Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Logo for The Western Front

Make your voice heard at Campus to Community

Western students can look forward to a mixer with free food and drinks as well as a chance to speak with local city officials

Bellingham’s Old City Hall in Bellingham, Wash., on April 29, 2024. The building was erected in 1892 and stands as the town’s historical landmark. // Photo by Riley Nachtrieb

As a part of Local Action Week, Western Washington University will be holding a mixer event on Thursday from 4-6 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of the Viking Union, called Campus to Community. Six to seven panelists from Bellingham’s local government will visit and speak to Western students about the importance of community engagement. 

Mayor Kim Lund and County Executive Satpal Sidhu will be panelists, along with other members from the Bellingham and Whatcom City Council. Through this event, students will learn how to be more involved in their communities and local politics. 

The second half of the event will be a mixer that’s dedicated to providing students with the opportunity to mingle and speak to their local officials, with free food and drinks provided. 

The Office of Civic Engagement is the department responsible for putting together Local Action Week for Western’s community. Gabby Laipenieks, the local issue coordinator for the OCE, said, “This event is just kind of designed to make an easily accessible way for students to engage both with local issues, and then also meeting local officials.” 

In previous years, the OCE hosted Local Lobby Day, where students were able to learn about legislation happening within the city level and speak with city council members at City Hall. Laipenieks said that the format of Local Lobby Day hasn’t worked well.

Since lobbying locally can pose its own issues, the OCE designed this event series, Local Action Week, to get students excited about engaging with their local community. 


The most recent addition that the city has made to city hall in Bellingham, Wash., on April 29, 2024. The building can be found in the north end of downtown on Lottie Street, where it was built in 1939. // Photo by Riley Nachtrieb

Erin Godwin, Associated Students Vice President for Governmental Affairs said, “There was a very low turnout for last year’s Local Lobby Day … The legislative agenda was another problem, because local government operates differently than the state legislature, so it was hard to try to communicate student concerns in the same format.”

Aside from Campus to Community, other events such as Bellingham Plan Open House and Bellingham Trivia Night are a part of Local Action Week. 

“I'm looking forward to sharing more about my journey of deepening civic engagement at the Campus to Community panel and talking with you about why your voices — and the voices of all community members — are the absolute foundation of my work,”  Lund said in an email.

Besides the panel that Lund and other city officials will be attending, she listed the different ways in which students can be more involved in their community. 

Students can attend a neighborhood association meeting in their neighborhood. Find a complete list of neighborhood associations and their meeting info here or visit to learn more.

They can participate in current community planning efforts, like the Urban Forest Plan or The Bellingham Plan. Opportunities can be found here.

Additional opportunities include volunteering at a community work party with the Parks and Recreation Department. Most work parties are on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon during the fall, winter and spring. You can find upcoming work parties here.

To attend a city council or city board or commission meeting, details are available at

Registering to vote can be done here.

Kristina Mendoza

Kristina Mendoza (she/her) is a visual journalism major who is in her third year at Western Washington University. Her area of focus is magazine layout design. This quarter, she is a reporter for The Front. While in her spare time, she enjoys reading, painting and recreational activities. You can reach her at

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Western Front