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Nov. 23, 2021

    As our Washington State University Everett community prepares for Thanksgiving break, I am reminded again of the maxim, “To whom much is given, much is required.” I know I am not the only one entering this holiday season with a sense of abundance and gratitude for all that we have accomplished this year.

    I am especially grateful for our caring and supportive WSU Everett community. Through your generosity, we have built strong academic programs and transformed the lives of the students who have come through our doors. Students like Elisha Aguilera and Antonio Barber.

    Elisha is a software engineering major living in Sultan. Elisha received the Launching Futures scholarship funded by the WSU Everett Advisory Council. Between the scholarship and the money, he saves by living at home, Elisha’s education is covered. “To those who have donated to this campus, beyond being a charitable contribution to the next generation of professionals, it is an investment in the future of this community,” Elisha said.

    Elisha appreciates being able to earn a baccalaureate degree in his community. “Having grown up in this area, I appreciate having the financial resources to continue my education in Snohomish County and the Pacific Northwest.”

    Elisha’s classmate, Antonio, is a First Gen college student, husband, father of three boys and Iraqi war veteran who served in the Navy. A youth sports coach in basketball, football, soccer and baseball, Antonio studies software engineering at WSU Everett. The Carson Veterans Scholarship Antonio receives has made all the difference for his family. “Many students like me have to work multiple jobs, juggle family life, and stay on top of our schoolwork, that’s a tall task to ask of anyone,” Antonio shared. When the pandemic hit my wife was out of work as a dental assistant for three months. Receiving a scholarship from WSU Everett helped us to stay afloat until my wife was allowed to return to work.”

    I’m grateful for smart, hardworking students like Elisha and Antonio. I’m also grateful for the donors who make their success possible. Donors like Geri Carlson who chairs our WSU Everett Advisory Council’s Development Committee. Geri and her husband, Chris, are proud Cougs who give generously in time and treasure to their alma mater. Donors like Gary Baker, who works alongside Geri on our Advisory Council and who, along with his wife Darcy, recently endowed the Baker Family Scholarship at WSU Everett.

    When the scholarship was announced at our September Advisory Council meeting, Gary noted that “It is a very important thing for our family to support education, and this is just one way we can make a lasting impact at WSU.” 

    Elisha, Antonio, the Carlsons, and the Bakers. Just a few of the many reasons that I am thankful to be a Coug and to be on this important journey with all of you. I wish you a wonderful holiday! To learn more about our campus and ways to support us, go to give.wsu.edu.

Go Cougs!

Dr. Paul Pitre, Chancellor
WSU Everett & Everett University Center

(L-R) Chancellor Paul Pitre, new WSU Everett Advisory Council chair Brenda White, and Gary Baker, who has served two years as Advisory Council chair

EVERETT, Wash. – Nov. 17, 2021 – Washington State University (WSU) Everett has named Brenda White, manager of Local Government and External Affairs for Snohomish PUD, chair of the campus’ Advisory Council.

White’s two-year term began this fall. The 24-member council serves as an advisory board to WSU Everett Chancellor Paul Pitre, with a special focus on deepening industry relationships and identifying opportunities to support North Puget Sound students.

“I’m looking forward to using my tenure to strengthen and connect WSU’s Everett campus and the Snohomish County region, two entities close to my heart,” White said.

White has worked for Snohomish PUD for 12 years with state and local government legislative lobbying focus. Prior to working at the consumer-owned power utility, she worked for Congress for nine years along with a few years working as a legislative aide at the Snohomish County Council. She has deep roots in the community, is married with two school-aged children, and is currently on a few not-for-profit boards in the area.

“Brenda brings an abundance of leadership experience from this region and tremendous energy to our work on behalf of current students and the generations of EverCougs to come,” chancellor Pitre said.

White succeeds Gary Baker of Lake Stevens. During Baker’s two years as chair, the advisory council: established a formal committee structure and bylaws that provide council members the ability to engage in an area of interest with their aligned skillset; maintained consistently high turnout at WSU systemwide Advisory Council Summits; launched an advisory council endowed scholarship with 100% council member participation; focused fundraising efforts on Giving Tuesday and CougsGive programs; and developed a stronger relationship with the WSU Foundation.

“Gary Baker is a true Coug, through and through. From his time a president of WSU Pullman’s student government to his leadership as chair of the WSU Everett Advisory Council, he bleeds crimson,” chancellor Pitre said. “Gary applied his vast leadership and legal skill to establish so much of what this council and campus is today. He has also displayed incredible generosity to our students, including funding an endowed scholarship for WSU Everett students.”

EVERETT, Wash. – Nov. 16, 2021 – Sports betting at tribal casinos is on track to become a $94 million industry in Washington state in the next five years, reflecting residents’ enthusiasm for professional and collegiate sports and their interest in wagering, a Washington State University study found. 

About 59% of Washington residents surveyed last summer described themselves as sports fans. A small number – about 5% – said they placed wagers on games at least once per month, mostly through office pools and sportsbooks. But nearly 14% said they were likely to participate in Washington’s emerging sports betting industry.

“When you think about recreational activities, participation from 14% of the population is significant,” said Kahlil Philander, the study’s principal investigator and assistant professor in the School of Hospitality Business Management at WSU Everett. 

Philander shared the study’s results during the Washington State Gambling Commission’s meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 16. Besides the $94 million in annual revenue, sports wagering at tribal casinos will lead to an estimated 273 direct jobs, he said.

Washington residents’ interest mirrors sports betting’s growing popularity across the United States, Philander said.

“Sports organizations and media companies like ESPN and Fox have developed their own national betting brands,” he said. “Meanwhile, typical gambling brands like DraftKings and BetMGM are all over social media and national television advertising. Washington is just starting to learn what the industry will look like in this state.”

Sports betting started at tribal casinos this fall

In March 2020, the state Legislature authorized on-premise sports wagering at tribal casinos, subject to the terms of tribal-state gaming compacts. Wagers must be placed in-person through a betting window, kiosk or onsite mobile app at the casino. Online betting from remote locations is not allowed.

The Snoqualmie Tribe began offering sports betting in September 2021, and other tribes are expected to follow. 

Not surprisingly, the Seahawks and Mariners were the most popular professional teams among the residents surveyed, and they also rooted for WSU and University of Washington athletic teams. However, the state’s regulations don’t allow wagers on college or university teams located within Washington. 

The study included a market analysis of remote online sports betting, which is available in other states. If online sports betting from remote locations became legal in Washington in the future, the industry would more than triple in size, generating about $322 million in annual revenue, the study said.

The report used a five-year window for projections, anticipating that more tribal casinos would start offering sports betting and potential clients would become aware of the opportunity. 

A grant from the gambling commission paid for the study, which includes best practices and policies from other states on topics like operator license fees, background checks, player education and responsible gambling programs.

Philander said the study provides a third-party analysis on the scope of sports betting in Washington. WSU doctoral student Lu Yuan and Eilers & Krejcik Gaming LLC of Irvine, California, also contributed to the report.

Media Contacts

As Washington State University prepares for a systemwide celebration of National First-Generation Day on Monday, Nov. 8, the university is taking this opportunity to congratulate and thank all first-generation students, faculty, and staff on each of our campuses. In the days leading up to Nov. 8, we will introduce you to some of these extraordinary individuals.

In this feature, Steve Nakata with the Division of Student Affairs connected with Jacob Murray, an associate professor and program coordinator in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Kayla Haus, a senior majoring in integrated strategic communications, Alicia Campos Macias, a senior majoring in electrical engineering, and Alberto Vazquez, admissions counselor in Student Services, and Taylor Funk, a senior majoring in integrated strategic communications, at WSU Everett, for their thoughts about being first-gen at WSU.

To learn more about WSU’s systemwide plans to celebrate National First-Generation Day, visit the First at WSU webpage.


What does it mean to you to be a first-generation student?

Vazquez: “I think it is awe-inspiring to be a first-generation student. It is something to be proud of, an achievement that demonstrates you have worked hard to achieve a level of education that will benefit your future and hopefully inspire others to follow.”

Haus: “Being first-generation represents dedication, hard work, and excitement. I am beyond proud of myself for my achievements. I beat many odds in my early life and never thought I would even go to college. Being the first in my family to graduate is one of the most significant achievements in my life and something I am so excited about.”

How did being first-gen affect your college experience?

Murray: “Even though I did not have a guiding hand in navigating the difficulties surrounding college, I made sure that my persistence to seek out opportunities always came first, that utilizing my teachers, my department, and benefits that the college provided were never lost opportunities.”

Vazquez: “Education can be a tricky rope to walk on, and at times I felt overwhelmed. At the same time, it was exciting to know that I was the first member of my family to be there, experiencing and learning new things.”

Funk: “To me, being first-gen means making the most out of the opportunities and resources given to me so I can reach my highest potential.”

What would you tell your younger self and/or current first-gen students?

Murray: “Even if you feel alone, you are not. Your instructors care. The staff at the school cares. Administration cares. Don’t feel like you have to go at it alone.”

Haus: “You can and will get through this. It’s a hard road filled with obstacles and challenges. Keep your goal in mind.”

Campos Macias: “Don’t be afraid to go to your professor’s office hours. Don’t be afraid to join a club. Don’t be afraid to get involve in school and make a difference.”

What program, person, or resource, helped you most?

Funk: “My advisors have been great throughout my college experience. My community college advisor pushed me to apply to WSU Everett, and my advisor and teachers at WSU help me a lot when I am struggling with balancing my hectic home life with academics.”

As a first-gen, what do you wish you’d known before coming to WSU?

Campos Macias: “I wish I had known how strong the sense of community is at WSU. During my first week of class, Lynn Aylesworth, an electrical engineering senior and ASWSU Everett president, befriended me. Soon after, all the EE seniors had taken me under their wing, helped me understand concepts in programming classes, and even celebrated my 21st birthday with me.”

Girls in grades 10-12 visited WSU Everett last weekend to take part in Girls Discover STEM Day, where they experienced hands-on engineering and scientific activities, overcoming challenges that required them to engage with engineering and science disciplines.

The event was free and students were assisted by current WSU Everett student mentors and faculty throughout the day.

Look at how great it went! 🐾 Go Cougs!

EVERETT, Wash. – Oct. 19, 2021 – When it comes to a food safety crisis like an E.coli outbreak, little restaurant brands have an outsized influence.  

A recent study published in the International Journal of Hospitality Management found that a theoretical crisis at one restaurant made people hesitant to eat at other restaurants even though they were not directly involved in the event.

The negative spillover effect was also greater from the bottom up than the top down, meaning a crisis at a small restaurant chain hurt the big-name brands more.

“This finding shows the power of small apples to spoil the whole barrel,” said Soobin Seo, an assistant professor at Washington State University’s Carson College of Business and lead author on the study. “This is a warning sign. It is not good news for restaurants overall when somebody else is in crisis.”

Photo by WSU Photo Services, 2021

The findings underscore the need for restaurants to be prepared to respond to a crisis, Seo added, whether it is their own or a competitor’s. The restaurant industry is particularly vulnerable to spillover from crises, the authors note, partly because of the perception that restaurants get their ingredients from the same places.

“When people hear about bad news about one automobile company, they can easily buy from another,” Seo said. “But in the restaurant industry, even though the other brands did nothing wrong, customers feel hesitant after an outbreak, and it doesn’t hurt them if they do not go to out to eat for a few days. Crises are psychologically much more influential in when it comes to restaurants, and that is why there are more financial impacts.”

For the study, Seo and co-author SooCheong Jang from Purdue University presented 380 participants with different crisis scenarios. They first read a theoretical news story about an outbreak of a food-borne illness that occurred at either a “high-equity” fast food brand such as McDonald’s or Wendy’s, or a smaller “low-equity” brand such as Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s. The study used brand names of real restaurants so they would be easily recognizable, but the outbreaks were fictional. The participants were then asked their intention to visit other restaurants that were not involved in the incident.

The researchers found that knowledge of an outbreak at a high-equity, fast food restaurant caused people to be reluctant to go to its direct competitor, so an outbreak at McDonald’s, for example, would cause people to hesitate to visit Wendy’s. However, it did not have much effect on the less well-known restaurants like Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.

Yet, in the scenarios where a low-equity brand had the outbreak, reaction spilled over to its low- and high-equity competitors. The low-equity brand crisis even impacted those outside their fast food establishment style, such as the casual dining restaurant Outback Steakhouse.

Given the extent of the spillover, Seo advised restaurants to plan their response well ahead of any incident.

“No matter what level of crisis, your responsibility or credibility, it’s always better to act immediately and honestly with the public: to have a proactive strategy to assure the safety of food,” she said.

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Media Contacts:
Soobin Seo, WSU Carson College of Business, soobin.seo@wsu.edu
Sara Zaske, WSU News and Media Relations, 509-335-4846, sara.zaske@wsu.edu

EVERETT, Wash. – October 13, 2021 – This week, two land-grant universities in states where Boeing has a large footprint, Washington and South Carolina, launched a pivotal partnership designed to spur shared knowledge and collaboration among the aerospace giant’s future workforce.

Washington State University (WSU) Everett and South Carolina-based Clemson University formed CATTs (Cougars and Tigers Together) as a joint initiative to better prepare college students for successful careers at Boeing.

The CATTs program kicked off in Everett last week with the arrival of students from Clemson University. They toured Boeing and other advanced manufacturing companies in Snohomish County and work with WSU Everett students designing autonomous cabin disinfection systems for airplanes. Given the recent COVID-19 pandemic, and the potential for future pandemics, rapid and thorough disinfection of airplane cabins is a high priority both for public safety and to manage airline operating costs. The CATTs team will develop a solution that can be deployed during post-flight cleaning that eliminates viral and bacterial contamination and reduces aircraft turnaround time. The project culminates in Spring 2022 when WSU Everett students travel to South Carolina and, along with their Clemson teammates, present their final report to Boeing leaders.

WSU Everett and Clemson undergraduate engineering students collaborate on a airplane disinfectant technology

 “We are proud to support students in the states where many of our employees live and work,” said Craig Bomben, Vice President of Boeing Flight Operations and Test & Evaluation Design Build. “This unique partnership helps facilitate a robust talent pipeline while helping students fulfill their career ambitions.”

Clemson and WSU share collective strengths in engineering education, global reputation, and land-grant history, and are well-positioned for collaboration due to  their close geographic proximity to Boeing’s factories in (Everett, WA and North Charleston, SC). Boeing, which is providing financial support to each school to fund student travel and project expenses, is a large employer of Clemson and WSU graduates.

“At WSU Everett, collaboration is in our DNA,” Chancellor Paul Pitre said. “As we prepare the next generation of aerospace thinkers and leaders – many of whom will work at Boeing – it makes sense to partner and model the kind of creative collaboration our industry partners want.”

“Providing students with opportunities to address real-world challenges through experiential learning is at the core of a Clemson education,” said Provost Bob Jones. “The knowledge and experience these students will gain from the ability to directly interface with Boeing highlight the benefits of industry partnerships in higher education.”

In addition to developing a technical solution, these multidisciplinary teams will develop a business plan and marketing strategy to support product development. Student teams will also engage with younger students (K-12 and college) in their respective communities through various portals to promote STEM education and the value of education.

Media contact:
Alex Pietsch, 206-719-5593
or Randy Bolerjack

PULLMAN, Wash. – Nearly 90% of Washington State University employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 and student levels are even higher, with infection rates involving the Pullman campus, in particular, declining dramatically compared to a year ago.

“Our vaccination rates are high and we know it’s the path that gets us through this pandemic,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “With a critical state deadline approaching for our employees, we’ve sought to work through pockets of hesitancy and uncertainty with compassion and understanding but with a firm commitment to making sure we’re doing everything possible to deliver a robust in-person educational experience.”

Under Gov. Jay Inslee’s vaccine mandate, all state employees must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or have an approved exemption for documented medical reasons or sincerely held religious beliefs. Those who don’t meet the requirements will be prohibited from engaging in work for the State of Washington, including public universities.

Although the final state deadline is still more than a week away, preliminary compliance figures are available because WSU employees were required to verify their vaccine status by Oct. 4 in order to be considered fully vaccinated by Oct. 18. Those who sought exemptions were to submit their completed requests by Oct. 4 to provide the university time to evaluate the requests ahead of the state deadline.

Students faced a Sept. 10 deadline for verifying their vaccination status or applying for a medical or religious exemption. Those who fail to comply will be prohibited from enrolling for spring semester.

Vaccination rates

Of the approximately 10,000 full- and part-time WSU employees systemwide, 88% were fully or partially vaccinated as of Oct. 5. Verification efforts are continuing.

For students who have submitted documentation, reported vaccination rates at each of WSU’s five physical campuses are more than 95%. The Pullman and Spokane campuses top the list at 98% each. Most students have either reported their vaccination status or requested an exemption, though percentages vary by campus and are still growing as compliance efforts continue.

Detailed figures for each campus can be found online.

Medical and religious exemptions

More than 1,250 requests for medical and religious exemptions have been made by WSU students, faculty and staff. So far, nearly 800 have been approved and the review process is continuing. Final numbers will be available after Oct. 18.

The requests for religious exemptions are evaluated in a “blind” review process, meaning the identities of the individuals requesting exemptions are unknown to the members of the review committee except in instances when additional information is needed through follow-up contact. Separate review committees were created for students and employees.

A panel of faculty and staff from all WSU campuses with expertise in religions, diverse backgrounds, and legal accommodations makes up the committee reviewing student requests.

Employee religious requests are reviewed by a committee consisting of a team from WSU’s Human Resource Services as well as the university’s Office of Civil Rights and Compliance. Employee medical exemption requests are considered by the university’s Disability Services team, which normally handles medical-related leave and accommodation requests.

The Washington Attorney General’s Office is being consulted on criteria WSU is using to decide the exemption requests and providing legal advice to both committees as needed.

Those who requested exemptions were asked to provide supporting information.

For employees, the exemption requests go through a two-step process. The first is the blind review. Then, if an exemption is approved, the request moves to a separate accommodation review step where a determination is made whether the unvaccinated employee will be able to perform their duties without risking the health and safety of the community.

An appeals process is in place for students. Employees are provided the opportunity to supply additional information before final decisions are made.

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Media contact: Phil Weiler, vice president for marketing and communications, 509-595-1708, phil.weiler@wsu.edu

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application officially opened on Oct. 1.

For many college students, the FAFSA form is one of the most important forms to fill out to receive financial aid, including scholarships, grants, work-study and loans. All students are encouraged to apply — even if you don’t think you’re eligible.

Here’s what you should know about filling out the FAFSA form this year.

FILING ONLINE

Apply online at fafsa.gov.

WHAT DOCUMENTS WILL I NEED?

Once you’ve created your online ID, it’s time to gather all your necessary documents.

  • • Your Social Security number and your parents’ Social Security numbers if you’re a dependent
  • • Driver’s license number if you have one
  • • If not a U.S. citizen, have your permanent resident card handy
  • • Your 2020 federal tax information for yourself, your spouse if married, and your parents if a dependent
  • • Any records of untaxed income like child support, interest income and veteran noneducation benefits
  • • Information on cash, which includes savings and checking account balances and investments

DO I HAVE TO LIST THE SCHOOLS I WANT TO ATTEND?

Yes, you should list any school you plan on applying to or have already applied to — even if you haven’t been accepted yet. Washington State University’s FAFSA code is 003800. That number is the same at every campus in the WSU system.

In the form, you must list at least one school that will receive your information, and the schools you list will use your FAFSA information to determine how much aid you could receive.

DO I HAVE TO INCLUDE MY PARENTS’ INFORMATION?

If you’re a dependent student, yes.

You must provide information on both your parents whether or not they are married to each other if they live together. If your legal parent is widowed or never married, then answer questions about that parent. If your parents are divorced or separated and do not live together, you must answer questions about the parent with whom you lived over the past 12 months. If you lived with both parents the same amount of time, provide information about the parent who provided more financial support. For those who have stepparents married to their legal parent, you must provide information on them as well. If you don’t live with any parent, you must still provide information about them.

WHAT IF I’M UNABLE TO PROVIDE MY PARENTS’ INFORMATION?

If you can’t provide parent information because of circumstances like your parents are incarcerated, you have left home because of an abusive environment or don’t know where your parents are, you can still fill out the form.

However, your form won’t be fully processed and you will not receive an Expected Family Contribution and you must contact your WSU’s financial aid office. You should also gather as much information as possible regarding your situation.

WSU’s financial aid staff will work with you to determine how much aid you can get.

WHAT IF MY FAMILY’S FINANCIAL SITUATION HAS CHANGED SINCE DOING OUR TAXES?

Some FAFSA applicants may have recent financial changes because of the pandemic or other reasons. If you find yourself in this situation, complete and submit the FAFSA form like normal, then contact the WSU financial aid office to discuss how your situation has changed. The WSU financial aid team may be able to adjust your financial aid award based on your family’s current income.

WHAT ARE THE DEADLINES TO FILL OUT THE FORM?

Submit the FAFSA as soon as possible. The form opens on Oct. 1, and the federal deadline is June 30.

However, WSU has a Jan. 31 deadline for the general scholarship application, so it’s always best to complete it as soon as possible

To all WSU Everett employees,

      As a reminder, all WSU employees, including faculty, administrative professionals, classified staff, temporary hourly (both student and non-student), and graduate assistants, public affiliates, academic affiliates, and contingent workers regardless of work location must verify their vaccination status in Workday. All employees must be fully vaccinated or have obtained a medical or religious exemption by October 18, 2021.

      The vaccination verification requirement supersedes the previous vaccination declaration process in Workday.

      Employees must complete and supervisors must validate, the COVID-19 Vaccination Verification process in Workday confirming completion of the COVID-19 vaccine regimen or employees are to file their completed request for a medical or religious exemption by Oct. 4, 2021 — TODAY!

      The COVID-19 vaccination is a condition of employment. Employees, who are not fully vaccinated or do not obtain a medical or religious exemption, will be prohibited from engaging in work after Oct. 18, 2021.

      Vaccination verification information, the Workday verification and exemption processes, and frequently asked questions are available on the HRS website at hrs.wsu.edu/covid-19/vax-verification.

      HRS sent a direct communication to WSU employees on Sept. 1, 2021, outlining the requirements of the mandate.

      HRS will offer informational sessions surrounding the COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement during the month of September. Enroll in an upcoming session through the HRS Employee Training System here.

      Employee questions may be directed to contact hrs.

      Student and non-employee questions to covid-19.info@wsu.edu.

      Go Cougs!

Paul Pitre, Chancellor
Washington State University Everett