Preparing for Election Day 2020
Dear Western Community,
As we anxiously await the outcome of the 2020 election on Tuesday, I am reaching out to ask that over the next few days you take extra care of yourself and those around you, and if you haven’t already and are able to do so, please vote.
This has been a long and difficult election season for many, exacerbated by the challenges of the COVID pandemic. We're seeing high levels of stress triggered by intense political beliefs and deep-seated concerns about the direction of our nation.
As detailed at the end of this message, the Bias Response Team, Counseling Center and Residence Life have coordinated several opportunities for dialogue, care and connection next week. I encourage everyone—students and employees—to check out these resources at a time when self-care and community connection are more important than ever.
In addition to events specifically related to the election, you will find ongoing drop-in opportunities that people in the Western community might wish to participate in next week and into the future. And if you need a break, please know that taking a mental health day can be a wise act of self-care.
I also encourage students, staff, and faculty to review the Counseling Center’s excellent Virtual Care Package (https://counseling.wwu.edu/virtual-care-package). The website includes a general care package, as well as versions tailored specifically for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people. This resource is rich with helpful self-care tips, coping strategies, and resources to help you.
For all of us—faculty, staff and students—if we are able to vote, it is our responsibility to do so. Whatcom County ballot drop box locations, including two on our Bellingham campus, are listed here (https://www.whatcomcounty.us/1863/Ballot-Drop-Box-Locations), and locations in other counties are also online. The ASWWU Office of Civic Engagement has also partnered with the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office to create a University Voting HUB in the Viking Union multi-purpose room from 8 am to 8 pm on election day, November 3rd. Same-day voter registration, ballot boxes, and voting resources will be available there for all Washington State voters or those who wish to re-register in Washington. We all need to exercise our right and take this opportunity to be engaged participants in our democracy.
As a community, we uphold basic values including a commitment to inclusive student success, critical thought, creativity, and sustainability; a commitment to equity and justice, and respect for the rights and dignity of others. Please take care of yourselves and one another, keep these values in mind, and draw on the resources available to you.
Events open to students, staff, and faculty are indicated with an asterisk (*); other events are only for students.
On election day and the days following, each residential community will host events to facilitate residents in connecting with others in their community. Recognizing that election season can be an exciting and stressful time, most of these are events are designed to help students relax and de-stress. Resident Directors will be communicating directly with their residents about these events; residents can also ask their Resident Advisor/Apartment Advisor for details.
*Post-Election Processing & Puppies, Thursday, November 5, 6-7 pm on Zoom
This election cycle, amidst so much prolonged stress, is sure to lead to some emotional burnout. Please join the Western community in a post-election care space! After a brief (virtual) big-group gathering, we will divide into several breakout rooms where we can have small-group processing discussions. If you would rather not engage in discussion, we will also have a wellness breakout room with puppies and other fun wellness activities. Participants are free to select which breakout room to join. Breakout rooms will be co-facilitated by Counseling Center staff and other university partners.
To register on Zoom: https://wwu-edu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwrf-yqpjwiH9XkWeJM1ETCkXhnslpir0Un
Ongoing Wellness Programming
Monday, November 2
*BIPOC Meditation Space, 12-12:45 pm (https://counseling.wwu.edu/bipoc-meditation-space)
*Queer Yoga, 2-2:45 pm (https://counseling.wwu.edu/queer-yoga)
Veteran Services Community Check-In, 2-3:20 pm (https://counseling.wwu.edu/community-check-ins)
Tuesday, November 3
Res Life Community Check-In, 12-1 pm (https://counseling.wwu.edu/community-check-ins)
Wednesday, November 4
Yoga for Resilience, 10-11:20 am (https://counseling.wwu.edu/yoga-resilience)
Wellness Wednesday: Coping With Stress & Anxiety, 12-1 pm (https://counseling.wwu.edu/wellness-wednesdays)
Queer Connections Care Space, 2-3:20 pm (https://counseling.wwu.edu/community-check-ins)
Sobriety Strength, 4:30 pm (https://pws.wwu.edu/sobrietystrength)
*Black LGBTQ+ Thriving Collective gathering, 5-6 pm (https://lgbtq.wwu.edu/bqtc)
Thursday, November 5
*Mindful Self-Compassion, 4-5 pm (https://counseling.wwu.edu/mindful-self-compassion)