Student Programs and Services

Programs and services in support of the academic education at Western are offered in the spirit of American educator John Dewey, who believed that the learning experience should not just be a “preparation for future living” but also the guided and intelligent practice of life in the present.

Thus, the goal of those involved in these programs and services at Western is to provide opportunities for students to “apply the curriculum;” to question thoughtfully; to reason clearly; to either compete vigorously or to cooperate sensitively, depending on the challenge; and otherwise to fully embrace the human condition and the responsibilities and opportunities it affords.

Student programs offer students the opportunity for direct participation in activities involving their mental, physical, spiritual, or career-related development.

Services assist students both in making their way through Western and in making the transition to their post-graduate lives. These programs and services include cultural, academic, and diversity-related programs and services, educational and career- related programs and services, and recreational and athletic programs.

The programs and services offered in each of these categories are described briefly in the pages that follow and they are described in more detail in the Student Handbook (   

Co-Curricular Programs

Art Exhibitions

Western’s art faculty, advanced art students, and visiting artists provide a steady rotation of shows and exhibits in the Quigley Hall Gallery and community galleries.

Enrichment Convocations and Lectures

Each semester, Western arranges for special on-campus presentations by distinguished professionals, government officials, visiting faculty, and other guests from the world beyond the campus.

Headwaters Conference

Each fall, Western invites an interdisciplinary gathering of scholars, writers, poets, storytellers, public officials, and others involved in the cultural development of the Southwest to discuss issues and problems of common concern to Southwesterners.

Honorary Organizations and Departmental Clubs

Western has student chapters of several national honorary organizations and departmental clubs which allow students to pursue their disciplinary studies outside the classroom. These groups include: Alpha Kappa Delta (Sociology), Alpha Zeta (Spanish), Gamma Chapter of Tri Beta (Biology), Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership and service), Phi Alpha Theta (History), Psi Chi (Psychology), Sigma Tau Delta (English), Art League, Association for Students of Exercise and Sport Science (ASESS), Chemistry Club, English Club (Wordhorde), NAfME, Pre-Health Club, Politics Club, Psychology Club, Sociology Club and Sustainability Coalition (Environmental Sustainability).

LEAD Office

The Leadership, Engagement, and Development (LEAD) Office creates and provides leadership development opportunities and actively engages students into the Western and local community. This office also maintains support for annual programs such as Orientation, Senior Reception, Family Weekend, and Community Clean-up as well as promoting service opportunities. The LEAD Office is located in University Center 118.

Mountain Rescue Team

The team is a fully certified university-based search and rescue team. They are a highly trained and dedicated group which has gained national attention a number of times for search and rescue work in the surrounding mountains.

Multicultural Center

This Center exists to offer educational, social, psychological, and emotional support for students from culturally or racially diverse backgrounds, however, the office is open to anyone. Activities help students from diverse backgrounds develop their special talents, aid in the retention of these students, and broaden the cross-cultural understanding of all students, staff, faculty, and the administration. The Multicultural Center is located in the University Center. Housed in the Multicultural Center are four clubs: Amigos, the Asian/ Pacific Islander Club (APIC), Black Student Alliance (BSA), Native American Student Council (NASC), and the Polynesian Dance and Chant club.

Music Programs

Each semester, programs by the orchestra, chorus, jazz band, and other groups are featured, as well as individual recitals by music faculty members, advanced music students, and guests.

Peace Corp Prep

Western’s Peace Corp Prep program empowers undergraduates to successfully compete for Peace Corps placements anywhere in the world. Participants who complete the program receive certification that they have completed volunteer hours, leadership, and academic preparation in five core competencies required for Peace Corps intercultural fieldwork. Contact the Peace Corps Prep Coordinator in the LEAD office (University Center 118) for more information.

Peak Productions

Each year students work in conjunction with communication arts faculty to present five or six full-length theatre productions, including some which are written and directed by students.

Program Council

Each year the Program Council, a student-run organization, sponsors bands, speakers, performers, and other entertainers for concerts and presentations.

Religious Organizations

Western has several student religious organizations: Christian Challenge, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Ignite, and Young Life. In addition, churches of all denominations in the community welcome participation from students.

Residential Curriculum

The Department of Residence Life at Western Colorado University promotes the well-being of on-campus residents by fostering academic growth and personal success in a safe and inclusive living environment. The Residential Curriculum is the framework upon which we base our work. The Curriculum answers the question, "What do we want students to learn as a result of living in our residential communities?"  

The term “residential curriculum” is used to describe an intentional way of promoting learning in college and university residence life and education programs. A residential curriculum, however, is a very specific approach to structuring these learning opportunities.  

As a result of living on campus, our goal is to help students become more responsible, empowered, and actively engaged members of Western’s inclusive community as well as adhering to the core values of learning, respect, community, integrity and leadership.

Student Government Association (SGA)

The SGA is Western's student government comprised of representatives from the academic disciplines and from all other student organizations. SGA meets weekly to make decisions on most aspects of student participation in the life and operation of the University, including expenditures of student fees. All students are welcome to attend.

University Media

Students manage and operate the University newspaper (Top O’ the World), radio station (KWSB-FM), and an annual magazine (Western Pathfinder Magazine), and film/video production unit (Mountaineer Media).

Educational and Career-related Services

Academic Advising

Western Colorado University places great value on the relationship built between a student and his/her academic advisor. Each freshman is assigned an advisor to assist with course selection, registration, and understanding academic policies and procedures. Any student who needs registration information or advising services may contact the Academic Resource Center (Taylor Hall 300) for assistance or referrals.

Academic Resource Center

The Academic Resource Center provides the following services:

  • Disability Services. As the key office for providing resources and academic accommodations for students with disabilities, the Academic Resource Center offers students a variety of services to assist them as they pursue their academic and career goals. Some of these services may include extended time for tests, an alternative testing site, notetakers, accessible technology including screen readers and voice-to- text software, written material in alternate format, and other academic adjustments as appropriate, depending on students’ needs. In order to receive services, students must submit appropriate documentation of disability to verify eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Exploratory Program. The Exploratory Program is an advising program for students who have not yet declared a major. All Exploratory students will be advised through the Academic Resource Center and will receive tailored assistance regarding declaring a major.
  • International Student Services. A variety of services are available to international students, such as visa assistance, orientation, advising on personal and academic matters, employment information, and opportunities to participate in numerous cultural and social activities.
  • Learning Skills Assistance. The Academic Resource Center staff provides academic counseling to help students develop effective study habits. This assistance, which is offered both individually and through workshops, provides students with skill-building techniques in areas such as textbook reading, memorization, test taking, note taking, organization, and time management. Students wishing to enhance their motivation, develop an understanding of their own individual learning styles, and improve their overall study skills are encouraged to use the Academic Resource Center’s resources.
  • National Student Exchange. The National Student Exchange (NSE) program gives eligible students the opportunity to study at one of over 200 colleges and universities across the United States and its territories for up to one academic year.
  • Study Abroad. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities to study abroad, including programs sponsored by Western and programs offered through other colleges, universities, and agencies.
  • Testing Services. The Academic Resource Center administers Accuplacer, CLEP, challenge, and correspondence exams by appointment.
  • Turning Point. Turning Point is a program for students on academic probation. The program is designed to assist students in identifying the cause of their academic difficulty and how to achieve academic success.

Career Services

Career Services supports students’ career development and outcomes through a variety of services and events, including: employer development; résumé and cover letter editing; mock interviews; career, job, and internship fairs; and group and one-on-one career advising.

Extended Studies

The mission of Extended Studies is to extend Western’s educational opportunities for life-long learning. Extended Studies is an integral part of the University. Both credit and non-credit courses are offered, and some classes are offered for graduate credit.

Information Technology Services

Information Technology Services provides technical resources and support to all constituents of the campus community. This includes computing resources, printing, internet access, telephone services, and electronic support of classrooms. Students will find a learning environment at Western that is enhanced by a variety of computer resources designed to improve the quality of education and to promote active learning. All students are given a Western e-mail and system account which grants them access to the numerous online resources available from the University. These resources include applications, class registration, fee payment, financial aid inquiries, network storage, campus software, and course grades. Access to local and national resources is accomplished via a variety of modern computer laboratories or through a campus-wide wireless network and a high- speed internet connection. The highlight of the services offered to students is the IT Helpdesk, which assists students with all their computing needs, including personal computers, smartphones and game consoles.

Student Services

The Office of Student Affairs and the LEAD Office provide a strong support system designed to help students make the most of their Western experiences. Staff members are readily available to assist students with the wide array of integrated services and programs offered through both offices. The staff also provides helpful connections to other campus resources, such as academic advising and tutoring. Programs connected with the Office of Student Affairs (TAY 301) and the LEAD Office (University Center 118) include the following:

  • Student Employment. The LEAD Office provides information about jobs available to Western students. The LEAD Office receives job listings, including work-study positions, from on-campus departments and off-campus employers.
  • Testing Services. The Office of Student Affairs administers many nationally coordinated exams, including the ACT, LSAT, MPRE, PLACE, and SAT.
  • Student Health & Wellness. Western Colorado University realizes that student health and wellness is essential to academic, personal and professional success. Our institutional prevention education program takes a holistic approach to wellness and utilizes both primary prevention and risk reduction strategies to address the following areas of concern: Alcohol/Drug use and abuse, Sexual Misconduct, Healthy Relationships, Mental Health, Suicide Prevention, Stress and Anxiety.  Western's Health & Wellness offers resources, education, assessment, formalized trainings, engagement opportunities and peer support to those in need. “The SWEET Life” is part of Student Health & Wellness and exists to help students have a safe and healthy experience while attending Western. To accomplish this goal, “The SWEET Life” organizes alternative activities and awareness campaigns, provides outreach and education, and plans programming to address the varied number of health and wellness issues that exist on university campuses. One unique aspect of the approach is that “The SWEET Life” encourages positive decision making and responsible use. “The SWEET Life” wants to ensure that students are provided the necessary skills, information, and support to make the better, healthier, and ultimately more productive decision with respect to drug and alcohol use, sexual behavior and relationships, stress and mental wellness, and overall health. “The SWEET Life” collaborates with campus groups to provide education to the entire campus community and partners with GCSAPP and the BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA to provide a comprehensive approach to prevention and wellness education for Western students.

Recreational and Athletic Programs

Club Sports

Club sports provide the opportunity for student-athletes to participate in sporting competitions against other college, university, or club teams. Club sports teams compete against teams across Colorado, the Rocky Mountains, and the United States. Club sports teams include: baseball; men’s lacrosse; men’s and women’s hockey; men’s and women’s rugby; and men and women’s soccer.

Intercollegiate Athletics

Western Colorado University is a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, participating under the rules and guidelines of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II. The University fields men’s teams in football, basketball, cross-country running, track and field (indoor and outdoor), and wrestling. Western’s women’s teams represent the University in basketball, volleyball, cross-country running, soccer, swimming, and track and field (indoor and outdoor).

Intramural Program

Western’s intramural program is under the auspices of Campus Recreation with funding support from student fees. Organized activities include men’s and women’s leagues in basketball, flag football, and soccer. There are also coeducational competitions in softball, volleyball, dodgeball, kickball, floor hockey, disc golf, and ultimate frisbee.

Western Mountain Sports

Western Mountain Sports is a unique program that takes advantage of and leverages the world class opportunities for authentic mountain sports competition that the Gunnison Valley provides. The brainchild of professional mountain biker and Western Alumni, Dave Wiens, Western Mountain Sports is embarking on its seventh year of existence. Western Mountain Sports is competitive mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, road biking, and trail running. Western students have consistently placed in the top three in national championship competitions and recently won the DII Mountain Bike Championship and the USCSA Men’s Nordic Team Championship. Western mountain bikers compete primarily on the US Collegiate Mountain Biking circuit sanctioned by USA Cycling. Western skiers and snowboarders compete on a variety of circuits including the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboarding Association (USCSA) events. 

Wilderness Pursuits

Wilderness Pursuits (WP) is a co-curricular, professionally managed outdoor program that provides rafting, kayaking, mountaineering, hiking, skiing, ice climbing, sea kayaking, and cycling adventures throughout Colorado and the Intermountain West at deep discounts. WP also rents state-of-the-art camping, kayaking, backpacking, skiing, snowshoeing, and mountaineering equipment for nominal fees. WP provides resources and information for planning private expeditions such as maps, books, and videos. WP maintains ski and bike shop repair areas with free access to tools and supplies. Students and staff of all abilities are welcome to participate in WP programs. WP also implements contract programs, such as the Wilderness Based Orientation, the Peter Terbush Memorial Outdoor Leadership Summit, and other programs by special arrangements.

Special Services

Campus Health Center

The Health Center is organized and staffed to assist students in various ways, including:

  • Counseling Services: Licensed counselors provide individual, group, marital, and family counseling. 
  • Medical Services: A physician’s assistant provides routine and referral medical care.
  • Public Health: A staff of registered nurses provides family planning services, as well as AIDS testing and counseling.


This service offers assistance or referrals regarding University policies, procedures, and regulations and assists in resolving student-based problems and conflicts. The Ombudsperson is also readily accessible to students as a neutral and informal mediator whose role is to promote fair and equitable treatment at Western.

Tenderfoot Child and Family Development Center

A fully licensed day-care center for up to 140 children, six weeks to 12 years old.

Westerners in Transition (WIT)

This program assists women and men of all ages who do not fit into the usual profile of a single student attending the University directly from high school. WIT guides the incoming student in navigating the processes of admissions, financial aid, registration, and other important steps involved in matriculating at Western. Western’s staff is committed to assisting WIT students through all of the important steps in their university careers. WIT students will network with other individuals who share their experiences as adult learners and who can provide essential mentoring. The program provides personal advising, mentoring, workshops, a newsletter, networking, leadership opportunities, grants, and scholarships. The WIT Program is located in University Center 118.

Student Handbook

Additional student services, policies, and standards of conduct are described in the Student Handbook, available online and published annually by the Office of Student Affairs (