EDITORIALS

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February 21, 2014

Uncommon Fund endorsements: hacks and housing

Our favorites of this year’s finalists range from bathroom stall installations to insect tastings.

This week, the Uncommon Fund announced which student-led projects are finalists to receive a portion of the $70,000 it will allocate this year. While there are many projects that deserve funding, here are six that we felt were feasible and filled gaps in student life:

We have written about the lack of practical computer programming and coding classes on campus. Currently in its pilot stage, Booth Hacks is an informal eight-week coding class, open to all UChicago students, that fills this niche. Because basic coding skills are increasingly important for many fields, this project would affect a significant part of the student body. Because of its wide appeal, Booth Hacks could also become a space for graduate and undergraduate students to interact and learn together.

Open Stall would place a nonfunctional bathroom stall in Logan Café, complete with toilet, and allow passersby to graffiti it as they wish. The project is an homage to and an expansion of the famed Harper bathroom graffiti, without the threat of erasure. It would allow students to celebrate and further a facet of school culture that is a breeding ground for artistic interaction and emotional support, and an embodiment of the kind of intellectual uniqueness that makes our University great.

Edible Invertebrates: Intersection with Insects plans to bring a variety of bug-based dishes, including grasshopper tostadas and ant egg omelets catered from Chicago restaurants, to campus and potentially Summer Breeze to showcase the deliciousness of this alternative protein. The booth would be a great way for students to try something new, get free food, and learn about how to be environmentally friendly, since the breeding of insects exhausts fewer resources than that of typical protein sources. To ensure attendance, we would want the booth in a prominent location on campus and encourage its presence at Summer Breeze.

ATrader is a new website that would consolidate and organize information about apartments in Hyde Park, making it easier for students to find a place to sublet for a quarter or two, or live for the year. This site would allow students to create profiles that would enable them to find a compatible roommate and quickly compare different apartment listings. If implemented, students would not have to rely as much on Marketplace, which can be disorganized, or word of mouth to find off-campus housing.

Uncommon Fireside Chats aims to bring the formerly homeless, as well as representatives from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, to speak to College houses. The project hopes to integrate local community service into UChicago student culture in a meaningful, accessible way.

Suit Up! aims to buy men’s and women’s suits in every size and make them available to rent for only the price of dry cleaning. This would fill students’ need to look professional for interviews or other events without breaking the bank. We support this project for relieving financial burdens but feel the details of implementation need to be ironed out.

Today is the last day to vote for Uncommon Fund projects. Vote at uncommonfund.uchicago.edu

The Editorial Board consists of the Editors-in-Chief and the Viewpoints Editors.

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