One of the most rewarding things during a student’s time in college can be engaging with their campus’ culture and community. The WCU Creed encourages Catamounts to immerse themselves in the cultural, academic, and artistic life of Western, along with valuing diversity and embracing one’s responsibilities to the community. It can be difficult finding the time to go to campus happenings, but they tend to be free, or at reduced rates, for students. Most events are included in student fees, so students might as well get their money’s worth.
On our campus, we are privileged enough to have a variety of services offered to us that can help encourage engagement. Campus departments such as the Bardo Arts Center and Last Minute Productions offer artistic and entertaining immersion while the Campus Recreation Center and Base Camp Cullowhee help offer physical and outdoor recreational opportunities. Students can also receive professional development from the Center for Career and Personal Development, as well as various tutoring services, whether course-based or general writing tutoring. Most campus events can be found online at engage.wcu.edu.
Below are some ways to engage in the Catamount Culture and get your money’s worth during your time at Western.
Three main ways for students to unwind, come together as Catamounts, and have fun are through the Department of Campus Activities, sporting events, and artistic events offered through the Bardo Arts Center or the University Auditorium. These events tend to be free for students. Events that are not free, such as performances in Bardo or the auditorium, or LMP outings to amusement parks or musicals, tend to have reduced rates for students.
Last Minute Productions (LMP):
One of the biggest sources of entertainment is LMP. From weekly movies on Friday and Saturday nights, to make-and-take craft events, to circus acts and anything in between, LMP coordinators work to stay updated on current trends to see what students may be interested in attending. Coordinators plan events a semester prior. LMP offers a variety of programs, and unless it is an annual event, like the Homecoming Carnival or drag show, LMP tries not to repeat performers or activities for four years.
The annual drag show will happen in Ramsey on March 17 at 8 p.m. LMP will also host Whee Fest, a regional and local talent concert on April 28. That event was canceled in 2020. For more LMP events, please visit engage.wcu.edu.
Sporting events are also included through student fees. All you need to do is scan your CatCard to get in. The sports currently in season are basketball, women’s tennis, track, softball, golf, and baseball. For a complete sports schedule, visit https://catamountsports.com/index.aspx.
Students can embrace the artistic culture of WCU through the Bardo Arts Center. Bardo packs powerful, inspiring, comedic, and musical performances, such as a recent one-woman show called “The Rising of The Necessary Diva” by WCU’s Dr. Tiffany Jackson, which called for dignity and justice for Black bodies while Jackson narrated and sang her life story.
The Fine Art Museum in Bardo hosts rotating exhibits centered around a commentary. Previously, Bardo hosted an exhibit on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Currently on display is BREACH: Logbook23 | CORIOLIS, an interactive installation exploring various cultural and historical ties. Created by ceramic artist Courtney Leonard, a member of the Shinnecock Nation in Long Island, New York, it asks whether or not a culture can continue to sustain itself when removed from its history and the environment that fashioned the culture.
The School of Stage and Screen will be hosting “She Kills Monsters”, a Dungeons-and-Dragons-inspired performance directed by Assistant Professor Peter Savage from Feb. 23 to Feb. 26.
More Bardo events, including a live performance by twice Grammy-nominated wind quintet, Imani Winds, and a comedic performance by The Second City, are available at discounted rates for students. Tickets tend to be $5 for students. You can find upcoming events online. Imani Winds will be performing Thursday, Feb. 24.
For those interested in healthy, mind-and-body recreation, our Campus Recreation Center (CRC) is a must-stop. With a fully-equipped gym and workout floor, cardio machines and weights, a 48-foot rock wall, access to the Reid pool, and a court for basketball and volleyball, our rec center is certainly able to handle any exercise needs. It offers more, still!
The CRC offers various two-year certifications, including First Aid and Lifeguarding, which may be required by major or intramural sports, another CRC service that allows you to compete against your fellow Cats.
The CRC also offers students a $10 GroupX pass. Are you interested in class yoga, aqua exercise, dance and strength-based fitness, and recovery? For $10 a semester, you can get access to all GroupX classes offered. GroupX classes are listed online.
The CRC also offers aquatic recreation through the Reid pool during open swim hours and private swim lessons. Open swim hours are usually 6 to 8 a.m., 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and 6:15 to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Friday hours are usually 6 to 8 a.m., 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and 5:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sunday is 5 to 8 p.m.
Additional CRC services include personal training, the adventure and cycle shops, where students can rent outdoor gear or get maintenance on personal bikes, and outdoor programs.
Outdoor recreation can be taken advantage of through Base Camp Cullowhee, which takes frequent outings. Whether you want to take a moonlit hike, go canoeing, boulder across our mountain faces, or ski, Base Camp is the place to go. Additionally, WCU is lucky enough to have nearly seven miles of multi-use trails in our backyard.
Health and Wellness:
Are you feeling under the weather? Do you need a physical check-up? How’s your mental health doing?
WCU offers many services to students through its Health and Wellness department. Health and Wellness is a broad topic. It includes the CRC, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Health and Wellness education, and health services offered through the Bird building.
CAPS services, which tailor to mental health and wellness, are free to enrolled students. You can choose from a one-on-one meeting with a therapist, group therapy guided by a counselor to help talk through any issues with fellow Cats, or a case management specialist who can help connect you to services in the community. CAPS also offers self-help resources and virtual, telepsychiatry services through grants with a provider in North Carolina.
Students experiencing a mental health crisis can come to Bird 225 for an emergency appointment Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or they can call a Crisis Clinician by calling (828) 227-7469 and pressing “0” at the prompt for after-hours assistance.
Students also have access to the Bird Health Services building, a fully-functioning doctor’s office that offers physicals, respiratory testing, lab tests, same-day visits, minor procedures and wound care, and various over-the-counter or prescribed medicines. Pam Buchanan, director of Health Services, wants students to view Bird as their first point in wellness, their primary care provider. Many of the services are included for students through the health fee. Some services may be billed through insurance or settled out-of-pocket, such as lab testing services and minor wound care. Buchanan wants to make coordinated care as easy as possible and says students should always consider Bird first. If they need to go elsewhere, at least Bird may be able to help with coordinating care.
Professional and Academic Services:
The Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) can help students build resumes and write cover letters, get advice on what they can do with their degree, explore majors and careers, get interviewing experience for grad schools or careers, and search for jobs or internships. The CCPD is here to help students navigate steps post-graduation, but also during their time at WCU. Graduating soon? Don’t worry. The CCPD helps alumni as well with their next steps.
There are various tutoring services for students as well. Students can get course-specific tutoring, or they can visit the Math Tutoring Center for CS and MATH courses or the Writing and Learning Commons (WaLC) for additional proofreading or advice on writing. Through the WaLC, students can also get academic skills consultations which can help students succeed. Again, tutoring services are free. They are only here to benefit students, not stigmatize anybody. You are not less competent or “dumb” for going to tutoring. Even if you are an English major or you consider yourself a good writer, it can still be beneficial to get a second set of eyes to help give feedback on your papers.
One extra resource for students is Hunter Library, a kind of all-encompassing resource. It is open from 7:30 a.m. to midnight through the week and noon to midnight weekends. If you want to rent a book or movie for personal enjoyment, if you need to find an academic source for your paper, or if you need to check out a textbook for additional research, Hunter can assist with all those. You can use the OneSearch function to explore academic articles, journals, and books. Additionally, our fabulous subject librarians are available to help you find any resources WCU has or research paths to follow in order for you to succeed on your academic career.
Hunter also has two recording booths that you can reserve for podcasts, remote interviews, music, video, and more. Along with recording booths, students can use the Scholar Studio to access Adobe products and other editing software, or you can reserve a space with the Virtual Reality studio if you want to play “SUPERHOT” on an Oculus or have other VR fun.
Below Hunter is the Information Technology department, complete with editing software, 3D printing, and technological help if your hardware is damaged or even just in need of updates.