Program Beginnings, Vision, and Goals

What is Compass 2 Campus?

The Western Washington University Compass 2 Campus Mentorship Initiative is a pilot program implemented by House Bill 1986 which passed both Houses of the legislature on April 21, 2009. The program is designed to increase access to higher education by providing an opportunity for students from traditionally underrepresented, diverse, and first generation backgrounds in Whatcom and Skagit counties to be mentored by C2C students.

The program has the following objectives:

  • Increase GPA and reduce truancy among elementary, middle, and high school students.
  • Empower students to make good choices about the future.
  • Increase C2C students' leadership and commitment to giving back to their community.


Our overall goal is to help more students graduate from high school and encourage them to consider some form of higher education.


Our Vision

"Compass 2 Campus fosters university and community academic collaborations that promote life-long learning and a college going culture for all students, developing leaders who are empowered to create the future."

Our Mission

"To increase access to higher education by providing an opportunity for students from traditionally underrepresented and low-income backgrounds in Whatcom and Skagit counties to be mentored by trained Compass 2 Campus students."


The Compass 2 Campus program focuses on furthering educational opportunities for underrepresented, first generation, diverse students in Whatcom and Skagit County Schools. 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 mounted 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.

Goals of the Compass 2 Campus program

  • To encourage underrepresented, low-income, diverse students, starting at the fifth grade to complete high school and enroll in some form of post-secondary education.
  • To provide mentors and role models for area youth using a service-learning model.
  • To provide 5th graders an opportunity to visit and experience a University.
  • To support educational achievement through tutoring.
  • To increase awareness of life options after high school.
  • To provide scholarships for C2C students who graduate from high school and are admitted to WWU.
  • To develop mentoring, communication, leadership skills, and ciritcal consciousness among college mentors.
  • Offer mentoring experience to WWU students as a way to give back to their community.

Why Compass 2 Campus?

This program was established from an original program created by Cyndie Shepard at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay called Phuture Phoenix. It was designed to encourage students who typically do not consider higher education in their futures, and to provide support and tools necessary to complete high school and consider some form of post-secondary education, whether at a university, college, community college, technical college or trade school.

C2C benefits the community because it helps young students gain the skills and ambition to succeed in life. It hopes to increase high school graduation and college attendance rates while helping these students to enter their futures with increased confidence and improved goal setting abilities. The result is having a better trained and better educated workforce and a community empowered by active productive citizens.

What happens at C2C?

All 5th graders from participating schools visit and tour the WWU campus every fall. Their C2C mentors show them around and chat with them about what it is like to be a college student.

The C2C mentors then visit their students throughout the school year for a minimum of 4 hours per week to tutor, develop relationships and mentor them.

As the fifth graders progress through middle and high school, C2C mentors continue to serve these students to offer encouragement and support to graduate from high school and pursue higher education.

A new cohort of 5th graders is added to the program every year, as C2C continues to follow previous cohorts through 12th grade.