How to Do MAPH on a Budget: Part 2

MAPHletes! You are sprinting towards mid-quarter and keeping up a great pace! You’re starting to feel a bit of chill in the air, and it can be easy to just hole up in the Regenstein and study. (Note: studying is good and generally encouraged.) But while it’s still livable outside you might also want to explore more of Hyde Park and clear your mind. What better way to do so than with free stuff? To point you in that direction, here’s the second installment of Morgan Podraza’s “How to Do MAPH on a Budget.”  Enjoy!

10 Free Things to Do in Hyde Park:

blogpicAIf you live in Hyde Park, it’s going to be difficult to get out of Hyde Park during MAPH. For me, I was always thinking things like: “but that hour that I spend traveling back-and-forth could be spent in an attempt to understand what Lauren Berlant means by a slow death.” Don’t worry! There are plenty of great things to do in HP between paragraphs of LB.

The Smart Museum of Art (5550 S. Greenwood Ave.)

This museum is located on campus and collaborates with scholars to “establish itself as a driving force for creative thinking through the arts at the University of Chicago.” The exhibits include Asian art, contemporary art, something referred to as “old master” European art, and modern art/ design.

The Oriental Institute (1155 E. 58th Street)


This museum is located on campus between the Quad and the Booth school. Not only does the Oriental Institute have amazing artifacts of the ancient Near East, including a statue of King Tut, but the museum also offers free programs and events throughout the year. An orientation week event, for example, is “Bulls and Buns:” get some of Anne Sather’s famous cinnamon rolls while you check out collections from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Israel!

Museum of Science and Industry (5700 S. Lake Shore Drive)

The Museum of Science and Industry is a great building with an interesting history, but it is also HUGE. The bottom level has an entire WWII German U-505 submarine. While the museum can be expensive to visit most days, there are a bunch of FREE DAYS. Just bring your student ID, and you can spend the entire day learning about everything from robots to humpback whales.

Promontory Point


Promontory Point (known also as The Point) has an incredible view of the city and is a lovely place to lay in the sun, or under the trees, and relax. The Point also has a few fire pits, which are the perfect places to eat s’mores and enjoy the company of other MAPHers, but you will need to either get there early to reserve a pit or potentially hang out with some other Pointers.


57th Street Beach (57th street and Lake Shore Drive)

As a New Mexican, I was so excited to live next to an actual body of water with an actual beach. 57th Street Beach is a lovely beach and a short walk from Promontory Point. Bring something cold to drink and a book to read (perhaps Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1) for a warm day in the sand.  (Editor’s note: our warm days might be behind us… But the Point and beach are looking beautiful in their autumnal dressings!)

Osaka Japanese Garden (6401 S. Stony Island Ave.)

blogpic3The Osaka Japanese Garden is a zen-like refuge from the fast-pace of Chicago and MAPH. While the Garden closed for renovations this past spring, I believe that it should be re-opened this upcoming spring.



The Arts Incubator (301 E. Garfield Blvd.)

The Arts Incubator fosters the relationship between public life and art through arts education, community events, exhibitions, performances, and talks. One of the weekly events that I enjoyed was Committed Knitters, where you can bring your coffee and current knitting project to meet other knitters and learn new techniques!

Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts (915 East 60th Street)

blogpic4The Logan Center is that crazy grey, glass building that stands across the Midway—my favorite building on campus. There is always something free to enjoy in the Logan Center: the Cabaret Series happens every other week and includes everything from string quartets to slam poets; every Sunday you can listen to music from the Sunday Song Styles performances in the café; and there are always exhibitions of contemporary art throughout the building.

The Experimental Station (6100 S. Blackstone Ave.)

The Experimental Station is located south of the Midway and hosts a variety of artistic and cultural events, including music, theater, art exhibitions, workshops, and lectures. It is also the home of the 61st Street Farmers Market, which happens every Saturday from 9AM-2PM throughout the year (even in the winter!).

University of Chicago Events

blogpicTake advantage of all of the amazing, free events that the University of Chicago offers students! There are so many events to enjoy on campus: the student circus, yoga classes, tea & pipes at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, lectures by world-renowned faculty, the Blessing of the Animals, Pet Love (the University brings therapy dogs onto campus, and you just pet them!), and more. To keep track of all the events and happenings, download the University of Chicago app.

How to Do MAPH on a Budget: Part 1

Hey, MAPH!  Hope you are all off to a great start on week 3 of the quarter!  This next three-part series of blogposts is written for us by an amazing alumni from last year’s cohort, Morgan Podraza.  This first installment shares some tips on how to make a little extra change.  (Note: Humanities Day is this weekend!)  The next two posts will list some free things to enjoy in Hyde Park as well as some activities that cost less than $10 a little farther afield in the city. Enjoy!

From understanding Hegel’s concept of self-consciousness to meeting people that you will, most likely, spend your free moments drinking jars of whiskey with, MAPH is an incredible, life-changing experience. Let’s be honest, though: that experience is expensive. In any normally-paced, normally-intense program, the answer would be to find a student job to supplement your unhealthy and enjoyable habits (in my case, this would be the $30/week comics budget), but MAPH is neither normally-paced nor normally-intense. While some people found the time and extra sanity to work during the MAPH year, I found that I had little time and sanity to spare.

empty-pockets-333-300x250The following list is the product of my desire to adventure and enjoy Chicago on a budget. Just because your bank account sits at $0.13, doesn’t mean that you can’t have an adventure-filled year in Chicago. Most importantly, remember that you DO live in Chicago and that your extra sanity is worth the extra time it takes to ENJOY your upcoming year.


Part 1 – How to Make a Few Extra Dollars for the Weekend:

There will be some unexpected expenses during your MAPH year—a late fee for returning an ILL book a day late, a performance required by a class, a book for class that’s only available through the professor, a drink after having a meeting with your thesis advisor in which they tell you that you need to re-write most of your draft. In short, the small amount of money that you’ve managed to save could be the victim of unforeseen needs. Don’t worry! There are easy, quick ways to make some extra money without committing yourself to student-employment or a sugar baby website.

The Decision Research Lab (Chicago Booth Harper Center Building, Suite C74)

decisions-6Participants for this research lab are always needed, and you never have to make an appointment ahead of time. The DRL is open Monday-Friday from 12:00PM – 5:00PM, and they offer research studies that range from 2 minutes – 30 minutes. All you have to do is go in with your University of Chicago ID and tell them how much time you have. The studies are super easy and, sometimes, involve snacks! Each study pays a particular amount, but there have been times that I’ve walked out with $12. In addition, the studies change each week, so you can go regularly to earn some extra cash!

University of Chicago Research Studies

The University of Chicago often needs participants for research studies, and these studies pay well! You can find studies on-campus that are as short as 10 minutes and pay a few dollars as well as studies that are multiple hours and pay a lot. Last year, I participated in a study that paid me $180 to (for all intents and purposes) get drunk and read the Althusser assignment for Core. I can honestly say that these research studies paid for a lot during my MAPH year, and I would highly recommend participation to anybody who needs to make some extra money—whether that money is spent on red pepper jelly for your bagel sandwich or tickets to a Second City performance. You can find listings for the University of Chicago research studies on the Marketplace under “Employment.”

Humanities Day

Humanities Day is an annual event at the University of Chicago that features lectures, exhibits, and tours all across campus, and volunteering for this event has a few perks. While volunteering to help with this event may sound unappealing initially, it is a great way to spend a Saturday! Not only did I get paid $112 to work the event, I got to sit in on the events that I supported and they fed everybody lunch from Snail Thai.

University of Chicago Marketplace, “Employment”

Palm with a plant growng from pile of coins

This local version of CraigsList is a great place to find random opportunities for temporary employment. The listings include everything from dog-walking to yard-cleaning, and this website is a lot safer than trolling the unknown abyss of CraigsList. It was through the Marketplace that I connected with two families that asked me to house-sit and dog-sit for them throughout the year, which not only gave me an opportunity to make some money but also to enjoy the company of a furry friend!

Aliens and Burgers!

Dear all,

We are very excited to announce that MAPH 2016 will commence this Sunday, September 13th at 3pm in Social Sciences 122! You can find the screening room on the first floor of the Social Sciences building on campus (see map below). The screening of Ridley Scott’s Alien will be followed by a delicious BBQ on the Classics Quad (right outside the MAPH Office) at around 5.45pm.

Feel free to wear whatever you feel comfortable in

A few things to remember:

– Dress is casual! Fell free to wear whatever you like. We are expecting (and hoping) that Sunday will be fairly sunny, but with recent rainfall we’d encourage you to wear comfortable footwear, as the BBQ will be on grass.

– Plus 1s are very welcome to join us for the BBQ! We really encourage MAPHers to bring partners and families to events throughout the year, and this is no exception. We only ask that they arrive at 5.45pm for our BBQ, as due to space restrictions we cannot accommodate more than the size of the cohort for the film screening.

– The BBQ is a great chance to meet your preceptor and people in your precept or wider cohort. When you arrive, be sure to grab a sticker with your name on it from our mentors! We’ll be at a table just outside SS122 so that we can all find each other.

Thanks for reading, and we can’t wait to meet you all on Sunday!

Your Mentors x


[MAPH] Opening BBQ MAP


Meet your MAPH Staff!

Hi MAPHers!

The opening film screening of Alien is three days away.  You are settling in, buying books and course packets, exploring the city and University, and getting excited about Colloquium!  It’s a time of fresh beginnings and lots of new things to figure out and places to navigate.  Chances are, you have a lot of questions, so now’s a good time to introduce you to MAPH’s fabulous staff.  We’re here to help! A few weeks ago, we wrote a post introducing us, your mentors.  For this post, we put some hard-hitting interview questions to our Associate Director, Maren, and Program Manager, Jane.  They are both invaluable resources for you throughout your year here at UChicago.  We are all here in the MAPH office, Classics 117, to help in any way we can!  Feel free to stop by, enjoy some free coffee, and introduce yourself!

Your Mentors,

Michael, Jess and Clancey

Maren Robinson, Associate Director


In your own words, what’s your role with MAPH?  

As the Associate Director I can help you navigate issues surround all administrative aspects of the program from restrictions and registration issues to a leave of absence or choosing to go part time. I also have great institutional knowledge of where to find or access things on campus and which alumni might be good to email with if you have a question about a certain kind of work or academic program.


What do you provide students with/what could students come to you about? 

Really, if you have questions or concerns about the program, the university of even about where to find things in Chicago I often have an answer or point you in the right direction. Also, if you are just anxious or stressed, that is a good time to find me too. I have a great supply of tea.

Ask me about?

Anything MAPH or University related, outside of MAPH I love talking about theater and performance in Chicago, where to see parrots in Hyde Park, Yellowstone National Park, photography, knitting, and where to find quiet spots of nature in the big city.

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MAPH City Farm visit – Prepare to get muddy!


Last year’s MAPH cohort at the City Farm

City Farm is an urban farm located in between the Loop and Lincoln Park, and is a start-of-year MAPH tradition of sorts. On Wednesday 9th September (four days before our opening BBQ and film screening!) we’ll visit the farm and volunteer for a couple of hours, hanging out with their chickens and weeding vegetables. In previous years we’ve found this is a great way to explore Chicago’s public transit for the first time, get out of Hyde Park, meet fellow MAPHers and do something active and helpful for the Chicago community. The visit to the City Farm is free and all new MAPHers are welcome. This will be the first of several MAPH service events throughout the year – for instance, in the past we’ve done trips to the Chicago Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity Build Days, which have proved to be great opportunities to get out the library and do something constructive within the community with fellow MAPHers and mentors.

On Wednesday 9th, we’ll meet in the MAPH Lounge at the Classics Building on campus before venturing up to the farm on public transport, so this is a great chance to start on the CTA and show off your new Ventra card (by the way, if you don’t have one already the best places to buy these are probably CVS or Walgreens!). After working in the garden (in comfortable clothes and shoes, sunscreen, and maybe a straw hat?), we’ll take the Red Line back down to Hyde Park together.

Below are some tips from City Farm themselves on what to expect from the day:


Green-fingered MAPHers on the City Farm (not pictured – green fingers)

Farming is hard work! Come prepared to get dirty and sweaty. You may expect to do things like:

  • Weeding (lots of weeding)
  • Tilling the soil
  • Hauling & spreading resources like compost, mulch, or straw
  • Picking up garbage (it is an Urban Farm after all!)
  • Washing equipment
  • Transplanting seedlings or thinning sprouts in the beds

What to Bring

It is super important to be prepared for the weather on the farm. In Chicago, the weather can be unpredictable! Make sure to check the weather the morning of your visit, but be prepared for a sudden change in temperature. It happens.

  • Boots are recommended (even in the summer!)
  • Headgear and/or sunscreen if you need them
  • A water bottle
  • Work gloves (we have extras of these if needed)
  • Rain gear (when appropriate)

What City Farm Provide


Weeding on the farm

We want your visit to be memorable, informative, and inspiring. Our farmers will give you a tour of our operation, including hoop houses, compost, wash/processing area, etc. before putting you to work. We’ll also talk about our mission and impact in Chicago. We’ll encourage you to taste the food that we’re growing. Plus, we’ll provide a snack.

Shoot an email to Jess at if you think you can make it, just so we can get an idea of numbers. We’ll meet outside the Classics building at 11am before embarking on an adventure on the 55 bus, Red Line and through downtown Chicago. We hope to see you there!

Your Mentors

I Just Got To Chicago! …What Do I Do? (Part 2/2)

Hey, MAPHers!  We here at MAPH Central are gearing up for the year ahead and can’t believe Colloquium is less than three weeks away!  It’s time to get excited and also to get prepared for the quarter to begin: it’s going to be a whirlwind!  Here’s your second installment of things to do once you get to Chicago:

Get a Bike


Despite the winter cold, for much of the year Hyde Park is an extremely bike-friendly neighborhood! Having a bike can cut down commutes within Hyde Park to just a few minutes and is a great way of beating rush-hour traffic. It’s also a great way to get to the Loop for free. Using the Lakefront Trail you can get from Promontory Point to Navy Pier in under an hour, and without crossing a single road. Bikes can be used to navigate the rest of the city, too: CTA buses have bike racks, and bikes are allowed on CTA trains during non-peak hours.

Cheap secondhand bikes can be found on Marketplace, Craigslist or at Blackstone Bicycle Works, a youth education program based at the Experimental Station just a few blocks south of campus. Blackstone is a bike shop dedicated to promoting ecological practices and empowering youth, teaching useful skills to young people from Chicago’s south side.

Chicago has a bike sharing system, Divvy, which offers a $55 student membership. You can also purchase a bike to use for just one trip. Be forewarned, though: if you don’t return the bike to another Divvy station within 30 minutes (which can be a tough deadline to meet – almost impossible if you are biking to the Loop) you will accrue overtime fees, which can add up. The bikes are also a bit bulkier than one you might purchase. All things considered, if you plan on biking regularly, purchasing a bike would be the better option.

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I Just Got To Chicago! …What Do I Do? (Part 1/2)

Dear MAPHers,

Welcome to Chicago! Now’s the time that some of you are arriving in the city and beginning to settle in. Below, we’ve complied a short list of the top things to do when you arrive here, before Colloquium begins. You can read part 1 of 2 here, and check back here next week to find the second installment!

Your Mentors,
Jess, Michael and Clancey

  1. Get your University ID Card

Your ID card is an invaluable resource for your time at UChicago. It’ll get you into the campus libraries, allow you to check out books, allow you to access the university gym and the university pub (with a membership), use Student Health & Counseling Services, copy, print, scan or fax at various locations on campus (including the Regenstein library), borrow equipment for free from the TECHB@R, and ride the 170, 171, and 172 CTA buses and the UGoDaytime and UGoNightRide shuttles for free.

The good news is that you can get your ID card right now! You can collect yours at the Identification and Privileges Office, located in the lobby of Joseph Regenstein Library – just take a sharp left immediately before the electronic barrier that leads to the main part of the library. They’ll make your ID card for you for free; the whole process takes only a couple of minutes. All you need with you is a government-issued photo ID. The office is open weekdays until 6pm and Saturdays until 1pm.

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