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  Daily Bulletin

University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Thursday, March 25, 1999

  • Students Advising Co-op revamped
  • UW team ranks fifth in Putnam
  • Feds honour student leaders
  • A contest, fundraising and more
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Students Advising Co-op revamped

When computer science co-op students Simon Woodside and Paul Schreiber agreed to co-chair Students Advising Co-op this term, they knew the organization's days were numbered.

"It was ineffective and had a poor reputation with students," said Schreiber.

Formed in the early 1980s as the Student Advisory Council to provide a forum for student input into the co-op department, the group later became a Federation of Students commission, with the Feds providing funding and accountability. "In practice," said Schreiber, "SAC had relative autonomy."

In recent years, however, the perception developed that SAC "wasn't accomplishing much useful to students." With a mandate only to advise the co-op department, students began to describe SAC as a "lackey of co-op" and resented the lack of student services and student representation.

"There are 9,000 co-op students at UW, and no one to represent or serve them. We saw this as a significant problem."

Opposition to SAC grew last year to such an extent that the student newspaper described the group as "Students Apologizing for Co-op". SAC found it difficult to represent the views of students, said Schreiber, simply because "they were trying to please too many factions. There were too many forces at work."

When Woodside and Schreiber became co-chairs in January, they set up a working group to look at options to replace SAC. The result is a proposal for two new groups, with tentative names suggested. The Co-op Improvement Commission (CIC) "essentially picks up the mandate of SAC," said Schreiber, conveying the views of students to the co-op department. Co-op Student Services (CSS), on the other hand, "will be responsible for the services side -- WatPubs, the co-op student handbook, the CIC/CSS office, the web page, and all sorts of other funky student services they wish to offer."

Both groups will continue to operate under the Feds umbrella as student commissions. As well, a co-op students' council is proposed as a "subset" of the existing Feds students' council. It would consist of the co-op students who already sit on students' council, and would make decisions on co-op issues.

By-law changes are required for the proposals to be implemented, said Feds president Christian Provenzano, and are expected to be approved this week by the Feds board of directors. Final approval is expected at the Feds general meeting in October.

Among the other initiatives underway for co-op students are the development of a co-op handbook, a newsy and up-to-date web site for the transitional SAC, the establishment of an internet mailing list, and "a better system of record keeping -- more public and more open." As well, work is progressing on a formal survey of co-op students which may be ready by summer, said Schreiber.

Future plans call for student evaluations of co-op field coordinators, and a distinguished coordinator award to recognize outstanding performance, he said. As for the UW co-op department, "They will see very little change," Schreiber predicts. "They'll be meeting with CIC instead of SAC."

UW team ranks fifth in Putnam

The results are in for the prestigious William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition held in December of last year, reports statistics and actuarial science professor Christopher Small, coach of the UW team. "In the 1998 competition, Waterloo was one of the winning universities and will receive an award of $5,000 (US) for its fifth place ranking among the 419 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada."

Waterloo was represented in the competition by the team members Sabin Cautis, Derek Kisman, and Soroosh Yazdani. "In the Putnam competition," says Small, "universities are ranked by the performance of their teams. However, students also participate in the competition as individuals. So many students who are not team members write the competition each year.

"As individuals, Waterloo students excelled in 1998. Sabin Cautis was 10th in individual rankings out of 2,581 students who participated. He has scored in the top ten of the competition for two consecutive years," adds Small, who terms the feat "an outstanding performance. Donny Cheung followed closely on his heels in 13th place. For their fine performances, each will receive an award of $1,000 (US). Derek Kisman and Ian VanderBurgh received Honourable Mentions, which are awarded to individuals ranked 27th-60th. There were 11 Waterloo students in the top 200, and 21 students in the top 500."

First place overall went once again to Harvard University, with M.I.T., Princeton and the California Institute of Technology in second, third and fourth places respectively. Among Canadian universities, the University of Toronto placed among the top ten.

For those who enjoy a challenge -- Small sends along a sample question, B5 from the 1998 Putnam: Let N be the positive integer with 1998 decimal digits, all of them 1; that is, N=11111...11 (where there are 1998 ones). Find the thousandth digit after the decimal point of the square root of N. The answer will be published in Monday's Bulletin.

Feds honour student leaders

The Federation of Students held its 16th annual student leadership awards banquet last night to recognize the contributions of volunteers from the UW undergraduate community.

The award for overall leadership was presented to Alyson Woloshyn, with Jessica Kwik receiving the prize for overall participation.

Awards were also handed out to an outstanding student from each faculty: Matt Iley (science), Sarah Kamal (math), Alan Cannistraro (engineering), Kelly Gerus (environmental studies), Melanie Hazelton (arts), and Natalie Gillis (applied health sciences).

A contest, fundraising and more

"Find a name, discover fame," promises Amber Christie, communications associate for co-op and career services. The department is seeking a name for a new newsletter that will be distributed to co-op students this spring. The winner of the contest will receive a UW sweatshirt and recognition (the fame part) in the premier issue. Submissions are due by March 31 and can be sent to Christie in Needles Hall room 1036, or at ajchrist@nh1adm.uwaterloo.ca.

Books will sell for 25 cents each at the Renison College Library book sale today. Proceeds go to the library Trellis fund.

It's customer appreciation day at the UW Shop and Bookstore. That means 25 per cent off all regular priced merchandise at the UW Shop and 25 per cent off selected architecture supplies at the Bookstore. An additional 15 per cent reduction will be given on already discounted general books, not including Springer sale books.

Senate finance committee meets today at 9:30 a.m. in Needles Hall room 3001. Senate research council meets at 1:30 p.m. in Needles Hall room 3004.

Building Locality into the World Wide Web is the subject of a seminar today by Fred McGarry, president and CEO of Mapconnects Inc., and infraNET Project distinguished speaker. The talk begins at 2:30 p.m. in Davis Centre room 1302. Pre-registering is recommended; phone ext. 5611.

The Humane Society will be the beneficiary of a fund-raising coffee house hosted by the turnkey desk today at 5 p.m., as well as a book sale and a bake sale. Turnkeys are still accepting donations of books today.

Structural engineer Jane Wernick, who teaches at the Architectural Association in London, England, will speak on The Engineer as Artful Collaborator at tonight's Arriscraft lecture at 7 in the Environmental Studies 2 Green Room.

UW drama's production of Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) continues tonight at 8 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre, Hagey Hall. Tickets are available at the box office, ext. 4908. The play runs through Saturday.

Understanding the Family Business: For Non-Family Employees in Family Firms will be discussed bright and early tomorrow by Peter Hallman of the Hallman Group of Companies, and John Fast, director of the Centre for Family Business. The talk will be presented from 7:30 to 9 a.m. over breakfast at Club Willowells, $25 for members and $30 for non-members. For more information, phone the Centre at 886-0910.

Recyle those old phone books and UW calendars, advises waste management coordinator Patti Cook. They can be recycled by placing them beside the white recycling box. "Phone books represent about 9 tonnes of material recycled each year," she adds.

The UW staff association sends a note to cancel a notice in Tuesday's Daily Bulletin. The association is not seeking a staff member to serve on the provost's advisory committee on staff compensation. The position of the current representative will be renewed.

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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