Western Washington University's men’s ultimate team, Dirt, is headed to nationals for the first time in the team’s history. The team was one of 20 in the nation to qualify for the Division I tourney, which takes place May 22 to 25 in Milwaukee, Wisc.

“Nationals will provide us the top-level competition we've been looking forward to all season,” said team member Seth Kotzman this week.

The team won Northwest regionals this past weekend in Walla Walla, qualifying for nationals despite injuries and financial struggles.

“The weather was perfect for us, and our schedule for the day really favored us,” Kotzman said. “Coming into regionals, we finally had a mostly healthy roster, and a lot of players stepped up and had an amazing weekend for us.”

WWU beat the University of Washington, 13-10; University of Victoria, 13-8; Boise State University, 13-10; and Montana State University, 13-7, on Saturday. On Sunday, Dirt also beat Whitman College, 13-7 and went on to win the championship game, 15-12, against the University of British Columbia.

The wins avenged earlier losses to UW, UVic and UBC at the conference championships two weeks ago.

Nationals will be a good opportunity for younger players on the team to push themselves, playing against other top players in the U.S., Kotzman said, adding that he hopes the team's success will encourage more high school players to come to Western to play for Dirt.

“Outside of the sport itself, the people I get to interact with through ultimate really drives me to keep playing,” he said. “Ultimate does a great job of blending competition and social aspects, and there's no community like the ultimate community.”

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Western Washington University's student-run television show, Viking Television, recently created a recap video of the sold-out TEDxWWU events on Saturday, April 11.

TEDx events are local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At TEDxWWU, TEDTalk videos and live speakers combined to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including the one at Western, are self-organized.

Western Washington University alumnus T.J. Martin, Academy Award winner for the 2012 Best Feature Documentary film "Undefeated," has spent his life immersed in film. His Oscar win made him the first director of African American descent to receive an Academy Award for a feature length film, but his cultural heritage is more complex than a single racial identifier can encompass.

This talk was given at TEDxOrcasIsland using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

This month’s show is hosted by Chris Roselli of the WWU Alumni Association and Anna Magidson, a student at Western.   Following is the story lineup for this episode:

  • Education Outdoors – Students from Western’s Huxley College of the Environment teach local sixth-graders about water quality, stream macro-invertebrates and environmental stewardship at this project at the Bellingham School District’s Gordon Carter Environmental Learning Center near Lake Whatcom.
  • Going from Good to Best – Western’s Best SELF program aims at providing students, faculty, and staff with the resources and feedback to allow them to grow and thrive with a state of positive wellbeing and self confidence, and to allow the students to leave Western after graduation better prepared mentally and emotionally for the next stage of their lives.
  • Embracing Technology – The Ninth Annual TechTonic Technology showcase – this year’s theme was “Shake, Make, and Innovate” – brings students, entrepreneurs and community members together to talk about issues surrounding technology and how to best use the latest tools to help innovate and start new ventures.
  • Chris Isenberg – Isenberg, a Western alumnus, is the Senior VP of Supply Chain and Global Procurement for Halyard Health, a subsidiary of Kimberly Clark. In this segment, he talks about how the supply chain works in getting products from manufacturers to delivery to their customers. He also discusses how his background in then liberal arts at Western grounded him and proved the foundation for his success in the business world.
  • Dogs in the Library – The WesternCares program helps students during finals to distress and relax, through events as well as pet therapy – in this case, therapy cats and dogs in the library that allow the students, just for a few minutes, to not worry about the tests or papers or presentations in their schedule.
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This month’s show is hosted by Chris Roselli of the WWU Alumni Association and Anna Magidson, a junior student at Western. This show celebrates “Active Minds Changing Lives Week” which is a Western event that brings together groups from the campus community to showcase and celebrate the work of students, faculty, programs and alumni to enhance life and resources across the globe.  This episode goes back to the archives and highlights three stories that epitomize Active Minds Changing Lives.

The story lineup for this episode includes:

  • Chris Roselli interviews Dr. Rob Vieth, a 1970 graduate of Western, who is now an orthopedic surgeon in Seattle.  Dr. Vieth talks about work he and other doctors are doing in Southeast Asia in helping countries help their citizens who are dealing with physical challenges.
  • Oysters in Fidalgo Bay is a story about the work of Western professor Paul Dinnel and his students and their important work in restoring native oysters to Fidalgo Bay.
  • Camping Season is a heartwarming story that captures Western recreation majors hosting Camp Team for people with developmental disabilities in a true camp setting.
  • High Fashion from Low Places is a story that brings to life the resourcefulness of Western students recycle with style through the student’s annual Trash Fashion Show.
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The Intensive English Program at Western Washington University recently asked its students about their favorite event of the quarter. Here are a few of their responses.

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Students from Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment Urban Transitions Studio Program presented their planning concepts for the redevelopment of the South Sunnyland neighborhood during finals week of winter quarter 2015.

The student presentation will be aired on the city’s public access channel Mondays at 8 a.m., Thursdays at 6 p.m., and Fridays at 11 a.m. It is also on YouTube.

The Urban Transitions Studio program is a partnership between Western’s Urban Planning and Sustainable Development program and community officials and organizations. Through the program, students will examine implementation strategies and neighborhood sustainable development elements for achieving LEED ND gold certification in two separate classes during spring quarter. These three classes combine to examine neighborhood sustainable development planning, implementation, and sustainable design strategies to encourage Bellingham’s smart growth development.

“For us, it’s a real-life application,” said Ryan Olson, a student in Huxley College’s Urban Planning program. “We’re looking at the city’s population and its projected population growth, which is 38,000 over the next 20 years, and we’re looking at taking this industrial area that doesn’t have many uses right now and utilizing that land for more intensive and diverse uses. It’s important for us to be able to do this and apply that knowledge, because that’s what a lot of our jobs are going to be in the future.”

The program is intended to expand student learning by concentrating several planning studies over the course of an entire year and incorporating multiple dimensions of the planning process that aims to effect change toward sustainable community development in local communities. Several of past planning studio projects have led to important public policy changes, including the recent adoption of the Samish Way Urban Village Plan.

For more information, contact Western Washington University professor of Environmental Studies Nicholas Zaferatos at 360-650-7660 or

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The Office of Sustainability at Western Washington University has released its GEF rap video advertising for sustainability project applications. The Green Energy Fee program has $300,000 annually to spend on various sustainability projects at Western, proposed and led by students.

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Western Washington University will host its 6th Annual Back2Bellingham reunion weekend for alumni, families, students, faculty, staff and the community on May 15-17.

“The enthusiasm about Back2Bellingham from Western alumni, students and families just keeps building every year, and we’re so glad that community members are joining in as well,” said Western President Bruce Shepard. “Back2Bellingham really is a celebration of all the things that make Western and Bellingham such a special place to learn, live and play.  Western’s uniquely engaging and adventurous approach to education – inside and outside of the classroom – is on display all weekend long, and there’s something for all ages and interests.  It’s a great opportunity for alumni to reconnect and for everyone to experience the myriad of ways that active minds are changing lives at Western.”

This year’s headliner is our own local celebrity Ryan Stiles and his cast of “Whose Live Anyway?” performing a show at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 16h in the Performing Arts Center Main Stage.

Back2Bellingham’s sixth year also features more than 130 reunions, tours, educational discussions, athletic events, recreational and entertainment opportunities and live music. All attendees will have an opportunity to see the outstanding work of current Western students with the 16th Annual Scholars Week Showcase. Additionally, Western's Office of Admissions invites high school students interested in attending WWU to attend “Spring into Western.”

The $15 registration includes: a barbecue lunch on Old Main Lawn with live music from Baby Cakes; the Red Square Carnival with a 250-foot zip line through Old Main Lawn; Party in the Library; Classes without Quizzes; Junior Viking Blast Pass; kids athletic camps; Downtown Bellingham Bash at Boundary Bay Brewery, and campus tours. Some theatrical events and reunions require additional tickets, which can be purchased at and at the WWU Box Office throughout the weekend.

Back2Bellingham offers an opportunity for all WWU colleges, departments, clubs and organizations to showcase their programs as well as bring potential and current students, families and staff together to network with alumni and former faculty.

The Golden Vikings Reunion begins Friday and extends through the weekend to welcome and celebrate our alumni who have graduated 50+ years ago.

Compass 2 Campus will again host its annual brunch at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 17 featuring both President Shepard and First Lady Cyndie Shepard in attendance. Come learn about Western’s nationally recognized and award-winning interdisciplinary mentoring program to encourage underserved students to go to college.

“Back2Bellingham is not only for alums; we invite anyone with a connection to Western and from the community to come experience campus, Classes without Quizzes and a variety of events available to create an entertaining weekend,” said Chris Roselli, director of young alumni and student programs at the Western Alumni Association.

Back2Bellingham fun goes beyond Saturday’s big events in Red Square and into the community. “The list of activities extends to the entire Bellingham community and Whatcom County, including local businesses that will sponsor events and offer special discounts for that weekend,” Roselli said.

Beginning Friday, participants can enjoy guided tours of Bellingham, Lakewood and Bellingham tours by bicycle, kayak or go on a whale-watching boat.

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Spring brings with it some big changes on Western Washington University's Bellingham campus. WWU photographer Rhys Logan set out to document a few of the changes that have taken place over the past couple months.

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