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Friday, April 28, 2000

  • So few and such morning songs
  • Fewer work days lost to injury
  • UW's Team Eco-Snow places second
  • Renison to install chancellor

So few and such morning songs -- Dylan Thomas

[Two geese, one gosling] Campus geese seem to have adopted a one-child-per-family policy, my colleague Barbara Elve reported after a foray with the digital camera yesterday.
A couple of the campus's shameless geese escorted me to work this quiet sunny morning. They were standing chatting in the arts quadrangle as I walked through, honking alternately with enthusiasm, though I couldn't tell whether the conversation was amorous or political. Perhaps they were commenting on this morning's reports that the Ontario government is about to start allowing private universities, and letting community colleges give "applied" degrees.

As I walked by, the geese took flight, heading for Needles Hall, where they perched on the roof directly above my office and continued their conversation. "What fools these humans be," I'm sure I heard one of them squawk, "coming to work on a spring day like this."

Spring it is: classes for the spring term will begin Monday, and students are trickling onto campus today to do paperwork (tuition fees are payable May 1), check out their accommodation and catch up with friends. Meanwhile, professors are marking the last of the winter term's exams -- the registrar's office says mark reports will be run May 12 and go into the mail to students May 15.

Starting on Monday, libraries and food outlets and other services will be open pretty much as usual. But between now and then, we have a weekend. And what with the languor that comes from the end of term and the inventory that comes from the end of a fiscal year on April 30, even fewer things than usual will be in operation today, Saturday and Sunday:

Still, there's a lot happening at UW. . . .

The Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry holds its annual meeting and seminar today. This year UW is the site (Davis Centre room 1302, in particular). The star speaker is Nigel Bunce of the University of Guelph, talking under the title "Dances with Dioxins". His talk, at 3 p.m., will be surrounded by other events, including the annual meeting of GWC2 at 1:00, a graduate student poster session at 4:30, and the annual awards presentation at 5:30, followed by a reception.

The Formula SAE race car will be unveiled at 4:30 this afternoon in parking lot A, as I reported at some length in yesterday's Bulletin.

The annual Women Alive conference brings several hundred church women onto campus today through Sunday. They'll be staying in the Ron Eydt Village conference centre, as the first of many conferences scheduled for the summer months. (On the main campus today, and on a much smaller scale, Canada Post has booked the Theatre of the Arts for a morning-long seminar on automation.)

UW graduates in the far sunny south will be taking part tomorrow in "an all-Canadian alumni dinner" taking place at a resort in St. Petersburg, Florida. The University of Alberta is playing host, and sending a speaker about Canadian relations with Latin America.

Back on campus, alumni and friends of St. Paul's United College will gather Saturday night for the college's 10th annual dinner and fund-raising auction, this year under the title "All Around the World". The college (885-1460) should have last-minute information and, maybe, tickets, which go for $50 apiece.

And at Wilfrid Laurier University things will be loud and happy on Saturday night. The WLU students' union has applied to the city of Waterloo for an exemption from the noise by-law, so there needn't be any constraints on the annual Year End Party, to be held on campus starting at 9:30 Saturday night.

Off campus, but involving a fair number of UW people, is the Waterloo Potters' Workshop spring sale, tonight from 5:30 to 9:30, Saturday from 10 to 5, and Sunday from 12 to 4, at the Waterloo Recreation Centre downtown.

A number of rooms in Engineering II will be without hot and cold water on Monday, the plant operations department warns, as work will be going on to convert room 3418A to a "special washroom". Advice for those in need on Monday: "Please use washroom facilities in E3 or CPH."

Staff association forum

A forum introducing the two candidates for president-elect of the staff association, Ed Chrzanowski and Joe Szalai, will be held at noon-hour on Wednesday, May 10, rather than next Wednesday (May 3) as I suggested yesterday. Details will be announced early next week.

Fewer work days lost to injury

Canada today marks a Day of Mourning for people who have been killed and injured on the job -- which makes it a good day to cast an eye at UW's annual injury and fire report, recently issued by the safety office.

The campus saw 249 work-related reported injuries or "incidents" during 1999, the report says, which is up just slightly from 1998 (243), 1997 (231) and 1996 (242). Of those, 40 were "lost time" injuries, again very comparable with numbers for the previous few years.

"There was not a permanently disabling injury this year, although we have had those in some previous years," says Stewart, explaining the key number: the "lost days" of work caused by injury. This year's figure was 262, reflecting a steady drop from 517 in 1998, 725 in 1997 and 979 in 1996.

Why are employees missing fewer days of work because of injury? Largely, says Stewart, because of an energetic program to help injured staff with recovery and ease them back to work -- often into modified jobs -- as soon as possible. "The number of days lost per lost-time injury averaged 7," says the report. "Average days lost was reduced from 13 in 1998 and 20 in 1997."

The largest number of injuries (39) was reported in January; the fewest for a month was 16, in both September and October. What produces the largest number of injuries for workers at UW? Walking, which led to 75 of the 249 injuries. Lost-time accidents were concentrated in the plant operations and housing departments, but they were also reported in parts of the university as far apart as biology and the registrar's office.

At a standard rate of 46 cents per $100 of payroll, UW paid $723,058 in premiums to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board last year.

UW's Team Eco-Snow places second -- by Barbara Elve

[Student with snowmobile] While snowmobiles may be a thrill to ride, the noise and air pollution they cause rile environmentalists. With opposition growing to use of the machines in environmentally sensitive areas, their supporters and detractors joined forces this year to find a solution.

The result was the Clean Snowmobile Challenge, the most recent addition to the intercollegiate design competitions sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The inaugural contest was held March 28 to 31 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and a team of UW mechanical engineering students was there. Their challenge: "to re-engineer an existing snowmobile for improved emissions and noise while maintaining or improving the performance characteristics of the original snowmobile."

When the snow cleared, the UW team had finished second overall -- the top team among entries using a two-stroke engine.

One of the eight members of UW's Team Eco-Snow, Sault Ste. Marie native and mechanical engineering master's student Andy Punkari -- who falls firmly in the pro-snowmobile faction -- expects the results to defuse some of the criticism of the much-maligned machine.

Not only did the contest prove it's possible to build a quieter, cleaner machine without sacrificing performance, he said, but the technology required can also be applied to similar engines in personal watercraft -- another source of noise and pollution.

Seven schools including UW were allowed to enter the competition based on preliminary design papers submitted last summer. After modifying used snowmobiles provided by contest organizers, the teams put their sleds to the test in events including emissions, noise, acceleration, hill climb, fuel economy, design, and cold start competitions.

In a 100-mile, fuel-economy trek through scenic Yellowstone National Park, the UW snowmobile measured 17 miles to the gallon, placing second to the only four stroke engine, an entry from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Team Eco-Snow ranked first in acceleration on a 5,000-foot course with the temperature in the mid-20s F, received the highest marks for design paper, and tied for top spot with SUNY Buffalo in the emissions category.

Winning the acceleration event and matching the points received by the four stroke engine in the emissions test was "pretty amazing," said Punkari, who served as driver in the competition and is already looking forward to next year's contest. "The big decision will be what engine to go with next year, the two or four cycle."

SAE organizers sum up the dilemma: "Traditionally, snowmobiles have been designed by manufacturers to use two-stroke engines because they are lighter, cheaper to produce, durable, and generate more power from a much smaller power plant than comparable four-stroke models. Four-stroke engines are generally much quieter and use less fuel, but are typically heavier and have more sluggish throttle response than two-stroke engines. Because four-strokes contain more moving parts, they also cost more to produce."

Punkari leans toward the two-cycle because of its better performance, and because the engine is the industry standard for snowmobiles and water craft.

Renison to install chancellor -- from the UW news bureau

Renison College has named its new chancellor: Michael Burns, deputy chairman of Extendicare Inc. He will be officially installed on Sunday, April 30.

Burns will succeed the Right Rev. Arthur Brown, who has been appointed to the role of Chancellor Emeritus, said Michael Carty, chairman of Renison's board of governors.

On Sunday, the installation takes place at 3 p.m. in the Church of St. John the Evangelist, 23 Water Street North in Kitchener. A reception will follow at Renison's Great Hall on the UW campus.

Born in Toronto and educated in Ontario and at Cornell University, Burns is married with two children. Before his current position with Extendicare, Burns spent 19 years at Burns Fry and predecessor companies. He served as vice-chairman and chairman of Crown Life Insurance Company from 1971 to 1994, and as chairman and then-president of Crownx Inc. from 1980 to 1992. Burns currently serves on the board of directors of Algoma Central Corp., Crown Life Insurance Co., Landmark Global Financial Corp., Lateral Vector Resources, Cassiar Magnesium and Kingfield Investments Ltd.

He is actively involved with a number of not-for-profit organizations, including Trinity College School, where he serves as a life governor. He is a director of Sunnybrook Foundation and the Olympic Trust of Canada, and vice-chairman and director of the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research. Also, he serves as honorary president and director of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and as vice-president of The Janet & Charles Burns Foundation.

Burns is an active Anglican in the Diocese of Toronto and has been involved with the Bishop's Company and a number of major financial campaigns in the diocese.

CAR


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
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