Announcements and Upcoming Events

Working Class Student Union Fall Kickoff!

Wednesday,September 17th, 5:30 pm, Student Activity Center 4210

Join Working Class Student Union as we kick off the year with Jimmy John's gourmet sub sandwiches and activities and learn about our program! Connect with students who share your background and experiences, access our academic and financial aid resources, and learn how you can make a difference for working class and first generation students!

Congratulations to our New Fall 2014 Staff

Working Class Student Union welcomes three new staff members to our team, joining us in the fall. Emily Biersdorf will serve as our first ever Program Assistant, Hannah Kinsella will join us as our Outreach Director, and Hong Trinh will be our new Finance Director!

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A Look Ahead:

~WCSU is designing a FIG!~

Have you ever wished there were more courses on campus that focused on class? WCSU is organizing a FIG to be offered in fall 2015. More details to come as we develop the courses, so stay tuned!

What does it mean to be "working class?" Who is a first-generation student?

First-Generation College Student:

a student whose parents did not graduate from a four-year college or university (per the UW-Madison Office of the Provost)

Socioeconomic Class:

"[There is no] single definition of what constitutes...class. We recognize, instead, that the term has multiple meanings and associations. ...Discussions of class should consider class as a category of identity, a socio-economic category, an aspect of social structures of power and privilege, and as an aspect of discourse. We must also consider the complex relationships among class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, place, and other social and political groupings." (per Youngstown University's Center for Working-Class Studies)

Who "counts" as working-class?

About 46% of Americans self-identify as working-class. Sociologists and economists estimate that 62% of Americans are working-class. 74% of Americans can count themselves as working-class if not having a bachelor's degree is the only criterion. Workers earning between $25,000-$75,000 per year likely have a working-class job. (per Sherry Lincoln's keynote speech, "Does Class Matter at College," Oct. 6, 2009 at the Memorial Union)


"differential treatment based on social class or perceived social class. Classism is the systematic oppression of subordinated class groups to advantage and strengthen the dominant class groups. It’s the systematic assignment of characteristics of worth and ability based on social class. That includes individual attitudes and behaviors, systems of policies and practices that are set up to benefit the upper classes at the expense of the lower classes (resulting in drastic income and wealth inequality), the rationale that supports these systems and this unequal valuing, and the culture that perpetuates them." (from the website of Class Action)


The Working Class Student Union seeks to give voice to working class students on our campus, while creating a safe space for us to come together and talk about our experiences. Through creating a network of support, we also will be advocating for ourselves as students on the UW campus and members of the Madison community. We feel that as working class students, we share a unique identity that has traditionally been silenced. We are actively working to break that silence and the stigma it has created, so that we can advocate for ourselves and the issues that are deeply impacting us, such as tuition increases and lack of representation in our curriculum.



Educational Workshops

Our workshops are created and facilitated by an officer of the Working Class Student Union and can be tailored to fit within your timeframe and to address any specific questions or concerns your group may have.

Please click here for more details.

If you or your organization is interested in an educational workshop, please contact our Outreach Director, Allie Gardner, at

Advocacy and Support

The WCSU Directors have all been trained in advocacy and support. If you are a student looking for advice or would appreciate someone coming with you to visit the Financial Aid Office, an advisor, etc. please email our President, Marissa Hatlen at