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Funding Outside the Box

By Anne Panek '14  |  march, 2013, Issue 1
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Jasmine Kwong and collaborator Megan E. Doherty were awarded a portion of the Uncommon Fund for their Seminary Co-op Documentary Project.

(Photo by Tom Tian)

The Uncommon Fund was established by the University of Chicago Student Government in 2006 to award individual students or groups with monetary assistance for projects that may fall outside the realm of standard campus activities.

The 24 winners of the 2013 Uncommon Fund were announced on March 4. The projects range from a practical entreaty for a hot water dispenser in the library to a plan for a lavish three-course dinner held on campus by a flash mob. Applicants underwent two rounds of evaluations to gain access to the share of $85,000 available this year. The first round required a video and brief written response explaining the need for the project. Upon passing criteria for feasibility and innovation, finalists were then asked to submit a more extensive proposal including a budget and timeline. Creativity was a large factor in the evaluation process, which was managed by the Student Government.

Four Booth students were awarded funds this year. Chicago Business asked them to describe their projects and the intended impact on the campus community.

Principled Leadership Summit
 by Andrew Doyle '13 (Funded: $2,000)

The vision of Principled Leadership Summit is to make a lasting impact on campus by infusing issues of ethics, morality, and our responsibilities as managers into the ongoing dialogue at Chicago Booth. To achieve that vision, our summit will provide a safe, open, and honest environment for students, professors, and business leaders to debate competing perspectives regarding the role of management and the purpose of a business. Adequate funding is vital to ensuring our inaugural conference meets our lofty vision. Our Uncommon Funding grant will help make that a possibility.

Ben Chicago
 by Julio Kuri '13 (Funded: $2,000

BEN aims to becoming a flagship Spanish speaking series where students will gather and share their experience and ideas to generate awareness about the unique challenges and opportunities that Mexico faces.

Seminary Co-op Documentary Project by Jasmine Kwong - Evening MBA (Funded: $9,000)

After 51 years, the Seminary Co-op Bookstore left its cherished home in the basement of the former Chicago Theological Seminary. The importance of the Co-op in the history of the University and for the greater Chicago and intellectual community warrants a significant effort to document it as it begins the next phase of its life and to renew interest in this valuable asset on Chicago's South Side.

The project aims to produce a rich archive of the Co-op and capture a sense of its life and meaning. Through photography, oral and written testimony, videography, artifacts, and memorabilia, this project examines what the bookstore is.

The Uncommon Fund's generous grant of $9000 is very encouraging. It will pay for a transcriber to transcribe all the audio interviews we've done, several literary members to contribute essays to the book that will be the capstone of the project, and a handful of archival prints to be mounted permanently at the Co-op's new location. The remaining funds put us on the way to making a short video and to producing the book. The grant gives us confidence and leverage to find even more support to produce a bigger print collection and an unprecedented, quality photographic and historical book on the Co-op that will also include essays about the importance of bookstores, books, and reading more generally. Visit for more information.

uniSquare by Sergio Sanchez '14 (Funded: $2,500)

We are four Chicago Booth MBA students (Sergio Sanchez Pacheco, Giulia Angi, Michael Gandy and Dragana Pajovic) who, willing to enhance the net impact and awareness of the European Business Group (EBG), presented uniSquare to the Uncommon Fund in order to promote the University of Chicago campus among students and visitors.

Our idea is very simple: we will place QR codes on key buildings around campus (e.g. Mansueto library, Rockefeller Chapel, International House, etc.) so that students and visitors can read more about the specific buildings, including history, architecture and practical information.

Last Updated 3/11/13
Last Updated 3/11/13