Western Washington UniversityCommunications and Marketing
DATE: April 8, 2010 9:49:17 AM PDT
Western's Back 2 Bellingham Alumni and Family Weekend May 13-16 Packed with Reunions, Activities, Fun Events
WWU Huxley and Fairhaven Colleges Hold 40-year Celebrations

Contact: Chris Roselli, WWU Alumni Association, (360) 650-6832; Chris.Roselli@wwu.edu

BELLINGHAMWestern Washington University will open its doors and campus to alumni and their families, parents and the community for the inaugural Back 2 Bellingham Weekend, Thursday evening to Sunday, May 13-16.

Outdoor adventure, student performances, planetarium shows, a music festival, athletic events, food and talks by distinguished speakers are just some of the more than 100 activities planned. 

Two WWU colleges – Fairhaven College of interdisciplinary Studies and Huxley College of the Environment – both will be celebrating 40th year milestones. Student groups and academic departments also will be holding open houses, celebrations and reunions across campus.

The weekend is being held in conjunction with Western Showtime Family Weekend, a longstanding tradition for the family members of Western students.

The Back 2 Bellingham (B2B) keynote speaker will be Timothy Egan, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for non-fiction, whose May 15 talk is sponsored by Huxley College for its 40th anniversary celebration. Egan will be joined by U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, who will discuss the environmental movement.

“We invite alumni, parents and the community to come to campus May 13-16 to enjoy many fun and stimulating activities.  All invited are part of what makes Western special; those attending will get to experience firsthand the exciting learning environment that makes Western the premier public university of its kind in the Pacific Northwest,” said Bruce Shepard, president of WWU.

For a $20 registration fee, many of the events are open to the public and the local community is invited, welcome and encouraged to visit campus during the weekend.  For a complete schedule of events please visit: www.wwualumni.com/b2b.

Parking will be available at no cost at all campus lots beginning at 3 p.m. Friday, May 14 and continuing through Sunday, May 16. Please do not park at reserved or handicapped spaces.

For alumni – including the more than 13,000 who live in Whatcom County and those living farther away – the weekend is a great chance to reconnect with Western.  They’ll be able to take tours of campus and see what’s new and different; and meet old friends and former faculty members at numerous reunions.

“People were always telling me how they needed to get back up to Bellingham,” said Chris Roselli, assistant director of the Western Alumni Association. “Those off-the-cuff conversations are where this idea first started. As a result, we came up with the Back 2 Bellingham weekend to give alumni a great excuse to remember their days as a student, reconnect with their friends and classmates, and relive their Western experience.”

For Western Alumni, their $20 registration fee also includes access to two All-Alumni parties (including food and beverages), many reunions, academic sessions and tours. As part of that registration, a “Downtown Bellingham Passport” offers discounts and services at a number of downtown businesses.

“This is a great event for the Whatcom County community.  One in 15 Whatcom County residents is a Western grad and there is no doubt that Western’s presence impacts the Bellingham business community. This weekend is no exception.  For instance, Mallard Ice Cream will provide a limited edition WWU Blue and White Ice Cream while other restaurants, bars, and hotels will provide discounts to all Western alums,” Roselli said.

Parents participating with Western Showtime Family Weekend will be on campus to visit with their students, tour campus and enjoy a range of interesting events and activities – many of which feature student-led events. The 11th Annual Family Golf Outing at North Bellingham Golf Course provides a great day of golf while supporting WWU scholarships.

“An opportunity to give to Western scholarships makes it a good day on the course regardless of your score,” said Anna Carey, director of WWU New Student Services/Family Outreach.

For current Western parents and students, some of the B2B events include a cost; many others are free. Alumni interested in learning more about Back 2 Bellingham, or to register for events, should visit www.wwualumni.com/b2b.  WWU parents and family members should go to www.nssfo.wwu.edu/

Huxley College: A National Leader in Environmental Education

Timothy Egan, who has written for the New York Times for nearly two decades, also has written books that explore the interconnectedness between people and the planet; “The Worst Hard Time,” about the Dust Bowl, won the National Book Award for non-fiction. His more recent book “The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America” tells the story of the worst forest fire in American history and how it galvanized public opinion behind the nascent U.S. Forest Service.

This event in the Performing Arts Center is open to alumni and the campus community. A limited number of tickets may also be available to the general public. Tickets to Timothy Egan’s talk will be free, but required. Get them by signing up for Back to Bellingham at www.wwualumni.com/b2b.  A limited number of tickets may also be available at the WWU Box Office. Call (360) 650-6146.

Earlier in the day Huxley College will also be hosting “2010: State of the Environment,” a discussion forum with a panel of nationally recognized environmental experts.

On May 14, Western faculty member, alumnus, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Dietrich will speak on “40 Years of Focus on the Environment” as part of the celebration of Huxley College, one of the oldest environmental colleges in the nation.

Fairhaven College: A National Model for Innovation in Learning

Fairhaven College stories will be a highlight of the weekend, with speakers including Jerry Flora, WWU’s president at the time of the college’s founding, and Fairhaven College Dean Roger Gilman. The college is also collecting students’ own stories and memories, both in the form of oral histories to gather that weekend and trivia questions to share during the celebration.

Fairhaven also will be the site for the two-day Endfair Music Festival, featuring rock ‘n roll, hip hop, pop and more, all in support of the Bellingham Slum Doctor program.

And in keeping with the Fairhaven tradition of Art Sharing, alums are invited to bring their songs, poems, films, improvisational skills and other talents to share.

Reunions and Fascinating Events Galore

The weekend begins Thursday evening with the 28th Annual Alumni Awards Celebration honoring 19 outstanding alumni.  Then, starting on Friday, reunions and anniversary celebrations will be held throughout campus, including: the 50th anniversary for the Viking Union, home to student government; a 50-year celebration of Western’s acclaimed Outdoor Sculpture Collection (tours will be offered); a 50th anniversary celebration for the Psychology Department; the 41st anniversary of Western’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Alliance (LGBT); the 40th anniversary of the volleyball team; the 35th year of Woodring College of Education’s Human Services program; the 30th year of the MBA program, the 20th anniversary for the Ethnic Student Center, and many others.

Events and activities to be offered include planetarium shows (“The Zodiac” and “American Indian Lore and More”), athletic events, boat cruises on Bellingham Bay, kayaking and canoeing at Lake Whatcom, and Western’s annual Relay for Life event on campus.

There will be a B2B Kids Zone, with science-based activities and playtime. WWU Theatre students will present the play “The Miracle Worker.” Western’s Multicultural Outreach Touring Project (MOTley Crew) will offer an interactive theatrical presentation.

Visitors to campus also can stop by the Western Gallery to see “Critical Messages: Contemporary Northwest Artists on the Environment;” hear lectures on “The Secret Lives of Dinosaurs,” on American history during the Vietnam War or on eyewitness memory and identification and a dozen more; and see cars of the future in tours of Western’s nationally recognized Vehicle Research Institute.

They can also attend the 14th annual Hui ‘O Hawai’i Student Luau, the 10th Annual Ridin’ Low in the 3-6-0 lowrider show, take tours of the Wade King Student Recreation Center and KUGS Radio; learn about the beautiful trees throughout campus; visit the Bellingham Farmers Market; and participate in the 11th annual New Student Services/Family Outreach Golf Outing. 

For a complete schedule of events, visit: www.wwualumni.com/b2b or www.nssfo.wwu.edu/

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