Founded in 1893, WWU is regarded as one of the top comprehensive regional universities in the west and serves more than 16,000 students. WWU is home to the nation's oldest environmental college, highly rated business, science and engineering programs, and more than 170 additional programs in education, humanities, social sciences and fine and performing arts. Citizens of Bellingham enjoy access to Western's facilities and beautiful open spaces, including its nationally acclaimed outdoor sculpture collection, award-winning theatre and music performances, lectures, concerts, and nationally-ranked NCAA Division II Athletics. Approximately 4,000 students live on campus in the University's Residence Halls.
The Western Washington University Neighborhood contains lush open space featuring more than 70 species of trees and spectacular views overlooking Bellingham Bay and downtown Bellingham. Formal open spaces owned and operated by Western include Old Main lawn, Red Square, Fairhaven Courtyard, Performing Arts Center Plaza, Haskell Plaza, Communication Lawn, and Flag Plaza. Natural open spaces include the Outback Farm and the Bird Sanctuary Knoll. Sehome Hill Arboretum borders the WWU campus which is a 175 acre naturally wooded hill that the University manages in partnership with the City of Bellingham. Western's open spaces and trails are used for academic study, commuting, recreation and relaxation and serve the WWU campus and the broader community.