Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn., is a mid-size, academically rich, affordably priced public university conveniently located just off Interstate 84 on Connecticut’s border with New York State. Comprised of four schools and a graduate studies division, it has an enrollment of close to 6,000 students.
The university has progressed from its beginnings as a small teacher-training school in 1903, through more than a century of program development and multimillion-dollar infrastructure expansion to become the respected, full-service university it is today.
Two campuses, each unique
Only an hour north of New York City, the school’s traditional Midtown campus is complemented by the sweeping landscapes of the campus at Westside. Though separated by a short drive, the two are totally in sync with one another. Students develop leadership skills in more than 80 clubs, organizations, and residence hall associations, and participate in activities ranging from sports to fundraisers to carnivals and festivals on whichever campus they’re held.
The 35-acre Midtown campus is home to stately Old Main, the school’s original structure, which was built in 1904. On the whole, however, Midtown’s varied architecture tells a modern story. From the building of Fairfield Hall in the ’20s, to the nearly $100-million infrastructure infusion that culminated in the “green,” technology-rich, Leeds-certified Science Building in 2006, Midtown’s history has mirrored America’s 20th century of extraordinary changes and growth.
Westside’s 364-acre campus boasts a large sports complex and wide range of beautifully designed campus buildings, including the recently opened 130,000-square-foot Visual and Performing Arts Center (VPAC), home to the School of Visual and Performing Arts. With its state-of-the-art performance, studio, recording, and classroom facilities, the center draws audiences from all over to its hugely successful productions.
Collegedegreesearch.net, a Web-based search engine, rated VPAC #9 of the nation’s “25 Most Amazing Campus Arts Centers.” Connecticut Magazine called it the best college performing arts venue in the state for 2015. “It is rare that the moment you walk into a theater or concert hall a standing ovation seems in order, but that’s the case,” stated the magazine. “The main theater and separate acoustically designed musical hall are, in a word, breathtaking.”
Great programs, accomplished faculty and endless opportunity to grow
Students at Western gain the foundational knowledge, professional training, critical-thinking and communication skills essential to compete successfully in today’s highly competitive job market. Experienced professors who understand the present-day applications of their discipline prepare students in 39 programs. Majors, concentrations and options add up to 90 choices of paths students can follow to a bachelor’s degree.
Testimonials confirm: A degree from Western says your education is top-notch
“She is exceptional . . . She leads by example, provides forward momentum for the business, and is an absolute asset,” wrote one employer to Western’s Career Center about a recent WCSU-grad hire. The center provides guidance and services to students preparing to enter the job market. Other employers send comments such as “He has far exceeded his peers, and our expectations,” and “She has been the lead on several projects. Wish I had five more like her!”
Graduates themselves agree. Sam Kantrow ’09, a popular on-air meteorologist at WTNH News 8 (New Haven), praised the groundbreaking meteorology program he pursued at Western. “Without the knowledge provided by WCSU, I never would have acquired the skill set needed to succeed on the air in a top-30 television market,” he said.
Opportunities to step out and meet the world . . .
The faculty members at Western make the most of the university’s location by providing their students with off-campus experiences. Eye opening visits to world-famous museums in New York City for art majors, tours of Wall Street firms for business students, doing field research locally and abroad as scientists-in-training – these are learning events where the classroom is the world.
On their own, as well, WCSU students enjoy proximity to the attractions of our exciting tri-state area. Growing their independence, they take day trips to New York’s Broadway or Greenwich Village, or head out to historic cities like Boston.
Aware of being where so many giants of commerce, entertainment and global geopolitics meet or make their headquarters, students plan to aim for internships, jobs and future careers at the many corporations and organizations headquartered from Manhattan on up – some located in or close to Danbury!
Cory Paris ’14, a political science major, transferred to WCSU from a college in Kansas, attracted by the many opportunities our region holds. “Being just an hour from New York allowed me to pursue an internship with the Clinton Global Initiative
in Manhattan,” said Paris, who was later offered a role with that organization.
. . . and have the world brought to you!
Over the years, many well-known artists, lecturers, and performers have found Western a great university at which to speak or perform. Oscar winning actors have appeared here, as have famous sports figures, jazz musicians, scientists, and writers. The university has even been host to powerful politicians and world leaders.
“Meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Western and attending his talks about compassion was so memorable for me,” said Sheldon Poole, a student in Western’s respected Kathwari Honors Program. Poole graduated with a degree in political science. The event he refers to drew audiences from everywhere and culminated, through the generosity of the Dalai Lama, in the establishment of Western’s Center for Compassion, Creativity, and Innovation.
Brittany Chengeri ’15, a community health major, emphasized how her instructors helped her develop the confidence to participate in a health volunteer program in Africa while studying at WCSU. “I couldn’t have asked for more encouraging, dedicated professors and advisors,” she said.
Living on campus and enjoying our town
Students who choose to live on campus at Western are housed in six residence halls, three per campus. Safe, with 24/7 University Police presence and full security systems, accommodations range from classic “dorm-room” style living to full apartments for up to five. Midtown’s Student Center offers dining facilities, lounges, rec rooms, a bookstore selling various supplies, and various rooms where clubs and organizations have meetings and events. At Westside, the recently built Campus Center provides similar facilities.
Students may have their cars on campus, where there is free, safe and well-lighted parking. Continuous complimentary shuttle service is available between campuses and to the Danbury Fair Mall, one of the region’s largest indoor malls. Buses, trains and taxis offer additional options for traveling off campus to cities like New York.
Danbury’s many restaurants are known for their various distinctive cuisines. Several are located just a short walk from Midtown or quick ride down beautiful University Avenue at Westside. For movie lovers, choices range from art films to blockbusters at the nearby Danbury Lowes16-theater complex, the Cinema in neighboring Bethel, or theaters just minutes over the border in New York.
Outdoors, there are several area hiking trails and the glorious nature walk at Westside’s own Nature Preserve. Beautiful nearby Candlewood Lake, the state’s largest body of fresh water, offers picnicking, hiking and seasonal water sports.
At Western, students get involved, get productive and get in shape!
From the Adventure Club to the Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity, a broad range of clubs and organizations at WCSU bring together individuals with common interests to participate in memory-and-friendship-making experiences. Often these include community outreach projects that lead to character and leadership building as well as a great deal of personal satisfaction. Opportunities to network are inherently part of these experiences. Students are introduced to new horizons and often discover in themselves talents they didn’t know they had.
Western encourages participation in all areas of collegiate life, supporting student interest in myriad topics from preservation of the natural environment on a global scale – for example, in WCSU’s chapter of Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots organization – to performance groups such the university’s dance, acting and puppetry clubs.
Athletics, club sports and personal fitness are also a great part of the Western experience. About 350 students participate in intercollegiate team sports. With Colonial Chuck as their mascot and spirited fans to cheer them on, WCSU’s Colonials meet challengers on home courts and fields, in the 2,500-seat stadium of the Athletic Complex, or away at rival schools. There are six men’s and eight women’s teams:
In addition, Westside’s 80,000-square-foot O’Neill Center houses a pool, arena, courts, and workout facilities. Here, students participate in numerous intramural and club sports. At Midtown, the WesternRec program and Colonial Fitness Zone provide perfect venues for participation in intramural sports, attending special events and meeting the challenge of staying fit.
Bright futures begin here
Spirited, talented, and full of promise, students at Western respond to the many opportunities the university offers them. And as the future opens on ever-expanding vistas of career and personal possibilities, discovering and developing the unique potential of each of its students will continue to remain priority one for WCSU.
Western Connecticut State University International Admissions: