Hundreds of fifth graders visit WWU for Compass 2 Campus tour day

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - 1:30pm

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Fifth graders make their way across campus during the Compass 2 Campus tour day Oct. 26. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU
Fifth graders make their way across campus during the Compass 2 Campus tour day Oct. 26. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU

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Compass 2 Campus fifth graders check out Viking 45 in Red Square during the Compass 2 Campus tour day Oct. 26. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU
Compass 2 Campus fifth graders check out Viking 45 in Red Square during the Compass 2 Campus tour day Oct. 26. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU

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Cyndie Shepard, director of the Compass 2 Campus program, speaks to the assembled students during the Oct. 26 opening ceremony in Carver Gymnasium on campus. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU
Cyndie Shepard, director of the Compass 2 Campus program, speaks to the assembled students during the Oct. 26 opening ceremony in Carver Gymnasium on campus. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU

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U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen is interviewed in the Wilson Library Reading Room during the Compass 2 Campus tour day Oct. 26. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU
U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen is interviewed in the Wilson Library Reading Room during the Compass 2 Campus tour day Oct. 26. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU

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Students high-five Victor Viking, the WWU mascot, as they file into Carver Gymnasium for the opening ceremony. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU
Students high-five Victor Viking, the WWU mascot, as they file into Carver Gymnasium for the opening ceremony. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU

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Students high-five Victor Viking, the WWU mascot, as they file into Carver Gymnasium for the opening ceremony. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU
Students high-five Victor Viking, the WWU mascot, as they file into Carver Gymnasium for the opening ceremony. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU

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U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen speaks at the Compass 2 Campus opening ceremony Oct. 26. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU
U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen speaks at the Compass 2 Campus opening ceremony Oct. 26. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU

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U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen signs autographs after speaking to the 900 fifth graders on hand for the Compass 2 Campus opening ceremony Oct. 26. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU
U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen signs autographs after speaking to the 900 fifth graders on hand for the Compass 2 Campus opening ceremony Oct. 26. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU

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Students high-five Victor Viking, the WWU mascot, as they file into Carver Gymnasium for the opening ceremony. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU
Students high-five Victor Viking, the WWU mascot, as they file into Carver Gymnasium for the opening ceremony. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU

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Students get to check out most of the university during their tour. These students are learning how library staff members check out materials to patrons. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU
Students get to check out most of the university during their tour. These students are learning how library staff members check out materials to patrons. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU

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Students crowd Carver Gymnasium for the opening ceremony of the Compass 2 Campus tour on Oct. 26, 2010. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU
Students crowd Carver Gymnasium for the opening ceremony of the Compass 2 Campus tour on Oct. 26, 2010. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU

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Students play under the Stadium Piece sculpture, © Bruce Nauman, during the Compass 2 Campus tour day Oct. 26. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU
Students play under the Stadium Piece sculpture, © Bruce Nauman, during the Compass 2 Campus tour day Oct. 26. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU

Close to 900 fifth-graders from Skagit and Whatcom counties are visiting Western Washington University today, Oct. 26, to see firsthand what a university campus is like.

The tour kicks off the second year of Compass 2 Campus, a proactive effort that sends trained WWU student mentors into schools in order to get more kids to see themselves as future college students.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen spoke at the day’s opening ceremonies. Also expected to attend are State Sen. Rosemary McAulliffe, state representatives Bob Hasegawa, Kelli Linville and Jeff Morris, Whatcom County Executive Pete Kremen and Bellingham Mayor Dan Pike.

Modeled after a successful program in Wisconsin, Compass 2 Campus aims to get more kids thinking early about college with the help of mentors and role models to show them the importance of higher education. The tour is just the beginning of a long-term relationship between the youngsters and WWU mentors. The students who toured the WWU campus last year as fifth-graders now work with Western student mentors in their sixth-grade classrooms. And they will continue to see WWU students as Compass 2 Campus grows each year, eventually serving thousands of students in the fifth- through 12th grades.

“The campus has really put its arms around this and said, ‘Yes, we’re doing it,’” said Cyndie Shepard, director of the program. More faculty and staff have opened their doors to the student visitors this year, providing twice as many opportunities for the fifth-graders to get a glimpse of what it’s like to be in college. “They’ve been creative in opening up their minds to what would interest a fifth-grader and get them interested in coming to college.”

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Fifth graders make their way across campus during the Compass 2 Campus tour day Oct. 26. Photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU