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Wednesday, June 14, 2000

  • Forecast for convocation: 3,000 degrees
  • Computer moves finish, and more
  • UW experts comment on water issue

Forecast for convocation: 3,000 degrees

[Graduate mother with toddler] More than 3,000 students will graduate at the University of Waterloo's 80th convocation to be held on campus today through Saturday, and nearly all of them will smile like the June 1999 graduate in the photo here. A total of 3,005 undergraduate and graduate students are scheduled to receive degrees and diplomas during the four-day event held at the Physical Activities Complex.

Convocation begins at 2:00 this afternoon with a ceremony for graduates from the environmental studies faculty, applied health sciences, and independent studies. A total of 471 degrees and diplomas are to be awarded today.

Some highlights of today's ceremony:

Convocation ceremonies continue Thursday afternoon (for arts), Friday afternoon (science), Saturday morning (mathematics) and Saturday afternoon (engineering).

Computer moves finish, and more

Two and a half months of consistent effort to move 123 servers from a temporary home to the new machine room in the Math and Computer building was completed this morning, says Martin Timmerman of the information systems and technology department. The last step, early today, was the move of servers supporting the TRELLIS system for the Tri-University Group of libraries.

Says Timmerman: "Each server requires shelf or floor space, a UPS power connection, a campus network connection, a terminal server or KVM connection, a scheduled shutdown, a physical move of unplugging and replugging all the external connections and a machine startup.

"Thanks to all for your patience as we took machines out of service for various periods of time. Thanks especially to the IST team that made all the moves happen!"

Also today: "Leadership Challenges in High Technology" is the topic for the annual MBA Industry Forum today at Wilfrid Laurier University. Speakers will include Arthur Carty, former UW chemistry professor and dean, now president of the National Research Council. The forum runs from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall at WLU.

"Students who like to work with seniors and computer are needed," says a note from the Volunteer Action Centre, "to teach seniors very basic computer skills. This could include using the Internet and e-mail. These volunteers are needed 2-4 hours a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Luther Village in Waterloo." For more information, the VAC is at 742-8610.

UW experts comment on water issue

The UW news bureau, responsible for the university's relations with the news media, notes in a memo that "Peter Huck, civil engineering, who heads the UW/NSERC Chair in Water Treatment, has been in demand lately regarding the Walkerton water crisis.

"Interviews include CBC National's Magazine; TVO's Studio 2; CBC Newsworld, @Discovery.com, and CKCO-TV. The Record has also asked him to write an opinion article about the issue.

"Huck and Robin Slawson, an environmental microbiologist, were both interviewed on CKGL's "MacLean on the Line" program. Other drinking water safety calls came from reporters at Global TV and the Record."

And the news bureau issued a release late last week reminding media people that problems with Ontario drinking water -- much of which comes from underground -- have been around for years, rather than being new with the Walkerton epidemic. It pointed to a report issued as long ago as 1993, the work of a committee headed by UW water expert John Cherry, who holds the NSERC Chair in Contaminant Hydrogeology.

Says the news release:

The Canadian groundwater resource is under pressure for many reasons, the most urgent of which involves rapidly increasing cases of contamination. At present, the ability of government and industry in Canada to manage and protect groundwater resources is limited by deficiencies in information on many aspects of the resource. Additional problems are lack of governmental organization, linkages and partnerships suitable for recognizing and solving groundwater problems before they reach exceptionally difficult and expensive proportions.

This 1993 report summarizes the status of groundwater management and research in Canada. It was prepared by an eight-member Task Force of scientists and engineers appointed by the Canadian Geoscience Council. . . .

The Canadian agriculture industry, long a cornerstone of Canada's economy, is being challenged as never before. This $50 billion-a-year industry, which accounts for one-third of the nation's trade surplus, is buffeted by shifting world trade practices, rising costs, and increasing pressure over practices and technologies that cause environmental degradation, including groundwater contamination. In today's movement towards sustainable development to which Canada is committed, extensive degradation of groundwater by agriculture is becoming widely recognized. The day is not far off when this issue will become part of the debate over indirect agricultural subsidies (water resource deterioration) and their relation to the global marketplace. Some countries have already instituted direct economic incentives to farmers for changes in agricultural practice aimed at reducing groundwater contamination. Canada's current knowledge of agricultural impacts on groundwater is meagre, even though there is good reason to suspect that agriculture is one of the main causes of significant groundwater contamination in many parts of Canada. . . .

Communities needing additional water, or those afflicted with groundwater contamination problems commonly are confronted with major financial issues. Competition for groundwater resources between rural and urban communities is an increasing issue. There has been little research on these socio-economic aspects of groundwater resource use.


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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