chocolate, languages, and all things warm.

    Kevin Muite

    Graduate Liaison
    Year: PhD Candidate, Committee on Immunology, Class of 2017
    Bio: Kevin was born in Kenya, raised in New Hampshire, and is a dedicated Patriots fan. As a Chicago Innovation Mentors Fellow, he has worked with several biotech startup companies at the university. Kevin was on the steering committee for the University of Chicago bio-tech association and helped pioneer the University of Chicago tech-transfer fellows program. He took classes at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and serves as the President of the Graduate Consulting Club. On his spare time, he enjoys traveling and has gone on several safaris on Sub-Saharan Africa. His favorite animal is the black rhinoceros! 

  • Connect

    The Uncommon Fund is one of the many funding sources available to students at UChicago.

    Check out this list of UChicago funding resources for extra support for your great ideas.


    Follow, subscribe, or contact us here!

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uncommonfund/
    SG Website: http://sg.uchicago.edu/uncommon-fund/
    Email: uc.uncommonfund@gmail.com
    Updates: https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/info/uncommon_fund_announcements

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