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Thursday, May 1, 2003

  • In with the new as May begins
  • Car's ready for the racetrack
  • Engineers win in New Mexico
  • Health insurance for people from abroad
Chris Redmond

May Day solidarity | May Day festivities

In with the new as May begins

It's a new year, with a new budget and a blank page on which some new leaders can write history. Each May 1 begins UW's fiscal year, and also introduces a number of new appointments in key positions.

Salaries rise as of May 1 for all UW's employee groups, with salary scales going up by 2.6 per cent in all categories this year. Student fees also go up annually on May 1 -- and payments are due today for the spring term that will be starting on Monday.

[Edey] This year the university has a new chancellor, its ceremonial head, who takes office on May 1 for a three-year term. Mike Lazaridis, president of Research In Motion, was elected to the chancellor's post last fall, succeeding industrialist Val O'Donovan. He'll get his first serious workout in the job presiding over five convocation ceremonies in late June.

Also as of today, Mark Haslett moves from associate librarian to be UW's university librarian -- head of the second-largest department in the university. His appointment was announced a month ago.

In academic administration, Leo Rothenburg becomes chair of the department of civil engineering today, taking over that office from Jon Sykes.

And the leadership of UW's two major student organizations changes as of May 1. Today Chris Edey, from the school of planning, becomes president of the Federation of Students, succeeding Brenda Koprowski. He's pictured at right, in the kind of weather we were having shortly after he was elected in February along with David Capper (who becomes the Feds' vice-president, administration and finance), John Fedy (VP internal), and Liam McHugh-Russell (VP education).

"Though we wish we could stay, the career of a student executive is best kept short," comments Chris Di Lullo, finishing his term as VP (administration and finance) of the Federation. "Our departure is made easier knowing that the Federation and its students will be in good hands."

At the graduate level, Simon Guthrie of optometry becomes president of the Graduate Student Association, a successor to Shannon Puddister. Joining him on the GSA executive are Shabnam Sobti (corporate secretary), Angela Garabet (VP student affairs) and Justin Wozniak (VP operations).

Happening today at UW

Science students in high schools across Canada will be writing the Sir Isaac Newton (SIN) physics exam today.

The 11th annual Graduate Student Leisure Research Symposium runs all day today in the Clarica Auditorium.

The English premiere of the new National Film Board flick "Sentenced to Life" is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University, sponsored by the Church Council on Justice and Corrections.

An exhibition of watercolours by Pat Kalyn, retired from the registrar's office, is running (through May 26) at the Kitchener Public Library downtown, and an opening reception is set for tonight from 7:00 to 8:30.

A conference under the title "Seeking Common Ground: Connecting Work, Spirit and Organization", sponsored by the Centre for Spirituality at Work, brings some 150 people to the Ron Eydt Village conference centre, today through Saturday. Speakers include UW's Diana Denton (drama and speech communications) and Abe Elmasry (electrical and computer engineering, and noted Muslim leader).

And some 450 young musicians are at the conference centre today through Sunday for the annual Ontario Youth Orchestra Festival, sponsored by Orchestras Canada.

Car's ready for the racetrack

Students who have designed and built the new Formula SAE race car, dubbed FO3, will show it off today from 5 to 7 p.m. in parking lot A, east of University Avenue.

After months of work, the car is ready for the track, and will be entering the Formula SAE competition from May 14-18 at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. It's the ninth time the event will be held at the Silverdome, located near the big three North American auto companies.

The Formula SAE competition is the largest event in the Society of Automotive Engineers Collegiate Design Series Competitions. The contest challenges students from about 140 campuses in North and South America, Europe and Asia to design, make and race small formula race-style cars. It features six events to determine the best car in the areas of design, cost, marketing and dynamic performance. Participation in the annual competition has been growing steadily since it was established in 1981, making it the largest prototype race in the world. The competition challenges students to use new technologies, develop design and manufacturing skills, and work in a team environment to produce a world-class product.

UW has a distinguished history in Formula SAE competitions, a reputation built up since the university's first entry in the competition in 1985. Over those 18 years, Waterloo has consistently placed in the top 10 and has often been the highest ranked Canadian team. (UW came ninth out of 124 teams in 2001, and 11th in 2002.)

Work on the new car was featured on the 'exn.ca' web site in March. Team sponsors this year include Research In Motion Ltd., MultiMatic Inc., Hallink Moulds Ltd., Cycle Improvements, BES Tool & Die, and Alcan.

Engineers win in New Mexico

UW engineering students came home from the 13th International Environmental Design Contest in New Mexico earlier this month with trophies, cash awards and even a tribal sand painting.

Sponsored by a consortium consisting of Sandia National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and three New Mexico institutions of higher learning, the five-day contest was held at the New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

[Posing under a tree] Three UW teams of fourth-year students -- one student from systems design engineering, two from chemical engineering and eleven from environmental civil engineering -- were among 400 students from 24 universities in the U.S., India, and Mexico. They're pictured at right with Bill Lennox, civil engineering professor and one of their coaches, who went along on the New Mexico trip.

The consortium defined 15 tasks, and teams were free to choose which ones to tackle. Formal presentations complete with reports were sent in advance to the judges, who represented the national laboratories, universities and industry. At the competition, each team was given a sample of water spiked with a contaminate, and students were required to measure the contaminate and clean the water sample.

First-place prizes were awarded to UW teams for their work on "Reduction of Fecal Bacterial Load in Produce Irrigation Water" and "Sustainable Energy for the Future". The Overall Award for Sustainability was presented to Waterloo students, who also received the Judges Award for Innovation for "Arsenic Treatment for Small Water Delivery and Domestic Water Systems". Altogether, they received $8,000. U.S. in award money, a $1,500 U.S. travel grant -- and the sand painting.

This is the second time UW students have taken part. Team members were Olivia Lee, Melanie Nadeau, Meaghan Gibbons, Kimberly Regier, Graham Taylor, Heather Smith, Rachelle Ormond, Macy Cheung, Pamela Harling, Elizabeth Tilley, Natalie Paradis, Brenna Enright, Tania Hercun, and Margaret Scott.

Health insurance for people from abroad

A memo sent to departments this week from UW's human resources department is a reminder about the University Health Insurance Plan, or UHIP, created in 1994 when provincial OHIP coverage was eliminated for people whose home is outside Ontario.

"This memo is being sent," writes Glenda Rutledge of HR, "to remind you about UHIP coverage (which offers medical coverage comparable to that provided by OHIP) and to ask that you ensure that reference to UHIP is incorporated into your hiring procedures.

"Participation in UHIP is mandatory for anyone who has a formalized relationship with the University and who are not eligible for provincial health insurance coverage (including all paid or unpaid workers, international post-doctoral fellows, researchers, visiting scholars, and international students and any accompanying spouse and children)."

She notes that UHIP is mandatory for any accompanying spouse and children, and that they must enroll in UHIP within 30 days of their initial date of arrival in Canada. "Otherwise, a $500 late applicant fee applies plus all retroactive premiums from their date of arrival in Canada."

At UW, says the memo, all paid and unpaid international workers as well as visitors are required to visit the HR office to arrange UHIP coverage. "UHIP for international students is arranged through registration procedures, however students must visit the International Student Office (Needles Hall) to pick up proof of UHIP coverage and to arrange UHIP coverage for any accompanying spouse and children."

Workers who are employed in Ontario for six months or more are eligible for OHIP after a three-month waiting period, "even if they are not being paid by the University. UHIP must be purchased for the three-month waiting period."

Says Rutledge: "Liberty Health, our insurance company for UHIP has issued a health bulletin addressing SARS coverage under the plan. An important feature of the plan is to allow the purchase of extended coverage for those individuals who wish to remain in Canada due to a SARS-related Health Canada Travel advisory. Individuals interested in extending their UHIP coverage must contact Human Resources (re: workers/visitors) or Darlene Ryan (re: students) prior to the termination date of their existing coverage."


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