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Friday, May 12, 2000

  • Candidate favours Auto Workers union
  • IST takes a look at Linux
  • Literary magazine marks its 20th
  • Environmentalists gather at UW
  • A mixture of sun and cloud

[Circular view of lab]
Fruit-coloured iMacs now reign where once the Red Room housed mainframes. New computer labs made from the old machine room in the heart of the Math and Computer building went into use recently. Photo by Barbara Elve.

Candidate favours Auto Workers union

A campaign to unionize staff members at UW will go ahead whether or not he's elected president of the staff association, candidate Joe Szalai said at an open meeting yesterday.

Calling himself "a one-issue candidate", Szalai, who works in the user services department of the library, said in response to a question that he has no platform for "improving" the staff association because his goal is union certification. He favours certification because, in his view, UW staff "just aren't getting a fair deal anymore."

At the meeting to introduce the two candidates for staff association president, Szalai suggested that if staff unionize, they will be in a better position to put pressure on the administration, who will in turn put pressure on the province to increase funding to UW.

Asked whether he has talked to an existing union about becoming the representative of UW staff, he said yes. His choice: the Canadian Auto Workers.

A union card campaign will happen over the coming year whether he wins or loses in the staff association vote, Szalai said. He did say, however, that if he is elected he will take his victory to mean that certification is something favoured by the majority of staff.

His rival for president-elect of the association (to become president in 2001-02) is Ed Chrzanowski of the math faculty computing facility. Chrzanowski told the open meeting that he thinks most UW staff don't want a union, and that his goal as president would be to maintain and improve the "good" relations the staff association has with UW management. His intent is to capitalize on the staff association's "25 years of collegial problem solving".

Chrzanowski suggested that benefits of belonging to a union are things the staff association already does: increasing salaries and improving working conditions, providing support for staff members who are having workplace difficulties, and providing training opportunities.

Staff association members have until May 19 to return their ballots to the association office.

IST takes a look at Linux

A seminar this morning in the information systems and technology department will bring computing professionals at UW up to date on the possible need to start supporting a new operating system with a penguin for its mascot.

It's called Linux -- a name derived from its creator, Linus Torvalds, and the longstanding Unix operating system that it resembles -- and it's sometimes touted as the only serious rival to Microsoft operating systems. Only Macintosh enthusiasts, it seems to me, are as emotionally attached to their software as Linux promoters.

At any rate, the weekly professional development seminar in IST this morning will deal with Linux at UW. Says an abstract of the presentation by Stephen Markan, Jeff Voskamp and Ian Howard:

"The Linux operating system is an alternative to traditional desktop and server operating systems. Linux has a reputation for being a 'reliable, robust, and reasonably secure operating system'. Add to that a reasonable price (from 'free' and up) and you have an operating system that appeals to budget conscious academic groups.

"IST does not yet provide support for Linux, but there is an increasing need for IST to provide at least some basic level support.

"This seminar will provide some background on Linux, including which platforms it runs on, where to get Linux and why people might want to use it. As well some examples of where and how it is being used on Campus will be presented. This seminar will incorporate a brief demo of some of the things Linux can do as a desktop machine."

There's also a student group at UW working actively on making Linux available.

Literary magazine marks its 20th

"Love and all its splendid confusions" is the theme of The New Quarterly's annual evening of readings and music -- this year celebrating the literary magazine's 20th anniversary of providing a forum for "new directions in Canadian writing."

"Writes of Spring", starting at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the Sweeney Hall fireplace lounge at St. Jerome's University, features readings by Di Brandt, Eric McCormack and Sandra Sabatini, as well as the first public performance of a work by composer Michael Purves-Smith.

Brandt has been named a silver medalist in the National Magazine Awards for a suite of poems first published in TNQ. Work by McCormack, a St. Jerome's English professor, appeared in the first issue of the magazine, and he has since published "a series of playfully macabre novels and short fiction". Sabatini was a finalist for the 1999 Journey Prize for a story -- part of a forthcoming collection -- first published in The New Quarterly. Purves-Smith will debut a new musical setting of "Fern Hill" by Dylan Thomas.

The evening will feature chances to win literary memorabilia, gift certificates, concert tickets, books, and more, as well as "elegant desserts", and the opportunity to meet the featured readers and the editors of TNQ.

Kim Jernigan, a New Quarterly editor, describes publishing a literary magazine as "a precarious enterprise in the best of times," but the venture has both survived and prospered. "In the past six years alone," she says, "works first published in The New Quarterly have twice won the gold medal for fiction at the National Magazine Awards, as well as silver medals for fiction, poetry and the essay."

Environmentalists gather at UW -- from the UW news bureau

Environmental and protected natural areas will be on the agenda of a major international conference to be held at UW next week. Participants will begin gathering here tomorrow.

More than 300 environmentalists, mainly from Canada and the United States but also from ten or more other countries, are expected to attend the week-long event. They will take in the views and research findings of experts on parks, protected areas and nature conservation.

"The general focus of the conference is on the challenges facing protected areas and nature conservation, past, present and future," said Gordon Nelson, a distinguished professor emeritus in UW's geography department.

Topics to be discussed at the conference include global influences on conservation and development, ecosystem approaches to planning and management, the human dimensions of parks and protected areas, ecological economics, recreation and tourism, as well as environmental monitoring and reporting.

Nelson, who is also director of the Heritage Resources Centre on campus, said considerable emphasis will be placed on the values or services that protected areas offer to communities and society in general. "In this context, types of protected areas will be discussed, varying from international areas -- border parks and marine reserves -- to local Environmentally Sensitive Area systems like those in the Waterloo Region."

Sessions will also be held on the recently released report of Parks Canada's Ecological Integrity Panel that argues for nature conservation as the prime mandate of natural parks and for much stronger support for the research needed to understand, plan and manage such areas.

Nelson said field trips are planned before, after and during the conference to sites such as the Niagara Escarpment, Georgian Bay Island National Park, the Grand River and Waterloo's Environmentally Sensitive Areas System, and Point Pelee and Rondeau Provincial Parks.

A mixture of sun and cloud

We're two weeks into the spring term, and today is the end of the drop and add period for undergraduates in most faculties. (Arts students can still drop courses until May 19, math students until May 26, the registrar's office says.) Just one more week until the Victoria Day holiday, friends.

Did you pay your fees? "All of the fee receipts have been processed," says Carmen Roecker in the registrar's office, "and are available for pickup." (If you didn't, those late charges are accumulating rapidly, and May 31 is the "absolute last day" to pay fees for the spring term.)

Meanwhile, co-op students are looking ahead to the fall -- the second job posting of the season goes up at noon today, and students are advised that they should "hand in one copy of résumé package to CECS drop-off slot by 8 p.m."

The senate graduate council will meet at 9:30 this morning in Needles Hall room 3001.

Optometrists from far and wide will gather at UW this weekend for 20 hours of continuing clinical education in the general area of quality assurance. Says a brochure: "Changes in optometric responsibility over the past thirty years in providing quality care to the public will be discussed. Societal attitude towards and the demands for quality care will be reviewed along with the current legislation reflecting these changes. Technological advancements will be reviewed and these changes will be used to illustrate the importance of keeping current." The weekend includes the seventh annual Emerson Woodruff Lecture, honouring one of the pioneers of UW's optometry school. Speaking this year is Bruce Hawkins, under the title "Maintaining Currency in a Professional Career". The talk will begin at 7:00 this evening in the Optometry amphitheatre. Tomorrow brings a "trade show" on the first floor of the building, at which various publishers and equipment manufacturers will show their wares.

UW alumni in a couple of cities are getting together tonight. In Chicago, the event is the 14th annual Chicago All Canadian Universities Alumni Dinner, being held at the University Club of Chicago, with Terry White, president of the University of Calgary, as speaker. A little closer to home and a little more informally, UW folks are gathering tonight at Emma's Back Porch pub in Burlington, from "6:30 to 8:00 (or longer)".

[Pawliszyn] Chemistry professor Janusz Pawliszyn (left) will be guest of honour at a reception tonight and then speak at Commencement (convocation) tomorrow morning at his alma mater, Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He'll receive the Alumni Achievement Award from SIU's College of Science for this year. An SIU news release explains why: "Pawliszyn, a full professor at Waterloo since 1997 and holder of the Supelco-Varian-NSERC industrial research chair there, has developed techniques which make it easier for scientists to prepare samples for chemical analysis. Several commercial companies are applying findings from his research to develop new equipment that will help them analyze substances as different as breath and drinking water. Pawliszyn has published a book on one of these techniques and written more than 150 journal articles on his work. Previous honors include the 1996 Caledon Award, the 1998 Jubilee Medal from Britain's Chromatograph Society and the 2000 Maxxam Award. Now a Canadian citizen, Pawliszyn lives in Waterloo, Ontario. He earned his doctorate from SIUC in 1982."

The "World Festival of Sacred Music" will be taking place Saturday evening in First United Church in downtown Waterloo, starting at 8:00. A key organizer: Darrol Bryant, professor of religious studies at UW's Renison College, who notes that the Waterloo event is actually one of about two dozen around the world, "a connected family of celebrations" on various dates this winter and spring. The Waterloo presentation is expected to include music from Jewish liturgical chant to First Nations drumming and the chanting of Tibetan monks.

Saturday night brings an unusual show to the Physical Activities Complex -- something called the Canadian Half-Pints, "the world's smallest and funniest basketball team", performing as a fund-raiser for the Children's Safety Village. There will be two shows, at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.; tickets are available at the door.

The University Club sends word that there are still seats available for its Mothers' Day brunch on Sunday -- "Victorian baked French toast", roasted pork loin with mango and ginger sauce, grilled chicken with black bean and smoked tomato salsa, wild mushroom risotto, and a good deal more. There are sittings at 11:30 and 1:15, and reservations ($17.50 per person) can be made by phone, 888-4088.

The Waterloo County Hall of Fame will hold this year's induction ceremony on Sunday afternoon, and among the ten prominent people being inducted will be David (Tuffy) Knight, "the architect of successful football programs at both Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo". Knight coached UW's Warriors from 1988 to 1997. The Hall of Fame is at Doon Heritage Crossroads in south Kitchener; Sunday's ceremony starts at 2 p.m.


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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