What’s in a name?

Fun Class challenges the status quo

The University of Winnipeg (U of W) offers hundreds of classes and at least one of them is fun – but it won’t earn you academic credit. 

Fun Class is a student activist club dedicated to challenging inequality and exploitation on the U of W campus, in the city and around the world, according to club member Andrew Vineberg. 

The club has a horizontal structure, meaning there isn’t one leader – everybody is a leader. 

“Each member of the group has an equal amount of power,” Paul Hewak, another member of the club, says. 

Fun Class first appeared at the U of W four years ago and despite being quite new, has had several notable achievements. Among them was a public awareness campaign in 2014 that decried a lack of on-campus counselling. It resulted in the hiring of three full-time counsellors at the university. 

“I feel that is something we are pretty proud of,” Becca Ward, a member of Fun Class since last year, says. 

Another important achievement – especially for students living on campus – is changes to the meal plan. Thanks to a campaign organized by Fun Class last year, students who had money left on their meal plan card at the end of the school year got the chance to claim it back. 

This year, members of the club plan to continue taking action. 

“One of the campaigns we’re looking at this year is policy reform for Child and Family Services in Manitoba,” Ward says. 

Another campaign Fun Class is starting this year concerns international students. 

“They face many policies, restrictions and pressures that are very different than (those) faced by local students,” Vineberg says. “They are subject to a lot of different rules … and there are all sorts of reasons they can be kicked out of their program easily.” 

“Their tuition is at least three times more (than local students’)... those inequalities and issues exist here,” Vineberg says. 

If you’re wondering about the club’s name, it has several hidden meanings. 

The “un” in the word “fun” comes from “unclass,” meaning the deconstruction of the social class system. 

A second pun relates to the “f” in “fun”. If you think that “f ” stands for the f-word, you’re not mistaken. 

“Say you don’t like the class system that might exist within the society of women, and you go, ‘Oh man! Fuck class!’” Vineberg says. 

“The third, current and overarching meaning of the name is that we are trying to make both the activism and education fun,” Hewak says. “We want to improve the university and make it accessible and progressive.”

Published in Volume 70, Number 5 of The Uniter (October 8, 2015)

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