Western Washington University, in partnership with the City of Bellingham, will host the 4th Annual Paint B’ham Blue for WWU on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
Over the past four years, the WWU Alumni Association has invested more than $150,000 in the “Paint B'ham Blue for WWU Downtown Lighting Project,” which placed 2,600 strands of lights on more than 250 trees downtown, in addition to providing the Western Make Waves banners on the light poles.
In the beginning of 2020, the festive blue lights will change to a warm winter white and remain up until March 1 to light up Downtown Bellingham through the darkest days of the year. The lights will improve downtown safety and be a welcome sight for new Western students exploring Bellingham after dark.
“I am excited to welcome new and returning students to my alma mater and to Paint B’ham Blue. Besides attending this great school, there are many opportunities for students to participate in the Bellingham community, and we encourage students to get involved. Bellingham is a great place to live and go to school. Go Vikings!” said Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville.
As is tradition, Paint B’ham Blue for WWU will begin when Western President Sabah Randhawa leads thousands of new and current students in a procession from Red Square on campus starting at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25, the first day of classes at Western.
The procession will head down N. State Street to the parking lot of the Herald building, where students will sign the “Home of the Vikings” banner. The banner, courtesy of Signs by Tomorrow, will be installed in the Herald parking lot for a year to show off the students’ signatures. Last year’s event had more than 2,200 students and WWU community members participate, with more expected for this year’s celebration.
“Paint Bellingham Blue is a wonderful part of the way we welcome students to Western, and help get them connected to the greater Bellingham community. Fostering a sense of belonging and community is a crucial part of a successful student experience, and Paint Bellingham Blue helps us extend that sense of belonging beyond the boundaries of campus from the start. It also deepens and celebrates the lifelong ties with local alumni, and recognizes the important interconnections between Western and Bellingham,” said Randhawa. “We look forward to welcoming another incoming class to our on- and off-campus community, and to showing them why Bellingham is such a great place to study, live, and work.”
WWU alumni are encouraged to attend the WWU Alumni Reception at the Western City Center and then welcome the students with cheers and cowbells on N. State Street. The celebration will move from the Herald parking lot to Depot Market Square, and will include live music, pop-up shops, food trucks, free food samples and, at nightfall, fireworks over the Herald building courtesy of Fat Pie Pizza. The Herald sign will then turn blue and the Viking flag will wave high over Bellingham. The night will end with a headlining performance by local favorite and recent WWU graduate Ricky Rath, recognized under his stage name R-Squared.
Paint B’ham Blue for WWU’s presenting sponsor is Peoples Bank. Additional sponsors are Fat Pie Pizza, Daylight Properties, WECU, Faithlife, State Side, BECU, Chmelik, Sitkin & Davis PS, and Woods Coffee. Paint B'ham Blue for WWU is possible in partnership with the City of Bellingham, Downtown Bellingham Partnership, Argyle Salon, Signs Plus, Boundary Bay Brewery and Bistro, and The Bellingham Herald.