The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

LGBTQ+ Identity and Sports Come Together in New RSO Out For Business

UChicago’s newest LGBTQ+ RSO helps queer students navigate the world of commerce—and student-athletes have taken a particular liking to the organization.
Members+of+Out+For+Business+at+their+first+meeting+of+Autumn+quarter.
Out For Business
Members of Out For Business at their first meeting of Autumn quarter.

Chicago’s newest LGBTQ+ RSO, Out For Business, has carved out a niche not just for LGBTQ+ students in business, but is becoming a special home for LGBTQ+ student-athletes. Out of the nine members on the current board, four are athletes, including President third-year Cami Cox, a member of the women’s volleyball team. 

OFB was founded by Erin Ku, a Business Economics major and Data Science minor who graduated this past fall and is working at the Mergers and Acquisitions group within Investment Banking at RBC Capital Markets. 

Ku is no stranger to the business community at UChicago, and has been an active figure within it for a long time. She served as the co-founder and co-president of Paragon National Group, an intercollegiate investment organization, and was an active member of the business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi.  

Even though Ku is not an athlete, sports and staying fit are a huge part of her life. She grew up playing lacrosse, weightlifting, and hiking , and told The Maroon that because most of her friends are people she does some type of outdoor activity with, many of her closest friends at UChicago are student athletes. She went on to say that she has learned a lot about time management and leadership from sports and has a deep appreciation for the activities. 

Cox echoed this sentiment. “I can say that playing sports my whole life has shaped the way I attack problems in my own life and ultimately pushed me to be the best I can be. Having so many athletes on both our executive team and [among our] members means that our club strives to do the same,” she said. 

Ku’s inspiration for OFB was attending the Out For Undergrad Business Conference, or O4UB, in March of 2022, where she first developed connections with other LGBTQ+ students in business and learned that a large number of top universities had pre-professional business organizations for LGBTQ+ students. Formally, UChicago had an organization named LGBT Business Alliance, but it was never revived after the pandemic. Ku wanted to restart the organization while revamping its operations, marketing, and outreach. Thus, Out For Business was formed.  

To establish OFB’s presence on campus, Ku tapped into the athletic community. “The UChicago athlete community is extremely tight-knit. A lot of them are interested in pursuing a career in business, and a lot of them are queer,” Ku said. “I was friends with a lot of the athletes who are involved now, and they’re all friends with each other. I think that’s why we’ve been able to establish such a tight-knit group for OFB.” 

“I would describe the other athletes as go-getters. It is so impressive being surrounded by individuals that have pushed themselves athletically, academically, and in their careers,” Cox added.  

Second-year Lex Clark, a member of the women’s basketball team and the vice president of social affairs in OFB, said she joined the organization because she wanted to connect more with the LGBTQ+ community on campus. “What makes OFB special to me is the supportive community within it. In an industry as isolating and private as business, this organization has guided me through a ton of applications and enhanced my understanding of business. The friendships I have formed within OFB have significantly contributed to my personal growth,” she said. 

Clark echoed Ku’s sentiment about the tight-knit community of athletes in the club. “There is a strong sense of solidarity among us, driven by a shared goal for the success of OFB and for all the members within it. This sentiment extends beyond athletes to everyone involved in the club. It’s one of my favorite groups, where everyone is genuinely invested in each other’s success. The presence of athletes contributes to a team-like atmosphere, shaping the overall vibe of OFB into a big family and team,” she said. 

Clark will also be attending the same conference that inspired Ku to create the organization in March, O4UB. Ku will be there too, acting as a sponsor for RBC Capital Markets. 

“Being around other like-minded individuals who all have a commonality has created an amazing community in my life,” Cox said. “The club as a whole operates as a team. Those who are on [the executive board] who are third- or fourth-years serve as guides for our younger members.” 

OFB revolves around a board that Ku organized out of many of her queer friends. The RSO hosts biweekly general meetings and events. Examples of past events include resume workshops and career-specific fireside chats, as well as holiday parties.

On the club’s balance between career advancement and community building, Ku said, “While we do prioritize our members’ career success and help them find internships, it is our main goal to make this group feel like a friend group, to provide a space for queer students in a professional field where they might not have felt as welcome prior.” 

Clark cites her newfound friendship with Ku as an instance of OFB helping to build community. “My favorite memory with OFB has been the growth of friendships within the club, particularly my newfound connection with our former co-president, Erin Ku. Her dedication and efforts to enhance OFB have been truly admirable. Spending time with her has been special, and I hold deep respect for her contributions to our club.”  

Clark went on to add, “Erin deserves a huge shout out for everything she has done, not only for me but for everyone within the club. She has helped so many of us grow personally and professionally.”

Ku thought that when she chose to pursue investment banking, she would have to leave her LGBTQ+ identity at the door, but the communities she has been a part of and the people she has met have changed that perspective. She remains passionate about making the business and finance world a more queer-friendly space. “Whether it be affinity groups within companies or college organizations that can help do so, I think it starts from the ground up in terms of who you’re hiring and the culture you’re facilitating to make sure that business is not a career path that queer people are deterred from anymore,” she said. 

Upon graduating, Ku passed the club’s torch to Cox, who shares Ku’s passion and has big goals for OFB. “My vision for OFB is to be a resource for every LGBT student on campus, whether that’s choosing the right classes, networking, interview practice, or resume workshops,” she said. “When I was a first-year on [the] volleyball [team], I was so grateful to my older teammates that helped me through UChicago, [and with getting] an internship. I want to give that same type of team energy to this community.”

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Blair Penn, Senior Sports Reporter
Blair Penn is a third-year in the college from Washington DC. Blair enjoys writing about women’s sports teams and the lifestyle of student athletes at UChicago. Outside of the Maroon, Blair is a member of the varsity track and field team, where she throws discus and hammer. Second to sports, food is Blair’s favorite thing and she enjoys writing about experimental recipes and the latest food fads in UChicago’s Bite magazine. She is also the president of Kehillah, an Israeli cultural RSO that she founded during her first year.
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