Common Cents

Pre-professionalAcademicCommunity ServicePeer EducationAdvocacyUndergraduateFirst Generation Low Income (FGLI)SAC


Common Cents is a student organization at the University of Pennsylvania and a national nonprofit seeking to empower college & underserved high school students with the knowledge to manage their money and reach financial independence. Our committees work together to hold events and workshops and create educational resources tailored to high school and college students. We hope you’ll join us on our mission to make personal finance interesting, engaging, and inclusive!


  • Content: The Content Committee is responsible for researching personal finance topics, creating handouts and presentations for events and workshops, and working on high school financial literacy initiatives in the Philadelphia area and across the country. Content works closely with Event Planning, Marketing & Design, and Growth to ensure our educational materials are accurate, relevant, inclusive, and engaging. Content is responsible for carrying out the education and advocacy that forms the core mission of Common Cents. Our audience includes CC members, the Penn community, other CC chapters, and high school students.
  • Event Planning: The Event Planning Committee is responsible for planning personal finance-related events for the general Penn audience. Duties include location selection, budgeting, catering, and working with our on-campus partners and external sponsors/speakers to curate and deliver fun, engaging, and inclusive events for the broader Penn community.
  • Marketing & Design: The Marketing & Design Committee duties include managing our social media accounts, creating posts, fliers, and graphics, leading event promotion, and designing marketing strategies to expand our reach across campus. Marketing & Design ensures Common Cents’ branding is consistent and effective across all platforms and collaborates extensively with Content and Event Planning to ensure our efforts to promote financial wellness are noted.
  • Finance: The Finance Committee duties include tracking the club’s financial expenses, creating a yearly budget, finding external partnerships, designing fundraisers, and applying for funding through our campus partners (SPEC, SAC, and Wellness). 
  • Affairs: The Affairs Committee duties include facilitating internal team-bonding activities, such as socials and retreats. Affairs ensures that all Common Cents members feel welcome and valued, and work to foster a sense of community among members and create opportunities for personal and professional growth.
  • Web-Tech/Analytics: The Web/Tech Committee will work on building out our website, designing the personal finance web-app, and analyzing statistics detailing CC's growth with regards to event attendance and chapter outreach initiatives.
  • Growth: The Growth Committee duties include working with Common Cents chapters at Cornell, JHU, and FSU and providing support and guidance as needed. The Growth Committee is also responsible for onboarding new chapters and maintaining ongoing communication with current chapters. 

Past Events

  • Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Personal Finance Edition w/ Riepe College House: First-year residents at Riepe played Who Wants to be a Millionaire—with cash prizes, lifelines, and personal finance themed questions that touched on topics like budgeting, credit/debt, investing, insurance, and estate planning.
  • Winter is Coming—How to Survive the Cold Recession: Speaker Justin Winters, a Penn class of '05 alum with a CFA and CFP, financial advisor, and Managing Director at Treasury Partners, explained the role of macroeconomics on personal investing, and how to protect your assets during an economic downturn.
  • Credit Card Crash Course w/ AIS: Common Cents collaborated with the Association of International Students to deliver a credit card event, with special focus on optimizing one’s credit score, applying for an SSN/ITIN, and taking advantage of seldom-used rewards and benefits to get value from credit cards. This event was specifically targeted towards international students and the FGLI community.
  • The Power of PointsWhy I Have 15 Credit Cards: Common Cents’ very own co-founder, John Ta (MLS '22), gave insider tips on what credit cards are, the best ways to optimize for rewards, and, most importantly, explained why he owns 15 cards at age 22.
  • D.C. Retreat: Members of Common Cents traveled to D.C. for a weekend. Social events like touring the National Mall, visiting the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and getting lunch at North Italia allowed for members to bond and spend an enjoyable time together!

Points of Contact

Elaine Sun
Vice President - Marketing & Design
Ethan Blum
Vice President - Content and Growth
Gina Ryu
Vice President - Event Planning and Affairs
Juan Lopez Ramos
Vice President - Finance and Web/Tech & Analytics
Michael Sun


Most Recent
Question: Where can I find the committee application link for spring 2022? - Anonymous

Hi! All relevant links can usually be found through our linktree and will be emailed to our listserv. Here is our application link for ease of access!

- Angelina Zhou
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Question: Will committee applications be open for Spring 2022? - Anonymous

Yes, our info session will be this Sunday, January 23rd from 4-5pm. Applications will open aftter that, until Saturday, January 29th.

- Angelina Zhou
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Question: How often does the club meet for general body members? - Anonymous
We usually hold 1-2 events per month (excluding finals season). Make sure to follow our Facebook Page and join our listserv to be notified of upcoming events!
- Vivek Olumbe
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Question: What is the time commitment for committee members? - Anonymous
Committee members are expected to dedicate around 1-4 hours/week to the club. At a minimum, there is a club-wide meeting once a week that lasts between 30 minutes-1 hour. Additionally, most committees will also have weekly meetings that can range from 30 minutes-1 hour. Between meetings, committee members complete any assigned tasks and build out new initiatives.
- Angelina Zhou
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Question: Do you have to know about personal finance to join? - Anonymous
No! We encourage anyone and everyone to join as a general body member because personal finance knowledge is applicable to everyone, regardless of your background. We encourage all committee applicants to have some background in personal finance, but what we're looking for most is interest and passion. Committee members will definitely learn more as they become more involved in the club, so what's most important is that they will put in effort into their work at Common Cents, so they can learn and drive our mission. Even if you have very limited knowledge of personal finance, we encourage you to apply if you are willing to put in the time to learn more!
- John Ta
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Question: How has your model changed since COVID-19? - Anonymous
During the COVID-19 pandemic, all our events will be held virtually. However, the virtual environment allows us to hold intercollegiate events with our branches at NYU, Yale, and Hopkins.
- John Ta
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Question: How do you teach students personal finance? With classes or online webinars? - Anonymous
Common Cents aims to make personal finance interesting with activities like Kahoots, choose-your-own-adventure, jeopardy, and more (most of the time with a prize for winners!). We also forge innovation through interdisciplinary events like Masterchef when we had a live cooking demo and talked about meal prepping under a budget. Generally, we host a wide variety of events, including speaker events, informational classes, career panels, and online webinars. Because of the current virtual environment, all events for the fall 2020 semester will be virtual; however, we look forward to hosting more in-person events when we are back on campus.
- John Ta
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Question: Do you have branches at other colleges? - Anonymous

Yes! We currently have branches at FSU, Cornell, and JHU.

- Michael Sun
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Question: Why Common Cents? - Anonymous
Common Cents is Penn's first and only undergraduate personal finance club. We strive to teach our undergraduate peers as well as high schoolers personal finance topics in an engaging, informative way. Also new this year is our Common Cents Communities, where members can opt in to weekly socials with small group of other like minded peers!
- Hannah Xiao
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Question: Do you teach PF to both high school and college students, or just one of those? - Anonymous
We teach personal finance to both undergraduates and high school students! We hope to mend the financial literacy gap by making these topics inclusive for anyone curious about learning more. Personal finance is applicable to all people no matter age, major, or career choice.
- John Ta
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Question: What kind of events do you hold, and how does each committee help with them? - Anonymous
Every committee comes together to help design and execute events. For our latest series at the Wave Learning Festival, the content committee led the presentations, marketing and design worked together to create and distribute promotional material, and every committee member was invited to help moderate and speak at the classes. It truly was a group effort!
- Hannah Xiao
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Question: What is the recruitment process like step-by-step? - Anonymous
The recruitment process for committees begins with an online application form. Before interviews, we may hold coffee chats to get to know applicants better. Those with a strong application will be invited to a technical interview relevant to the committee they applied for, followed by a behavioral interview to determine if they are a good fit for the team.
- John Ta
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Question: What is the difference between the different types of members? - Anonymous
Common Cents has three types of members: 1) Executive board members: lead all the committees and help facilitate the growth of the organization. Exec members are promoted internally from committees. 2) Committee members: responsible for various roles in running the Penn organization. They support the exec and complete initiatives within their teams. Committee members are encouraged to come up with their own new initiatives as well. 3) General body members: students who are interested in personal finance and may be interested in coming to events and bonding with the Common Cents community to learn more and meet new people. Executive board and committee positions require applications and interviews. However, we encourage anyone interested to join our general body to learn more about personal finance at our events. General body members can always apply to committee positions at a later time if they wish to get more involved.
- John Ta
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Angelina Zhou
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John Ta
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Finance Committee Chair

Web/Tech & Analytics Committee Chair
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Basic Info

20 Registered (20 - 50 Members)

Not Currently Accepting Members

Application and Interview Required

Both Semesters


How to Get Involved

Apply to join a committee (during the Fall and Spring recruitment periods) and/or sign up for our listserv (to become a general member) here.

Additional Pages