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 organizations that have empowered and continue to support this collaborative effort including (alphabetically) Children of the Setting Sun Productions, Eastern Washington University, Friends of the San Juans, Galiano Conservancy Association, Geneva Elementary School, Northwest Indian College, Opportunity Council, University of Puget Sound, WWU Center for Community Learning, WWU Salish Sea Institute, WWU Sustainable Communities Partnership, Whatcom Community College, Whatcom County Library System, and Whiteswan Environmental.

 

Many additional organizations have provided meeting space, expertise, and communication support. Thank you all.

©2019 Community Engagement Fellows

The number of Fellows has grown each of our first three years. The first year there were roughly 55 Fellows, the second around 60, and the third around 95. These numbers are rounded because some people (around 10% each year) have not completed the program, and others have participated sporadically.

 

Those that don’t complete the program tend to have had a change in job circumstances, family or health crisis, or some other significant life event that prohibits completion. We tell those that drop off that they’re always welcome to become active again when circumstances allow. This is a “no guilt” and “no shame” program.

 

We have been delighted that more people are participating each year, but don’t measure the success of the program based on increasing the number of people each year.

 

Rather, we’re focused on improving program quality, including providing opportunities for new types of educators from a wider region to participate and finding new ways to support Fellows after their first year involved in the program. We expect the number of new Fellows to fluctuate year-by-year.

 

It has been very helpful to have multiple cohorts that each meet at a different time. This allows us to accommodate the varying and ever-changing schedules of the Fellows. If we had not been able to provide several meeting time options, our rate of attrition would have been much higher.

 

Also, having multiple group(s) also allows our facilitator(s) to make modifications and improvements between cohort meetings, and to experiment with new activities.

 

Finally, having a larger group increases the number of possibly synergies among the Fellows, and the overall amount of experience and wisdom available.

 

So far for us, it’s been the more the merrier.

 

For these reasons, we recommend recruiting enough Fellows to fill at least three cohorts (between 24 and 30 people) when you start the program.

 

If you can recruit more, all the better. This will provide a reasonable amount of scheduling flexibility, give the facilitator(s) practice with several groups, and create ample opportunities for shared work and learning.

Number of Fellows

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Katherine Freimund, Executive Director of the Whatcom Literacy Council, used her Fellows experience to build a system for WWU students to serve local non-profit boards, in partnership with the WWU Institute for Leadership.

"I think this program allows for a level of engagement that creates friendships and gives participants a real appreciation for each others' learning styles and what they are passionate about."

-Katherine Freimund

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