University of Illinois @ 1871

Located in Chicago’s famed Merchandise Mart building, 1871 is the city's premier co-working hub connecting startup companies and entrepreneurs with mentors, programming, educational resources, potential investors, and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs. The University of Illinois is proud to be one of the anchor tenants in this vibrant space, helping to leverage the talent, innovations, and resources from our students, faculty, and staff.


U of I’s 1871 membership is available to current students, faculty, and staff from all of the University’s main campuses in Chicago, Urbana-Champaign, and Springfield, and regional campuses in Rockford and Peoria, who can demonstrate that they are engaged in entrepreneurial pursuits that would be advanced by accessing 1871.


  • Dedicated U of I Room, equipped with wifi, whiteboard, phone, printer, and videoconferencing capability
  • Additional conference rooms of all sizes (must be reserved separately through 1871’s room reservation system)
  • Telecom support
  • Printing services
  • Shared kitchen
  • Concession area

Events & workshops

1871 hosts unique and educational events every month, several of which are free to members, including the University. Visit the 1871 events calendar to register for 1871’s programs. (Please note that some events at 1871 are also open to the public or may require a fee to attend.)

Using 1871

Step 1: User Application Form (for first-time users)

All applicants and users must review and agree to the U of I @ 1871 Usage Policy before using the space. First-time users must complete the User Application before submitting a space request. Users only need to fill out this form once and will receive email confirmation within 1–2 business days.

Step 2: Space Request Form (for approved users)
Once your application has been approved, please submit all requests to use the U of I's 1871 membership—including the U of I Room, 1871 open area, and member events—with the Space Request Form. We’ll email you regarding your request within 1–2 business days. Your confirmation email will include an 1871 user guide with instructions on accessing the room keycard during your time slot. 

(Please note that submitting a request doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be granted access to the space, as we must ensure your request doesn’t conflict with another reservation.)

Got additional questions? Contact