Western Washington University (also referred to as WWU or Western) is one of six state-funded four-year universities of higher education in the state of Washington. With 15,000 undergraduates and nearly 700 graduate students, the school is large enough to offer many, diverse programs while still maintaining an intimate atmosphere.
The university is broken up into seven different colleges – Business and Economics, Fine and Performing Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Huxley College of the Environment, Science and Engineering, Woodring College of Education, and Fairhaven College (where students organize their own major). All are well-respected departments that produce highly qualified graduates, many of whom stay in the Bellingham area.
The Woodring College of Education, for example, draws students from all over the region to enroll in its Teacher Education Programs. The Bellingham School District, among others in the area, benefits from so many Western Washington University undergraduates and graduate students in the classrooms. Many of these people choose to stay in Bellingham after finishing at Western Washington University, thus allowing the district to choose from “the best of the best” when hiring new teachers.
Huxley College of the Environment works closely with the community in educating its students. Since majors range from Planning and Environmental Policy to Freshwater Ecology, the community is conscious of its environmental decisions on every level. In fact, Western Washington University made history in 2005 as one of the first universities to rely 100% on renewable energy.
In addition to the many strong academic programs, Western Washington University also offers hundreds of other activities for students and community members alike. A Division II school, WWU sports teams travel across the nation to compete in sports. Men and women’s home basketball games are always a good time in Carver Gym. The school also offers golf, softball, soccer, and much more. Western made national news in 2011 when its Women’s Crew (rowing) team won the NCAA Division II title for the seventh year in a row.
Music lovers will feel right at home at Western Washington University. KUGS, the school’s local radio station, features student DJs, news, and a variety of musical genres. The school frequently hosts concerts and shows, ranging from local, student musicians playing in the Underground Coffee House, to more well-known bands such as Death Cab for Cutie, Andrew Byrd, and others.
The visual arts make Western Washington University even more spectacular. With two art galleries, there is always something new to see. Plus, the renowned Outdoor Sculpture Collection makes every walk through campus interesting, whether it is discovering a new “little green man” or seeing the stars through the “Skyviewing Sculpture,” built in 1969.
Whether you intend to enroll in the university or simply live near it, Western Washington University is an incredible resource for the community. It is an integral part of Bellingham’s constant growth, progress, and unique culture.