This innovative Fund champions students’ ideas, events and projects. With the application process reopening soon – starting on March 1, 2024 – Good Ideas Fund Coordinator Teya Knightingale encourages U of T students to go for it and submit their original ideas.

Calling all grads and undergrads: Do you have a brilliant idea but need financial support? University of Toronto students or student groups looking for funding of up to $1,000 for their idea, project or event need to look no further. The Hart House Good Ideas Fund accepts submissions for student-led initiatives … And the next application cycle opens on March 1, 2024, and closes on May 10, 2024.

This Fund, which has supported 67 initiatives since 2017, can be used to finance things like honoraria for guest speakers; supplies; printing or publication materials; food or other hospitality-related expenses; transcription services; etc.

Last year, this Fund underwent a revitalization. Organizers introduced a more streamlined application process with two dedicated work-study students contributing to the Fund’s success by refining processes and providing support for the student review committee and participating groups.

Teya Knightingale

We sit down to chat with work study student Teya Knightingale, Coordinator of the Good Ideas Fund. No stranger to Hart House, she was the House’s first Youth Advisory Council Chair (2021-2022) and has been a member of the Hart House Finance Committee for over a year. An undergrad specializing in finance and economics in the Faculty of Arts & Science at Rotman Commerce, Teya also supports the Hart House Student Ambassador team and is part of many sustainability groups on campus.

Teya speaking about Hart House.

"Our team wanted to work through the process of creation, development and execution with each of the student groups to help them bring their ideas to life from start to finish. That's how we set ourselves apart from other typical grant programs,” she says, adding, “Now that we’ve started it, we’re looking forward to watching it grow and develop.”

Above all, Teya emphasizes how important and integral students are to this Fund. Indeed, working with students was baked into this novel initiative right from the start. “The Good Ideas Fund was created to support unique, student-led projects on campus that connect to Hart House’s three guiding pillars: the arts, dialogue and wellness,” she explains.

Student Leadership Front and Centre

This Fund is an excellent example of student leadership at the University. “It provides a lot of opportunities to work study students, like me and my colleagues, who help coordinate this grant. It allows us to face many new opportunities and challenges. This includes helping to support students and getting first-hand experience with student leadership across all departments as well as across the many clubs and committees at Hart House,” Teya says.

“Student leadership is really a community of sharing the passions that we all have,” she sums up.

Hart House Good Ideas Fund Program Coordinators, Teya Knightingale and Markle Ning, with Hallowe’en gear.

Teya points out that the Fund organizers work closely with the Hart House Ambassador program; there is cross collaboration. She explains, “Since our goal is to help bring the events to life, one way we do that is send some of our Ambassadors to the events to speak about the opportunities at Hart House.”

She notes that student groups may not be aware of the Fund. “So, we offer that opportunity to come and use our venue spaces and collaborate with us on social media and intertwine our communities – their network and ours. It’s really an exciting bridge between so many different areas on campus.”

What are they looking for in a Good Ideas application?

Selecting the winning ideas comes with some tough decisions. “I can speak for my whole team when I say that the process is very difficult. The review committee receives so many incredible applications and they’re all so different. They come from so many different areas on campus. We would, of course, love to support them all. But we only have the capabilities to support around four programs right now.”

She says that the key components to a winning idea are as follows:

  • The impact on the campus community;
  • The creativity of the idea – Teya emphasizes that the uniqueness and creativity of the idea are key to successful applications; and
  • Inclusivity and diversity “because Hart House is a space to welcome all students from all departments, all walks of life. Anything we support, we also want it to live out that mission.”

Urges Grads and Undergrads to Apply

Teya encourages students to apply to the Fund but not sweat the small stuff. “My biggest advice would be that if students are stuck worrying about little details – logistical elements like the venue space or the timing – I would set aside the worries and anxiety of those things and really focus on the idea itself, on its creativity.”

Hart House – An Escape from the Stresses of University Life

Whether or not students apply to this Fund, Teya encourages them to come to Hart House. She says she was instantly drawn to it because it is such a unique community on campus. “It’s an escape from the stresses and the often overwhelming environment of university,” she explains. “It's not just for studying. There are so many exciting, enriching experiences available through the different clubs and committees, the events, the library, the orchestra, The Arbor Room and more.

Teya at U of T Clubs Fair.

“Hart House brings people together. It’s a space where we really hone in on our hobbies, our creativity, where we speak from the heart, meet new people. That's what I love so much about it. Not all universities have something like Hart House … I'm excited for any opportunity to share my love and passion for Hart House.”





Learn more about the program and how to apply.