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Thursday, May 29, 2003

  • Chinese group collects SARS funds
  • Memorial will honour former VP
  • Other notes and events today
  • Looking ahead a couple of days
Chris Redmond

A centennial tribute to Bob Hope

Chinese group collects SARS funds

Students and faculty with close ties to China, where Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome has killed more than 300 people, will make an intensive effort tomorrow to raise money for fighting the disease in their homeland.

The event is organized by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, which raised more than $800 for the cause at an event for its members two weeks ago.

['Help the nation in crisis'] "This time," says CSSA president Zhenli Wei, a graduate student in chemical engineering, "we want to receive help from all students and faculties of UW." Plans are for a special evening on Friday, 7:30 to 10 p.m. in Davis Centre room 1350, involving a free Chinese movie and the sale of "cheap calling cards and shoes" as well as a chance to donate funds.

"If you have no time to go to the booth, you can mail a cheque," Wei notes. The treasurer of the CSSA is Dong Yan in the department of electrical and computer engineering, phone ext. 7129.

UW statement on SARS, April 25
Proceeds will be forwarded to the Red Cross Society of China, Wei said, "to make sure that our donation goes safely to the place where it is most needed. . . . The more we collect, the more lives we can possibly save!"

SARS has been devastating in parts of China, particularly Guangdong and Shanxi provinces. "Infection-controlling equipment is in short supply," says a letter forwarded by CSSA, "especially in the rural areas where medical services are poorly equipped to cope with an epidemic, which WHO fears is very likely when considering the millions of temporary workers returning from major cities to their rural homes. Most of the 5,163 probable SARS cases reported as of May 15th have come from large Chinese cities, with 271 deaths and over 24,000 people in quarantine. It would be disastrous if WHO's fear comes true. In an increasingly globalized world, we are all be threatened by what happens in China."

CSSA is just one of several organizations representing elements of the Chinese population at UW. It describes itself as "a non-political association of, by and for the students and scholars from the People's Republic of China and their spouses". Wei says there are currently more than 500 members, and some 600 people turned out for the association's big event of the year, a Spring Festival party in February.

"CSSA serves as an important vehicle," he says, "in enhancing mutual help and affinity among individuals of the local Chinese community. CSSA also serves as a link between the Chinese students and scholars at UW and the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Toronto. . . . CSSA has been an active and influential force in organizing activities both on the UW campus and in the Chinese community of Kitchener-Waterloo."

Its funds come from event ticket sales, "rental of CSSA-managed properties and/or CSSA services", donations, and grants from the Chinese consulate.

Memorial will honour former VP

A "quiet memorial" near Needles Hall will honour the memory of D. P. (Pat) Robertson, who worked on the third floor of NH for more than twenty years leading up to his retirement in 1990.

[Robertson] Robertson (right) was "director of academic services" for many years, and a vice-president from 1984 until just before his retirement.

His greatest contribution, colleagues said when he left UW, was in establishing the role of staff on the campus. I remember him as a man with strong quirks -- he kept the ceiling ventilator in his office blasting cold air toward where his visitors sat, to keep meetings brief, and he wrote memos only under duress. But no one who knew UW's administration doubted his strength in keeping things running smoothly, or his absolute trustworthiness.

The plan for a memorial was begun by a group of his former colleagues and friends, says Bonnie Oberle in UW's development and alumni affairs office, who's handling the paperwork. Robertson's admirers note that he "never sought any special recognition over the many years that he served UW, and at his request there was no public funeral or memorial service. But when he passed away on December 28, 2002, there was a desire to commemorate his vast contributions to the University.

"Because of the man he was though, a memorial needed to strike just the right tone. Robertson was a private man who took pride in doing his job and doing it efficiently.

"In keeping with these characteristics, a quiet memorial, off the beaten track, between Needles Hall and Modern Languages, was identified in honour of him. It's located in a space that Robertson would have seen whenever he looked out his office window and will feature two handsome benches around a newly planted tree, as well as a modest plaque to remind visitors of Robertson's many contributions to UW."

Anyone who would like to contribute to the project can get in touch with Oberle at ext. 5422, e-mail boberle@uwaterloo.ca.

[Peak was in 2000]

Applications for spots in Ontario teachers' colleges have gone up this year, from 41,703 last year (representing 14,242 different individuals) to 46,134 this year (from 14,874 individual students). The figures come from the Ontario Universities Application Centre.

Other notes and events today

Better start with a correction to something that appeared in yesterday's Gazette, in the "Notebook" column. We wrote (well, I wrote) that a proposed graduate diploma in "business, entrepreneurship and technology" had been approved by senate at last week's meeting. In fact, although the BET proposal was on the agenda for that meeting, it wasn't brought up for a vote.

The office of research will be in its new quarters in Needles Hall very soon now, writes Elizabeth Harnum, administrative assistant for the vice-president (university research). "Research Ethics & Grants, International Programs Office, Institutional Programs, Technology Transfer & Licensing and the VP Research from the 3rd floor will be moving to the 1st floor June 2-4," she writes. Those offices will be closed next Monday through Wednesday for the move. "However, staff will be monitoring email and voice mail periodically throughout this period. The 2nd floor office consisting of Research Finance, Contract Research and Industrial Grants will remain in operation pending their relocation to the 1st floor later in June. Thank you in advance for your patience, and we look forward to serving you in our new location."

The co-op and career services department is holding a workshop for employers this morning ("Interview U"), as interviews for fall term co-op jobs are under way. . . . A meeting for web page creators, with a briefing on "The Current State of the Web at UW", is being held at 9:30 this morning in Davis Centre room 1302. . . . Signs around campus indicate that the Pragma Council, an advisory body for the school of planning, is meeting today. . . .

The fifth-annual Cross-Border Workshop on Laser Science opens today and runs through Saturday. The event is being held at UW for the first time. "Topics," its web site notes, "will include quantum information, ultrafast, strong-field effects, coherent control and laser cooling and trapping. . . . The conference will include five tutorials and six invited talks. These presentations will be given by some of the most recognised researchers in laser science. There will also be two poster sessions." The organizing committee includes Donna Strickland, James Martin, and several other people in UW's department of physics.

Ahmed Hassan, a graduate student in the school of computer science, will speak today on "The Chaos of Software Development" (3:30, Davis Centre room 1304). . . . A career development workshop today will deal with "Selling Your Skills" (registration is through the career services web site). . . . A banquet honouring the winners of UW's high school French contest will be held tonight in the Tatham Centre. . . . H. K. Kesavan of the systems design engineering department will speak tonight on "Basic Concepts of Vedic Philosophy" (7:00, Math and Computer room 4021). . . .

Looking ahead a couple of days

Reunions for engineering alumni of 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993 and 1998 are being held on Saturday and Sunday. Various social events are planned, including a Saturday afternoon reception in South Campus Hall hosted by UW president David Johnston. Also arranged is an "Iron Ring station" for replacement of that cherished ring, symbol of the profession, or ring refitting for those whose fingers have unaccountably grown a little thicker over the years. "Any faculty who have taught engineers" are welcome to take part in reunion activities, says a note from the engineering alumni office -- call ext. 6838 for details.

An important event is scheduled for Sunday night in the Theatre of the Arts: Michael Shara, of the American Museum of Natural History, will give this year's Helen Sawyer Hogg Public Lecture. The event is part of the annual meeting of the Canadian Astronomical Society, which is being held at UW next week. Shara will apparently speak on sex and violence among the stars: "Stellar Promiscuity and Destruction". Admission is free, but tickets are needed, and can be picked up (today or tomorrow) in the physics department general office, Physics room 256 phone ext. 2215.

And Monday brings an event of considerable interest for people who teach:

Please join us for an informal demonstration on Interactive Case Studies led by Tom Carey, UW's Associate Vice President, Learning Resources and Innovation. We'll be taking a close look at how case stories have evolved from basic text to interactive learner-centred products of benefit to many different disciplines, including accounting and engineering (among many others). Come see various speakers looking at alternative and mainstream roles of the past, present and future of interactive case studies.
The session will start at 10:30 Monday morning in the Flex lab in the Dana Porter Library. Registrations go by e-mail to peter@LT3.uwaterloo.ca.


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