December 2017

WWU Family Connection, the monthly newsletter for all WWU families

Watch for WWU Family Connection in your email inbox at the beginning of each month. The newsletter is produced by Western's Office of Communications and Marketing and New Student Services/Family Outreach.

Have questions? Send us a note.

Did someone forward you this edition of the Family Connection Newsletter? Sign up here if you would like to receive your own copy of the Family Connection Newsletter each month.

Early Childhood Education students from Woodring College of Education recently visited Western's Child Development Center to learn more about classroom materials that encourage youngsters to engage in scientific thinking. Learn more in Western Today.

Important Dates

ASP Films presents Banff Festival of Mountain Films: Tuesday, Dec. 5 at Mount Baker Theatre

Department of Theatre and Dance presents "1776": Wednesday, Dec. 6 to Sunday, Dec. 10

Final Exams: Monday, Dec. 11 to Friday, Dec. 15

Volunteer at Senior Celebration: Thursday, Dec. 14

Fall Commencement: Saturday, Dec. 16

Winter Break Begins: Saturday, Dec. 16

Christmas holiday, university closed: Monday, Dec. 25

New Year's Day, university closed: Monday, Jan. 1

First day of winter quarter, tuition and fees due: Tuesday, Jan. 9

Students can plan ahead for leadership jobs

Applications are due soon for important peer advising jobs on campus

Students who help with orientation, academic and career advising, tutoring and other important student services are selected one to two quarters before they begin their jobs so they can complete leadership training.

Here's a sampling of campus leadership jobs with application deadlines coming up in the last few days of January and the beginning of February.

Academic Student Advisors: Help students navigate registration, GUR's and other topics.

Peer Health Educators: Learn leadership skills and volunteer to promote health literacy.

Orientation Student Advisors: Welcome new students and their families during orientation.

Student Admissions Representatives: Shape Western's future by working with Admissions.

The Academic Advising Center is here to help with course planning

Winter quarter Phase I Registration began in mid-November. The Academic Advising Center (AAC) is available to assist with course planning and registration. Students can schedule 30- or 60-minute appointments or stop in for walk-in advising weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The AAC is located in Old Main 380 and can be reached at 360-650-3850 or We hope to see your student soon!

The Academic Fellowships Office helps students apply for nationally competitive awards and opportunities

Polly Woodbury ('14) won a Fulbright Fellowship to teach English in Thailand

Western’s Fellowship Office exists to help students identify and win nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships.

Most people have heard of the Fulbright and the Rhodes, but there are dozens of other offerings that WWU students can apply for. Our students have, in the past eight years, been very successful in winning Fulbrights—averaging 4-5 per year.

Scholarships that are of particular interest to students in environmental science are the Hollings and Udall, both of which have been won by WWU students. In addition, there is the Gilman, a unique offering that enables low-income students (Pell grantees) to study abroad for a quarter, as well as the Critical Language Scholarship, which focuses on language study in a foreign country.

Besides spreading the word about these and other opportunities, we try to guide each student through the application process, which can be daunting to one who has never done so before.

Contact: Dr. Tom Moore

Students can get funding for research projects

Western's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs offers small grants for undergraduate students engaged in scholarly and creative projects.

The applications are due at the beginning of fall, winter and spring quarters. Click here to learn more about Research and Creative Opportunities for Undergraduates.

Make sure you get the latest news from Western

There are many ways to stay in touch with Western

Emergency text messages: Students and families can get text messages with critical information during an emergency or a weather alert on Western’s campus. Families may register their cell phone numbers at

Social media: Find WWU on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram. And many departments have their own social media presence. See them all at Western's Social Media Index.

Western Today: Western’s campus news source includes events, photo galleries and links to Western in the news:

When it snows at Western

It'll be here before we know it

Western typically remains open when it snows.

When stormy weather hits, Western’s administration makes a case-by-case evaluation about whether to remain open, delay opening or close campus for the day.

Read more about winter weather at Western.

WWU parent dollars in action

Max Schneider, student: “I’m so grateful to the parents and families who helped make the Fall Career Fair happen. I met with three different employers offering summer internships and landed interviews with two of them! I feel one step closer to launching my career because of you. Thank you!”

Last month we kicked off the WWU Parents and Families Fall Fundraising Drive.

We are excited to report that thanks to you, our supportive parents and families, we have received 654 gifts and pledges totaling $35,739.

Your gifts have already been put to good work providing resources above and beyond what state and tuition dollars can provide. For example, the Fall Career Fair on Nov. 2 was organized by Career Services thanks to support from the WWU Parent and Family Fund.

More than 750 students attended the career fair where they met with 75-plus employers, practiced their networking skills, handed out resumes and secured internship and job interviews.

Read more about Western's Parents Program Fund.

Planning for on-campus housing next year?

Winter break is when many students begin to think about housing for next year.

While new freshmen and transfer students are guaranteed housing their first year at Western, returning residents are housed on a space-available basis. We value the leadership that returning residents bring to our residential communities, and we try to accommodate all returners who want to live on campus.

Details about housing renewal will be on our website by February 1, 2018. Students will also be notified through email, print mailing, social media and posters.

Buchanan Towers renovation update

The long-awaited renovation of Buchanan Towers will begin during spring quarter 2018.

The work will occur over two consecutive spring and summer terms, with full completion scheduled for fall quarter 2019. The renovation will include a complete remodel of kitchens and bathrooms – including the replacement of plumbing.

Residents of the closing side will begin their moves at the end of this fall quarter, with all moves complete by Sunday, March 25, the end of winter quarter. Moves will be within Buchanan Towers, to another residence hall or to Birnam Wood apartments.

University Residences sent out a relocation preference survey to all residents who will need to move. While we cannot guarantee requests, we will do our best to meet student preferences.

The South Campus Housing Area Administrator will coordinate moves. She has office hours every day if students want to stop by with questions.

Resources for students planning their move off campus

For many students, living off campus is a new and sometimes daunting experience. Finding a safe and comfortable place to live, signing a lease and paying bills are all important life skills, along with learning about rights and responsibilities as a renter, understanding lease terms, requesting repairs and getting a damage deposit back.

WWU is committed to supporting students in this new phase of their lives. The Off Campus Living Website is a comprehensive guide to moving and living off campus and includes an online "crash course," Ready, Set… Rent.

As your students consider their housing options for next year, tell them to watch for Off Campus Living presentations in the residence halls throughout winter quarter, and a workshop in February called Housing and Hashbrowns.

We encourage families to stay engaged in students' process of moving off campus. Having a family/parent advocate often makes all of the difference in resolving challenges that arise with landlords. Learn more at Western’s Off Campus Living Website:

What can students expect staying on campus over winter break?

Services are scaled back on campus during holiday breaks. Learn more.

Western's Sustainable Transportation Office's regional travel tips

Flying Out of Bellingham or Seattle?

Airporter Shuttle or Boltbus + Light Rail will take you to SeaTac.

Which is easiest? Airporter: Pick up on campus or at the FourPoints Sheraton Hotel on Lakeway, drop off right at the Airport.

Which is least expensive? Most likely Boltbus + Light Rail.

If you’re going to the Bellingham Airport you can use any taxi, or a WTA bus.

NEW: Flying out of Vancouver, B.C.?

Quick Shuttle provides service between Vancouver Airport and Seattle Tacoma Airport, including a stop at the Bellingham Airport.

Allow plenty of time for border crossing when scheduling transportation to the Vancouver B.C. airport. Learn more about documentation you'll need to cross the international border to Canada: U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Heading down the I-5 corridor?

Boltbus, Amtrak, Greyhound, or public transit for $5-$9 will get you there!

The Transportation office is available for assistance –, 360-650-7960.

Learn more about regional transportation at Western's Sustainable Transportation website.

WWU news from Western Today

WWU receives Silver Seal for Excellence in Student Voter Engagement

WWU Recognized as ‘Military Friendly School’ for 2018

Ian Vincent: One Man’s Painful Path to Clarity

WWU Engineering Faculty Awarded Pair of Aerospace Research Grants

Western students take top two spots in national computer science competition

Takeaways From 'Return To The Salish Sea' | KNKX Radio

Mike Duncan Made Ancient Rome Into a Podcast Obsession | The Daily Beast

Researchers document eelgrass wasting disease in Skagit, San Juan counties | Skagit Valley Herald

Click here to see more WWU news at Western Today, or sign up to get Western Today email updates.