Western's Back 2 Bellingham Alumni and Family Weekend is this weekend
Among the many happenings at WWU during Back 2 Bellingham Weekend is an opportunity to enjoy drinks and conversation in the Wilson Library reading room. File photo by Mark Malijan
Western Washington University will open its doors and campus to alumni and their families, parents and the community for the Back 2 Bellingham Weekend, Friday to Sunday, May 13-15.
“Back 2 Bellingham is a great opportunity to experience firsthand our exciting learning community of active minds changing lives that makes Western the premier public university of its kind in the Pacific Northwest,” said Western President Bruce Shepard.
Now in its second year, Western’s biggest annual campus celebration includes more than 100 reunions, tours, recognitions, academic presentations and other opportunities for Vikings to reconnect with Western – and each other.
“Western is a special place with a lot of history,” said Chris Roselli, Western’s Alumni Association assistant director. “B2B is an annual event where the Western community can reconnect with one another while perhaps reliving a little bit of their own Western experience.”
In addition to events for alumni and students, Back 2 Bellingham is also Western’s spring open house weekend for families of WWU students. And there will be special offerings for prospective students and their families.
Exploring the Bellingham area is a special feature of the weekend. Cruises on Bellingham Bay and a golf tournament at North Bellingham Golf Course provide an outdoor option for getting to know Whatcom County.
“The Sunday golf tournament is a great way to support student scholarships while you enjoy a day on the course and taking advantage of the natural beauty of the Bay and spending time on the water is always a treat,” said Anna Carey, director for New Student Services/Family Outreach.
Last year, more than 1,500 alumni and family members and parents attended Back 2 Bellingham. Roselli hopes to have more this year – including many repeat visitors.
Both the colleges of Fine and Performing Arts and Business and Economics will celebrate their 35th anniversaries with receptions, performances, presentations and other events culminating in celebratory dinners.
The Vehicle Research Institute will mark its own 35th anniversary with an open house and five of its student-built cars on display. And the Ethnic Student Center will celebrate its 20-year history with a reunion barbecue.
“A variety of departments are celebrating the retirements of some legendary professors,” said Roselli, including English Professor Bill Smith, Engineering Technology Professor Steve Dillman, Secondary Education Professor Bob Keiper and Physical Education, Health and Recreation Professor Ralph Vernacchia.
Some of Western’s most popular faculty members will offer “Classes without Quizzes” to showcase their work. Examples include: “Laughter as Medicine and Food for the Soul” by Keiper; “The Power of Belief” by Vernacchia; “From Trash to Cash” by Engineering Technology Professor Arunas Oslapas; and “Teaching Your Children about Money” by Pam Whalley, director of the Economics Education Center at CBE.
But the big gathering will be in the Wilson Library reading room, with music, appetizers and more. And off-campus, excursions will include sailing and sea kayaking tours of Bellingham Bay, tours of local breweries, and a “Downtown Bellingham Bash.”
For youngsters, and the young-at-heart, the College of Fine and Performing Arts will host the Red Square Fun Zone, including a bouncy castle and obstacle course, bungee run, face painters, music, and supervision by WWU students.
Learn more, register, and see who’s coming at www.back2bellingham.com.