Welcome to the 2016-17 school year at Western! Like many of you I also am new to this wonderful university and to Bellingham, having just started my official duties as president on Aug. 1. My wife Uzma and I have enjoyed learning our way around campus and our new hometown, meeting new people, and learning firsthand what makes Western and Bellingham such a special place to live and learn.
As we all prepare for an exciting year ahead, I’d like to make a few observations which I hope will help you make the most of your time here at Western.
First, you should know that you will be learning from and working with excellent faculty. They care about you, and about your learning and success. Please take every opportunity to engage with them: this starts with regularly attending classes and exploring with them opportunities for internships or the chance to do cutting edge research with them.
Second, get engaged, here on campus, and in our community. There are a wealth of opportunities for involvement on and off campus: over 200 student clubs, myriad group activities and outings, intramural sports, faculty-led study abroad programs, volunteer opportunities, and many ways to get involved with student government. This is a prime time to step outside your comfort zone to try new things, and to challenge yourself to join some kind of group activity in the first few weeks.
Third, take care of yourself, be healthy. With so much going on academically, socially and otherwise, it’s easy to lose sight of the basics. Eat well, get enough sleep and exercise. Cultivate a broad group of friends. Get outside, look up and be receptive to your immediate surroundings. We are fortunate to be in one of the most beautiful places in the world – explore the natural beauty all around us, whether a hike in the Arboretum or Cascades or a trip to the San Juan Islands. The city of Bellingham offers many amenities, such as restaurants, stores and lovely places to walk or bike.
Finally, don’t hesitate to ask for help. From academic advising and tutoring to career counseling, mental health, disAbility services and more, Western cares about and is invested in your health and success. There is no pride in struggling on your own with any of these issues, and no shame in seeking help, so please take advantage of these resources. And if you notice a friend, neighbor or classmate having a hard time, please don’t hesitate to offer to help, or find help for them.
As we all start our journey of discovery together, I want to thank you for choosing Western and being part of our community. Please feel free to reach out to me any time during the school year via email at Sabah.Randhawa@wwu.edu or on Twitter at @WWUPresRandhawa. And of course if you see me walking around campus or out in the community, please feel free to introduce yourself.
Have a great year.
Sabah Randhawa, President