Viking Launch

Program Details

Viking Launch is designed to provide incoming freshmen a strong, focused start-up to college life at Western. Research demonstrates that freshmen are most apt to succeed when they are socially and academically integrated within a campus community, when they are prepared and ready for their courses, and when they attend classes with an eye to their future goals and plans. Viking Launch is designed to help students successfully achieve these advantages before fall classes begin.

For additional information, see SeminarsHousing, and FAQs

Registration is now closed.

Grades

Incoming WWU Freshmen

Date

2-credit program: September 17-22, 2017
1-credit program: September 17-21, 2017
Non-credit program: September 17-21, 2017
View detailed schedule

Time

All day

Location

Western Washington University
See location details

Cost

2-credit program: $825
1-credit program: $725
Non credit offering: $425
Limited number of scholarships available

See cost details

2017 Seminars

Viking Launch students will complete a preparation course or thematic seminar that will prepare them for careers in environmental science, neuroscience, marine biology, pre-med and other professional fields. Students will choose from 1- or 2-credit seminars. These seminars are graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U). The credits do not specifically go towards any requirements for majors, but the credits do count in your credit total.

First Year Experience (FYE)/Pre-Medicine Preparation Seminar

Interested in a career in medicine or a related health or science field? Consider a Viking Launch preparation seminar to get you ready for the gateway courses these fields require. Most health science programs expect students to complete a year of general chemistry and two quarters of calculus as soon as possible. Viking Launch preparation seminars prove engaging hands-on introductions to these classes designed to prepare you for a successful first quarter. Unsure if you are ready for chemistry? Don't worry. The preparation seminar is graded satisfactory/unsatisfactory so that you can explore the subject without the stress of high pressure grading. The pre-medicine preparation seminar includes:

FYE Chemistry 100: Introduction to Chemistry (2 credits)

Introduction to general chemistry concepts in an intensive, 5-day format. The course is designed to assist students as they enter the General Chemistry (CHEM 121) by focusing on foundational concepts and strategies encountered in chemistry. The course provides instruction in: dimensional analysis, atomic structure, basic laboratory technique, and chemical bonding. The course serves the mission of helping students negotiate successfully the academic and personal opportunities and challenges of their first year.

Faculty: Dr. Steven Emory and Dr. Elizabeth Raymond

Visit Western’s Career Services website for more information and advising information on pre-med.

First Year Experience (FYE) Thematic Seminars

Explore topics, majors, career paths or interests in various subjects. Thematic seminar offerings include:

FYE Geology 197A: Mount Baker Geology (1 credit)

Interested in learning about the history of Bellingham’s local volcano? In this class you'll learn about the origin, geology, and hazards associated with this active volcano, and discover how geologists study volcanoes. The class will include a field trip to Mt Baker, and some engaging lab and classroom activities.

Faculty: Dr. Bernard Housen

FYE Biology 195: Marine Biology (2 credits) - Course Full

An introduction to marine and estuarine science, this course blends classroom lecture and study with field experiences and research at Western’s Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes, one of the premier marine biology research sites on the west coast. Join Professor Deborah Donovan in an exploration of the field of marine biology and the coastal resources of Shannon Point.

Faculty: Dr. Deborah Donovan

 
FYE English 195: Creative Writing by Design (2 credits)

Explore the “ekphrastic” relationship between creative writing and other forms of art (music, sculpture, painting, glass, etc.) in this intensive, 5-day format. This course introduces you to elements of craft necessary for creative writing; to the process of imagining, generating, revising, and editing texts; to the electronic broadside form; and to Adobe’s InDesign software for creating a publishable work. Course activities include reading and analysis; pre-writing, drafting, workshop, revising, designing, and publishing; and field trips through WWU’s outdoor sculpture collection and the Museum of Northwest Art in beautiful LaConner, WA. Leave the course with your eBroadside published on the Museum of Northwest Art webpage.

Faculty: Nancy Pagh

FYE Environmental Studies 195: Environmental Impact and Sustainability (2 credits)

In this course we will explore local environmental impacts through research and field observations with a special focus on the Nooksack River watershed, and examine the impacts of our everyday choices. Then we will explore the questions: What is sustainability, really? And, what can we really do? You will discover how local governments, non-profit organizations, businesses, and individuals are working together to help solve the problems associated with environmental change and take action by participating in a service-learning project. 

Faculty: Riley Grant

FYE Journalism 197A: Introduction to Design and Photography (2 credits)

Everyone’s a photographer, right? We can all take photos on our phones and post them to Facebook or Tumblr. Now, delve further into photo practice, history, creative meaning, and ethics through presentations, photo assignments, visits from photographers, field trips, and in-class production in a design lab. To prepare you to do profile, stop motion, and self-expression projects, we will cover SLR cameras and do a tutorial on Photoshop. A field trip to a local magazine publisher will discuss editorial decision-making in publishing outdoor photos as narratives, as well as the career of freelancing; a second field trip to a local newspaper will cover how to make ethical editorial choices in local coverage. This course helps you build media literacy, as we will discuss design standards and visual creativity. The material covered is useful to prospective Journalism majors as well as any student who wants to learn how to produce photos with an understanding of the technical and creative aspects of photography, as well as the history and ethics of photo practice.

Faculty: Sheila Webb

FYE Materials Science 197A: Introduction to the Science of Renewable Energy (2 credits) - Cancelled

The quest to develop scalable, affordable sources of renewable energy represents one of the greatest challenges facing the next generation. This class explores the science behind renewable energy and the prospects and problems that need to be overcome. The class consists of a combination of lectures on topics including biofuels, wind and wave power, nuclear power and solar cells, as well as field trips to local energy companies. A laboratory component includes activities such as the fabrication and testing of student-made solar cell devices and biodiesel.

Faculty: Dr. David Patrick

FYE Psychology 195: Neuroscience (2 credits) - Cancelled

Is it true that we use only about 10% of our brain? Of course not! Weighing approximately 3 pounds, the human brain may be our last and most complicated biological frontier. So effective and efficient are the brain’s 100 billion neurons that, as long as things are working properly, we rarely stop to think about how this complex mass of tissue gives rise to our every thought, action and perception. However, when brain function is impaired people’s lives can be dramatically altered. This course will introduce you to behavioral neuroscience in Western’s state-of-the-art neuroscience research facility, where you will learn about the role that the nervous system plays in normal and abnormal behavior, thought and emotion. Lab activities include a sheep’s brain dissection, to help you learn about brain-and-behavior relationships hands-on!

Faculty: Dr. Janet Finlay/Dr. Michael Mana

Spanish 197: Spanish Language and Culture (2 credits) - Cancelled

¡Bienvenidos a Western! If you’re thinking about studying Spanish at Western, join us this summer for a hands-on exploration of the campus community and the Bellingham area. Our focus will be on developing vocabulary and improving your conversational Spanish skills by actively engaging with all of the opportunities that Western has to offer, whether that’s figuring out how to navigate campus resources, spending time outdoors, or learning about Spanish-speaking communities in Whatcom county. You’ll practice Spanish while learning about Western and Bellingham and, depending upon your prior experience with the language, be ready to start with either Spanish 104 or 201 in the fall quarter.

Note: We recommend that students have 2 or more years of high school Spanish—or 1 year and travel experience and/or native fluency—in order to register for this course. 

Faculty: Kirsten Drickey

First Year Experience (FYE) Community Service Learning

Viking Launch students interested in discovering Bellingham through community service can choose the following non-credit seminar.

FYE Digging Into Bellingham: Growing Community Through Food (non-credit)

Explore and engage with some of our region's most exciting community gardening and farming projects. Get your hands dirty alongside community leaders who are using healthy, local food to address pressing social issues like unemployment, depression, and climate change adaptation. We will learn about projects on campus, around town, and in the surrounding countryside. Our finale will be a retreat to Growing Veterans farm, which empowers military veterans through food production. Ready to work outside, get inspired, explore, and play? 

Faculty: Travis Tennessen Center for Service-Learning

Other Activities

College success workshops

Several workshops will introduce you to different campus resources available to students, such as the Learning Commons and Campus Wellness. These workshops will prove helpful tips on effective study skills, note taking, career planning, and healthy living, proving students with a solid foundation of knowledge and skills for academic success before fall classes begin. 

Residence life activities

Residence life staff will offer meet and greet opportunities with other Viking Launch participants and orient students to campus life.

Recreation activities

Team-building exercises facilitated by our engaging Outdoor Center staff are scheduled to give you an opportunity to get to know your fellow Viking Launchers.

Schedule

Below is the tentative schedule for Viking Launch. Please check back regularly for updates.

Sunday, September 17, 2017: Viking Launch Move-in

11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Move-in to Fairhaven Residence Hall or Ridgeway Kappa (NO EARLY ARRIVALS PLEASE)

4 - 5 p.m.

Viking Launch Check-in/Welcome: Check-in for Viking Launch, meet some of the Viking Launch faculty, orientation presentation for parents/families. Families depart.

5 p.m.

Program begins - Dinner in the dining hall for students

6:15 - 8 p.m.

Group activity/Get to know each other

8:30 - 10 p.m.

Resident Life Community Meeting

2-Credit Program Schedule

Monday

Pick-up ID Cards/Bus Passes (if you did not attend SummerStart)
Class/engaging 2-credit seminars with a faculty member
Succeeding at Western Workshop
Financial Literacy Workshop
Get settled in your room

Tuesday

Class
Learning Commons Presentation
Western Wellness Presentation
Free time
Study Skills Workshop
Study time

Wednesday

Class/Many will have field trips
Study time

Thursday

Class
Health & Wellness @ Western Presentation
Study time
Residence Life activity

Friday

Class
Final class presentations
Free time
Residence Life activity

Saturday

Free day: Explore campus on your own
Dining Hall closed, all meals on your own

Sunday

Free day, Move-in day for all WWU students
Breakfast and Lunch on your own
Dining Hall open for Dinner

1-Credit Program Schedule

Monday

Pick-up ID Cards/Bus Passes  (if you did not attend SummerStart)
Class/engaging 1-credit seminar with a faculty member
Succeeding at Western Workshop
Financial Literacy Workshop
Get settled in your room

Tuesday

Class
Learning Commons Presentation
Free time
Peer Advisors Workshop
Study time

Wednesday

Class/Many will have field trips
Study time

Thursday

Health & Wellness @ Western Presentation
University Residence's HELPs Training
Residence Life activity

Friday

University Residence's HELPs Training
HELPs Move-in (Shift 1)
Residence Life activity

Saturday

HELPs Move-in (Shift 2)– help facilitate move-in for new students (includes meals)

Sunday

HELPs Move-in (Shift 3) – help facilitate move-in for new students (includes meals)
Dining Hall open for Dinner

Non-Credit Program Schedule

Monday

Pick-up ID Cards/Bus Passes (if you did not attend SummerStart)
Class/engaging seminar with a faculty member
Succeeding at Western Workshop
Financial Literacy Workshop
Get settled in your room

Tuesday

Off-campus garden projects
Learning Commons Presentation
Free time
Peer Advisors Workshop
Study time

Wednesday

Off-campus garden projects
Group Discussion

Thursday

Health & Wellness @ Western Presentation
Campus Service Learning:
University Residences HELPs training (includes meals)

Friday

Campus Service Learning:
University Residences HELPs training (includes meals)
HELPs Move-in (Shift 1)
Residence Life activity

Saturday

HELPs Move-in (Shift 2) – help facilitate move-in for new
students (includes meals)

Sunday

HELPs Move-in (Shift 3) – help facilitate move-in for new students (includes meals)
Dining Hall open for Dinner

Location

Fairhaven Residence Complex or Kappa Hall

Here is a link to a campus map.

Cost

Viking Launch Cost

  • 2-credit program: $825
  • 1-credit program: $725
  • Non credit offering: $425

The registration deadline for Viking Launch is August 18, 2017, however, space is limited, so be sure to register early for course availability and housing priority.

Cost includes:
  • Tuition/fees for course seminar
  • One or two undergraduate credits (when applicable)
  • Lodging (9/17 – academic year) and meals (Dinner 9/17 - Dinner 9/22, Dining Halls open for Dinner 9/24)
  • Recreation activities
  • College success workshops

You will need your Western Washington University student number (Wxxxxxxxx) to complete the registration form. 

Paying by check:

Please download the paper registration form, complete it and mail it with your check to: 

  • Western Washington University
    Extended Education
    MS 9102, 516 High Street
    Bellingham, WA 98225
Scholarships:

For first-year students that are Pell Grant eligible, there are a limited number of scholarships available to assist with the cost of Viking Launch. Please fill out the PDF icon Viking Launch Scholarship application and submit by Wednesday, August 16, 2017 per the instructions on the application. You may still apply for a scholarship if you have already registered and paid the full amount; we can credit your account if you are awarded a scholarship.

Refunds:

Cancellation requests must be received in writing via email to VikingLaunch@wwu.edu by June 9, 2017. Cancellation requests received by June 9 will be issued a refund, minus a $250 cancellation fee. No refunds will be given after June 9, 2017. A full refund is only granted if the program is cancelled.

For more information, contact:

Housing

All incoming fall students who want housing (including Viking Launch participants) must apply for housing online by June 16.  Follow housing application instructions and deadlines, which are posted at the University Residences website.

Viking Launch students will be assigned to and reside in Fairhaven Residence Complex or Kappa Hall on the Ridge for the program AND throughout the 2017/2018 academic year. There are no exceptions to these two residence halls for Viking Launch participants, because these are the only residence halls open and staffed early for this program.

FAQs

Do I have to live in the Fairhaven or Kappa Residence Halls?

Yes. The only way to have Viking Launch students move in early and establish a close-knit campus community is to house all VL students in the same dorms.

VL students can choose to live in the Fairhaven complex or Kappa Hall on the Rge. VL students will live in this assignment for the full academic year. Follow these links to learn more about Fairhaven, its resents, and Kappa Hall.

Do I have to be a Fairhaven student to participate in Viking Launch?

No, any incoming freshmen can participate in Viking Launch. However, you do have to reside on campus in the Fairhaven Residence Hall or the Kappa Hall on the Ridge for the full academic year. The Fairhaven Residence Hall is located in the Fairhaven complex but separate from Fairhaven College. Kappa is located on main campus.

Can I room with a friend who is not in the Viking Launch program?

Yes. Use the Roommate Pair web tool at the housing website to request and confirm pairing up with a friend. Be sure to meet the June 16 deadline. Your roommate will be placed with you into Fairhaven or Kappa.

What if I'm in Viking Launch but my roommate isn't?

You would room alone in Fairhaven or Kappa until he or she moves in.

Can I sign up for Viking Launch and the Honors Cluster?

Not at this time. You do need to choose between the two.

What if my preparation course convinces me I'm not prepared for the chemistry course I'm signed up for?

The purpose of the preparation course is to get you ready for chemistry. However, if the course convinces you otherwise, we will help you change your schedule.

Can I change my VL seminar after I register for courses at Summerstart?

Yes, you can if there is space available in the VL seminar you want to register for.

Can I wait to register for VL until after I register for fall courses at Summerstart?

It is not recommended that you wait. There are limited spaces available in Viking Launch, so waiting until Summerstart may be too late. June 9 is the priority application deadline for Viking Launch; applications will be accepted on a space available basis after June 9.

Will my 1- or 2-credit seminar count toward my graduation credits?

Yes. Viking Launch seminars count as elective credits.

How do I sign up for this program?

You can register online for the VL program

What is the cost and what does it cover?

The cost of the 2-credit program $825, 1-credit program is $725 and the non-credit offering is $425.  Cost includes tuition and fees for the seminar; lodging and meals and recreation activities.

Will I receive credit for VL?

Yes, as long as you sign up for either the one (1) or two (2) credit seminars, you will receive undergraduate credits for successful completion of VL, depending on your seminar of choice. The non-credit Service-Learning seminar is non-credit.

Who is eligible to participate in VL?

All incoming freshmen living on campus (Fairhaven Residence Hall or Kappa Hall on the Ridge) can participate in VL.

Are there any scholarships available, and if so, how do I find out more?

Yes, we have six (6) $200 scholarships available for first-year students that are Pell Grant eligible. Please fill out the PDF icon VL Scholarship Application.pdf and essay and submit by May 26, 2017 per the instructions on the application. You may still apply for a scholarship if you have already registered and paid the full amount; we can credit your account if you are awarded a scholarship.

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