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Friday, January 28, 2000

  • Environmental duo here next week
  • Student had a refined approach
  • Nominations invited for senate
  • The talk of the campus

Nine times out of ten . . .

if I make a mistake, I'll catch it in the proofreading. But the tenth time is a doozy. In yesterday's Bulletin, for instance, I wrote that
the low [student loan] default rate for Waterloo graduates might have something to do with the low unemployment rate for Waterloo grads ("90.9% after six months and 96.4% after two years").
Surprisingly, only two people (so far) have written to express the hope that 96 per cent is the employment rate, not the unemployment rate.

Environmental duo here next week

Environmental crusaders Angela Bischoff and Tooker Gomberg arrive on campus Monday, January 31, for a stint as environmentalists in residence in the environment and resource studies department.

Drawing on their combined three decades as environmental activists and community organizers, the duo will discuss techniques of successful activism at a public lecture on Wednesday, February 2, at 7 p.m. in ES2 room 284. They will wrap up their visit on February 4.

Although Bischoff, a native of Edmonton, has been a professional dancer, musician and entertainer, and Gomberg, of Montréal, made headlines by running for mayor of Edmonton, they are best known for their Greenspiration Odyssey, a bicycle tour of North America and Asia "in search of inspiring green activities". Both have served as advocates for bicycle commuting and other environmental initiatives. Bischoff is currently working with the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, attempting to find ways to mitigate the impact of global warming on that city. Gomberg has recently researched the issue of genetically modified food policy for Greenpeace in Toronto.

The ERS environmentalist-in-residence program brings experts in the field to UW to work directly with students, building links between the university and community "in ways that serve the public interest." In addition to their public presentation, the environmentalists in residence will be speaking to undergraduate and graduate classes, holding workshops, meeting with student and community groups, and advising individual students, says ERS professor Greg Michalenko.

Student had a refined approach
-- from the co-op department's UW Recruiter newsletter

How do you save a company $400,000?

By using your smarts, showing initiative and working hard, that's how. Luckily for the Shell Refinery in Fort Saskatchewan, Genevieve LeBlanc (4A Chem Eng) had the right mix of these three qualities. On her second work term at Shell, Genevieve was assigned a project to investigate methods of reducing the flow of a waste stream from the refinery. By analysing historical data and correlations, Genevieve was able to project a lower rate than previous studies had concluded and create an enormous impact on the company's savings.

In the refinery, crude must go through a hydrocracker in order to be broken down to make gasoline. When some of the molecules are too large, they cause damage to equipment, known as "Red Death," a red, waxy build-up. Genevieve's task was to find exactly how much of the "leftover" bleed stream could be recycled before having the large molecules foul up equipment. "It was very difficult to do," she concedes, "because there is little past work done in [this area], and it was based entirely on historical data."

Taking the project into her own hands, Genevieve conducted more tests, implemented a trial period, and later convinced management that the flow rate could be lowered even more than had been originally expected. As a result, "more material was recycled back to the reactor," which meant salvaging more product worth over $400,000 per year. Not bad for a co-op student in her third month of work. Michael Margerum, Genevieve's supervisor, agrees. "She had the ability to go into something which was not a straightforward, paint by numbers sort of thing. It was a project that required a bit of imagination, a bit of analysis. It was not technically straightforward; people don't routinely do this particular thing. It was a new area and she seemed quite comfortable with doing that."

Genevieve believes it was her ability "to pick up things quickly and try to understand the 'big picture'" that enabled her success at Shell. One of the things she credits her co-op experience helping her to overcome was a certain shyness in working with others. "In my last work term, I asked questions about everything, which was something I learned to do." With her skills and latest achievement, Genevieve hopes to continue working in the petroleum industry after graduation.

Nominations invited for senate

Nominations are requested, says the university secretariat, for 13 faculty seats and two graduate student seats on the university senate: At least five nominators are required in each case. Nominations should be send to the Chief Returning Officer, University Secretariat, Needles Hall, Room 3060, no later than 3 p.m., February 17. Elections will follow if necessary. Nomination forms are available from the secretariat, ext. 6125.

The secretariat provides this list of faculty and graduate student members of senate whose terms expire April 30, 2000:

Several of them -- Reynolds, Holmes, Renksizbulut, Hepburn -- are not eligible for another term: "A former Senator becomes eligible for re-election following the expiration of one year following the completion of two consecutive terms on Senate."

The talk of the campus

I really like the memo that Jane Prime in the computer science graduate office circulated a few days ago: "71 students have not yet given me their registration form for the winter term. Are you one of them? If so, please get your supervisor's signature on the form and give it to me by Friday, January 28. What are the consequences of not registering on time? You raise the ire of the bureaucratic monster residing in Needles Hall and it makes you go through flaming hoops to regain your status as a student merrily wandering through an academic haze. This could provide some entertainment for department bureaucrats, like me, but my life is exciting enough." Nota bene.

A note from Amber Christie of the Federation of Students -- and I'm sorry, I should have mentioned this one earlier -- says that "concerned students" have been distributing postcards this week, "asking for signatures. The postcards will then be sent to the University of Waterloo's board of governors, asking to see a one-year tuition freeze."

The Graduate Student Association (according to its corporate secretary, Tim Lahey) "is seeking nominations for the positions of President, VP (Operations), VP (Student Affairs), Corporate Secretary, Director (6), and At-Large Councillor (10). Nomination forms are available from the GSA office at the Grad House. The nomination period closes February 9."

"Try your skill and luck against members of Waterloo's world championship team!" suggests Gordon Cormack in the computer science department, who coaches Waterloo squads in the annual ACM programming contest. In the ACM style, a UW-only contest is scheduled for tomorrow, with the "practice contest" at 11 a.m. and the real contest from 1:00 until 4:00. The event will be held in Math and Computer room 3006; Cormack (gvcormack@uwaterloo.ca) can provide more information.

Something a little recherché is planned for tonight and Saturday night in the Theatre-Auditorium down the street at Wilfrid Laurier University. WLU's faculty of music and Theatre Laurier offer the first North American performance of "The Indian Queen", by Henry and Daniel Purcell, described as a "baroque restoration tragedy . . . a rare opportunity to hear a Purcell opera as people of the 17th century would have experienced it. Completed in 1695, it offers a complex and somewhat bizarre story full of melodrama, dancing and stage magic." Performance time in the TA tonight and tomorrow is 8 p.m.; tickets are $15, students $7.

Saturday night brings "the third annual musical fundraiser for HopeSpring Cancer Support Centre"; it starts at 8 p.m. at Time Square restaurant on King Street. Seven musical acts are involved, including the Pandemonium Blues Band, which draws some of its membership from UW. The event is a memorial for Gail Bendig, a graduate student and later staff member in UW's department of earth sciences who died of cancer in 1997. "In the spirit of Gail, who was a fun-loving person," Chris Hanton-Fong writes from earth sciences, "this is sure to be a great event." Hanton-Fong can provide tickets ($15, students $10) -- phone ext. 5369.

"The repairs at the Davis Centre are not completed," writes Peter Fulcher of the plant operations department. So the building's east entrance, facing the ring road, will be closed again all day on Monday.

A reminder from Jim Walker in the history department, who organizes overseas exchange programs for the arts faculty: "Applications are due on February 1 for the third-year-abroad program in the faculty of arts. Students may spend one or two terms in their third year at the University of Ulster in Coleraine, University of Newcastle, Lancaster University or University of Sussex. Departmental and university-wide exchange opportunities exist in France, Germany, Austria, Israel and Taiwan." For more information, he can be reached at ext. 3706.

Chris Harold, vice-president of the Federation of Students, sends a reminder: "Since the spring of 1992, undergraduate students have contributed to the Endowment Fund which was initiated as part of the Coordinated Plan to Improve the Quality of student life at UW." The fund stands at more than $1 million, he says, with the interest used each year to fund various projects: increasing accessibility and safety, improving lounge and study space, renovating student services. Applications for funding are available at the Federation of Students office (Student Life Centre room 1102). They are due Monday. Questions? Harold can be reached at ext. 3780 or e-mail fedvpin@feds.uwaterloo.ca.

Sports this weekend: the women's volleyball team hosts Brock at 6:00 tonight in the Physical Activities Complex, and the swimming teams host Western tomorrow at 1 p.m. in the PAC pool. Other teams are on the road: men's and women's basketball Warriors at Brock tomorrow, hockey Warriors at Windsor tomorrow night, the indoor hockey team at a weekend tournament at York, the nordic skiers at Carleton, the indoor track and field team at the Toronto Classic.

Among this week's invitations from the local Volunteer Action Centre: "Share your literacy skills with an adult male who is developmentally challenged. this man would like assistance to maintain his reading, writing and money skills. This gentleman would especially enjoy meeting outside of his home, possibly at a library. If you are a male, 30 or older, who has an evening each week to share, you have the opportunity to make a positive difference in this man's life." And there are many other ways to make the world a better place: the VAC can be reached at 742-8610.

From Trent University, finally: the Toronto Star reports that three faculty members have filed suit against the university's board of governors, seeking to stop the sale of the downtown buildings that house Peter Robinson College and Catharine Parr Traill College. Trent has asked for money from the provincial SuperBuild fund to create new homes for the two colleges on its main "Symons" campus on the edge of Peterborough.


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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