New Developments: Year 2 (2016-2017)

New developments in the second year of Community Engagement Fellows included:


Individual invitations.

Rather than sending mass email invitations, potential participants were sent individual emails. A Google spreadsheet was created to keep track of all the responses and individual meetings with potential Fellows.


Meetings at WWU City Center


In the first year, cohorts met at 11 different locations in downtown Bellingham. This was logistically complex and location quality varied. In the second year, almost all cohort meetings were held in the WWU Alumni Association’s City Center conference room in downtown Bellingham. This consistency saved time and avoided confusion, and they even make us coffee!


Affinity Groups initiated

Many of the 2015-2016 Fellows shared that they wanted a way to stay involved through thematic groups related to their interests. Six affinity groups of current and past Fellows met in the fall of 2016 to think about big opportunities in the region related to each theme. Community Engagement Forums were held in the winter and spring related to these themes.

Community Engagement Forums delinked from cohort meeting themes


Rather than focusing forums on the theme of the upcoming cohort meetings, forum topics were selected based on the passions and affinities of the Fellows. See Community Engagement Forum Page for topics.


Community-based educators included


We invited non-profit and local government staff to be Fellows.


This empowered community members to use higher education resources on their terms, and helped emerging collaborations better represent authentic community needs.


Thirteen people, around ¼ of the 2016-2017 Fellows, were community-based educators.


Presented program at C2U Expo in Vancouver


Program convener Travis and five of the Fellows presented on the program at a campus-community engagement conference hosted by Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.


This was our first time sharing the program model outside of Bellingham.

Becky Spithill was one of the pioneering community-based educators in 2016-2017. She used the Fellows experience to move forward with establishing Real Change magazine in Whatcom County.

“The CEF program is a community-level realization of the ethos that higher education should partner with and serve as a resource for the communities of which it is a part."

- Becky Spithill



Our programming takes place on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples, who have lived in the Salish Sea basin, throughout the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades watershed, from time immemorial. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, particularly the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.

(For more information: WWU Tribal Relations)

Thank you to the numerous organizations that have empowered and continue to support this collaborative effort through co-sponsoring events and providing meeting space, expertise, and communication support. Special thanks to Eastern Washington University, Northwest Indian College, University of Puget Sound, Whatcom County Library System, and Whiteswan Environmental for their ongoing dedication to the work.

©2020 Community Engagement Fellows