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Maple syrup festival tomorrow in Elmira

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Friday, April 6, 2001

  • Insurance money waiting to be claimed
  • Retirees' award fund keeps growing
  • Seminars will discuss urban poverty
  • UW joins in tomorrow's clean air fair
  • Today and the weekend

[Picnic by the Math building]
Taste of summer: The predict-the-temperature contest run by the UW weather station is still going. Yesterday was plain gorgeous and felt warm, but the high temperature was just 13.8 Celsius, well short of the 20.0 it'll take for somebody to win the contest. Photo by Barbara Elve.

Sun's sponsorship of computing contest

A reception is scheduled this morning to celebrate a "partnership" that is making Sun Microsystems of Canada the major sponsor of the UW-based Canadian Computing Competition. The event starts at 10:30 in Math and Computer room 5158. The CCC is a project of UW's Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing.

Insurance money waiting to be claimed

The pension and benefits committee is trying to get agreement from three UW employee groups about what to do with a windfall of some $400,000 from Sun Life Insurance.

Committee members are leaning toward using the money in a scholarship fund -- possibly aimed at the children of employees, or possibly to match government funding for graduate scholarships -- but not everyone is in agreement yet, and the money won't be available at all unless everybody says yes. A memo from the committee gives the background:

"UW belongs to a consortium of ten Ontario universities who have their life insurance program with Sun Life. On March 22, 2000, Sun Life demutualized, and each university in the consortium elected to receive the cash equivalent of their share allocation (based on the total premium paid to Sun Life in 1997). For legal reasons, Sun Life has taken the position that it will not release the funds without a joint direction/sign-off by the University and its employee groups. Sun Life is, therefore, holding the UW allocation in a deposit account earning interest. UW's net cash allocation is approximately $400,000. . . .

"Of the 1997 premium, UW paid about 75% and employees paid about 25%. Given the percentages of premium paid, UW's share would be about $300,000 and the employees' share would be about $100,000.

"For the past several months, the Committee has discussed various ways to distribute these funds, and now believes that allocating the entire amount to a scholarship/bursary fund would be in the best interest of the University community. . . . This strategy would avoid arguments about who should get what, significantly reduce administrative costs associated with distributing the proceeds based on premiums paid, and maximize the value of the proceeds.

"This solution is particularly appealing because of the relatively small amounts of money that an individual member would receive if each employee's contribution were refunded. Also, the University has agreed to contribute its share to the scholarship/bursary fund if there is agreement."

It's estimated that if the $100,000 were divided up among individual staff and faculty members according to how much insurance they have on their salaries, the average cheque would be $24 for a faculty member, $8 for a non-union staff member and $7 for a union member.

The faculty association, the staff association and Canadian Union of Public Employees local 793 need to give approval, says the memo. "If no agreement can be found, the funds must remain where they are."

The three associations are not all equally enthusiastic, says Catharine Scott, associate provost (human resources and student services) and chair of the P&B committee. She's now urging individual staff and faculty members to give their opinions through their associations.

Retirees' award fund keeps growing

Members of the UW retirees association celebrated on Wednesday afternoon at the news that the retirees' "award fund" is now worth more than a quarter of a million dollars and has provided bursaries to 110 students in its first ten years.

The figure is now $260,000, says Bonnie Oberle in the development office -- up from the January 1 count of $239,000 that was announced in the retirees' newsletter recently. In its first year, a decade ago, the fund amounted to just $6,230.

"This wonderful total," says a note in the newsletter, "includes not only gifts from retirees ($53,364.42 to date) but also dollar-for-dollar matching funds from the University and from the Ontario Student Opportunities Trust Fund. . . . Like any good investment, this capital is protected and continues to grow while part of the income from the endowment is used to make cash awards."

In the past year, 26 bursaries of $1,000 each were given to undergraduate and graduate students. "The impressive support by UW retirees to this award," says Oberle, "is a wonderful example of their commitment to UW and its students in financial need."

The association held a social afternoon at the University Club on Wednesday, and some of the students who received this year's bursaries were guests for the event.

Seminars will discuss urban poverty

A series of UW-sponsored workshops focused on reducing poverty in urban areas begins tonight, addressing such issues as homelessness, inadequate food and heating, and poor health.

"By global standards, Canadian cities and urban areas are affluent, yet poverty is a harsh reality for many people," say the organizers, from the Urban Environmental Management Project, an initiative of the Heritage Resources Centre.

[Singh] Today's seminar deals with "Developing Sustainable Livelihoods", and will be given by Naresh Singh (right), principal technical advisor in Poverty and Sustainable Livelihoods for the UNDP's Bureau for Development Policy, and a visiting professor at UW. He'll speak at 7 p.m. at Kitchener city hall.

The workshop series in intended to facilitate discussion on poverty in a civic forum. Session will be led by people from various backgrounds and experiences and will examine the generation, perpetuation and alleviation of poverty in urban areas, including the local community. Discussion will be included in each workshop session.

"People interested in participating might include those who are poor, those who are rich, those involved in providing and receiving services, those involved in development and implementation of policy, those involved in study or teaching, those wanting to speak, to listen, to learn," says a flyer advertising the series. Future topics:

All workshops are free and will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Conestoga Room, Kitchener city hall. Space will be allotted on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, contact the Heritage Resources Centre, e-mail hrc@fes or phone ext. 2072.

UW joins in tomorrow's clean air fair

The third annual Clean Air Fair -- with bike fashion shows, science experiments, solar power demonstrations and auto emissions tests -- will be held Saturday at Kitchener City Hall.

The fair, running from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., is organized by the Citizens' Advisory Committee on Air Quality, with the UW-based Waterloo Public Interest Research Group being a major sponsor of the event.

UW's Residential Energy Efficiency Project (REEP) will also be participating, as both an exhibitor and star of the Bike Fashion Show, which takes place at noon in the city hall's rotunda.

Among the models in the Bike Fashion Show will be Mary Jane Patterson, a UW environmental studies graduate student, who will be sporting her prêt-à-porter aluminum studded tires. Jessica Kwik, an employee of Alternatives journal based in environmental studies, will be peddling a bike adapted to include a magazine rack.

Co-op students from REEP have incorporated an energy-efficient, solar-powered home as their bike fashion accessory. And WPIRG volunteer Jennifer Niece will be driving her "Walking School Bus" to promote this new public initiative.

Other models will include the mayors of Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge, the Lung Association, Arise Technologies and the Kids Can Bike initiative with the community health department.

For kids, the Fair will offer a magician, a storyteller, science experiments about air (run by Mad Science), and face painting. Also on the agenda are performances by local Waterloo musical band the Jolly Llamas, and demonstrations of solar power by Arise Technologies. Free bike tune-ups will be provided by Recycle Cycles, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A WPIRG action group, Recycle Cycles now is located at the Working Centre in downtown Kitchener.

"Everything at this event will be free and family-friendly," said Ryan Kennedy, a member of the citizens' advisory committee. "People interested in coming to the Clean Air Fair are encouraged to take public transit, cycle, walk or car pool."

The province's portable air monitoring station will be on hand to show people how air quality is measured. Last year, Canadian Geographic reported that Waterloo Region had the worst ground level ozone (a major constituent of smog) of all Canadian communities.

Today and the weekend

The Canadian Federation of University Women used book sale runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (and continues tomorrow from 9:00 to 1:00) at First United Church on King Street.

Dale Schuurmans of the computer science department will speak on "Computational Learning: Limits and New Techniques", in a cognitive science forum at 2:30 this afternoon in Humanities room 373.

Continuing tonight and tomorrow night in the studio theatre in the Humanities building: a student production of "Thanks for Caring" (8 p.m., tickets $5).

Continuing tonight and tomorrow night in the Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages building: the regional championships in the Canadian Improv Games for high school students (7:30, tickets $5).

Sunday night in the Humanities Theatre: Community Justice Initiatives of Waterloo Region presents "The Bow and the Ballad, featuring Canada's Singing Priest, Father Mark Curtis, accompanied by Canada's Fiddle Champion, Scott Woods". The show starts at 7:30, and tickets are $20 ("a $10 receipt can be given").

On Monday, UW president David Johnston will be in Toronto to speak to a joint luncheon meeting of the 104-year-old Canadian Club of Toronto and the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, at the Royal York Hotel. He's expected to talk about "the significant economic and social impacts UW continues to make on the rapidly growing Waterloo Region community after only 44 years". Tickets are $40 from the Canadian Club.


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 © 2001 University of Waterloo