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Central Washington University

Kittitas County Leaders to Receive a Virtual Reality Lesson at CWU

A group of local business and community leaders get a taste of computer-generated worlds and augmented reality when members of Leadership Kittitas County visit the CWU campus on Friday, March 9.

Participants will get hands-on experience with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology, facilitated by CWU Information Services. AR and VR relate to computer-generated, three-dimensional images or environments that can be manipulated by users through remote controls.

“We will let them try out lightsabers and tackle our virtual obstacle course,” explained Andreas Bohman, the university’s chief information officer.

The visit is part of a review by Leadership Kittitas County of community arts and cultural opportunities found in the region.

“Many of them have not spent much time on Central’s campus,” said Judy Love, from the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce. “They may not be aware of the extent of the museums, theatre and music productions and other enrichment programs available to the community, which are rare for one of this size.” 

Love, along with the chamber’s Chief Executive Officer Jim Armstrong, is coordinating the visit, during which Leadership Kittitas County will also hear a presentation about the university’s newest science facility, titled “Science II: The Cutting Edge; A Community Resource.”

The $64-million science facility, which opened in 2016, includes the university’s planetarium, observatory, scanning electron microscope, and specialty labs.

“We want to display what we have available for the public and discuss ways we can further collaborate with the downtown community in our outreach and engagement efforts,” said Dannica Price, CWU College of the Sciences engagement program manager.

In addition, Leadership Kittitas County will receive a backstage tour of both McConnell Auditorium and Tower Theatre, which are homes to the CWU Theatre Arts Department and Central Theatre Ensemble.

“The tour is about demonstrating the state-of-the-art technology we have and use to make art,” Christina Barrigan, Theatre Arts chair, added.

Love pointed out, “We also look forward to talking with students to learn about why they chose Central, what they are learning, and where they expect their educations will take them in the future. That is always enlightening and encouraging for us.”
Leadership Kittitas County, now being offered for the 22nd year, is an annual program from October through June. The nine, monthly sessions allow participants to become informed about various local economic, educational, political, and social issues, along with community needs and corresponding available resources. The goal is to aid businesses and organizations engage in activities that benefit the entire community.

“When we describe the program to those who have expressed interest in participating, we let them know they will explore many things that other people never get to see,” Love added.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, director of Radio Services and Integrated Communications, 509-963-1487,

March 8, 2018

Editor’s note: The Leadership Kittitas County group is comprised of Laurie Armstrong, from Umpqua Bank Home Lending; Deborah Bezona, a local investor; Lonny Butler, Suncadia and Cascade Mountain Martial Arts; Crystal Church, Youth Services of Kittitas County; Jarred Fudacz, Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce; Travis Harris, 509 Bake House; Nicole Klauss, Iron Horse Brewery; Kasey Knutson, Kittitas County Health Department; Kent Lester, Cashmere Valley Bank; Scott Lichtenberg, Puget Sound Energy; Josh Mattson, City of Ellensburg; Vickie Nesbit, HopeSource; Nicky Pasi, Mountains to Sound Greenway; Steve Townsend, Indigo Solutions; and Krissy Yarnell, Jerrols.

Photo: (L. to r.) interior of McConnell Auditorium and exterior of CWU Science II

Thursday, March 8, 2018

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