The UW Experience in Three Separate Parts

The University of Washington’s three campuses are further apart than they might seem.

The University of Washington is split into three separate campuses:. Seattle campus, Bothell Campus, and our Tacoma Campus. You might be led to believe that there is some sort of connection between the three beyond the name they share, but I have yet to see that be the case. I have seen during my time here at UW Tacoma, as many others have, that we are the bottom rung of the ladder. The only thing we share are the colors on our websites.  

We have seen it with our newspaper itself. We have lost funding year after year. What used to be a full print and color weekly newspaper was downgraded to a simpler black and white issue last year, and now to a low cost, online-only email newsletter and website. Compare that to The Daily, UW Seattle’s news outlet with over 200 staff members. You get a sense that our campuses have separate funds to spend.  

UW Tacoma gets a new boring black box Business Major building in the middle of campus, whose design reflects our confusing campus streets. This does not make us happy.  

I spoke with Kayla Rosales, one of our Pack Advisors, about the relationship between our three campuses. The main goal of a Pack Advisor is to be a peer mentor and welcome first year students with their transition to UW Tacoma. Rosales has noticed a lack of enthusiasm, as I have, with incoming transfer or new university students.  

“It’s our job to care but it’s hard when it feels like no one else does,” Rosales said.   

Rosales and the other Pack Advisors got to tour UW Bothell campus for the day. She noticed how sad her group got as they walked around this new and growing campus. There were things that would be life-changing for our campus but instead they are here, forty miles away, for a campus only somewhat related to our own. UW Bothell has a Dinning Pavilion, while, according to the UWT National College Health Assessment, over 40 percent of UWT students have faced some form of food insecurity, and all we have is a Pantry closet.  

The UW Tacoma campus has a very different feel to it than Bothell or Seattle. | Photo by Lesley McLam

We have no space to congregate, no building to form identity besides a hushed library with hanging Chihuly glass. Most study spaces on campus have “no eating” signs on plastic cards. Where are we supposed to make community on this small stretch of historic and forgotten Tacoma street?  

I have heard for a long time the woes of this student body. I have heard the responses constantly from peers, urging us to form community on our own. Join a club, find events, make the change. I now wonder instead, what is my school doing for me to ensure community growth? Why should it be on the students, who pay the tuition, to fix the broken campus you tried to cram into a graveyard city?  

A new wave of commuter students will not change what you have yet to complete. This is not a university campus. This is a three-block row of brick buildings with half empty class rooms. If you need to see what a real campus looks like, go to Bothell or Seattle, they would love to have you for a tour.