The magazine for Western Washington University

Message from the President

Take a look at the difference Western makes in our communities

By Bruce Shepard | WWU President

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Dan Levine

One of the many ways to appreciate the magnitude of the differences Western alumni, students, faculty and staff make is to see how we enhance the places we call home.

Western recently received the prestigious Community Engagement recognition from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The Carnegie Foundation defines community engagement as “the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/ state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.”

While it is an honor to be so recognized, we also know that for many, many years Western has been changing lives for the better.

For instance, Western alumni live in all 39 counties in Washington state. As entrepreneurs, innovators, professionals and business leaders, they are the educated work force that makes their local economies stronger. They are civic leaders, parents and volunteers who go the extra mile to ensure their communities are better places to live.

Western faculty and student research reaches across the region, state and world in its benefits and applications. To name just a few, our researchers monitor lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands and glaciers. They study earthquake threats, Mount Baker, declining bird populations and the health of Puget Sound ecosystems. They are exploring new treatments for hemophilia, the secrets of brain plasticity, the impact of military service on personal health, the existence of “dark energy” in distant galaxy clusters, and the development of the next generation of solar panels, alternative fuels and composite materials.

There are other excellent examples in this issue of Window – such Learning and Serving,” the story on Western’s strong commitment to service learning, which makes a significant difference in our community and is a practical, hands-on way for students to apply the skills they learned in the classroom. Western students spend tens of thousands of hours in service to the community through these projects.

A fun way to learn about many of the exciting things going on at Western is to attend the event-packed 2011 Back 2 Bellingham Alumni and Family Weekend May 13 to 15. Details on the weekend plans are in this edition of Window. It is with great pleasure that we invite you to come back to campus, and I look forward to seeing you here!