About Compass 2 Campus
Who We Are
Due to historical and systemic racism and discrimination, Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) as well as low-income students of all backgrounds have been historically excluded from higher education. While many of our C2C partner schools are majority BIPOC and/or low-income schools, our region’s higher education institutions do not reflect the diversity of our region’s schools.
To address this opportunity gap and educational debt, C2C places college student mentors in Title I schools to increase access to higher education for 5th-12th grade students. The service-learning courses linked to the C2C mentoring program focus on educational equity, cultural responsiveness, and social justice. Mentoring placements include classrooms, after-school programs, and community settings.
The program kicks off with all 5th grade classes visiting Western’s campus for a college experience during Tour Day. After Tour Day, C2C college student mentors visit 40 mentoring sites weekly.
Each year, C2C places between 600 and 800 college student mentors and employs 40 Western students. Support for student leaders to develop peer mentoring and leadership skills is part of the program’s commitment to college success as well as college access.
Compass 2 Campus increases access to higher education for students in Whatcom and Skagit counties who have been historically excluded from higher education by providing low-income and Black, Indigenous, and students of color with trained college student mentors.
All students in our region are provided with the resources and support they need to pursue their postsecondary goals.
“As a graduate of [Lummi Nation School], I am so excited to work with the youth from my tribe. I know the dire need for mentorship within the school & community. I know that if the youth see one of their own members attending WWU hope will be instilled and a belief to further their education will become more prominent. I had a mentor from C2C when I was in elementary. Her impact still lasts today. I want to share that experience with the youth of LNS and the Lummi community.” -Raven, C2C Mentor in 2022
- To help mentees increase awareness of their postsecondary options and provide them with the tools to achieve their postsecondary goals.
- To provide C2C mentees with an opportunity to visit and experience a University.
- To support educational achievement through tutoring.
- To provide scholarships for C2C students who graduate from high school and are admitted to WWU.
- To develop mentoring, communication, leadership skills, and critical consciousness among college student mentors.
- To encourage former C2C mentees to enroll in C2C courses and to become paid student staff members of C2C.
- To foster University and community partnerships that support students who have been historically excluded from higher education in our region.
Compass 2 Campus is a mentorship program implemented by House Bill 1986 which passed both Houses of the Legislature on April 21, 2009. It was originally conceived at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay as the Phuture Phoenix Program by Cyndie Shepard, the wife of Bruce Shepard, former President of Western Washington University, and Ginny Riopelle, UW-Green Bay Council of Trustees member.
In April of 2009, HB 1986 was passed by the Washington legislature and signed into law by Governor Gregoire, establishing Compass 2 Campus as the pilot mentoring initiative for the state of Washington. This bill gives credence to the commitment of the state to support mentoring as an effective way to encourage post-secondary education to underrepresented students in our K-12 school system.
In the fall of 2009, Western Washington University created the Compass 2 Campus program with the support of nine local school districts in Whatcom and Skagit counties, Western faculty and staff, and hundreds of Western student mentors.