Salish Sea Welcoming Committee Provides a Place-Based Orientation for New Faculty and Staff

This fall, Western is orienting new faculty and staff not just to campus, but also to the interesting and complex region that we all live and work within—the Salish Sea.  

The newly formed Salish Sea Welcoming Committee is leading the effort.

This team of faculty and staff from Western, Whatcom Community College, and Northwest Indian College got its start last January when several members attended the Ethic of Place Workshop hosted by Evergreen State College-Tacoma.

The group left the conference inspired to create a place-based orientation program that would help their peers develop a deeper love and care for our home region, and a recognition of its distinct cultural and environmental histories.

With help from many colleagues, the program took shape and became ready to launch this fall with several kickoff workshops and tours. 

Committee members will be hosting events throughout the year for new faculty and staff, including tours of historic sites and a Salish Sea-inspired environmental film festival.

They are also in the process of launching a website that will include articles with advice and perspectives about life in the Salish Sea region.

Those who would like to learn more about the Salish Sea Welcoming Committee, or contribute to the effort, should contact Travis Tennessen at Western’s Center for Service-Learning.

Two of this fall’s kickoff events are open to all faculty and staff, and the committee encourages interested people to attend:


Monday, Oct. 10, 1:30-3 p.m.“Recognizing our Responsibilities on Indigenous People’s Day” 

This workshop will give participants more familiarity with the Treaty of Point Elliott, signed in 1855 at Mukilteo. Through a collective reading of the treaty, we will discuss how we might envision our teaching, research, and service through a lens that upholds the treaty and agreements like it. 

Location: Solarium (Old Main 590)

Led by Assistant Professor Theresa Warburton, English & Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Friday, Oct. 14, 3-4:30 p.m.“The Cultural and Natural History of Sehome Hill”

This walking tour will provide a glimpse into ways that different cultures have used Sehome Hill throughout human history, and also how the ecology of the hill itself has changed over time.

Location: Meet at the fountain in Red Square, and dress for the weather

Led by Assistant Professor Nick Stanger, Environmental Studies