September 2019

The WWU Family Connection newsletter is a monthly e-newsletter sent to all families throughout the year, produced by Western's Office of Communications and Marketing and New Student Services/Family Outreach.

A student stands in the middle of seven family members (including a baby), and almost everyone is holding a suitcase, box or other item as the student prepares to move in to her campus residence.

Thousands of Western students are preparing to move in this weekend -- with help from their families. 

Important Dates

Out of State Student Dinner: Saturday, Sept. 21

AS Fall Info Fair: Monday, Sept. 23 and Tuesday, Sept. 24

New Student Convocation: Tuesday, Sept. 24

Commuter Student Welcome Dinner: Tuesday, Sept. 24

First day of fall quarter, tuition, fees, housing and meal plan charges due: Wednesday, Sept. 25

Multicultural Center Grand Opening: Thursday, Oct. 10

Last day to pay account before late-fees are assessed: Tuesday, Oct. 15

Career Services Center Open House : Wednesday, Oct. 16

Health Professional & Graduate School Fair: Thursday, Oct. 17

Fall Family Weekend: Oct. 18-20

Internship and Volunteer Fair: Oct. 24

Law School Info Fair: Nov. 6

Fall Business Career Fair: Nov. 6

Veteran's Day, university closed: Monday, Nov. 11

Thanksgiving Break, no classes: Wednesday, Nov. 27

Thanksgiving Break, university closed: Nov. 28-Dec. 1

Final exams: Dec. 9-13

Fall commencement: Saturday, Dec. 14

Winter Break: Dec. 14 to Jan. 6, 2020

First day of winter quarter, tuition, fees, housing and meal plan charges due: Tuesday, Jan. 7

Last day to pay account before late-fees are assessed: Wednesday, Jan. 15

Martin Luther King holiday, university closed: Monday, Jan. 20

Western's FAFSA priority deadline: Friday, Jan. 31

President's Day holiday, university closed: Monday, Feb. 17

Final exams: March 16-20

Winter commencement: Saturday, March 21

Spring Break: March 21 - 30

First day of spring quarter, tuition, fees, housing and meal plan charges due: Tuesday, March 31

Last day to pay account before late-fees are assessed: Wednesday, April 15

Memorial Day holiday, university closed: Monday, May 25

Final exams: June 8-12

Spring commencement: Friday and Saturday, June 12 and 13

Summer Break: June 13-22

Add WWU events, dates and deadlines to your own calendar: Event listings in Western's online calendar offer an "Add to my calendar" feature to download the event information in an .ics file, which works with most standard calendar apps. Open the .ics file and the event will automatically be added to your calendar on your phone or computer desktop.

Are you ready for Move In Weekend?

a student with a backpack on his back carries four pair of shoes in one hand and a jug of laundry detergent in the other, while standing next to his parents who are also carrying belongings in boxes, a laundry basket and a backpack.

Here are some helpful tips for a successful Move In experience on Sunday, Sept. 22:

  • The housing portal is open! Make sure your student checks out their MyHousing dashboard for room assignment, recommended arrival time, staging area, room/suitemates and more. Please note: students arriving with a special program must follow their specific arrival instructions.
  • Make sure your student knows the Eight Steps on the Big Day!
  1. Check Your Student Email: We will send important information regarding move in to your Western email. 
  2. Find Your Staging Area: Don't rely on your phone. Use our Staging Area Arrival directions to arrive at the proper location. 
  3. Get in Line and Get Your Car Tag: All vehicles are given an unloading car tag after successfully arriving.
  4. Stay In Your Vehicle at Your Staging Area: Send family or friends out for coffee runs. 
  5. Check In: While family and friends wait in line, go get your keys. Follow the signs to get checked in (Don't forget your photo ID.)
  6. Unload: Let our crew of over 300 volunteers help unload your car. Reminder: unloading car tag required -- see step 3.
  7. Park: Move your empty vehicle to one of the designated lots. 
  8. Set up Your Room: Arrange your room the way you and your roommates like and meet your neighbors. 

Helping your student with move in? Share your story by tagging Housing on Instagram or by using #WWUMoveIn in your posts!

Tips for successful early arrival:

Beat the rush and register for Paid Early Arrival  to move in 1-2 days before Sunday, Sept. 22.

Follow the paid early arrival process even if your student has Free early arrival due to:

  • Participation in a special program
  • Their recommended arrival day (posted on MyHousing) is either Friday or Saturday

Please note: Most campus services do not open until Sunday, Sept. 22.

Support your student -- and club sports -- with a finals week care package

picture of a care package, including a packet of highlighters, a small notebook and drink cup with the Campus Rec logo

For 20 years, Western's Campus Recreation Department has offered finals prep care packages for students at the end of fall and winter quarters.

This tradition helps our student programs such as Sport Clubs and Intramural Sports.

Click here to see what we are offering and to find out how to order. 

Orders due Friday, November 8th. 

Questions? Email us at

The year begins with Paint B'Ham Blue

Paint Bham Blue for WWU logo

Paint B’ham Blue for WWU is an annual tradition celebrating the start of the school year, welcoming new and returning students to the Western and Bellingham communities.

Students walk from campus with President Sabah Randhawa to enjoy the festivities, pop-up shops, giveaways, food trucks, and live entertainment.

Click here to learn more.

Western Welcome Week gets students ready for the year

Western Welcome Week graphic

Western Welcome Week is for ALL new and returning WWU students with events such as the Associated Students’ Red Square Info and Club Fair, late night social activities, an outdoor movie, workshops on study skills, career planning, and finance management, bus and bike tours of Bellingham and so much more that offer something for everyone.

Click here for a schedule of events.

Make plans to join your student on campus for Fall Family Weekend

Fall Family Weekend graphic

Fall Family Weekend Oct. 18-20 is an activity-filled weekend devoted to providing you with plenty of chances to visit with your student and experience Western firsthand.

Preliminary schedules are available now but check back for updates as more activities are added each week. Get tickets early as many activities sell out!

Students need to keep track of their email to stay in touch with Western

Email is the primary way Western communicates with students. All students have a Microsoft Office 365 account and mailbox. Click here to learn more.

Smart tips on managing college costs

Clara Capron, Western’s assistant vice president for Enrollment and Student Services, offers several tips for families on making the most out of their higher education dollars.

Be conscientious about financial aid paperwork. The sooner your file is complete and ready for awarding, the sooner Financial Aid can finalize your aid eligibility and reserve funds on your behalf.

Max out on federal tax credits for higher education expenses. The American Opportunity Tax Credit, for example, can reduce federal income tax bills by up to $2,500 per student for eligible taxpayers.

Be serious and strategic about applying for scholarships. Students can check with academic departments and Western’s Scholarship Center to find awards they may qualify for.

Keep the car at home. Save on insurance, gas and parking fees, and get around by bus. Students already have a bus pass: the Western Card.

Don’t put off finding a job. Working 10 to 15 hours a week can actually help students manage their time wisely – and the paychecks can help a great deal with expenses. Get to know the Student Employment Center, which keeps an electronic database of job openings on and off campus.

If your financial situation changes during the school year, tell Financial Aid. Some forms of aid do not run out, so your family may be eligible for additional help.

Be smart about student loans. Some students avoid them altogether, but a reasonable amount of debt can be a good investment in the future. Learn more about managing and planning for student loan debt at Financial Aid's Financial Literacy website, the Career Services Center’s Dollars and Sense website and the Student Business Office’s Financial Literacy Intelligence program.

Western also has a special grant fund for students who have already borrowed about $20,000 but haven’t yet graduated. About 300 students each year receive Viking Assistance Grants to help students cover expenses while maintaining reasonable debt levels.

And Western spends about $800,000 annually to expand the work-study program to about 250 students beyond those funded by the state and federal governments, which also helps students keep down their debt totals.

How do I address mail to my student on campus?

The 2019-2020 University Catalog will publish on Wednesday, May 1. With fall registration coming soon on May 14, make sure to check out the University Catalog at The catalog will include:

Sending a package to your student in University Residences? Here's the address format you'll need for all on-campus mail:

Student's Name
Hall Name, Room Number
516 High St.
Bellingham, WA 98225

Click here to learn more about on-campus mail to residence halls.

Personal safety is everyone's responsibility

WWU Police offer a wide variety of tips for students to reduce the risk of property crime and assault. Make sure students know about Campus safety escorts, the Late Night Shuttle and campus emergency phones and call boxes.

Click here for more safety information.

WWU news from Western Today

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Kiplinger’s Again Ranks WWU Among 100 Best Values in Public Higher Education

U.S. News Rankings Show WWU as Top Public Master’s-Granting School in Pacific Northwest

WWU's Outback Farm launches new teaching apiary and fundraiser

Governor Appoints Hunter Stuehm as New WWU Student Trustee

Western Washington University to Offer Fall Youth Programs for Grades K-12

WWU Launches New Holocaust and Genocide Studies Minor with Oct. 17 Talk by James Waller

Western staffers distribute 500 'Good Neighbor' door hangers in the York neighborhood

Study: Restoring Washington wetlands can fight climate change | Q13 Fox TV

Gigantic Pumice Raft from Underwater Eruption Is on a Wild Ride Across the Pacific Ocean | Gizmodo

Goat Moving 2.0 | KUOW Public Radio