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The decision of where to go to college is an important one, and often times can be a hard choice to make. Brochures, websites, videos, and other resources can be great tools to help you figure out a college’s values, what campus life is like, and the quality and breadth of Anna Ellermeier their academic offerings. Associated Student But despite all of this President information, it can be hard to really get a sense of a college or university. During my own college search, I looked for a school where I would thrive. I wanted to go to a university that would allow me to develop the passions and interests I already had, but also would expose me to new things and provide opportunities to be curious and creative. I wanted a school where I could make friends, find community, and develop into a fuller person. To make a decision like this, you need a more in-depth look at a college. What it’s truly like to learn and live as a student at these various

institutions; and there is no one better to give you that perspective than the students who live this experience every day. In this booklet, you’re not going to find statistics, a list of majors, or an overview of the awards Western has won. Rather, what’s included on the following pages are stories and experiences of actual, every-day students, who learn, play, and live as Western students. Each of these stories highlights what Western students are doing to pursue their passions inside and outside of the classroom. These students’ experiences show what it is like to be a part of the Western community where students are fully supported in all aspects of their lives, not only in the classroom. In the end I chose to come to Western because it was the school that best exemplified the qualities that I was looking for. And as a graduating senior, I have never once questioned my decision to come to the university I now call home. But don’t just take my word for it. Check out these stories and see if Western might just be a place you want to call home too.


STUDENTS Taking the Lead As a freshmen Shalom Long received a work study job helping set up for campus events. A new passion for event planning led Shalom to her present position as the Director of the Associated Students Productions event planning office. Currently Shalom coordinates and supervises a staff of thirteen, and manages, plans and proposes a budget of $177,345.00 that bring events like The Burried Life, Outdoor Films, Death Cab For Cutie, Open Mic Night, International Art Competitions, and Laser Light shows to WWU’s campus every year. Currently Shalom is working with Communication Faculty member and Faculty Senate President Karen Stout to develop curriculum for an event planning certificate program at Western.

Passion for Improv Miguel Vila found his way into Western’s theater department when a friend encouraged him to attend open rehearsals with Western’s improv club the Dead Parrots Society. Quickly finding a new passion for improv Miguel has worked his way up to being the Artistic Director of the company, and last year led the group to a 1st place finish against 95 other teams from around the country at the National College Improv Festival in Chicago. The Dead Parrots have used the opportunity of their success to share their hilarious and creative craft around the northwest including performances at this year’s Bumbershoot festival in Seattle. Miguel and the Parrots are heading back to Chicago this spring to defend their national championship. Miguel has also traveled and performed with Westerns Theater department to London and New York.

Spiking the Competition What do you get when you combine a WWU track star who will do almost anything to shave another 0.1 second off his time and an engineer major who loves shoes? Through Western’s Plastics Engineering program Kevin Ng is collaborating with Western Track Team member Alex Harrison to begin the process of creating a new pair of track spikes. The two connected when Alex was looking for a pair of track spikes that would be tougher and more focused on bio mechanics than looks. At the same time, Kevin was looking for a Senior Project. The totally one of a kind track spikes Kevin is creating will be designed to cater to the needs not of just Alex, but for sprinters alike. This is a great example of what WWU students are doing every day to take something they love and create something of their own. In this case, shoes.

Garage Designs Western Students Brendan Pape and Christian Harkson connected over a shared interest in T-shirt printing while taking a Communication class in 2010. What first started as a hobby based out of Brendan’s bedroom has grown into a Western Washington University icon. You can see Western students sporting distinct Disidual designs all around campus. Getting there wasn’t easy however. The duo had their ideas and designs doubted and turned down several times before finding traction. Brendan and Christian credit their big break to when they got connected with the University Bookstore which was willing to take a risk on these new entrepreneurs. In addition to agreeing to carry their product, the bookstore also gave Brendan an internship to help them learn the in’s and out’s of the apparel business. Today Disidual clothing has moved to a bigger location (the garage) and is selling their products on four college campuses around the state and several local businesses in Bellingham. The Disidual team now also sponsors several outdoor sport athletes and has worked with Western departments to create internships of their own giving other students a chance to learn from this unique experience. Learn more at

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Western Outdoor Orientation Trips (WOOT!) provide incoming students with an incredible opportunity to connect with upperclassmen, fellow freshman, Western and the greater Bellingham community through week-long wilderness experiences. Trips have included Sea Kayaking in the San Juan Islands, Backpacking in the Chuckanut Mountains and Mountaineering on Mt. Baker.

This annual outdoor orientation program occurs the week prior to regular move-in for new students. Trips are led by well-trained upperclass students who serve as role models, outdoor guides, facilitators and mentors for incoming students.

Through engaging in a dynamic outdoor adventure experience, WOOT! creates an opportunity for incoming students to develop self-confidence, create their goals for higher education and build meaningful relationships with their peers. Students’ feedback consistently demonstrates the profound impact this trip has on their overall transition to Western; decreasing their anxiety about college expectations and increasing their desire to be an active participant in their education.

“I think this really helped me get to know people and I just feel a lot more comfortable & confident about the start of college. It really reassured me that I am going to the right place.” – Madison Kelshiemer

Let WOOT! be the start to your Western Experience! For more information visit

“I think WOOT! has given me not only a new group of friends before school even starts, but also the confidence and sense of self-worth that will help me make new friends and have a successful experience at Western.” – Courtney Odell

Jonathan Cooper – WOOT! Trip Leader Photo taken in the Mt. Baker Wilderness Area

Office of Admissions, Mailstop 9009 • 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225

Distinctly Western  

What is it that sets Western Washington University apart? Find out.

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