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Chicago Undergraduate Program (CUP)

This is a POP experience. Registration requires you to rank POP experiences in which you are interested (you can rank only 1 or up to all 3). Students will learn of their POP placement by June 22 at 11:59 p.m. CDT. Placement is not guaranteed due to space constraints.

What is CUP?

The Chicago Undergraduate Program (CUP) challenges new Wildcats to explore the story of Chicago through a week of community engagement, neighborhood excursions, and group discussions. Students will spend their days on CUP exploring neighborhoods on all sides of the city and their evenings hearing from inspiring Chicago speakers, activists, and artists. Students will also have an opportunity to connect with 78 other incoming students and 22 student leaders, known as facilitators. After each day, you'll connect with your small group and reflect on the experiences you had during the day and evening. 

See what some of our previous CUP participants have said about the trip!:


Students will arrive to the Chicago Hostel on Wednesday, September 11 and will return to campus on the morning of new student move-in day, Monday, September 16.

Students assigned to participate in CUP will receive more detailed information on check-in times and location after placement.



What a typical day looks like on CUP:

Below is just a sample of what a typical day on CUP could look like for participants.

Time Activity Description
7:30-8:30 a.m. Breakfast and Prepare for the Day Wake up, get ready, and enjoy breakfast in the hostel before starting the day
8:30-9:30 a.m. Morning Programming Get excited to learn about the side of the city we will be visiting today and learn foundational background about a side of the city!
9:30-10:30 a.m. Travel to Morning Service Sites via the CTA Train Split into groups to travel to morning site visits, which are various nonprofit and community  organizations scattered among Chicago neighborhoods.
10:30-12:30 a.m. Learn and Volunteer at Community Organizations in Chicago Learn about and contribute to the inspiring work being done in Chicago neighborhoods to promote social justice and build community. Community partners include: Working Bikes, Apna Ghar, Sarah's Circle, and Little Black Pearl.
12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch Gather for lunch in a neighborhood park to spend time with new friends and enjoy the outdoors
1:30-2:30 p.m. Travel to Afternoon Service Sites After lunch, split into different groups and travel to afternoon excursions
2:30-4:30 p.m. Afternoon Excursions in Chicago Engage in a cultural, neighborhood excursion or deep dive into a topic. Community excursions include the National Museum of Mexican Art, Chess Records, Women and Children First Bookstore, or a tour of local Chicago theatres.
4:30 - 5:30 p.m. Travel to Dinner Location Travel back to our dinner location for more food, friends, and fun!
5:30-6:30 p.m. Dinner Make new friends and talk about your exciting day while eating dinner.
6:30-9 p.m. Evening Programming Enjoy a curated evening with Chicago activists, speakers, artists, or community leaders
9-11 p.m. Small Group Reflection Meet with your small groups (two facilitators and 7 new students) to relax, bond, and reflect on your experiences from the day.