The magazine for Western Washington University

Culture of Service Changes the World

By Deborah DeWees | WWU director of Alumni Relations

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Western is an impressive place.

Not just for the top-notch education provided, or the cutting edge research by our faculty, or the caliber of our students, or even the breathtaking location. It is what can be found underpinning the campus culture: volunteerism.

You’ll find it among the students, alumni, staff, and faculty; on-campus and off; locally, nationally and internationally; young and old; individually and in groups. The Peace Corps recognizes this and ranked Western third in the nation among medium-sized universities for producing the most alumni volunteers.

Throughout this issue of Window you’ll learn about students who volunteer to find ways for Western to reduce its carbon footprint. You’ll see how Kelly Vosilus (’06) chose to attend Western because of the close affiliation with the Peace Corps in order to fulfill her lifelong dream of service.

Discover what service means to Jesse Moore (’05), a young alumnus who pounded the pavement for Democratic president-elect Barack Obama, and to Rosalie Hansen (’77), now in her 80s, who has been doing the same for the GOP since her days as a young mother in the 1950s. Follow Industrial Design faculty member Jason Morris to Uganda as he finds a way to improve a primary means of transportation.

I wish we had hundreds of pages to devote to highlighting our alumni, faculty, staff and students who are making differences in visible and invisible, humble and very public ways. Individually all are incredible, and collectively they’re making great changes in our communities and our world.

I am regularly asked if there are direct ways that alumni can volunteer and help Western. The answer is yes. There are many opportunities to get involved such as welcoming incoming students, helping with graduation, mentoring and serving on university advisory boards. If you’re interested, please get in touch and we can find a place for you to accomplish things you’re passionate about. Because as I mentioned, Western is an impressive place worth getting passionate about.