Fortune cookie project one of 13 to luck out with Uncommon Fund

The Uncommon Fund Committee chose 13 projects from 54 submissions, ranging from new board games in Ex Libris to plans for public art installations on campus.

By Amy Myers

From a circus show to a business symposium, Student Government’s Uncommon Fund is set to fund a number of student-led initiatives this year. The Uncommon Fund Committee chose 13 projects from 54 submissions, ranging from new board games in Ex Libris to plans for public art installations on campus.

The projects will use $40,000 in grant money made available by Student Government.

Fourth-year Yucong Ma wants students to “Think globally, act loco.” It’s just one of the custom-printed messages inside fortune cookies that will appear in Hyde Park as part of Ma’s “Fortune Favors” project, chosen by the Uncommon Fund this year. The grant of $550 will fund two rounds of fortune cookies, though she hopes other groups around campus will become involved.

Ma plans to offer the cookies in coffee shops on campus and during study breaks. Eventually, she hopes fortune cookies will be available in the admissions building, giving prospective students a sense of the University’s quirky culture .

“We’re going to use the least amount of money to reach the most people,” Ma said. The project allows any University student to propose a custom message, in part to encourage RSOs to help distribute the cookies as a form of advertising.

The committee also chose to fund a revival of the Le Vorris & Vox circus show. The proposal, by second-year Lucy Little, will fund a parade of musicians and entertainers like the one that once regaled University students. The circus show, slated for May, will include stilt-walkers, jugglers and fire acts. The $2,650 provided by the Uncommon Fund will fund equipment required for aerial performances.

According to Little, the project will showcase talented student performers, but she hopes many more will get involved. “It’s a circus show, but it can be all-encompassing,” Little said. “We’re going to be making stilts. We’re going to be making costumes.”

A project led by fourth-year Ashley Angulo will create house-run gardens outside Breckinridge, Maclean, Stony Island and Snell dormitories. The Uncommon Garden Project aims to create above-ground herb and vegetable gardens. The proposal called for the creation of garden docent positions within each house to oversee the harvests.

Angulo hopes the $3,200 will jump-start a project that will encourage students to get involved by offering incentives. “What I hope is the fruits, vegetables, and herbs will be used by students,” Angulo said. She also hopes the garden will provide for house study breaks.

Even students outside the house system will have the opportunity to participate in the new venture. “It sounds very house-centric, but if anyone wants to get involved, they can contact the house docent,” Angulo said. The system allows any student involved in the process to enjoy fresh vegetables and fruits.

Students will see the results of this year’s funding this quarter in public art installations that will appear across campus. The project, led by first-year Vivien Sin along with a team of ten, was created as a response to a lack of art and social interactions on campus. The large public sculptures will bring students outside and foster social interactions, said Sin. The project will be complimented by a blog, detailing the process of bringing large-scale art to the University.

Other winning projects include a composting program in student cafés and a Latino pop culture exposition.