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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Tuesday, May 4, 1999

  • Dry grass on a spring morning
  • Co-op students check in
  • Injury rate still above average
  • A few other announcements

Dry grass on a spring morning

Across a pale blue sky there are a few white wisps of cirrocumulus, but nothing that threatens rain. There might be "showers" later this week, the forecasters are saying. Meanwhile, the environment is perfect for frisbee and sunburn, but not so fine for anybody who's trying to grow green grass.

Receipt reminder

A note from the registrar's office: "Fee receipts for full-time undergraduate students registered at the university are available for pickup in the registrar's office. Fee receipts for part-time undergraduate students are mailed. Fee receipts for undergraduate Renison or St. Jerome's students are available in the business office at Renison or St. Jerome's. The absolute last day to pay fees for the spring '99 term is May 31, 1999."
Les Van Dongen, UW's grounds supervisor, says he can't walk across the campus these days without somebody stopping him to ask for lawn advice. And what can he suggest? Not much -- only that grass needs water. The last rain in Kitchener-Waterloo was April 22.

Everybody is experiencing brown, patchy lawns, except maybe for areas that were well watered last summer (when it was also pretty dry). UW's Columbia Street playing fields always get special watering, for example. Van Dongen is particularly concerned about areas that his crew re-seeded earlier this spring, such as south-facing slopes where the ravages of drought and grubs left the lawn in especially bad shape. If there's no rain in the next few days, "we're going to have to start the irrigation a month early," he said.

Still, the sun is shining, the runners and bikers are out (including one bike travelling at warp speed that just about flattened me this morning), the birds are chattering, machinery is whirring as a crew does something on the roof of St. Jerome's University, and I'm sure I heard a church bell sounding at 8 a.m. That's not a usual sound on this campus; anybody have any idea where it might have come from?

Co-op students check in

For thousands of co-op students who were at work in the winter term, it's time for a return-to-campus interview. Interviews with coordinators are scheduled all this week, says the co-op department. It also notes that work reports from the winter term will be due by 4 p.m. next Tuesday, May 11 ("some faculties differ").

And the cycle just keeps going: postings of fall term jobs will begin on Wednesday, May 12.

A total of 3,831 co-op students had jobs in the winter term, according to figures from the co-op department, while 72 students "scheduled to work" were unemployed. That works out to an employment rate of 98.16 per cent.

More than half the unemployed students were in first-year mathematics, where 34 out of 400 students didn't find jobs.

The number of students who found jobs this winter "is a tribute to both the students and the employers," says Bruce Lumsden, director of co-op education and career services, who notes that there has been "a slight bulge" in the number of students looking for jobs, particularly at the second-year level, because of unusually high first-year enrolment a year ago.

"As we begin to enter an expansion phase in the university," Lumsden writes, "it is critical that we maintain and increase our co-op employer base."

Injury rate still above average

With 41 "disabling injuries" to staff and faculty members last year, UW has a higher rate of such injuries than other employers of the same kind surveyed by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, according to the annual injury and fire report from the safety office.

The WSIB calculates Waterloo's full-time equivalent number of employees at 4,918 and divides the 41 injuries by that number to get a "disabling injuries rate" of 0.83, compared to 0.76 for the universities, libraries and museums included in WSIB "rate group 817".

The UW rate was 0.77 in both 1997 and 1996, when there were 36 and 37 disabling injuries -- significantly less than the 65 injuries reported in 1995.

Last year's injuries resulted in 517 "disabling days", defined as "any day an employee is unable to work following the day of the injury during the same calendar year". Safety director Kevin Stewart says the number of disabling days has been declining steadily since 1995, largely because of efforts to provide "early safe return to work" for injured employees, with jobs modified and special arrangements made for staff who are recovering.

Many of the injuries last year were concentrated in plant operations (12), housing (9), food services (5) and central stores (3), but the department that had the most mayhem, considering its size, was the Hildegard Marsden Co-operative Day Nursery, with 5 injuries producing 124 "disabling days". Most of that time off was the result of "one injury involving a stroller", says UW's safety director, Kevin Stewart, who issued the report and commented on it at a recent meeting of the joint health and safety committee.

The report also notes that there were 92 known injuries to students and visitors last year. Those aren't included in the WSIB figures, which are based on workers' compensation claims. The largest number of injuries resulted from the innocent activity of walking -- and it can't all have been on slippery snow and ice, since the month with the most injuries on campus was September.

The report shows a total of 113 fire alarms on campus during 1998, which is up from 106 in 1997 but lower than the 1996 figure of 136. "Most of the alarms were at Village I and UW Apartments," the report says. (Village I had 27 alarms, the Apartments 26, and Ron Eydt Village 13.) "The number of intentional (wilful) false alarms decreased to 20 from 22."

A few other announcements

A panel discussion about federal policy on intellectual property ("Public Investments in University Research: Reaping the Benefits") will start at 2:30 today in Needles Hall room 3001, sponsored by the faculty association.

The Waterloo Public Interest Research Group presents "Smog Talk" -- by science guru David Suzuki, Lois Corbett of the Toronto Environmental Alliance, and activist Michael Parkinson -- at 7:00 tonight at Kitchener Collegiate Institute, 787 King Street West. Admission is free ("no reservations -- come early").

Techworx, the retail services outlet that sells art, computer and stationery supplies, has settled into its new quarters in the South Campus Hall concourse, where Double U's coffee shop used to be. There's a sale on, now through May 14: "Save 15% on our new line of Staedtler watercolour crayons, pencils and paints. Drop by the store and try out these new products before you buy."

Advance notice: David Johnston, who becomes UW's president on June 1, will be in town May 19 to give a luncheon talk on "Canada's Smart Communities" at Federation Hall. The event is sponsored by UW (the InfraNet Project in particular) and Communitech. Tickets are $25 in advance from Communitech, 888-9944, e-mail chris@communitech.org.

The local Volunteer Action Centre has a variety of needs as always. Wanted, for example, are people to help with the Open Ears Festival in downtown Kitchener in the third week of May; individuals and groups to work on Community Project Day, May 8; and photographers, computer experts and drivers for the 1999 Ontario Games for the Physically Disabled, July 15-19. Information about all these projects is available from the VAC at 742-8610.


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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Copyright © 1999 University of Waterloo