Teacher in classroom

Sound Waters University

A University for All

Project Metric

500+ People attend annually.. See Our Impact
SWU project page photo of Hillary Franz - Washington Commissioner of Public Lands
Hillary, Franz , Washington Commissioner of Public Lands

Sound Waters University (SWU) is the premier educational event sponsored by Sound Water Stewards. Since the early 1990’s, Sound Waters Stewards has presented SWU every year on the first Saturday of February. The ever-popular event offers a wide range of collegiate level courses to the public. Attendees choose from a variety of emerging topics taught by select volunteer professionals. Some speakers may offer scientific information on climate change, marine animals, and coastal geology. Others may discuss local history, the culture of the Coast Salish Peoples, and much more. No one needs prior knowledge to attend. SWU encourages those with an interest in and a passion for the Salish Sea and its inhabitants to enroll.

SWU project page photo of crowd for keynote speaker
SWU project page photo of Introduction of the Jan Holmes Awardee

SWU launched a new chapter as a virtual event amid the pandemic in 2021. In 2022, we added field trips for a deeper dive into local habitats and species (held on different days than the Saturday SWU). Virtual classes are recorded and therefore registrants may see all the classes that are presented, not just those they attend live.

Online, in 2023, SWU presents three sessions with three classes each to choose from, plus a morning and an afternoon keynote address and offers 17 field trips to choose from.

Prior to 2021, over 700 attendees from the Puget Sound region would attend this event in person. A keynote presentation began the day. Three sessions with choices from a 60-class menu followed; plus, an exhibits hall ran all day. SWU aims to re-instate this format once COVID protocols allow.

SWU project page photo of banners and signs

Sound Waters University is an important fundraising event for the nonprofit Sound Water Stewards. It requires a fee or scholarship to register. The funds raised support the mission of Sound Water Stewards.