Community Relations

Rooted in Community and Economic Development

Governor Jay Inslee looking through a microscope with nearby students

Community Relations serves as the liaison between the community and the university by fostering positive relationships with local governments, surrounding neighborhoods, civic and community-based organizations, and the local business community. With 16,000 students and hundreds of faculty experts, Western is a valuable community resource and has many programs that support our communities. We are eager to partner with the public and private sector seeking to improve the quality of life of our citizens while promoting economic and community development.

Western Washington University Can Help You


Grow your business

Western works with hundreds of businesses statewide seeking anything from small business growth assistance to data analysis, research and development.


Address community challenges

From nonprofits and local government to cities and tribal communities, Western proudly collaborates with hundreds of organizations to help tackle their greatest challenges. With 16,000 students and a drive to serve the greater good, Western seeks meaningful partnerships that help communities thrive.


Access Scholarly Research and Faculty Experts

Western’s faculty are exceptional researchers and teachers. As a nationally ranked comprehensive university, Western knows research with respected faculty scholars who lead programs unique to the region.


Continue learning

Western offers professional education, youth programs, and weekly lectures open to everyone.

Grow Your Business

Hundreds of businesses statewide work with Western. From small business growth assistance to research & development and scientific exploration - Western students and faculty help businesses attack problems with a can-do attitude.

Small Business Development Center

SBDC Team standing outside the center

Free business consulting and secondary market research in Whatcom County.

Center for Economic and Business Research

A person presenting at a conference room full of people

Economic and impact analysis, opinion research, and other business support.

Scientific Technical Services

One person pointing out something on a computer screen to another person

Offering world-class research instruments for private industry use.

Other Business Partners

Advanced Materials Science & Engineering Center

Helping companies respond to technical challenges in materials analysis, research and development

Internships through Career Services

Connect companies and organizations with talented students and alumni

A student standing in front of a bright yellow tool wall, wearing safety glasses with hands on hips

Put Western's students to work for you!

Let us connect you with Western's students and alumni to serve your needs, including full and part-time work, projects, internships, temporary or volunteer work.

Address Community Challenges

From small businesses and nonprofits to entire cities, Western works with hundreds of organizations throughout the region to tackle their greatest challenges while preparing students for public service and active participation in a democratic society.

Sustainable Communities Partnership

A person peering through a telescope

Connects sustainability needs in Washington communities with faculty expertise and student innovation through custom designed courses.

Karen W. Morse Institute for Leadership

A group of students and faculty gathered around the back of a pick up truck full of bags of dog food

Incorporating community projects into Western’s leadership curriculum.

Other Collaborative Community Partners

Community Engagement Fellows

Empowering diverse educators and community leaders to nurture engaged citizens, serve the public and improve our bioregion and the planet.

Center for Community Learning

Collaborating with community nonprofit organizations to improve the world through active learning, engaged teaching and meaningful partnerships.

Compass 2 Campus

Mentoring initiative for 5th-12th grade students designed to increase opportunities toward higher education.

Ershig Assistive Technology Resource Center

Hands on lending library and demonstration center on WWU’s campus geared to increase awareness and use of assistive technologies for a wide range of individuals with diverse needs.

Western Sustainability

Incorporating sustainability into many areas of WWU through many diverse programs that partner with the broader community.

Palliative Care Institute

Partnering with many agencies and volunteers to transform palliative care in Whatcom County.

Institute for Energy Studies

Addressing the science, technology, policy, business and economic aspects of energy systems.

Access Scholarly Research and Faculty Experts

As a nationally ranked comprehensive university, Western knows research! Our nationally respected faculty scholars are exceptional researchers and teachers who lead programs unique to the region.

Border Policy Research Institute

Person in a high-visibility orange vest directing someone in a car

The nation’s leader in researching Canadian/U.S. trade and transportation, border security, and economic relationships.

Shannon Point Marine Center

Four people on a square boat in Bellingham Bay

Provides experiential learning integrated with innovative marine research for scientists and learners worldwide.

Sea Discovery Center

People gathered in front of an Octopus sculpture outside the SEA Discovery Center

Inspiring a deeper sense of understanding and stewardship of the marine environment through our aquarium, interactive educational programs and meaningful volunteer opportunities.

Other Research Partners

Western Libraries

A vibrant organization comprised of 15 faculty and 44 staff in three buildings with a collection of 1.5 million volumes that is available to the public.

Salish Sea Institute

A leader in fostering responsible stewardship of the Salish Sea by promoting dialogue and partnerships throughout First Nations Communities, Washington State and British Columbia.

Washington State Archives

Access to legal and historical evidence of policy development, implementation and effect from government records from Northwest Washington.

Center for Pacific Northwest Studies

Foster a greater understanding of the region’s past and present through archival collections, which document significant developments in the region.

Institute for Watershed Studies

Supports research on freshwater lakes, streams and wetlands.

Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust and other Crimes Against Humanity

Advances knowledge and research about the Holocaust and genocide.

Institute for Global Engagement

Engages the WWU and broader community in thinking and acting globally.

Institute for Energy Studies

Addressing the science, technology, policy, business and economic aspects of energy systems.

WWU Experts

Western is home to many academic scholars and researchers who are available for speaking engagements, media interviews, and research partnerships.

Continue Learning

Western offers a variety of learning opportunities for people of all ages from professional education needed to advance your career, youth programs that fuel intellectual and creative passions, and free lectures that bring respected speakers from around the world.

College of business and Economics Strategic Speaker Series

Senior business leaders from around the U.S. share their perspectives on strategic management and leadership.

Environmental Speaker Series

Speakers address topics of environmental concern locally and globally.

Fairhaven World Issues Forum

Speakers discuss timely issues such as immigration policy, indigenous sovereignty, human rights violations and global documentary practices.

Online Courses

Online classes available to anyone anytime and anywhere.

Total Economic Impact on
Washington State

$972 Million/Year

Photo of Bellingham Bay at dusk, with Mount Baker large in the background.
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Capital Expenditures

$139.5 Million

Family-wage, construction jobs, and contracts with local businesses

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Student Expenditures

$185.5 Million

Retail, restaurants and housing

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$13.1 Million

Hotels, attractions, restaurants and retail

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$309.3 Million

WWU employs people in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, Kitsap and Clallam Counties

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Small Business Development Center

$15.3 Million

WWU SBDCs are located in Whatcom and Kitsap Counties

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Recent Graduates

$308.9 Million

WWU's most recent graduates provide an immediate direct impact to the economy