Skip to content

You may have heard about CougsFirst! and our mission to promote the mindset of “Think CougsFirst!” But we often hear the questions: “What exactly is CougsFirst!?” or “How does CougsFirst! differ from the University and the Alumni Association?”

In this blog post, we will explore the essence of CougsFirst! as a business network, our unique vision, and the ways we encourage WSU alumni and friends to support fellow Cougs through products, services, and hiring.

The Purpose Behind CougsFirst!

CougsFirst! is a business network that brings together WSU alumni and friends with the goal to foster a culture of thinking CougsFirst! We serve as a platform for Cougs to connect, interact, and collaborate within a positive business environment.

Our purpose is multi-faceted, but often boils down to this: We want more Cougs to do business with more Cougs. 

As a consumer, wouldn’t you rather purchase your next car from a Coug-owned dealership? How about when you’re planning your next vacation – wouldn’t it be better to give your money to a Coug-managed hotel? 

On the flip side, as a business owner, wouldn’t it be great to get your business out there in front of thousands of Cougs that want to support you?

Why is This So Unique?

There is no other university network that elicits the same emotion, connection, and passion as Washington State University. Once a Coug, always a Coug – and we take pride in that!

In fact, CougsFirst! is the only alumni business network of its kind in the Pac-12. Many other universities have an Alumni Association with memberships for individuals, and some have a small list of alumni owned businesses posted on their websites, but we’ve yet to find another independent, non-profit organization like ours. 

We’ve found that WSU alumni and friends are more dedicated, passionate, and supportive than any other alumni group out there. We all know that WSU is special; the education we receive is valuable; the Coug community feels like home; and the connection we have with fellow Cougs is unexplainable at times. 

This is precisely why we, and our business community, strongly believe that Cougs should support Cougs. 

Connecting the Cougar Business Community

We work to achieve our mission of connecting with the Coug business community primarily by organizing special events year round and leveraging the power of social media. 

These initiatives provide WSU alumni and friends with opportunities to connect, share their experiences, and form valuable professional relationships.

CougsFirst! as an Independent Organization

CougsFirst! was founded as an independent, non-profit organization that works in close collaboration with Washington State University and the Alumni Association. While we are a separate organization, we retain close and powerful partnerships with both WSU and the WSUAA to bring our community together and ensure that each of our organizational purposes are met. 

Similar to a Chamber of Commerce, CougsFirst! focuses most on business memberships and connecting Cougs with those businesses. If you’re a business looking for more support and connections, we’ve got you covered. If you’re a Coug looking for more ways to support other Cougs and their businesses, then you’re also in the right place. 

CougsFirst! is an empowering business network that has seen significant growth and change over the last few years. You can learn even more about what we’ve been up to over the past year in our latest blog post from Executive Director, Tony Poston. 

By promoting the idea of “Think CougsFirst!” for products, services, and hiring, we aim to create  a supportive environment where WSU alumni and friends can connect, collaborate, and contribute to the success of fellow Cougs. 

Together, we can continue to harness the power of the WSU community, foster meaningful professional relationships, and drive the growth of Coug-owned, -managed, and -affiliated businesses. 

So, we invite you to embrace the CougsFirst! mindset and join us in building a vibrant and thriving business network that showcases the true spirit of Cougar Nation.

Go Cougs!