From fighting food insecurity for veterans to solving novel problems with autonomous tech, Cornell student groups are utilizing crowdfunding to do the greatest good on campus and around the world.

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, the 2023 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
Members of Design Build Fly 2023 pose in three rows
Design Build Fly 2023–2024 team members

“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.