Housing & Dining
Western’s University Residences provide residential living designed to support your academic success, civic engagement, healthy relationships, inclusive communities, and personal wellness. Residential communities offer a rich variety of options for your social life, special living choices (including quiet or alcohol-free communities), leadership, and employment. For your convenience and safety, campus living features cable TV, direct Internet and Ethernet connections, computer labs, security patrols, and evening shuttle service.
Exchange students generally live in Buchanan Towers, a residence hall which has been designated an international community, or Birnam Wood, an apartment-style complex. Buchanan Towers (BT) is home to the iBoard, a student group that plans internationally-themed events within the residence hall. Residents of BT are required to purchase a meal plan, which enables them to eat at a range of campus dining locations. Birnam Wood residents are not required to purchase a meal plan -- apartments are equipped with full kitchens, but residents will need to supply their own pots and pans, bowls, etc -- though they may buy a meal plan if they so choose.
International scholars may live on campus in designated apartments within the Buchanan Towers and Fairhaven residence halls. Ask your department to contact Guest Housing to request space on your behalf.
WWU’s Off-Campus Living website is an excellent resource for those students who choose to rent private accommodation in the local area. It includes a list of tools for finding a place, information on rental agreements, and tips for being an active and engaged Bellingham resident.
Dining Halls and Meal Plans
Western Washington University Dining Services offers all-you-can-eat dining for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night snacks at the Fairhaven, Ridgeway, and Viking Commons dining halls. Students living in on-campus residence halls (except Birnam Wood) are required to purchase a meal plan. Students living in Birnam Wood or off campus are not obligated to purchase a meal plan, but may do so if they wish. It is also possible to purchase individual meals at the dining halls using cash, credit card, or Viking Dollars.
Dining halls offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options daily. Students with other dietary restrictions and food sensitivities are encouraged to meet with dining services staff to discuss menu planning and meal options.
Dining Services also offers fourteen retail outlets, including popular chains like Starbucks, Panda Express, and Subway, located across the campus. These locations accept cash, credit cards, and Viking Dollars. Students with meal plans can use their allotment of Dining Dollars here.
The Viking Dollars program allows students, faculty, and staff to use their Western Card as a pre-paid debit card, which can be used at all campus dining locations. Users save ten percent off the cash price and pay no sales tax when using Viking Dollars for food purchases made at campus dining commons, cafés, and markets. Non-food items are subject to sales tax.
Vendor's Row is located outside the Viking Union. During lunchtime on weekdays, local restaurants featuring Chinese, Mexican, and Indian cuisine set up shop here while student groups often host bake sales to raise funds. Cash only.