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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Friday, January 22, 1999

  • La Bastille a cultural coup
  • Senate seat update
  • Registration deadlines loom
  • Events for a slushy Friday and beyond
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La Bastille a cultural coup --from the UW News Bureau

Walk by the commemorative plaque inscribed with the words "Dedicated to the Enhancement and Celebration of French Language and Culture" and you will soon find all the strangeness of travelling to a foreign land.

Bienvenue to La Bastille! -- une famille francaise de St. Paul's College, affiliated with the University of Waterloo.

This Bastille, unlike its historical counterpart in Paris, is the only French-language residence on the UW campus. The 18 students who occupy this single floor are not an unruly mob but are engaged in a different spirit of reform, fully immersing themselves in all aspects of French culture -- language, education, social relations and ritual.

Full of "joie de vivre," La Bastille offers a quintessential French experience: daily conversational French with colleagues who share a common interest in the culture, interaction with a French assistant (traditionally from France), a library of French books/videos, intellectual outings and social events. TV privileges, too, mais seul francaise.

For the French, eating is more a way of life than of keeping alive and the students of La Bastille uphold this view. When it's their turn to serve supper at St. Paul's community get-togethers, they don their berets and are full of French song.

Olivier Venance, a graduate student from the University of Strasbourg in France, is this year's assistant. During his eight-month term, Venance interacts with the students at La Bastille, teaches conversational French to first-year students and oversees the language labs in the department of French studies. In exchange, he receives a modest honorarium from the faculty of arts and a small bursary from St. Paul's to assist with the cost of room and board at the college.

In return, the French studies department sends one of its graduating students to France to carry out similar responsibilities in a French high school or university. The government of France underwrites this activity.

Financial cutbacks in the faculty had threatened the agreement between UW and the French government. Thanks to the generous support of Jeannine Rabb, a resident of Goodwood, Ontario, the agreement will remain intact until 2005. Her financial backing is an expression of gratitude to the French people who saved her from the Holocaust.

Learning is reciprocal at La Bastille, with the assistant and students exchanging information about the other's culture. Venance celebrated Christmas in Ottawa with the family of a La Bastille student. Discovering French-Canadian idioms has been interesting for Venance who is a linguistics student.

There is usually a peppering of students from Quebec in the residence, as well. According to Kira Bruschke, a second-year student majoring in French studies and the don at La Bastille this term, "Politics doesn't enter discussions at La Bastille. By living together, you learn what's important to them. This breaks down prejudices and expands your viewpoint of French-Canadian culture."

"It's not easy to find a mini-francophone community, especially in Waterloo," adds Theresa Cooke, a second-year systems design engineering student. Living at La Bastille allows her to maintain the French-language skills she gained in Quebec.

Conceived in 1984 by Francois Gerard, then principal of St. Paul's College, and Donald Wilson, a faculty member in the department of French studies. "La Bastille complements the college's Canadian studies program which is administered at St. Paul's," notes Helga Mills, principal of the college. "French is a large part of our national identity, and a serious study of Canada would be remiss without attention to French."

Admission to the French floor residence is on a first-come, first-served basis for qualified students. New and returning students from all academic disciplines are welcome to apply. A level of fluency that allows contribution to floor discussions in French and a commitment to always speak French on the floor are the criteria for entry.

Senate seat update

From the university secretariat, nominations closed at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, January 19 for the senate faculty-at-large seat. No nominations were received. The seat was open only until April 30, 1999. Nominations will be opening soon for a faculty-at-large seat extending from May, 1999 to April 30, 2001.

The results of nominations for senate undergraduate seats, which closed at the same time, are as follows:

There will be an election for the engineering seat; the nominees and their statements:

Ballots will be mailed to off-campus co-op students today, to be returned by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, February 10. On-campus voting will coincide with the annual Federation of Students' elections on Tuesday, February 9, and Wednesday, February 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Registration deadlines loom

Today is the last day for 100 per cent refunds on tuition, co-op fees and work report marking. In refunds given after today, 50 per cent of winter term tuition fees will be retained by the university.

Next Friday, January 29 is the "absolute last day to pay fees for the Winter term," the registrar's office warns, noting that "tuition fees or arrangements will not be accepted after this date, and Winter academic records of students who have not paid will be deleted."

Friday, February 19, is the last day to receive a 50 per cent refund on the above fees. Full tuition for the winter term will be kept by the university after this date.

And a final reminder for undergraduate students who were here in the fall term and are on campus now: today is the last day to pick up fall mark reports. Engineering students can retrieve their marks in departmental offices, other students on the second floor of Needles Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reports not claimed will be mailed to students' home addresses.

Events for a slushy Friday and beyond

As part of an ongoing series of lectures on tourism, recreation and leisure studies professor Stephen Smith will speak from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. today on "Measuring Tourism". The lecture will be held in Burt Matthew Hall room 1621.

Interview Skills: Selling your Skills is the title of a workshop offered by co-op and career services today from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Needles Hall room 1020.

"Concept, Object and Penumbra: How numbers are given to us" will be explored by Peter Apostoli of the University of Toronto at a UW philosophy department colloquium today at 3:30 in Hagey Hall room 373.

What to do on a Friday night? The Banff Festival of Mountain Films will be screened at 7 p.m. at the Humanities Theatre, or for those looking for thrills less vicarious, there's a chance to "swing the night away! Party and dance!" It's happening at the Grad House as part of the Graduate Student Association's 25th anniversary event series. Starting at 8 p.m., "learn to swing with the best of 'em. We'll have people to show you how," organizers promise. Tickets -- available today at the Grad House bar, tonight at the door -- are $5 for members and $7 for non-members. Price includes a complementary drink and food.

Parking services sends word it will be closed this Saturday. For temporary permits, contact UW police. All other parking requests should wait until Monday, when the office reopens at 7:30 a.m.

What games, we don't know, but the WatSFIC (Waterloo Science Fiction Club) is holding its first Games Day of the term tomorrow from 10 a.m. until "late in the night" in the multipurpose room of the Student Life Centre. "This event is open to all members of the university community."

Considering a year abroad studying at the University of Ulster at Coleraine? Apply now, advises the faculty of arts, which offers an exchange opportunity for students in their third year. Applications are available from Susan Andrews, Hagey Hall room 145, or from history professor Jim Walker in Hagey Hall room 112, who can also provide more information at ext. 3706. The deadline for submission of applications is February 1.

Someone to help develop and coordinate a drama group for adults with brain injury, office volunteers, literacy tutors for developmentally challenged adults, and friendly people to staff coffee kiosks are among the opportunities offered this week by the Volunteer Action Centre. To learn more, phone 742-8610.

Barbara Elve

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