Monday, March 28, 2011

It's an Art

In my experience, contemporary art, especially photography, is all about making you think. Seeing something you see every day presented in a new perspective makes it more significant. The artistic spin on a photograph or sculpture can change an object; it becomes art.

The Overture Center for the Arts is currently running an exhibit entitled “Wisconsin Labor: A Contemporary Portrait”, a showcase of photographs depicting the diversity of labor and workers throughout our state. The artists show their respect for their subjects and the labor force of the state through photographs. In light of recent political events, this exhibition is especially pertinent and something that should definitely make us think.

The exhibit runs through April 10th in the James Watrous Gallery of the Overture Center, on the 200 block of State Street. For more information, visit

WCSU is also exploring art this month, with another installment of Cultural Art Night this Thursday at 6:00 PM in SAC #3118. Join us in expressing your creative ideas through various artistic outlets!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Join Our Team - Help Our Cause!

The Working Class Student Union is hiring! Our organization supports and advocates for working class, first-generation, and non-traditional college students. We do this by helping members of the UW-Madison campus to embrace class diversity. If you are interested in working for our organization and promoting our cause, you can apply to be our Communications Director or Outreach Director.

Our Communications Director position includes managing our organization’s publicity. The Communications Director serves as the main media contact and prepares press releases. The position also includes responsibility for promoting WCSU’s events through various modes of advertising. The Communications Director keeps track of the organization’s history and past work and prepares agendas and other necessary materials for officer meetings.

The Outreach Director is responsible for sorting and distributing the organization’s mail and sending a weekly listserve style email to members. Also, the Outreach Director fosters relationships with other campus organizations, as well as University Housing, private housing, the Greek system, and other organizations to schedule WCSU’s events and educational workshops.

Both positions are required to hold at least ten office hours per week. The total time commitment for both is about 20 hours per week. Both positions pay $9.19 an hour. Applications are due this Friday, March 25th at 5:00 PM. Those interested should contact for an application form.

These positions are a great way to get experience for a selective program or professional school and look great on an application or resume. They are a great way to earn some money while making a difference, doing something interesting with flexible scheduling. If you are passionate about helping others and helping better your campus community, consider applying for one of these positions!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What Do You Do?

When I tell people that I’m interning with the Working Class Student Union, I often get some confused looks. “What do you do?” they often ask me. I give them specifics of my internship responsibilities, but the idea of our organization is still somewhat lost on them. The “short version” I usually give people is “Supporting and advocating for working class, non-traditional, and first-generation college students.” But what does that mean? Why is that necessary? What do we do?

As for the meaning of our quick tagline, it boils down to recognizing that everyone at this university does not come from the same background. Many students come from a variety of different class backgrounds, and that diversity does not need to be kept a secret; it shouldn’t be embarrassing. Working class students are doing an amazing thing by attending this university and creating a better future for themselves and their families, just like students of other social classes and backgrounds.

This support and advocacy are necessary. Statistically speaking, first-generation college students are at a disadvantage coming in to college, and typically receive average or below average grades and have a lower graduation rate than those students whose parents attended college, according to research done by the National Center for Education Statistics. ( ( Although students might not admit it, sometimes help is necessary, even if it’s just in the form of someone to talk to that understands their situation or some friendly advice.

On that note, now maybe it’s easier to understand what we do. We offer a support network of working class and first-generation college students and allies. Our members have gone through the complications involved with navigating college, tuition, and coursework, among other things. We want to offer students a safe place to talk, people to come to for help, and friends that understand them.

Our organization coordinates movie nights and discussions, issue meetings and forums, study tables, resources, and, most importantly, reaches out to students to help enhance their own “Wisconsin Experience”. Join us sometime for some of our events, we would love to have you!

The Working Class Student Union is hiring two paid positions for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Applications for Communications Director and Outreach Director are being accepted through March 25th. Email for more information!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Studying Abroad on a Budget

As a Spanish major, it’s almost expected of me to study abroad sometime during my college career. At first, I was wary of the idea, I have never been outside the country and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to spend that much time away from my friends and family in America. But after my cousin studied abroad in France and eventually joined the Peace Corps and got stationed in Cameroon, I began to think that maybe if she could do it I could too.

The next step should have been research, but all I could keep thinking about were my financial barriers. My advisor told me that this, my freshman year, was the year to dream big, get ideas about where I wanted to go and when, what kinds of classes I wanted to take, and how they would fit in with my plans to graduate. But before I could even begin to think about it, I was stopped short with thinking about how I would pay for it.

When I asked my advisor about it, she said that for many people, studying abroad isn’t that much more expensive. I found it hard to believe, but compared to out-of-state tuition at the UW, study abroad programs can be relatively affordable. Also, financial aid isn’t treated any differently for study abroad, and scholarships seem to be relatively available. The UW’s International Academic Programs website has a useful guide to researching the cost of programs, financial aid information, and creative fundraising strategies. (

My strategy includes a lot of planning on my part, along with hard work and saving. As a first-generation student, studying abroad is just another college experience that I feel entitled to, and I want to take advantage of the opportunity and hopefully make it work.