Philip E. Sharpe, Jr. Community Engagement Award

The Western Washington University Philip E. Sharpe Community Engagement Award, named in honor of former WWU Board of Trustee member and active community volunteer Phil Sharpe, is given annually to a faculty or staff member (or group of Western employees) involved in outstanding community service, including outreach and engagement activities that benefit the well-being of the community at large or individual(s) in the community. 

Examples of service:

  • Participates in volunteer work, service organizations, or community advisory boards
  • Organizes forums or community programs
  • Volunteers for local non-profits or service organizations

Selection Criteria

  • Current Western faculty, professional, or classified staff
  • Minimum one year of WWU employment (this criteria is not applicable to a group nomination)
  • The work they do is not a primary function of their position at Western


The award recipient will be presented with a Western medallion award at the Celebration of Excellence Awards in May.

Award Administration

Community Relations

Nomination Process

The nomination process for the 2023 award is CLOSED. Thank you to those that took time to nominate a collegeague!


Wendy Johnson wearing a WWU award medallion

Wendy Johnson - Viking Union Event Services

Wendy Johnson has worked at Western since 2008 after a long career in the food service industry. Some may remember her from her time with Parking Services, and then she moved to the Viking Union as Event Services Manager in 2018. Wendy is enthusiastic and helpful in supporting staff and students alike in facilitating their set-up needs for events all around campus. She has a long history of volunteering, beginning with her kids’ preschool board, Girl Scouts, Parent Teacher Association, multiple high school sport booster clubs, leading a youth group sandwich brigade, and international youth work trips. Wendy started going to Nicaragua in 2003 with “El Porvenir,” an incredible non-profit in Nicaragua that is solely dedicated to rural water access, sanitation, health education, and reforestation projects. She’s passionate about this organization and has dedicated many family vacations to traveling to Nicaragua for service work trips. Wendy thoroughly enjoys working side-by-side with the various communities, sharing meals, connecting with the women and children, and getting to know people despite the language barrier. She has traveled with the same people many times because they are all deeply touched by the work and the opportunity to work with Nicaraguan communities.  

Past Awardees

1 awardee(s) for this year

2021 Awardees

Photo of Britta Eschete, Career Services Center

Britta Eschete - Career Services Center

Britta Eschete works in the Career Services Center and is celebrating 10 years of employment at WWU. Of equal importance to her job is her lifetime enthusiasm for volunteering and supporting her community. A lifelong Washington resident, she moved to Skagit County in 2000 to launch the North Sound Office of People For Puget Sound. Other volunteering highlights include volunteering at the Lincoln Theatre and RiverSong Farm for the past 20 years, and fostering the same community mindedness in her daughter Noelle. Prior to COVID, she gave her time to support many annual events, including driving golf carts at Lights of Christmas in Warm Beach, and “volunteer vacations” helping at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, NW Folklife, and Wintergrass. A graduate of Leadership Skagit, Britta is an enthusiastic supporter of WWU Community Engagement Fellows, and credits both organizations to helping her be an effective BUA rep for classified staff with Local 1381. She is currently serving on the boards of the Skagit Food Co-op, Skagit River Poetry Foundation, and Lincoln Theatre; serving on the planning team for Storming the Sound, a regional gathering of environmental educators; and she also participates in the Mount Vernon Police Citizen Program. Contribute to your place in the world!