Westside office builds relationships with community

While it may seem like the rolling wheat fields of the Palouse and the Pullman campus are about a million miles away from the fast-paced spectacle of the Westside, WSU West is working to bridge the gap between the two.

Originally created for fundraising purposes more than a decade ago, WSU West now hosts seven university departments offering a full array of services, including Student Affairs, Business Affairs, the Athletic Foundation, the Alumni Association, University Relations, the President’s Office and the WSU Foundation.

Marcia Garrett, executive director of WSU West, said there is no other WSU office that has such a broad portfolio outside of the Pullman and regional campuses.

“We are the face of the university on the west side of the state,” Garrett said.

To keep with this concept of presence and visibility, WSU West organizes alumni, fundraising and media events to garner support for the Cougar cause.

Events include the black-tie “Celebration of Washington Wines” to raise money for enology and viticulture programs; the Chateau Ste. Michelle Scholarship Dinner and Concert that raises funds for diversity scholarships; and, in conjunction with the Pullman campus, the Crimson Pride football game at Qwest Field.

WSU Connections, a high-end Cougar apparel and amenities store in the Westlake Mall, also was created in response to the demand for Westside crimson. The store, which opened in June 2004, has been a hit with WSU fans who, prior to the building of the store, were compelled to purchase Cougar paraphernalia largely at University of Washington bookstores, Garrett said.

Though alumni and fan events are a big component of WSU West, emphasis also is placed on media relations, development activities and student recruitment.

With nearly two-thirds of all incoming freshmen at WSU coming from four counties on the Westside, student recruitment is an important area of focus for WSU West. Basing admissions counselors on the Westside has resulted in increased enrollment overall, as well as significant increases in students with a 3.6 GPA and above, Garrett said.

Faculty and staff also can benefit from WSU West. Facilities are available to accommodate meetings, video conferencing and other requirements necessary to make conducting business easier for those who are visiting on the Westside, Garrett said.

For more information about WSU West see http://wsuwest.wsu.edu.

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