Launching into its 11th year, Cornell crowdfunding helps students connect with the greater Cornell community to spread awareness, raise funds, and bring their projects to life.
With another record-breaking season, the2023 crowdfunding burst features over 50 groups, overtaking last year’s record of 27. This year’s burst will run from November 8 through December 11, 2023, and will see approximately 500 peer fundraisers garnering support for their project teams.
“The big difference this year is the nearly 50% growth in participation,” said Jon Gregory, associate director of donor participation and college and unit partnerships for Cornell Alumni Affairs and Development. “Our past crowdfunding groups have done such a great job rallying their individual communities that other campus groups caught notice. With AAD support, it’s much easier to engage the audiences that they want to help raise money.”
New participants this year include (among others):
Cornell Chorus and Glee Club, to support their first joint tour since January 2020, spreading their music through four U.S. concerts (plus one in Canada!)
Cornell Autobike, which aims to engineer an inexpensive, efficient, and environmentally-friendly autonomous bicycle for commercial use
Preventing Cultural Erasure, whose mission is to document and monitor abuses of cultural heritage in conflict zones using high-resolution satellite imagery
“Being on CU Design Build Fly has been one of the best parts of my Cornell education. I’ve gotten to apply concepts taught in class while building a real aircraft, understand the aerospace industry while learning things not taught in the classroom, and get to know a plethora of like-minded individuals passionate about future technologies in aviation. With your help, we’ll be able to work with even more cutting-edge technology, continue to foster a hard-working team, and present our aircraft to the world at this year’s competition in Wichita, Kansas.” — Victor Lee ’24
Many groups are returning and hope to repeat their previous successful campaigns, including Cornell Seismic Design, the Cornell Fashion Collective, and Cornell Speech and Debate Society, all of which exceeded their goals in 2022 by raising more than $7,000, $36,000 and $40,000, respectively.All funds raised through the crowdfunding burst directly support student projects, from engineering buildings to enhance earthquake resilience, to providing the Cornell community an outlet to express creativity in fashion, to fostering the next generation of Speech and Debate students.
“Cornell crowdfunding is a program that gives our campus community the resources it needs to tell its story,” Jon said. “Each year, this program reveals just how unique and special our campus community is, as illustrated by the type of impactful work these project teams are doing.”
View our galleries to explore some of the student project groups.
“Equity means making sure that everyone has the resources they need to achieve their goals. With our DEI mentorship program, we’re hoping to bridge the gap for many Cornellians interested in creating tech for social impact,” said Fatima Al-Sammak ’25, of Hack4Impact.
“Contributing to the team helps Steel Bridge members grow their industry knowledge and keep our facilities running smoothly with enough resources. Also, knowing that there are supporters outside the team cheering us on towards a common goal helps bring us together as a community,” says Daisy Huang ’24.
“Alpha CubeSat is an extension of some of my favorite big questions. Could we ever travel to another star? Might we find alien life when we arrive? It’s been my honor to ask and explore these questions with our team and with the public. Alpha may even take us closer to the answers.” — Gillis Lowry ’24
“Although we had long days full of sifting sand, mixing concrete, and a never ending stream of design hiccups, the opportunity to help and connect with people I would have never met from the other side of the globe, while working with professional engineers and other students to build a real-world bridge made this a project I will never forget.” —Ella Yellin ’26, Engineers in Action
“This fundraising campaign means a lot to me and the Human Capital Association as it funds an educational trip for our members to learn more about human capital trends from Cornell alumni in New York City.” —Alex Poon MBA ’24
“Cornell University Biomedical Device has taught me many skills applicable to all aspects of my life,” says Ryan Park ’26. “From oral speaking and communication skills to technical finance skills, CUBMD has been a second family in my college career. The progress that CUBMD makes every year is phenomenal, and I look forward to the real-world impacts CUBMD will make in the near future,” Ryan says.
“Being able to gain hands-on experience while also being able to make an actual impact on communities is truly rewarding. We have impacted 92,000+ people and have built 22 plants with more being constructed. ” — Diya Tanwar ’25, AguaClara
“Members of our team gain invaluable hands-on experience in aerial robotics, preparing them for real-world industry challenges. Our close-knit community fosters personal and professional growth through collaboration and camaraderie. Beyond our team, our innovations contribute to advancing drone technologies, benefiting sectors from agriculture to disaster relief. Our work embodies technical innovation and societal impact, as we continue our journey in the world of aerial robotics.” —
Siddarth Agrawal Dyson ’24, CU AutoDrone
“Attending the Mental Health Summit as a freshman really changed my outlook. It made me realize that I wasn’t alone here, helped me feel my own emotions, and brought me people that I’m still close with today. That’s why it’s important to me to bring that same experience to as many people as possible.” — Jennifer Gerfen, B.O.S.S. MHS Cochair
“The work on AutoBoat is challenging but very exciting. Being part of a group where passionate, smart people come together to solve a complex engineering problem has taught me a lot, both technically and how to be an effective teammate and leader,” Amelia Kovacs ’24 says.
“GeoData is an avenue for undergraduate engineers to do environmental research that directly affects the Ithaca and greater Tompkins county community. The data collected from our instrumentation and analysis is yielding a tangible impact and will continue to factor into the choices of local farmers and businesses as our research persists.” — Olivia Campos ’26
“CUAUV has shaped my Cornell experience in a way I could not have imagined when I joined during my freshman year. It has given me numerous fascinating technical projects to complement my coursework and some of my closest friends, as it does for so many of our members.” —Aaron Fink ’24
“Through building a robot to clean microplastics from the beach, Cornell Nexus brings together passionate students to learn, innovate, and build towards a sustainable future. Nexus creates an inclusive environment where students can contribute towards sustainability, meet friends, and grow personally and professionally,” Lin Jin ’25 says.
Cornell Racing is an interdisciplinary project team that works to build an electric formula-style race car each year and compete in multiple competitions. With nine world championships under their belt, they are experienced in the world of collegiate racing and look forward to continuing their legacy of success.
“I am truly inspired by Cornell Concrete Canoe’s passion for defying the impossible. Together, we have fostered an inclusive and empowering environment for collaboration and friendship. I look forward to challenging notions of what is possible, and making this year’s concrete canoe unstoppable.” — Nick Clark ’26.
“Seismic Design has allowed me to advance my knowledge in structural engineering so that I can design earthquake resistant structures in my career.” — Julia
“Any and all support shown by the friends, families, and alumni of AFROTC Detachment 520 at Cornell University will allow our program to grow and be better than it was before, providing cadets with the necessary resources they need to be the best future leaders they can be,” Samara Hatley says.
“Being a part of AutoBike is incredible; I get to learn so much a be a part of something bigger than myself. Being a part of the electrical sub-team, I get to work with microcontrollers, gyroscopic sensors, and the Arduino code behind programming an autonomous bicycle. It is an extremely fun and rewarding experience!” — Alex Li ’26
“Our team is working on projects that span both international and domestic boundaries. The engineering plans we have developed in Tanzania, Bolivia, and within the U.S. aim to create long-lasting, sustainable solutions for low-resourced areas.” — Ella Bear ’24, president of Enginers Without Borders
“The support of our donors helps make our rover’s designs come to life,” says Loren Weiner, Mechanical Engineering ’24. “We’re able to have hands-on engineering opportunities we otherwise wouldn’t have with traditional coursework,” Weiner says.
“My excitement about the hyperloop really stems from the fact that I view it as a new mode of transportation. And transportation, if you stop and think about it, has not really had a new mode since the Wright brothers in 1904.” — Rick Geddes PhD ’91, Cornell Hyperloop faculty adviser