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Tuesday, April 8, 2003

  • Grads from all faculties invited to pledge
  • When the garden's on the roof
  • Notes and events (it's still winter)
Chris Redmond

My Jayhawks just miss national title

[On convocation stage]

Last year's graduating engineers present dean Sujeet Chaudhuri, centre, with a cheque representing the Plummers Pledge.

Grads from all faculties invited to pledge

Two more groups of graduating students are preparing to give something back to the university almost before they're gone this spring, as the "grad class giving" program now reaches almost every corner of the campus.

Graduates of 2002 pledged more than $282,000, and with two new participating groups -- the school of accountancy, and Conrad Grebel University College -- the total for 2003 should be even bigger.

Says Kathy Prpic in UW's development office: "The money raised is used for a variety of projects which are faculty or college specific. Each graduating student is asked to make a pledge to his or her faculty or college supporting a project they feel is valuable. Graduating students tend to designate their pledge to endowment funds, scholarships, bursaries, equipment and labs."

[Better Beaker Pledge] Grad class giving started with engineering -- the now famous "Plummers Pledge" -- in 1989. Gradually other faculties and groups joined, creating the Pink Tie Pledge in Math, the Better Beaker Pledge in science, and so on.

Although details vary from one faculty to another, says Prpic, students generally receive a pledge package somewhere between February and April. "After the packages have all been sent out, student callers from the UW Call Centre follow up by calling to secure the pledge over the phone if we have not received a pledge card through the mail."

Students can give any amount they feel comfortable with, as the emphasis is on participation. Environmental studies takes pride in "the highest rate of participation" last year.

Those who make a pledge have a while to come up with the money -- the first installment of their pledge (which usually covers three years) is not due until one year after graduation. "It gives the students some time to get a job and get settled," says Prpic.

The student also chooses what kind of project his or her gift to UW will support. Some gifts in arts have helped refurbish the language labs. A mentorship program has received funding from applied health sciences graduates. The engineering Plummers Pledge helps to build up the Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund, which students also support during their undergraduate years. And math's Pink Tie Pledge helps to support the Tutorial Learning Centre.

Why say yes to a graduating class pledge? A web page about class giving explains that "Your support ensures and maintains the value of your Waterloo degree." Oh yes, and gifts are tax-deductible.

[Dana Porter in background]

When the garden's on the roof

A UW environment and resource studies student will be among the architects, engineers and other professionals exchanging information about rooftop gardens at a workshop on green roofs tomorrow in Waterloo.

Nada Sutic (right), who is preparing her undergraduate thesis on green roofs and their potential in Waterloo, will team up with UW graduate Ryan Kennedy to make a presentation on "The Status of Green Roof Research in North America: Experiences Learned Abroad and Locally".

"I'm currently working on my honours thesis, which is about the potential for green roofs to be used as a tool to improve storm water management and air quality, and reduce the urban heat island by applying them in Uptown Waterloo," explains Sutic.

"Green roofs are an alternative to conventional roofing that allows for vegetation to be put on flat or mildly sloped roofs. This environmental technology helps to green urban spaces and can improve storm water management in urban areas, improve air quality, reduce the incidence of smog and reduce the urban heat island effect," she adds. "In addition, rooftop gardens can provide recreational space or land for urban agriculture."

Sutic is working with the City of Waterloo on a green roofs pilot project and in promoting and organizing the workshop on green roofs, which will be held tomorrow at the Waterloo Region community health department at 99 Regina Street South.

Co-hosted by the City of Waterloo and Green Roofs for Healthy Cities -- a membership-based network of public and private organizations working to build a green roof industry in North America -- the workshop will provide an opportunity to learn about this rapidly growing, multi-million dollar industry; learn about green roof design and implementation from local and national experts; and participate in the city's Green Rooftop Project. Sponsors include the City of Waterloo, the Region of Waterloo, Ontario Power Generation, and the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

A note from the provost

A joint statement has been issued by the University of Waterloo Faculty Association and UW: "The University of Waterloo Faculty Association and the University are considering starting discussions leading to salary negotiations. Beginning these discussions early will help with next year's budgeting process and further advanced planning. A further announcement will be forthcoming when plans to hold discussions are finalized."

Notes and events (it's still winter)

One more note about last week's meeting of the UW board of governors: the board gave approval to some proposed changes to the health plan for UW employees, as announced a few weeks ago. The plan will now, in most cases, pay for "generic" drugs rather than brand-name medications; and in some situations people will be encouraged to get week-long "trial" prescriptions before buying a larger supply of a new drug. Trenny Canning, secretary of the pension and benefits committee, says there was no comment from across campus when the proposed changes were made public in February: "Had there been issues, the committee would have attempted to address them before going to the board." The changes go into effect May 1.

The faculty of arts has announced that Mariana Bergamim Jardim, who's graduating with a degree in Spanish (translation specialization), will be its valedictorian this spring, speaking at June's convocation ceremony on behalf of arts graduates.

Here's a memo from Doug Sibley, who is working nine months ahead to organize next year's Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference: "CUTC is encouraging applications for the 2004 organizing and executive teams. The conference is entirely student-run and hosted by UW this year. The conference brings together top students, companies, industry and academic speakers to discuss technology and the issues surrounding it. Being involved is a wonderful experience and a great challenge. To apply, e-mail hr@cutc.ca."

Results are on hand from the Canadian university curling national championships, held in Regina in the last few days of March. UW's Warriors earned the right to be there by finishing in the top two in OUA (Ontario) competition, Chris Gilbert of UW's athletics department notes. "These nationals are not yet an official CIS event, but attract teams from across the country. The Warriors were faced by the top university teams in Canada, including last year's world university curling champion and a two-time junior national skip, Mike McEwen from Brandon. The Warriors finished with a record of 3-5." Calgary took the championship.

The organizers of the Keystone Campaign have announced ten winners for this month in their regular donor draw. Faculty members, staff members and retirees are receiving such prizes as restaurant gift certificates and travel vouchers. "Thank you to all Keystone donors," writes Bonnie Oberle from the development office. "Your donation qualifies you for a chance to win each month. The next draw will be held the first week in May."

The senate graduate council and senate research council are holding a joint meeting this morning (it started at 8:30) in Needles Hall room 3001. . . . The arts faculty council will meet at 3:30 p.m. in Humanities room 373. . . .

Happening tomorrow:

Details are now arranged for the rescheduling of the last day of the graduate student research conference, postponed because of Friday's storm. The scheduled presentations will take place this Friday (April 11) in the Arts Lecture Hall, replacing the previous Davis Centre site. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and the first sessions are at 8:30, and the day will end with the 6:00 banquet in the Festival Room, South Campus Hall.

Finally, here's a note from Tricia Mumby in UW Graphics: "The spring term is just around the corner! If you are teaching a course and would like to provide your students with a custom course package for the spring term, it's time to get started. If you need to re-use a package (the same or with changes), simply give us a call or fill out our web form. If you are new to Courseware Solutions we would be happy to meet with you and discuss the services we can provide for you. Give us a call at ext. 3996 or drop by our office in the COM."


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