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Tuesday, March 11, 2003

  • 'Co-op students of the year'
  • Asthma information offered weekly
  • 'Students are not making ends meet'
  • Happening on the campus today
Chris Redmond

Born 100 years ago today

['Plan your day']

Tours, information sessions and special events will run all day today and tomorrow as UW presents itself to the thousands of potential students in the double cohort and beyond. The annual Campus Day open house is spread over two days this year because of the growth in the pool of future students -- and their parents' keen interest in seeing Waterloo.

'Co-op students of the year'

A man and a woman, both from systems design engineering, are the UW Co-op Students of the Year for 2002, the co-op education and career services department has announced.

Scott Griffiths (4B) is described as "a capable student who receives excellent marks in his academic studies at UW. . . . " SDE professor Ed Jernigan writes that Griffiths "is a natural leader, inspiring others to do their best by his own example, his intrinsic good nature and sense of humour."

His co-op work terms have been rather varied. Most recently he filled a volunteer position with Habitat for Humanity Canada as a technical resource planner, developing project management materials for housing construction sites and analyzing opportunities for workers' compensation for construction volunteers. Previously, he spent a work term in Guinea as an assistant civil engineer for the Canadian Centre for International Studies and Co-operation. He was recently highlighted on CBC radio's local morning program about his time spent in Africa. For his efforts at his various co-op jobs, Griffiths has received many excellent evaluations, as well as one "outstanding" for the work he did as a research assistant in a UW lab.

Active in the community, Griffiths recently played a key role in putting on the national conference of Engineers Without Borders, held at UW. He has been involved with EWB since January of 2000. He was also treasurer for the Harvard Model United Nations Team from January through April 2000. In December 2002, he was awarded the UW President's Circle Award for Volunteerism.

[Holding their certificates]

That's CECS director Bruce Lumsden at centre, after handing plaques to Sylvia Ng and Scott Griffiths, who also received retail services gift certificates as part of their award.

Sylvia Ng (3B), similarly, is described as "an outstanding student who receives top marks in all of her classes. . . . " She has been the recipient of numerous academic awards, most recently the J.R. Coutts Engineers Without Borders Award in fall 2002, as well as achieving Dean's Honours List standing from fall 1999 through 2002. In 1999, she received the CFCH Youth Achievement and Distinction Award.

"Throughout her co-op experience," says the co-op department's announcement of her award, "Sylvia has continually impressed her various employers, receiving three outstanding evaluations along with two excellent evaluations. Her most recent work term, working for Exco Extrusion Dies in Markham, proved to be a fantastic experience; Sylvia successfully improved product lead time by performing on-site studies and presenting recommendations to management on a monthly basis."

Ng is also an active member of the community. Since fall 2000 she has been team leader for the Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference. Her responsibilities in this position include running events and bringing speakers and delegates to the conference. She is also a "virtual volunteer" for the Foundation for the Global Advancement of Technology, in which she assists in the creation of a web site for literacy promotion in Camden, New Jersey. She is also an active member of Engineers Without Borders.

Asthma information offered weekly

An "asthma education centre" in UW's health services department will provide individualized information and help for asthma sufferers every Tuesday, starting today, thanks to the Guelph General Hospital.

The new project is "very exciting", says occupational health nurse Linda Brogden, "since it will be available to both students and staff and faculty, and it is free, almost unheard of in this day and age." Immediate family members are welcome as well as students and UW employees.

At individual appointments starting at 9 a.m. each Tuesday, she says, patients can learn "more about asthma and what triggers your asthma; how to reduce your exposure to triggers; more about your asthma medications, what they do, how to take them, side effects; how to follow your progress. You may have a breathing test before and after your breathing medication. Your first appointment will take about one hour Ongoing follow up and support will be arranged as required."

The centre is defined as "education" rather than "treatment", and staff from the Guelph hospital's Asthma Education Center are coming to UW as "teachers". Individuals who make appointments -- by calling 888-4096 -- should bring along their health card (provincial or UHIP), plus "your medications, and what you use to take them (i.e. aerochamber); your peak flow meter (if you are using one); a list of questions you may want to ask."

Brogden notes: "A doctor's referral is not necessary, patients can self refer."

'Students are not making ends meet' -- a news releasefrom the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

Nine out of 10 students over the age of 26 carry an average debt of $20,500 from government and/or private sources, according to a year-long survey of student income and expenditures. Full-time students aged 20 to 21 and over 26 are not making ends meet, although the average student finds a way to balance his or her personal budget through summer jobs and debt financing.

Making Ends Meet: The 2001-2002 Student Financial Survey, conducted for the Foundation by EKOS Research Associates, reveals that twenty per cent of students rely on support from both government and private sources. Forty-four per cent of students have government loans, while 30% borrow from private sources; both groups draw an average of $600 per month in loans. Students aged 20 to 21 face an average monthly budget deficit of $142, not including accrued student debt, while the average student experiences a $56 monthly shortfall.


  • Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
  • Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students, U of T
  • Canadian Federation of Students
  • Despite drawing heavily on multiple sources of non-employment income, students over 26 cannot meet their expenses, which are the highest of any age group of students.

    "While Making Ends Meet shows us that students have varying financial circumstances, student financial aid programs tend to treat students as being all the same," said Alex Usher, the Foundation's director of research and program development. "These findings beg the question, Do our student financial aid programs have the right clients, and are we providing them with appropriate support?"

    Compiling monthly budget information from a sample of over 1,200 students, the study provides a national picture of where post-secondary students get their money, what they spend it on and how much debt they accumulate.

    Students' monthly expenditures appear to be somewhat higher than current assumptions built into government student aid programs. Education, making up 24% of all expenditures, is the single greatest cost to students, followed by accommodation (15%), transportation (12%), food (11%) and debt payments (8%).

    Employment during the school year represents 40% of their total resources. Two out of three students work during the school year, earning an average of $6,000 and working 19 hours per week. Ninety per cent of students work during the summer, earning $4,000, on average.

    Student finances do not affect academic performance, although students working more than 10 hours per week take longer to complete their degree. Students receiving family support are no better off from month to month, but end up with less student debt.

    Happening on the campus today

    Graduate students can hear from the two candidates for president of the Graduate Student Association at 2:00 today at the Graduate House and then at 5:30 in Needles Hall room 3004. "Each candidate will have an opportunity to present their platform," says returning officer Jason Grove. "This will be followed by a question period. Refreshments will be provided." Igor Ivkovic and Simon Guthrie are vying for the GSA presidency, in the first race for that position in living memory.

    Architecture students who are going on co-op work term this spring should fill out ranking forms today; they're available by 11 a.m. in the Co-op and Career Services building. . . . The career services seminar series presents "Letter Writing" and "Resumé Writing" today. . . . More than 1,200 students from grades 6, 7 and 8 will visit the faculty of engineering this evening (5 to 9 p.m.) for the Explorations 2003 program. . . .

    Senate undergraduate council will meet at 12 noon in Needles Hall room 3004. . . . UW Graphics presents a seminar on digital archiving at noon in the central graphics facility. . . . The arts faculty council meets at 3:30 p.m. in Humanities room 373. . . .

    Writer and journalist Andrew Pyper will speak at 1 p.m. in the common room at St. Jerome's University.

    The athletics department hosts a reception for winners of several 2002-03 awards and bursaries, starting at 4:00 at the University Club. Donors of these awards will have an opportunity to meet the students who will receive them: Lindsay Hogsden, field hockey (Mark Forester Award); Robin Leslie, field hockey, and Leigh Nevermann, rugby (Mike Moser Award); Alison Crowe, rugby, and Nicole VanderBeck, campus recreation (Don Hayes Award); Amanda Breen, figure skating (Athletic Council bursary); Sara Marshall, therapy (Dixon Bursary); Andrew Coatsworth, basketball (Don McCrae Award); Matt Mains and Kurt Rohmann, swimming (Swimming Legacy Award). Other athletics awards will be handed out at the annual awards dinner, scheduled for March 21.

    The Health Mentorship Program, run by students in the health studies and gerontology department, will hold a special event tonight from 6 to 8 p.m.: "Healthy Futures". Says co-director Lisa Thacker: "We are inviting health studies alumni from various areas within the field to come in and give short presentations about their work experiences to current health studies undergrads. The presentations will be followed by refreshments and mingling between the health studies graduates, faculty and current students." It all starts at 6 p.m. in the Clarica Auditorium in the Lyle Hallman Institute (Matthews Hall), and moves on to the nearby fireplace lounge.

    Looking ahead: tomorrow at noon (actually 12:30), there's "New Canadian Vocal Music" in a free concert in the Conrad Grebel College chapel.

    And Thursday noon through Friday evening, there will be UW participation for the first time in the 30-Hour Famine, a worldwide fundraiser to help fight hunger. Activities are planned in the Student Life Centre throughout the 30 hours, and details are expected shortly.


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