This style guide for writers is published by the Western Washington University Office of Communications and Marketing to assist those who are writing on behalf of Western. The guide is meant to promote clarity and consistency in official campus communications, including press releases, brochures and other marketing materials, website content and more.
The WWU Writers Guide includes standards for grammar, punctuation, inclusion and the spellings of common campus names. We typically follow The Associated Press Stylebook, AP style, with a few exceptions as noted. Those who write frequently on behalf of the university may consider picking up a copy of The AP Stylebook. We’ll update the guide regularly.
Generally, no hyphen, as in worldwide, nationwide. But exceptions include campus-wide, university-wide.
See apartment advisor.
abbreviations and acronyms
Spell out on first reference and use only abbreviations or acronyms that readers will easily recognize.
Generally, include the periods in two-letter abbreviations such as U.S. and a.m. Abbreviations with three or more letters generally have no periods. CFPA, ATUS. However, Associated Students is AS on second reference, per their own style.
A few abbreviations and acronyms are so well-known on campus that they may be used on first reference, and have their own entries in the style guide.
academic and administrative titles
Capitalize titles when they appear before a person’s name: President Sabah Randhawa, Associate Professor Nicole Larson. Do not capitalize titles that appear after a name: Sabah Randhawa, president of Western Washington University; Nicole Larson, associate professor of engineering and design
An exception: Capitalize a named professorship as in Karen Stout, Bowman Distinguished Professor of Leadership Studies, or Art Sherwood, David Cole Professor of Entrepreneurship. Shortened titles are often appropriate, such as in headlines or tabular material: Bowman Professor, etc.
Don’t capitalize the names of majors, minors and other areas of instruction except for proper nouns: engineering, English, linguistics, computer science, French.
Capitalize the official names of university offices, divisions, departments, programs, etc.: the Engineering Department, the Neuroscience Program
Academic Coordinating Committee
ACC on second reference if the primary audience is likely to be familiar with the abbreviation.
Capitalize official names of academic degrees. Western awards the following degrees:
- Bachelor of Arts
- Bachelor of Arts in Education
- Bachelor of Fine Arts
- Bachelor of Music
- Bachelor of Science
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- Master of Business Administration
- Master of Education
- Master of Fine Arts
- Master of Music
- Master of Professional Accounting
- Master of Science
- Master in Teaching
- Clinical Doctorate in Audiology
- Master of Arts
Shortened forms, such as bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctorate, etc., are lowercase and acceptable in all references. Avoid abbreviations such as M.A. or B.S. in text in favor of the more descriptive bachelor’s degree in mathematics, etc. MBA is acceptable in all references.
Academic Instructional Center
AIC on second reference. The building includes the Psychology Department, the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department and the Speech Language Hearing Clinic.
Academic Instructional Center West
AIC West on second reference. The building includes lecture halls and computer labs and is joined to the Academic Instructional Center by a sky bridge.
Not all faculty members are professors. If you must use a faculty member’s academic rank, ask them, or check the online campus directory.
Academic Technology and User Services
Widely known on campus by its abbreviation, ATUS is acceptable on first reference for on-campus audiences.
Academy for Lifelong Learning
The Outreach and Continuing Education program offering academic and cultural programming for retirees may be referred to as ALL on second reference.
Use accent marks and other diacritical marks in the names of people who request them or those who are widely known to use them.
Use instead of handicapped parking. See inclusion.
Accounting Department or Department of Accounting
Active Minds Changing Lives
Western’s former tagline. Outdated; do not use. See designsystem.wwu.edu for guidance on branding, including tagline and logo usage.
Avoid passive verbs and sentence structures. Passive: It is estimated by astronomers that there are at least 500 billion galaxies in the observable universe. Active: Astronomers estimate there are at least 500 billion galaxies in the observable universe.
Always use figures for the address number. With numbered addresses, use the abbreviations Ave., Blvd. and St., as in 516 High St.
Always spell out similar words such as alley, drive, road, terrace, circle, etc. 214 Highland Drive, South Garden Terrace.
Abbreviate compass points in numbered addresses. 135 S. Garden Terrace.
For more information, see the “addresses” entry in the Associated Press Stylebook
Outdated name. Former abbreviation for what is now Enterprise Application Services.
Administrative Computing Services
Outdated name. Use Enterprise Application Services. EAS is acceptable on second reference if your audience is likely to be familiar with the abbreviation.
Administrative building located on 32nd Street, near the Sehome Village shopping center.
Admissions, Office of
Admissions Office is also acceptable.
Advanced Materials Science and Engineering Center
AMSEC is acceptable on second reference, but use care with external audiences who may not be familiar with the acronym.
In general usage, adviser, with an e, is one who gives advice or guidance. But advisor, with an o, is also acceptable, given its widespread use in academic settings. Ensure all spellings are consistent. Adviser is recommended for most external audiences: Materials produced for external audiences by University Communications and Marketing will use adviser.
Always use figures.
May be used in very informal settings. See alumna, alumnae, alumnus, alumni.
alumna, alumnae, alumnus, alumni
An alumna is one woman who attended; alumnae is a group of women;
An alumnus is a man who attended; and alumni is a group of men -- or a group that includes at least one man.
Western considers all former students to be alumni. Not all alumni are graduates.
Note that none of these terms are inclusive of those with non-binary genders. Other alternatives might be former students or alumnx.
See class years.
American Cultural Studies Program
Do not use as a replacement for and in text.
The ampersand may be used in the names of colleges at Western if space is limited, such as in titles and headlines. College of Sciences & Technology, etc.
Ampersands are acceptable when they are part of a formal name or composition title: the Hacherl Research & Writing Studio, AT&T.
An event that has been held for at least two consecutive years. There is no such thing as first annual.
Anthropology Department or Department of Anthropology
Peer advisers in apartment-style residence halls. AA is acceptable on first references in University Housing materials, when audiences are likely to be familiar with the abbreviation. For external audiences use only the full title, apartment advisor. See adviser, advisor.
See possessives and class years
The company that provides food service at Western. Locations are:
- The Atrium (Arntzen Hall)
- Buchanan Towers Station
- Fairhaven Commons
- Freshens Fresh Food Studio (Carver)
- Miller Market
- The Haven Market (Arntzen Hall)
- Oath Pizza (Arntzen Hall)
- Panda Express (Viking Union)
- Ridgeway Commons
- Rock’s Edge Cafe (Student Rec Center)
- Subway (Viking Union)
- Subway at The Atrium (Arntzen Hall)
- Underground Coffeehouse (Viking Union)
- Viking Commons
- Viking Union Cafe
- Viking Union Market
- Zoe’s Bookside Bagels
See Goltz-Murray Archives Building.
Art and Art History Department or Department of Art and Art History
Asia University America Program
AUAP is acceptable on second reference, but use care with external audiences who may not be familiar with the abbreviation.
Acceptable on first reference. Use full name, Associated Students of Western Washington University, when needed for clarity for off-campus audiences. Use AS on second reference
Capitalize Western Athletics when referring to Western’s intercollegiate sports programs. Do not capitalize the names of athletic teams, except in titles, graphics, etc. Western has 15 varsity teams:
- men’s basketball
- men’s cross country
- men’s golf
- men’s soccer
- men’s track and field
- men’s indoor track and field
- women’s basketball
- women’s cross country
- women’s softball
- women’s rowing
- women’s golf
- women’s soccer
- women’s track and field
- women’s indoor track and field
- women’s volleyball
Widely known abbreviation for Academic Technology and User Services. Acceptable on first reference for on-campus audiences.
Outdated name. See WWU Alumni Weekend
Behavioral Neuroscience Program
Occurring once every two years, as in biennial budget. Two-year budget is also acceptable.
Biology Department or Department of Biology
Capitalize Black when referring to race, ethnicity or cultural heritage. When an individual’s race is relevant to mention in a story, ask how they describe their own identity. See inclusion.
board of directors
Capitalize only when part of a formal name. The WWU Foundation Board of Directors. The question is up to the board of directors.
board of trustees
Capitalize in all instances when referring to Western’s governing board, or when part of the official name of another organization’s governing board. See trustee.
Western Associated Students Bookstore; bookstore on second reference.
Border Policy Research Institute
BPRI on second reference.
See Western Washington University at Bremerton.
Transportation vehicles. Busses are kisses.
Business and Economics, College of
CBE on second reference
Campus Services building
Administrative building that includes the Student Health Center and the University Police Department.
Canadian-American Studies, Center for
Career Services Center
Academic building that includes Carver Academic Facility, Carver Gymnasium, WECU Court at Carver Gymnasium, classrooms, offices and labs.
Center for Community Learning
Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
Archival collections covering the region from Alaska to Northern California to the Rocky Mountains, with a particular focus on northwest Washington, the Olympic Peninsula, British Columbia and Alaska. Part of Western Libraries and located in the Goltz-Murray Archives Building. CPNWS is acceptable on second reference.
Center for Service-Learning
Outdated. See Center for Community Learning.
Acceptable in all references to chief executive officer.
Title of the head of an academic department at Western. Capitalize when used before a name. Do not use chairman, chairwoman or chairperson.
Use Morse Hall
Chemistry Department or Department of Chemistry
Capitalize when referring to a specific city’s city hall, even when the city isn’t mentioned: The lecture will be at City Hall.
city of Bellingham
If it’s relevant to include the year someone graduated, set off class years by commas. Kessa Volland, ’04, said…. Include the class year only once, but it doesn’t have to appear on first reference.
More information, such as type of degree or major, may be included in the text.
Western considers all former students to be alumni. For alumni who did not earn a degree, it may be appropriate to include a class year that reflects their senior year.
Typography tip: In Microsoft Word, type any character before the apostrophe to get the “curly quote” to point in the right direction. Then delete the extra character. In other words, type x’04 to get ’04.
Retain the hyphen when using co- to form nouns, adjectives and verbs that indicate occupation or status. co-editor, co-teach. See prefixes.
Colons introduce lists, dialogue and clauses that provide examples, detail and illumination.
When the colon introduces an independent clause in a sentence, capitalize the first word after the colon. Theatre Professor Rich Brown encouraged you to dig down and access your muscle memory: He knew that you could get to these emotional places if you dug deep enough.
Use a colon to introduce lengthy quotations of complete sentences. Tucker frequently gets the worried question: “When is Mount Baker going blow? We’re all toast when it does, right?”
Do not put a comma before the conjunction in the last item of a series (also known as an “Oxford comma”) unless it’s needed for clarity.
Use a comma after said when introducing a complete sentence in a quotation.
Use a comma after introductory phrases or words. After four years of academic Russian, I was not as fluent as I thought I should be.
But a comma may not be needed if the introductory phrase is short and the meaning would remain clear. During the summer it was brutally hot.
Use a comma before conjunctions (and, or, but, nor, for, yet, so) that link two independent clauses. The bus driver didn’t seem too concerned, but eventually he heeded his passengers’ pleas and stopped the bus.
If a conjunction is followed by a dependent clause, don’t use a comma. Russian students came to WWU to audit classes and tour the area.
Use a comma for most figures greater than 999, except in street addresses, room numbers, years, telephone numbers and SAT scores.
For more information, see the “comma” entry in the Punctuation chapter of the AP Stylebook.
Capitalize only when referring to a specific ceremony. Spring Commencement was held at Civic Field.
Communication Sciences and Disorders Department or Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Communication Studies Department or Department of Communication Studies
The name of the lawn bordered by the Communications Facility and the Academic Instructional Center. Often referred to by the abbreviated Comm Lawn in informal settings. For external audiences, consider providing a description of where it is, rather than the name alone.
Community Learning, Center for
Compass 2 Campus
Put quotation marks around the titles of books, movies, operas, plays, poems, albums and songs, radio and television programs, lectures, speeches and works of art.
Do not put quotations around the titles of the Bible or titles of books and other works that are primarily reference materials, such as catalogs, almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers, handbooks and software titles. Also, do not place in quotes the names of newspapers or magazines.
Do not use italics.
Computer Science Department or Department of Computer Science
Consultation and Sexual Assault Support
If your readers are likely to be familiar with the acronym, CASAS is acceptable on first reference, but include the full name if needed for clarity.
They’re perfectly acceptable when it’s appropriate to maintain a conversational tone.
Capitalize specific course names when used in text. Next quarter she’ll take Sustainable Marketing.
General course descriptions are lowercase. She’ll take courses in marketing and environmental science.
Do not capitalize the Latin honor for those who graduate with high GPAs. How graduation honors are awarded.
En dashes, which are the width of the letter “n,” are used to denote ranges of numbers or dates. The lecture will be 3–4:30 p.m. It’s also acceptable to use words instead of dashes, as in 3 to 4 p.m. See range of time, days or dates
Em dashes, which are the width of the letter “m,” are used to indicate a strong parenthetical phrase, an abrupt change in thought, or an emphatic pause. Use sparingly. All grew up in the South, the son of an agricultural entomologist—a bug scientist—at the University of Georgia.
For specific dates, abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec., and set off years with commas. Dec. 27, 2016, was his birthday.
Do not abbreviate days of the week.
When a phrase lists only a month and a year, do not separate the year with commas. December 2016.
days of the week
Do not abbreviate. Monday, Tuesday, Friday
Capitalize only as a formal title before a name.
Use an apostrophe to indicate numerals that are left out. The ’20s. The 1990s.
“Curly quotes” should point toward the missing characters, in this case, to the left.
Decision Sciences Department or Department of Decision Sciences
Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, etc. Capitalize formal names of degrees, Master of Science, Bachelor of Arts. Note: associate degree. See academic degrees, doctor.
Design Department or Department of Design
Disability Access Center
disAbility Resources for Students
Outdated name. See Disability Access Center.
Always use figures. She ran 3 miles.
The formal title Dr. is generally reserved for medical doctors, surgeons, optometrists, dentists, osteopaths, podiatrists, veterinarians, etc. If it’s necessary to mention someone’s educational credentials, explain in context: Mark Bussell, who holds a doctorate in chemistry, …
The preferred term for student housing at Western is residence hall.
double spaces between sentences
Don’t do it. One space is enough.
Lowercase except as the proper name of our planet, Earth.
East Asian Studies Program
East Asian Studies, Center for
Economics Department or Department of Economics
Edens Hall North
Elementary Education Department or Department of Elementary Education
em dash, en dash
emerita, emeritus, emeritae, emeriti
Capitalize only when part of a formal title before a name.
Energy Studies, Institute for
Engineering and Design Department or Department of Engineering and Design
Engineering Technology Building
Use on second reference for Ross Engineering Technology Building.
English Department or Department of English
Enterprise Application Services.
EAS is acceptable on second reference if your audience is likely to be familiar with the abbreviation.
Environmental Science Department or Department of Environmental Science
Environmental Studies building
Environmental Studies Department or Department of Environmental Studies
equal opportunity statements
Required by federal law in all print and online versions of university publications that are made available to students, applicants, employees, program participants and the public. This includes catalogs, handbooks, applications, magazines, newsletters, brochures, posters and job advertisements.
Ethnic Student Center
Everett University Center
Location of Western’s academic programs at Everett Community College.
Avoid overuse. Place exclamation points inside quotation marks when they are part of the quoted material.
Outdated. See Outreach and Continuing Education
For on-campus audiences, FM is acceptable on second reference.
Not all faculty members are professors. If you must use a faculty member’s academic rank, verify it by asking him or her or checking the online directory.
Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies
Fairhaven College on second reference. Not Fairhaven, to avoid confusion with the residence hall, dining hall, or district.
Dining hall and community center
Family Connection Newsletter
Finance and Marketing Department or Department of Finance and Marketing
Capitalize the formal names of specific grants, scholarships and loans. Pell Grants, the Elyse C. Alper Scholarship for International Studies.
Financial Aid Department
Includes the Financial Aid Services Center, the Scholarship Center and the Student Employment Center.
Fine and Performing Arts, College of
CFPA on second reference
Fine Arts building
First-year Experience Course
Stand-alone course taught in small sections for first-year students.
First-year Interest Group
A cluster of three courses, including a small seminar, available to first-year students. For internal audiences, FIG on second reference.
All students who enter Western directly after high school are freshmen, regardless of the number of college credits they obtained through Running Start or other programs. First-year students is also acceptable.
May be acceptable on first reference for full-time equivalent. Consider rephrasing for clarity: The equivalent of 3.6 full-time positions.
When writing about individuals, ask which gender pronouns they use for themselves, and use them in the story. See inclusion.
General University Requirements
GUR is acceptable on second reference for audiences who are likely to be familiar with the abbreviation. Use care for other audiences; consider descriptive terms such as general education requirements for graduation.
Geology Department or Department of Geology
A summer youth program for international students in grades four through six who come to Western for language enrichment and other activities.
Global Engagement, Institute for
Formerly Center for International Studies
Global Humanities and Religions Department or Department of Global Humanities and Religions
Formerly called the Liberal Studies Department.
Study abroad programs designed and led by WWU faculty members. Offered by Western’s Institute for Global Engagement.
Goltz-Murray Archives Building
Archives Building on second reference. Houses Western’s University Archives and Records Management, the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, and the Northwest Regional Branch of the Washington State Archives.
GPA, grade-point average
Both are acceptable in all references. GPAs normally have two numbers after the decimal point, 3.25, 4.15.
Use capital letters with no quotation marks, A, B, C etc. For plurals, add ’s, A’s, B’s, C’s etc. Also, Pass, No Pass, Incomplete, Withdrawal, etc.
Capitalize when referring to Western’s Graduate School.
Great Northwest Athletic Conference
GNAC on second reference.
Green Energy Fee
Outdated name. See Sustainability, Equity & Justice Fund
Hacherl Research & Writing Studio
Part of Western Libraries and the Learning Commons, provides assistance for students in research and writing. Located in Western Libraries on the second floor of Haggard Hall. The ampersand is part of the official name and should not be spelled out.
Contains part of Western Libraries and the Spanel Planetarium.
Use accessible parking. See inclusion.
Acceptable in all references for the Robert S. Harrington Field.
Harry Potter Room
Use Wilson Library Reading Room for the name of the large room in Wilson Library, fourth floor central.
Health and Community Studies Department or Department of Health and Community Studies
Health and Human Development Department or Department of Health and Human Development
Former residence hall demolished in 2019 to make way for a new residence hall.
History Department or Department of History
Humanities and Social Sciences, College of
CHSS on second reference
Huxley College of the Environment
Consider using Huxley College on second reference to avoid confusion with Aldous Huxley.
Use hyphens to join compound modifiers, words that belong together to describe the noun that comes after, only if needed to avoid confusion: small-business owner, loose-knit group, chocolate chip cookie
Do not hyphenate a modifier that’s preceded by very or an -ly adverb.
Do not hyphenate compound modifiers after versions of the verb “to be.”
No need to add hyphens to a two-word modifier that is so common it’s unlikely people will misunderstand it. income tax return, heart transplant surgeon
illegal (n.), illegal immigrant
Avoid. Use undocumented. Or, with their permission, note they have registered for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status. See inclusion.
While the language of inclusion is a moving target, strive to be as inclusive as possible in your writing. In general, be mindful to avoid language that may unintentionally rely on stereotypes.
Describe a person’s identity regarding gender, race, ethnicity, ability or sexual orientation only when it’s relevant to do so. And use the language the individual uses when describing themselves.
Opt for neutral alternatives to gendered language or rewrite the sentence to form a plural.
Not: Every student must turn in his final by 10 a.m.
Not: Every student must turn in his/her final by 10 a.m.
Use: Students must turn in their finals by 10 a.m.
When writing about individuals, use the gender pronouns they use for themselves. If the individual uses a pronoun that might be unfamiliar to many readers, briefly explain in the text. See this chart from Trans Student Educational Resources for examples.
Mention a person’s sexual orientation or transgender identity only if it’s relevant, the person identifies as such, and they grant permission to include it. Always ask if their sexual orientation or transgender identity is alright to mention in the story – the audience may include those to whom the individual hasn’t come out. More information: the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association stylebook or the GLAAD Media Reference Guide and GLAAD's In Focus: Covering the Transgender Community.
When a person’s race or ethnicity is relevant to the story, always ask how they describe their own identity. Do not hyphenate noun or adjective forms of ethnic classifications such as African American, Asian American, etc. Capitalize Black when referring to people's race, ethnicity or cultural heritage. If people identify as Indigenous, Native American, American Indian or First Nations, ask if they would also prefer to be identified by specific tribal affiliation or heritage. If they use a non-gendered format, such as Latino/a or Latinx, consider explaining it in the story if readers are unlikely to be familiar with the term.
Avoid illegal (n.) or illegal immigrant to describe people in the U.S. without legal documentation. Use undocumented students or undocumented immigrants, or, with their permission, specify that they have registered for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status, DACA on second reference.
When information about someone’s disability status is essential, always ask the individual what language they use. Many people, but not all, prefer to place the emphasis on the person, not the disability: people with disabilities, not the disabled. More information: Guidelines for Writing About People with Disabilities from the ADA National network and the Disability Language Style Guide from the National Center on Disability in Journalism.
To learn more, review The Diversity Style Guide, curated by the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism at San Francisco State University.
Finally, only groups of people, not individuals, can be described as diverse.
Intensive English Program
IEP on second reference, for audiences who are likely to be familiar with the abbreviation.
Not foreign students.
International Studies, Center for
See Global Engagement, Institute for
Journalism Department or Department of Journalism
Karen W. Morse Institute for Leadership
Law, Diversity and Justice, Center for
Leadership Studies Program
Acceptable on first reference for Western’s student leadership program. The full name is Leaders Engage in Action, Discernment and Skills Building and may be included later in the text if needed for clarity or detail.
A collection of student academic support services located in Western Libraries. Includes the Hacherl Research & Writing Studio, the Tutoring Center, the Teaching-Learning Academy, the Center for Community Learning, the Digital Media Center, the Student Technology Center and more.
Liberal Studies Department or Department of Liberal Studies
Outdated name. See Global Humanities and Religions, Department of.
Linguistics Department or Department of Linguistics
Use a colon to introduce a bulleted list. Capitalize and put periods at the end of list items that are complete sentences.
Mail Services is making some procedural changes in mail collection:
- Place all outgoing mail–campus mail and U.S. Postal mail--inside the blue zippered bag.
- Call ext. 3770 or email Mail.Services@wwu.edu if the items are too large to fit in the bag.
- Call ext. 6543 with questions.
Also place periods after items if the introduction combined with the list item make a complete sentence.
To learn more about living, working or studying abroad:
- Check out the International Jobs and Internships Workshop Jan. 9 at 4 p.m.
- Get insider tips at How to Navigate the International Opportunities Fair Jan. 25 at 4 p.m.
- Visit the International Opportunities Fair Jan. 26 to learn about 50-plus organizations.
Do not use semicolons at the end of bulleted list items or place the word and at the end of the next-to-last list item.
See logo guide
magna cum laude
Do not capitalize the Latin honor for those who graduate with high GPAs. How graduation honors are awarded
Lowercase except for proper nouns or adjectives. She majored in mathematics and English and minored in East Asian studies.
Management Department or Department of Management
Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management Program
Master of Arts, Master of Science
See academic degrees.
Master of Business Administration
MBA is acceptable in all references. See academic degrees.
Mathematics Department or Department of Mathematics
No periods. Acceptable in all references to Master of Business Administration. See academic degrees.
Not 12 a.m. Midnight is part of the day that is ending, not the day that is beginning.
Use the following format: 3 million, $4.8 billion, 1.25 million. Do not go beyond two decimal places.
Avoid. Consider using people of color or traditionally underserved groups instead. See inclusion.
Modern and Classical Languages Department or Department of Modern and Classical Languages
When used with a specific date, abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec., and set off years with commas. Dec. 27, 2016, was her first day on the job.
When a phrase lists only a month and a year, do not separate the year with commas. December 2016.
Use instead of Chemistry Building. The full name of the building, Karen W. Morse Hall, may be used in some circumstances, such as in stories about the building itself or about Karen Morse.
Music Department or Department of Music
Affiliated with Western Libraries.
Capitalize named professorships as in Karen Stout, Bowman Distinguished Professor of Leadership Studies, or Art Sherwood, David Cole Professor of Entrepreneurship. When shortened titles are appropriate, Bowman Professor, etc., is acceptable.
Acceptable in all references for National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Western is a member of NCAA Division II. On second reference, NCAA II is acceptable.
New Student Services/Family Outreach
NSSFO is acceptable on second reference only for audiences who are likely to be familiar with the abbreviation.
Generally no hyphen unless it comes before a proper noun. See prefixes.
Not 12 p.m.
Northwest Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Ethnocide Education
Outdated name. Use the Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity.
In general, spell out one through nine (as well as first through ninth).
Use figures for 10 or above or whenever preceding a unit of measure.
Also figures for:
- academic course numbers
- credit hours
- grade point averages
- mathematical uses
- fractions larger than one
Spell out fractions smaller than one.
See “numerals” in the Associated Press Stylebook for more guidance.
off campus, off-campus (adj.)
Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance
CRTC on second reference, if your audience is likely to be familiar with the abbreviation.
Previously referred to as the Equal Opportunity Office.
Old Main Quad
The lawn bordered by Old Main, Wilson Library and Edens Hall.
on campus, on-campus (adj.)
No hyphen. Preferable to on the web or on the internet.
A small amphitheater located near Outback Farm
Outdoor Center, Associated Students
AS Outdoor Center is acceptable on second reference, and later, Outdoor Center.
Outreach and Continuing Education
Formerly known as Extended Education
Also known as a serial comma. Use only when needed for clarity.
Pacific Northwest Studies, Center for
Place the punctuation outside parentheses containing a sentence fragment (like this).
The closing punctuation goes inside parentheses containing a full sentence. (Sentences that need many parenthetical phrases should be rewritten.)
Outdated. See Health and Human Development Department
Performing Arts Center
PAC on second reference
Performing Arts Plaza
See Virginia Wright Plaza.
Use the personal pronouns (she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/their/theirs, etc.) that the person uses for themselves, regardless of perceived gender expression or sex assigned at birth. See inclusion and this chart from Trans Student Educational Resources.
Philosophy Department or Department of Philosophy
Use present tense and full sentences.
Physical Education, Health and Recreation
Outdated name. Use Health and Human Development Department
Physical Plant building
Physics and Astronomy Department or Department of Physics and Astronomy
Police Department, Western Washington University
WWU Police or University Police on second reference
Political Science Department or Department of Political Science
See Western Washington University at Port Angeles.
Plural nouns ending in s: Add only the apostrophe.
the dogs’ barking
Singular nouns ending in s: Add ’s.
the alumnus’s book, the alumnus’s story.
Singular proper names ending in s: Add only the apostrophe.
For more guidance, see “possessives” in the AP stylebook.
post-bacc may be acceptable on second reference in informal settings and with audiences who are likely to be familiar with the term.
See Western Washington University Center at Olympic College Poulsbo
Generally do not hyphenate when using a prefix with a word starting with a consonant.
- Use a hyphen if the prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel. (Exceptions: cooperate and coordinate and double-e combinations such as preempt, preeclampsia, etc.)
- Use a hyphen if the word that follows is capitalized. Use a hyphen to join doubled prefixes.
- Use a hyphen when using co- to form nouns, adjectives and verbs that indicate occupation or status. co-editor, co-teach.
- Use a hyphen when using pro- to indicate support for something.
Professional Staff Organization
PSO is acceptable on second reference for audiences who are familiar with the abbreviation.
Not all faculty members are professors. If you must use a faculty member’s academic rank, verify it by asking him or her or checking the online directory.
Full title is provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. Capitalize when used before a name.
Psychology Department or Department of Psychology
Public School Employees of Washington
PSE is acceptable on second reference, but use care to avoid confusion with Puget Sound Energy.
Lowercase. winter quarter, fall quarter.
Put quotation marks around direct quotations, dialogue and composition titles.
Periods and commas always go within quotation marks.
The dash, semicolon, question mark and exclamation point go within quotation marks when they are part of the quoted material only.
Acceptable on first reference for resident advisor if readers are likely to be familiar with the abbreviation. Use care for external audiences. See apartment advisor and adviser, advisor
range of time, days or dates
The preferred format is to spell out to and through in body copy when referring to a range of time or days of the week. The word from usually can be omitted. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or Finals week is Monday through Friday.
Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity
Formerly the Northwest Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Ethnocide Education.
Use Wade King Student Recreation Center on first reference. Student Recreation Center or, informally, Student Rec Center, is acceptable on second reference.
Preferred to dorm or dormitory when referring to student housing.
For on-campus audiences, acceptable on first reference for Residential Technology Services.
Includes residences Ridgeway Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Kappa and Sigma as well as Highland Hall. The Ridge is acceptable on second reference for on-campus audiences.
Ross Engineering Technology building
Science and Engineering, College of
CSE on second reference; formerly College of Sciences and Technology
Science, Math and Technology Education building
SMATE building on second reference. Science Lecture Hall, as the building is labeled on some maps, is also acceptable.
Science, Math and Technology Education Program
SMATE program on second reference
SEA Discovery Center
Western’s science education center and aquarium in Poulsbo.
Names of seasons are lowercase unless part of a formal name.
See Western Washington University at North Seattle College.
Secondary Education Department or Department of Secondary Education
Use only when needed for clarity.
Service-Learning, Center for
Outdated. See Center for Community Learning
Shannon Point Marine Center
SPMC or Shannon Point on second reference.
Small Business Development Center
SBDC on second reference.
Sociology Department or Department of Sociology
Use one space between the end of one sentence and the beginning of a new sentence.
Acceptable on first reference for the Dr. Leslie E. Spanel Planetarium, located in Haggard Hall.
Special Education and Education Leadership Department or Department of Special Education and Education Leadership
Lowercase, state of Washington.
Spell out when used in body copy. It’s not necessary to include the state name for cities and towns in Washington, but consider including the name of the county or other geographical descriptors for communities that may be unknown to your readers. After graduation, she moved to Colfax in Whitman County.
Acceptable on first reference for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Student Employment Center
Student Health Center
Student Outreach Services
SOS is acceptable on second reference.
Student Recreation Center
Acceptable on second reference for Wade King Student Recreation Center. Student Rec Center is also acceptable on second reference in informal setting.
May also be referred to on second reference as Summer @ Western.
Outdated. Former name of Summer Advising and Orientation.
Sustainability, Equity & Justice Fund
Grant program that funds student projects benefiting the environmental, social, health and economic practices on campus and in the community. Formerly called the Green Energy Fee and the Sustainable Action Fund.
Sustainability, Office of
Sustainable Action Fund
Outdated name. See Sustainability, Equity & Justice Fund
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Certificate
TESOL Certificate on second reference
TLA on second reference. Part of Western Libraries and the Learning Commons.
Technology Development Center
A collaborative space for technology research and industry partnerships, located on the Bellingham waterfront.
Use the format 360-650-3350. For on-campus audiences, it’s acceptable to list a four-digit extension, as in ext. 3350.
Use this spelling unless theatre is part of a proper name, such as Theatre and Dance Department or Mount Baker Theatre. Always verify the proper names of venues.
Theatre and Dance Department or Department of Theatre and Dance
If someone uses the singular they as a personal pronoun, use they when referring to them in a story. Ask first. Pair they with a plural verb. See inclusion and this chart from Trans Student Educational Resources.
The singular they may also be appropriate when the gender of an individual is unknown, but rewriting the sentence might be a better bet.
Use figures except for noon and midnight. Format: 4 p.m., 2:30 a.m.
See composition titles
Capitalize only as a formal title before a name. See board of trustees.
It’s only unique if it’s the only one of its kind, with nothing like it anywhere else. Not to be confused with unusual, rare, distinctive, noteworthy, etc.
Capitalize only when part of a proper name. Lowercase when it stands alone, even when it’s used in place of Western Washington University.
The division includes the Western Washington University Foundation and the Western Washington University Alumni Association.
University Relations and Community Development
Outdated name. Use University Relations and Marketing division.
University Relations and Marketing
Division includes Community Relations, Marketing, University Communications, Web Communication Technologies, Small Business Development Center and Washington Campus Compact.
Don’t include http:// or www in a URL unless needed for clarity – or required by the site. Always test the URL first.
If the URL won’t fit on one line, break it before a slash or period. Avoid lengthy, complicated URLs in printed material.
If the URL appears at the end of a sentence, place a period after it.
Anyone who has served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable. If someone’s veteran status is relevant to the story, ask them.
Victor E. Viking
The mascot of Western Athletics.
Not Lady Vikings or other diminutives when referring to women’s athletic teams.
Virginia Wright Plaza
The name of the plaza located between the Performing Arts Center and the Viking Union. It’s commonly known on campus as the Performing Arts Plaza, so it might be helpful to readers to describe the location: The concert will be in the Virginia Wright Plaza next to the Performing Arts Center.
Wade King Student Recreation Center
Washington Campus Compact
Washington State Legislature
Also, capitalize Legislature when used alone but referring to the Washington State Legislature.
Washington State University
Washington, state of
Not Washington State, to avoid confusion with the name of the university.
Web Communication Technologies
WebTech may be acceptable on first reference for campus audiences.
web is lowercase in all instances, such as webpage.
WECU Court at Carver Gymnasium
Western’s official emergency communications system that includes text messages, social media messaging, emails and voice annunciation in buildings.
Official name of Western’s ID card.
Western’s digital, open-access institutional repository that includes faculty research pages, masters theses and graduate research, academic journals and peer-reviewed series, conferences and events, student and university publications and more. The acronym CEDAR is acceptable on second reference--it stands for Contributing to Education through Digital Access to Research–but be sure to explain what it is to external audiences.
Western City Center
The official name of the library at Western. Located in Wilson Library, Haggard Hall and the Goltz-Murray Archives Building. See Wilson Library
Western on the Peninsulas
Comprised of Western locations in Bremerton, Poulsbo and Port Angeles
Western Outdoor Orientation Trips
WOOT is acceptable on second reference.
Western Washington University
Use Western Washington University on first reference. Western is preferable on second reference. WWU may be used later, for variety. Not Western Washington.
Western Washington University Alumni Association
WWU Alumni Association or Western Alumni Association are also acceptable.
Western Washington University at Bremerton
Also acceptable: Western Washington University, Bremerton or Western Washington University in Bremerton.
Western Washington University at North Seattle College
Also acceptable: Western Washington University, Seattle or Western Washington University in Seattle.
Western Washington University at Port Angeles
Also acceptable: Western Washington University, Port Angeles or Western Washington University in Port Angeles.
Western Washington University Center at Olympic College Poulsbo
WWU Center at OC Poulsbo on second reference.
Western Washington University Foundation
WWU Foundation or Western Foundation are also acceptable.
Western Washington University Foundation
Western Foundation or WWU Foundation on second reference.
Building that houses part of Western Libraries
Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program
Woodring College of Education
Woodring or Woodring College on second reference.
acceptable on second reference for Western Outdoor Orientation Trips
World Issues Forum
See Hacherl Research & Writing Studio.
WWU Alumni Weekend
Formerly Back2Bellingham. Typically held the third weekend in May.