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Wednesday, January 15, 2003

  • Garbage cuts value of recycling
  • International week events announced
  • Accessible design explained Friday
  • This week's staff positions
  • Today's entries in the date book
Chris Redmond

Non-citizens apply for new Permanent Resident Card

Garbage cuts value of recycling

[Cook amid the trash] Food, broken glass, plastic bottles -- that's the kind of garbage showing up lately in recycling bins designed for white and coloured paper on campus. It makes the contents impossible to recycle, and good paper is hauled off to the landfill instead.

What's worse, instead of getting paid for the recyclables, UW has to pay fees to have the junk hauled away.

"The market revenues for recycled white and coloured fine paper have increased dramatically -- 45 per cent and 68 per cent respectively," says a recent memo from Patti Cook (left), UW's waste management coordinator, who notes that prices for recycled materials go up and down wildly. At times, UW has brought in as much as $100,000 in a year for paper, glass, and plastic, and that's in addition to savings on the fees for each ton of garbage that doesn't go to the dump.

"Our strongest revenue generators are fine paper, cans and PET plastic, and cardboard," she says. At one time fine paper brought the university more than $50,000 a year, though last year it was down to about $10,000. "Newspaper is generating a better revenue in the last couple of months, but only if it is put in the blue carts. When it gets put in the white and coloured fine paper mix, it has to first of all be separated out, and then we get a net loss."

[IBM copy paper wrapper]
The wrappers on packages of paper typically contain a layer of plastic. (To see it, wet the wrapper and rub off the top layer of paper.) Result: the paper inside may be recyclable, but the wrapper itself is a contaminant and should not be recycled.
She says there are "serious contamination problems" in the paper recycling especially. The number one offender on the list: copy paper wrappers, which contain a plastic layer and cannot be recycled. "They account for about 15 per cent of the waste found in fine paper recycling bins," says Cook. But also making an unwelcome appearance are file folders, newspaper, books, cardboard, plastic bottles, paper towels, food, and even broken glass.

While some of the trash is clearly garbage, nearly 80 per cent of it -- including newsprint, books, cardboard, and glass and plastic bottles -- can be recycled elsewhere. "It's become such a widespread problem," says Cook, who, after years of overseeing the recycling program, is not sure why. She thinks people are interested in recycling, but some may not know the drill, or may just need a gentle reminder.

"There's no one paid in central stores to separate recycling," she explains. "If central stores finds badly contaminated fine paper, they put the load in the garbage. If the company in Brantford that buys fine paper from UW has to remove garbage from the load, our revenue goes down."

International week events announced

UW will host an "International Celebration Week" at the beginning of February, just in time to coincide with Chinese new year, an organizing committee has announced.

[International week button] A news release from the group, which is backed by the international student office and the associate vice-president (academic), says International Celebration Week "was developed to help build awareness of the variety of cultures in the UW community. The week will provide an informative, educational, and entertaining look into unique aspects of many different nationalities, as well as promote internationalization at UW."

The week also overlaps with the national conference of Engineers Without Borders, being held at UW. Two big names are the keynote speakers for that event: Stephen Lewis, former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations and currently UN special envoy for AIDS/HIV in Africa, and Flora MacDonald, former minister of foreign affairs and international trade. Both will speak on Friday, January 31, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Also included in the EWB conference is a project fair highlighting undergraduate and graduate international development projects. The fair will take place January 31, in the foyer of the Davis Centre.

Continuing with International Celebration Week is LunarFest, or Chinese new year, on February 3. Celebrated by many Asian cultures, the welcoming of the "year of the goat" will take place in the Student Life Centre, with activities such as a lion dance, a fashion show, and feng shui demonstrations.

Booth and poster displays are promised for February 4 in the great hall of the SLC. Says the news release: "Research and study abroad opportunities, Doctors without Borders, Engineers without Borders, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, and Waterloo Public Research Interest Group projects are some of the exhibits that will be featured.

"Career services will also present two sessions about studying and working overseas. The first session, a 'Brown Bag Lunch from Around the World', will include an opportunity to interact and learn from the experiences of UW students who have studied or worked outside Canada. The second session will be a video entitled 'Skills for Succeeding Overseas'."

On February 5, noted artist Warabe Aska will make his second visit to UW, coming (invited by the UW bookstore) to speak about his Japanese art and illustrations. Aska was guest of honour in November at the opening ceremonies for Renison College's East Asian Festival.

Says the news release: "There will also be international stories told by UW students, George Kennedy, Stella Karuri, Maria Ibarra, George Kennedy, and Michael Quek. This is an event that will appeal to children and adults alike."

Other speakers during International Celebration Week include will include history professor Andrew Hunt, lecturing on "Searching for Hope in the Post 9/11 World" on February 5, and Kieran Bonner of St. Jerome's University, speaking on "Reflection on the Culture of Cities" on February 4. Other events will be an international night at the Grad House; a coffee house, poster series, and movies in the Great Hall of Village I; and the now traditional Cultural Caravan, sponsored by the Federation of Students and UW ethnic clubs.

Accessible design explained Friday

A pair of workshops on Friday will introduce the concept of "Universal Instructional Design" and offer information about a UID research project that's underway at the University of Guelph. The two events are sponsored by UW's LT3 technology centre and office for persons with disabilities, as well as by U of G.

"Universal Design," organizers explain, "comes from the physical disabilities domain, in which buildings that are designed to provide non-stigmatized access for people with differing levels of physical mobility (e.g., ramps in main entries, automatic doors) not only benefit those with impairments but also improve access for everyone (e.g., a person carrying a heavy load). Similarly, 'Universal Instructional Design' suggests that when courses are designed in keeping with certain guidelines and principles established by research and practice that consider learning styles, accessibility, and usability then all students benefit, not only those with physical, emotional or learning disabilities."

U of G's project for the development of courses and courseware consistent with UID is funded by the Learning Opportunities Task Force and the Ontario ministry of training, colleges and universities, and runs for two years.

The two half-day sessions planned for UW this Friday will explore the UID principles and share details of the Guelph project, says Peter Goldsworthy of LT3:

Participants are asked to register in advance; registrations go to Goldsworthy, e-mail peter@lt3, phone ext. 7008. More information is available from Tracy Penny Light, e-mail tracy@lt3, phone ext. 3899.

This week's staff positions

Five positions are listed on the weekly circular from UW's human resources department showing staff jobs for which applications are being accepted.

Here are the opportunities included in today's list:

Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site. As always: "The University welcomes and encourages applications from the designated employment equity groups: visible minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and aboriginal people. For more information call ext. 2524."

Today's entries in the date book

Can you believe it: students who just got back from fall work terms now have to start thinking about spring work terms. The first posting of spring co-op jobs will go up today at noon -- on Access and in the new CECS building. Employer interviews for the May-to-August term will begin January 29.

The Employee Assistance Program today presents "Taking Care of Me in 2003", a noon-hour session by nutritionist Linda Barton. She'll speak starting at 12 noon in Rod Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall room 307.

The career services workshop series continues, with sessions today on "Resumé Writing" (11:30) and "Letter Writing" (4:30). Registration is through the career services web site.

The "smarter health" seminar series today presents Moe Kermani, president of Bycast Inc., speaking on "Reliable Medical Image Communication, Storage and Archiving". Says an announcement of the event: "As the volume of digital medical images grows, and the access requirements increase, the traditional centralized approaches are becoming increasingly expensive to scale and to operate with high levels of reliability. . . .The approach presented in this seminar utilizes a distributed network of low cost, off-the-shelf servers that together form a computing and storage grid." The talk starts at 3 p.m. in Davis Centre room 1302.

Five graduates from UW's math and computer science programs are on a panel today to talk about their careers. The event is sponsored by the Women in Math Committee, but is open to all students; it starts at 4:30 in Math and Computer room 5158. Speakers are from a range of employers: IBM, Imperial Oil, CIBC Wood Gundy Capital, and UW itself, in the person of Alison Boyd, a math-and-business graduate who now works in the alumni affairs office.

The Waterloo Aerial Robotics Group offers an information session at 6:00 tonight in Davis Centre room 1301, to "introduce ourselves to those of you that are interested in taking part in one of the most exciting and challenging student projects on campus. You will be able to see some video footage of the 2002 International Aerial Robotics Competition held in Calgary. . . . We will also have all of our aerial robots on display."

Something called the Association for Self-Knowledge sponsors a video presentation at 4:30 today in the Graduate House, featuring Indian teacher Prem Rawat. . . . It'll be Caribbean Night at REVelations, the cafeteria in Ron Eydt Village. . . . The Warrior volleyball teams host Wilfrid Laurier University tonight (women at 6 p.m., men at 8 p.m., in the Physical Activities Complex main gym). . . . The K-W Symphony plays at 8:00 tonight in the Theatre of the Arts, with music by Richard Strauss and others in its "Planet Baroque" series. . . .

And this note: a flyer announcing Italian Week at Ground Zero went across campus yesterday, and some of the information was missing. Dave McDougall of the Federation of Students (which owns Ground Zero, the restaurant on the west side of the Student Life Centre) says Italian Week runs January 20-24 at lunchtime. Reservations: ext. 6428.


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