Meet Hank Belanger!

Meet Hank! Montlake Terrace native Henry Belanger, or “Hank” as he’s called, is an Environmental Studies major with an emphasis on policy and a GIS minor. He expects to graduate in Spring of 2024. You might see Hank setting up events for the Foundation. Be sure to say hi!

Why did you choose Western?

I chose Western because I fell in love with the campus and community from the very first time I visited. 

The campus feels very accessible in the sense that it's not intimidating but welcoming, and the same can be said for my experiences with the community. When I first toured Western, I felt a strong connection with its values and environment, from its artfully designed campus to the kind and helpful professors and students I spoke with. Today, I can confidently say I made the best choice. 

What do you like about WWU?

The people are, for me, the best part about Western. I love getting to learn new faces and meet new people. The students, faculty, and employees of Western are the nicest and kindest I could ever hope for, and together form a very strong, supportive community. The connections I've made here are the best of my life, and what keep me engaged and always wanting to be back on campus.

Which professors do you work with?

I have worked mostly in the environmental studies field with professors like Michael Medler and David Rossiter, and instructors like Zander Albertson.  

What is your favorite class?

My favorite class in the College of the Environment was probably ENVS 305: Introduction to Environmental Studies II: History & Policy with Zander, as it built off of the previous class (Environmental Ethics) to show me whole new frameworks of thinking. It equipped me to take a critical look at issues and examine them from multiple standpoints, and helped me decide that I wanted to go further into a policy emphasis.  

Are you the beneficiary of philanthropy at Western (scholarship, grant, travel experience, etc)? If so, how has that made a difference for you? 

The most impactful thing Western has done for me outside the traditional classroom was offer me the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica for the summer of 2022. Stepping out of my comfort zone to such an extent was an eye-opening experience, and I wouldn't have been able to undergo such a journey without the support and resources Western provided. Through that educational trip, I gained a greater understanding of the world and my own place in it, as well as my own country's. Sometimes the best way to learn about where you're from is going somewhere else. 

What would you like to say to a someone who has made a gift to support Western students and programs?

Thank you so much for your support. I have many friends who have received scholarships, grants, travel experiences, and academic support from Western. The impact on them is immense; from having similarly transformative educational experiences like me to just getting the opportunity to go to college. Your contributions help improve so many lives, and I cannot thank you enough. 

What do you do when you aren’t in class?

When I'm not in class, I am probably doing homework, volunteering (though I'm looking for a new organization to join at the moment!), trying what feels like a new club every week, watching movies with friends, or working on creative writing. Sooner or later I'll get back around to hiking... one of these days. 

Where is your happy place either on campus or in Bellingham?

Room 219 in Arntzen Hall has a soft spot in my heart. The student lounge there has always provided a great space to study, relax, or talk with friends. My friend is actually working on remodeling it, and I can't wait to see how it improves even more!

What are your professional dreams and goals? Where could you see yourself in five years?

I would love to be working in the government, helping with policy writing or really anything that helps people. I can see myself as part of a consulting firm helping advise businesses on environmentalism, or ensuring that regulations are being met. 

For more information about the Student Ambassador program, please go here.