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Project Title:Compass 2 Campus, Western Washington University Youth Mentoring InitiativeInstitution Name:Western Washington University Innovation Category:Student Success Project Director:Cyndie Shepard, Volunteer C2C DirectorContact Information:(360) 650-3093, cyndie.shepard@wwu.eduWebsite:http://www.wce.wwu.edu/C2C
Project Description:

Compass 2 Campus (C2C), launched in Fall 2009, provides university students the opportunity for service learning in Whatcom and Skagit County Title I schools, serving diverse, underrepresented, low income students beginning in 5th grade, encouraging them to graduate from high school and to consider enrollment in higher education. The program provides opportunities for youth to be mentored by university students who are trained in mentorship through intentional university coursework. Participating fifth graders are provided an introductory tour of the campus where university classrooms and offices are opened to welcome them and encourage future goals of higher education. The program is funded by donations from private and corporate sponsors, as well as grants.

C2C is the second in the replication program implementation of “Creating the Future,” a concept and curriculum developed to encourage institutions of higher education to proactively and collaboratively improve the pipeline from K-12 through post-secondary education. (See “Potential for Replication” below for more information.)

Objectives:·         To encourage and support underrepresented, low income, diverse students, starting in the 5th grade, to complete high school and enroll in some form of post-secondary education. Outcome measures being tracked include reduced truancy, increased academic achievement, high school graduation, and post-secondary education enrollment rates. C2C is not a recruitment program for Western Washington University (though of course we do hope that they will want to come here). WWU partners with four local two-year colleges—Whatcom Community College, Bellingham Technical College, Northwest Indian College and Skagit Valley College—to encourage these students to consider any and all forms of post-secondary education.

·         To provide all university students the opportunity for leadership development and civic engagement through service learning in K-12 partnerships and to increase community/university partnerships through educational development.

·         To empower a stronger work force that is better prepared to work with diverse populations, and willing to give back to the community through increased mentoring, communication, and leadership skills.

·         It is intended to serve participating students from 5th through 12th grade, adding a new cohort of 5th graders each year and encouraging academic success and high school graduation.



·         1000 students or 7% of the WWU undergraduate population enroll in the C2C service learning course per year and 17% of participating students typically enroll in the continuing course in subsequent quarters. Six sections of the five course sequence are available each quarter for three credits each.

·         WWU students have completed over 58,900 hours of community service since the beginning of the program in 2009.

·         Approximately 4,500 5th, 6th and 7th grade students in 20 schools within 11 school districts are being served by the WWU Compass 2 Campus program and mentors in the 2011-2012 school year.

·         In 2009 the Washington State Legislature passed EHB 1986, making C2C the pilot program for the state. The bill was supported by the Higher Education Coordinating Board, which provided a start-up grant to support project lead students at WWU with work study funding.

·         On the basis of service learning work by C2C and two other community education outreach programs, WWU was selected in 2011 and 2012 for the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction.

·         Compass 2 Campus received the first-ever Washington Association of School Administrators Community Leadership Award in 2011.

·         Enthusiastic praise from Meridian School District Superintendent Tim Yeomans, whose students benefit from the program: “I have worked in public schools for 22 years and I have seen a number of programs intended to assist students through volunteer efforts. Compass to Campus is by far the best work I have ever seen in school by volunteers.”

Challenges/Problems Encountered:

·         Introducing a program of this size, with appropriate university community commitment, required much preparation, communication and planning.  Planning committees were convened to help develop the program for commitment from university faculty and staff.

·         Since no university funds were available to begin or sustain this initiative, funding sources had to be developed through grants and donations both private and corporate.

·         Student recruitment was difficult due to the newness and nature of the program.  Unique ways of encouraging students to enroll were developed, including Facebook, Twitter and student group discussions, volunteer opportunities, etc. 

Evaluation Approach:

Evaluation measures are longitudinal and were begun during the second year of the program.  Measures include statistical evaluation of:

1.      grade point average

2.      truancy

3.      graduation rates

4.      enrollment rates into post-secondary education


The 5th-12th grade students participating in the program will be followed with regard to the above data (insofar as the first cohort of 5th graders was enrolled in 2009, measures #3 and #4 are at least four years off). A research group consisting of several faculty and staff members and school district personnel has been developed to conduct the longitudinal evaluation.


Potential for Replication:

Compass 2 Campus is a replication of a model created at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay called Phuture Phoenix, where it continues to run very successfully.  To date, four universities have similar programs through replications supported by the current program director, co-founder and creator, Cyndie Shepard.  The replications have variable aspects that are easily modified to accommodate the unique qualities of the receiving campuses.  Please see UW-Green Bay, UW-Eau Claire, and Silver Lake College as examples of successful replication.  C2C is currently preparing to replicate once again to another site in the Tacoma, WA area.


Cyndie Shepard and Virginia Riopelle, co-founders, developed the “Creating the Future” concept; Ms. Shepard created the program and curriculum to encourage all institutions of higher education to proactively and collaboratively develop a pipeline from K-12 through post-secondary education. She can be contacted at Cyndie.Shepard@wwu.edu for replication information.

Additional Resources:http://www.wce.wwu.edu/c2c 
CEO-to-CEO Contact:Bruce Shepard , President Bruce.Shepard@wwu.edu
(360) 650-3480
Date Published: Wednesday, March 30, 2011Date Revised: Thursday, April 12, 2012