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Chicago Undergraduate Program (CUP) Participants

Welcome! We're excited for you to participate in CUP. Important information is included below regarding your participation, so be sure to read through it all, complete action items, and note dates for travel.  Still have questions after reading through? Contact New Student & Family Programs at 847-467-3988 or


CUP Checklist

All CUP participants must complete the below items by the respective due date before your registration is considered complete. All deadlines end on the due date at 11:59 p.m. CDT.

To Do

Due Date

Complete CUP payment and subsequent questions

July 1

Submit your Travel Information (form will be sent out in August)

September 1

Summer Communication to Expect from CUP

Arrival Day Info


Check-in for CUP is between 1 - 4 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, September 11 at Hostelling International Chicago (24 E Congress in downtown Chicago) where we will be staying throughout CUP.  We recommend eating lunch prior to your arrival, however if you are not able to, we will have a very light lunch (soup and salad) available. 

Getting to the Hostel

However you are arriving (bus, train, plane, car, etc.) facilitators will try to meet you when you arrive to guide you to the hostel using either public transportation or van transportation (we know Chicago is sometimes tricky to navigate)!

What to Pack

Please pack light and bring only what you will need for five days. You will need to limit yourself to one duffel or suitcase and one backpack or small bag (yep, just like an airline). Items that are not listed here (like computers, instruments, frisbees, etc.) are not encouraged.

Storage While on CUP and Planning for Move-In Day

You are only allowed to bring the items you'll need while on CUP. There is no storage space available at the hostel to store any additional items. If you have an extenuating circumstance and you need to store a single additional piece of luggage while you are on CUP, we may be able to store this extra piece of luggage on campus. Please contact us at to arrange luggage storage.

All POP participants will move-in on Monday, September 16, regardless of residence hall location. For move-in, most participants will work with family or friends to have them bring items for your room on September 16, or will ship their items in advance using USS Ship-To-School Program (listed in Purple Prep).

If your family is planning to help you move into your residence hall on September 16, you can plan to meet them as early as 10 a.m. on Monday, September 16. Residential Services will provide you with an opportunity to select your unloading time later in the summer if you need to pull up a car to your residence for unloading; we suggest you choose a time no earlier than 11:00 a.m. so you have a bit of time between the end of CUP and moving.

What to Expect on CUP

Learning about the city of Chicago and Social Justice Issues

During CUP you will hear from fascinating Chicago community leaders, speakers, and artists. You'll visit inspiring community organizations and nonprofits and learn about these organizations from the people in the city that help it thrive. You'll visit each neighborhood in Chicago and explore parks, museums and cultural institutions with different groups of participants each day. 

Connection and Reflection

Two student leaders, known as facilitators, will be leading your small group and they will be able to answer questions you have about life at Northwestern. Facilitators will serve as mentors on the trip and throughout your time at Northwestern. Your facilitators will guide you through personal reflection and activities to help you think about what you want out of your Northwestern experience and to build community with other participants (seven to eight) in your small group.  You'll also get an awesome opportunity to meet more than 80 other new students and student leaders!

CUP Schedule Example



Wednesday, September 11

Check-in between 1 and 4 p.m. at the Hostel, meet CUP facilitators and other new students, and learn about what to expect for the coming few days.

Thursday, September 12 - Saturday, September 14

Participate in morning programming, travel to a different side of the city to visit community partner sites, go on excursions with other new students and facilitators, and eat lunch at a local park. We'll have dinner and programming in the evening . You'll also meet with your small group!

Sunday, September 15

Participate in self-care workshops and then head out for a fun evening dinner and showcase of Chicago artists with CUP participants and facilitators.

Monday, September 16

New Student Move-in Day! We'll wake up, eat breakfast, travel up to campus using the CTA, and get pumped for Wildcat Welcome. If family or friends are bringing your belongings to help you move in, you can plan to meet them beginning at 10 a.m. Again, we suggest not making your move-in unloading time until 11 a.m. to you can have time to reconnect with family/friends before moving in!

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions? Visit our
frequently asked questions page or send us an email at