WSU Tri-Cities welcomes students back to campus for fall 2023 semester

By Lacey Desserault

Washington State University Tri-Cities’ Week of Welcome kicked off the fall 2023 semester on campus. Many updates are happening around the campus, including the announcement of several new academic programs, increased research and involvement in clean energy, and the upcoming anniversary of WSU Tri-Cities becoming a part of the WSU system.

On Tuesday, Aug. 22, WSU Tri-Cities’ Chancellor Sandra Haynes officially welcomed students, faculty and staff to campus during University Convocation, a ceremonial gathering to formally recognize the beginning of the academic year. There, Haynes introduced new and returning faculty and staff, and announced several new academic programs that will begin instruction in fall 2024, which include cybersecurity, social work, and an energy and environment certificate. Haynes also discussed the hard launch of the Institute for Northwest Energy Futures, recognizing inaugural director Noel Schulz, and assistant director Yonas Demissie and provided inspiration surrounding the upcoming 35th anniversary of the Tri-Cities campus integrating into the WSU system in 2024.

“A lot has changed on this campus over 35 years and the common theme throughout all of this change, is that WSU Tri-Cities has always risen to meet the occasion,” said Haynes during the Convocation remarks. “We have evolved and advanced through our renowned research and academics to meet a changing world.”

Week of Welcome events included a campus-wide engagement fair and BBQ, sponsored by STCU. New and returning students had the opportunity to learn about on-campus organizations and resources available to them, while enjoying a meal catered by local food truck 13 Bones BBQ. The STCU Coug Cart was also out giving students rides around campus.

“The 2023 Week of Welcome Engagement Fair BBQ hosted over 40 WSU Tri-Cities student organizations, colleges, departments, and community organizations, and had over 350 people in attendance at the event, which really highlights the vibrant campus culture we’ve been working to build,” said Evelyn Martinez-Ostrom, director of student engagement and leadership. “We’d like to thank our event sponsor, STCU, for their contributions to creating a positive student experience for the Week of Welcome at WSU Tri-Cities. The Office of Student Engagement and Leadership’s goal with this event is to connect new and returning students to our campus and engagement via clubs, departments, colleges, and community organizations, and many wonderful connections were made between our students and these engagement resources.”