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University of Waterloo -- Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Thursday, May 1, 1997

May Day! May Day! May Day!

The first day of May is the first day of UW's new fiscal year, and if you work for UW, your salary may just have gone up. We won't know for quite some time, as salary negotiations with the various employee groups (staff, faculty, union, teaching assistants) either aren't finished or haven't even started. But annual salary adjustments, if they do happen, are generally retroactive to May 1. We do know that there will be a little more money in most people's pockets this month with recently announced reductions in pension and disability premiums.

Today is also the first day for a new chancellor of the university. He is Val O'Donovan, chief executive of Com Dev Ltd., who succeeds Sylvia Ostry as the university's ceremonial head. Irish-born, O'Donovan invented a new type of microwave multiplexer in 1962, wrote an award-winning paper about it in the Journal of the Institution of Electronic and Radio Engineers, came to Canada, used his expertise as an employee at RCA, and in 1974 founded Com Dev, which is now a world leader in satellite and wireless communications technology. He will be installed as UW's chancellor (for a three-year term) at the convocation ceremonies later this month.

Also on the first of May . . . well, it's a birthday (a thirtieth birthday, I understand) for Kelly Wilker in the UW registrar's office.

In Britain, today brings a general election. But at Oxford (where they're getting ready to build a multi-million-pound Institute of American Studies), attention is more likely to be directed towards one of the most famous traditions of the university world. The May Day Ball and other parties took place overnight, and at dawn today -- which came in Oxford some ten hours ago, as this Bulletin is posted -- came the singing of madrigals from the tower of Magdalen College, an annual tradition for four centuries. After the music, daredevils and drunks from the listening crowd will have tried the 18-foot jump off Magdalen Bridge into the muddy waters of the Cherwell, in spite of warnings from police and officials that it's dangerous at best.

Here in Waterloo, there's a high wind warning, and the federal election campaign continues. These two phenomena are not necessarily connected.

New status for the WatCard

More than 41,000 WatCards have been issued since the campus-wide identity card was introduced four years ago, and it's no longer just a way to buy food. As a result, as of May 1, the WatCard office has been separated from the food services department and ranks as a department all on its own, reporting to the director of university business operations. Bud Walker, director of business operations, issued a memo the other day announcing the change:
WatCard office manager John Cunningham, and WatCard staff Michele Grondin, Louise Green, and Gerry Keir will retain their current WatCard responsibilities in the new department. The WatCard office will remain in the Commissary building for now. Issuing of new and replacement cards, questions, refunds, history printouts, and service inquiries will all be handled by the office at ext. 2751.

Food Services questions, comments and concerns can be addressed through the Food Services administrative offices in Village One, or by telephoning ext. 5270.

[WatCard blank] Thanks to the efforts of Food Services management and staff over the last four years, the WatCard has grown from being strictly a meal card for use at Food Services outlets to a "one card" service that is among the most functional card programs offered by a University in North America. The WatCard is a student ID card, library card, PAC card, debit card for local businesses (Student Health Pharmacy, Apple 2 Hairstylists, Waterloo Taxi, Casey's, East Side Mario's, KFC and Pizza Pizza delivery) and a replacement for cash at Chemistry Stores and for computer printing. It is used for UW calendar distribution and room access security.

For the next year, plans call for expansion of WatCard use to all Graphic Services outlets, the Bookstore/UW Shop, the Computer Store, Village laundry facilities, student services, and other on and off campus functions.

Still need a WatCard of your own? Perhaps this would be a good week to get one, before the beginning-of-term student rush next week.

Hooray, hooray, the first of May

This morning at the University of Toronto, the UW-connected Information Technology Research Centre is presenting a talk on "The Emergence and Significance of Business-to-Business Electronic Commerce on the Internet". Speakers are Jagdeep Bachher, graduate student in management sciences at UW, and Ryan Little, chief executive of Avenir Internet Solutions Inc.

The parking services office advises that it will be closing at 4:30 p.m. today and tomorrow. "Anyone needing to purchase a temporary permit may do so from the UW Police, which is the normal procedure after our business hours. Saturday and normal hours of operation will begin again on May 3."

There are a few tickets left to an outing to see the Blue Jays play the Minnesota Twins on Sunday afternoon. The trip is sponsored by the department of combinatorics and optimization, which presumably means that some of those present will know how to calculate the odds of Orlando Merced reaching base with one on and nobody out. Tickets ($20) and information: Marg Feeney, ext. 5577.

The Red River waters rise

The flooding in North Dakota and, now, Manitoba is at the top of the national news and at the head of everybody's concerns in and around Winnipeg. They lost Ste.-Agathe on Tuesday, when water rose higher than a berm that was expected to protect that little town south of Winnipeg, and now the crest of the flood is heading for the big city itself, and for the University of Manitoba campus right on a bend in the Red River in the southern part of Winnipeg.

U of M vice-president Jim Gardner, formerly UW's dean of graduate studies, was interviewed at length on CBC television Tuesday night, showing his own house beside the river and its protection with piles of sandbags. Ironically, he's a geographer whose specialties include teaching about disaster protection.

"Current flood forecasts indicate that the river's crest will stop several feet short of our dike structures," says a statement from U of M officials. "Except for the sealing of several culverts at the base of the dike, no additional sandbagging is anticipated. . . . As river levels rise, the basements of some buildings on campus will lie below the river level and therefore could experience flooding. At that point, the appropriate outfall gate will be closed and the storm sewer system must then be maintained by a pump which lifts water from within the storm sewer and over the dike."

U of M residences are already housing more than 375 people who have been evacuated from rural areas affected by the flood, and hundreds more are expected. Web pages from U of M are showing hour-by-hour reports and requests for volunteers to help with sandbagging around vulnerable homes.


May 1, 1980: Irwin Rodin moves into the new position of "coordinator of computer-assisted reference service" in the UW library.

Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@watserv1.uwaterloo.ca -- (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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