Snowman in front of old main

Winter Weather at Western 101

November is the unofficial beginning of winter in the Pacific Northwest, which means checking the tread on our winter boots and getting to know our local bus routes. Because 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.

In the event of a delayed start or campus closure, we issue a Western Alert via text, email and web update with details. Nearly all students receive Western Alerts, and families can sign up here to receive them, too.

On snowy days, our facilities team arrives early (very early) to clear snow route pathways, parking lots and ADA spaces on campus. While this hard-working team may not be able to clear all of the pathways on campus before students arrive, they do create a snow route grid of walkways that allow access to all of the buildings on campus.

Most Western students live on or close to campus or near bus routes that tend to get extra snow-removal attention. But campus closure decisions do not hinge solely on attendance. Like a business that remains open to serve customers willing to brave the weather, Western often remains open to serve the students able to make it to class safely, including the 4,000 students who live in campus residence halls.

Unlike K-12 students, Western students are adults, and we count on our students to make informed, adult decisions about their ability to get to campus. Students who do not feel they can get to class or campus safely or navigate snowy or icy pathways might decide to stay home and make arrangements with faculty to make up missed classwork.

Western advises faculty members to balance student learning and accountability with concern for student safety. We trust our faculty to be fair in such circumstances and believe they strike this balance well.

For more information on Inclement Weather – including frequently asked questions -- visit: