Western Connecticut State University (also referred to as Western or WestConn, or abbreviated WCSU) is a public university located in Danbury, Connecticut. Founded in 1903, WestConn has an arts and sciences curriculum, a business school, and several professional programs including elementary and secondary education, nursing, music performance, and social work. It is also home to The Jane Goodall Center for Excellence in Environmental Studies.
WestConn started as a teachers' college, training the primary and secondary school educators for Connecticut's Fairfield County and surrounding areas. The school's name has changed over the years as it has focused on additional areas of study. First named the Danbury Normal School, in the 1950s it was called the Danbury State Teachers College. The college was renamed Danbury State College in 1959, then Western Connecticut State College in 1967, and finally, in 1983, Western Connecticut State University.
In 2012, the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso visited the university for two public talks. The Sikyong (prime minister) of Tibet, Lobsang Sangay, also lectured at the university's midtown campus earlier that year.
Western Connecticut has two campuses (Midtown and West Side) located three miles (5 km) apart and connected by a campus shuttle service.
The Midtown Campus is the original campus, located on White Street near Downtown Danbury and the Main Street Historic District. It is home to the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Professional Studies, and most of the school's administration. Dormitories on this campus include Fairfield Hall, Litchfield Hall, and Newbury Hall. The Midtown student center is located on this campus.
The West Side Campus is located on land purchased in the 1970s, on the outskirts of Danbury. This 439-acre (1.78 km2) lot is home to the Ancell School of Business, a nature center, amphitheater, and three residence halls. The West Side also houses the athletic facilities, including the O'Neill Center. On January 23, 2007 the new West Side Campus Center was officially opened. This new facility serves as a student center, meeting, and banquet facility for the West Side Campus.
A major improvement program was started in the mid-1990s to beautify the campus. Several parking lots became green space, and improvements were made to the landscaping. While a significant improvement, the full extent of this beautification is not immediately apparent and will take several years to reach full maturity.
In April 2013, startup of a newly installed fuel cell power unit for the Science Building on the university’s Midtown campus began. The PureCell System, provided by ClearEdge Power, will support the university to reap significant energy cost savings and enhanced electricity and heating efficiencies. 
The "WestConn at Waterbury" program is located on the campus of Naugatuck Valley Community College. The program offers undergraduate courses and the Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.).
As of the fall of 2011, WestConn has approximately 4,763 full-time undergraduates and 1,562 part-time students and 82 graduate students.
5,196 students (including 1,039 transfer applicants) applied to the university. 3,391 (including 798 transfers) were accepted. Of those 1,307 enrolled in the fall semester.
Most of the students at WestConn come from the Tri State Area of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. Nearly all commuter students come from western Connecticut, Putnam, Dutchess and Westchester Counties in New York.
According to the university, students claiming Connecticut residency come from 99 of the state's 169 municipalities.
Women comprise 52.7% of the entering class (462 of 876), and members of traditionally underrepresented groups comprise 24.5% of the entering class (215 of 876).
The Student to Faculty ratio for fall 2011 is 15.9 to 1 (Total Student FTE divided by Total Faculty FTE).
The Student Government Association (SGA) is the voice of the students, as well as the sole governing body over the Student Activity Fund and student organizations at the university, . The SGA has 3 branches of government: the Legislative Branch, an Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch, elected by the Student Body.
The Inter-Residence Hall Association (IRHA) is an organization made up of and works for the resident population of Western Connecticut State University. The group organizes and hosts programs and activities throughout the academic year to build and maintain community between the university's residential students. IRHA receives its funding from laundry and vending within the residence halls, and the six Hall Councils are trained and overseen by the IRHA Executive Board. IRHA is the liaison between the university and the North East Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls (NEACURH), which is a part of the National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH). IRHA's vision is “Serving as a Conduit for Residents' Needs" and coincides with the Department of Housing and Residence Life's "C.U.L.T.U.R.E." program.
WestConn's fraternities and sororities (often called "Greek community") was first established in 1966 by local Chi Epsilon Sigma Fraternity. It is now made up of three fraternities: Sigma Chi, Tau Kappa Epsilon, and Zeta Beta Tau; and four sororities: Alpha Delta Pi, Delta Gamma Phi, Kappa Chi Alpha, and Sigma Delta Tau.
As of February 2011, none of the Greek fraternities and sororities have an established on-campus house.
The Roger Sherman Debate Society participates in policy debate tournaments sanctioned by the Cross Examination Debate Association. The team competes in the North East Conference as well as the national circuit. Western is the only university in Connecticut that offers a policy debate team. In the 2013 season team Kylah Broughton and Eugene Ben Allen won the CEDA regional championship and also the team was awarded first and fifth Speaker Award. In 2013 the new team's website was published http://debate.wcsu.edu/.
Western Connecticut State University is one of the few schools in the US to have a fully funded center to provide legal counseling to students. Funded by the Student Government Association, the center provides students with initial legal counseling and advice. The clinic does not represent students in court but may make referrals for such purposes.
The legal clinic seeks to educate students about their rights and responsibilities through the sharing of information and legal resources, various informational programs and presentations, as well as individualized student counseling. Attorneys counsel and advise students on general legal concerns, consumer complaints, debts and bankruptcy, family law, landlord-tenant issues, wills and probate matters, litigation, criminal matters, administration agency matters (such as Veterans Administration), and small claims.
Established in 1998 the advisor to the legal clinic has been Dr. Harold B. Schramm, Professor of English and Justice and Law Administration.
The college's radio station, WXCI, broadcasts at 91.7 FM to Connecticut and New York at 3,000 watts. It also streams its broadcasts on the internet at WXCI.org. The radio transmitter is on the west side campus, while the studio is in the main campus student center.
The Echo is the university's student newspaper, founded in 1955, and subsidized by the student's activity fees. It has an editorial board which makes strategic and operational decisions on behalf of the newspaper. The Echo is published weekly in tabloid format, though in the past it has been published in broadsheet format. The Echo launched a new website, echo.wcsu.edu, in 2012.
WestConn is a member of the NCAA Division III, the Eastern College Athletic Conference, and the Little East Conference. The university fields teams in baseball, basketball, lacrosse, football, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, and volleyball. WestConn also fields several nationally competitive club sports on campus including Men's Rugby, Women's Rugby, Dance Team, Cheerleading, and Men's Hockey.
The following faculty are noteworthy for their published works or field work or both.
WestConn houses two observatories, one public and one for undergraduate and graduate students and faculty. The Midtown observatory is located on the top of The Science Building. It is used for both students and on public viewing nights. The telescope has a 6-inch (150 mm) refractor and an 8-inch (200 mm) Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. There is also a planetarium for teaching and public star shows.
The West Side campus houses a large-format thermoelectrically cooled CCD camera and is specifically used for astrophysical studies.
Library archive collections
The Archives and Special Collections Library at WestConn is the archival repository for the historical records of the university and is a significant repository for collections relating to the history of the Danbury and greater western Connecticut area.
The mission of the Archives is to collect and make accessible the WCSU administrative records, faculty papers, university publications, theses, visual materials, and other media created by the University. It also includes non-WCSU affiliated personal papers, local government and organizational records, visual materials, maps, journals and other media that document the history of this region. The archival holdings amount to approximately 750 linear feet.
The WCSU Archives' collection is searchable through the use of the CAO (Connecticut Archives Online) or through CONSULS.
Other schools in the Connecticut State University system
Its three sister schools are Eastern, Central, and Southern Connecticut State University.