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Friday, September 5, 2003

  • Eye on the Ontario election
  • Black and gold, movies and togas
  • Daily observations and announcements
Chris Redmond

Rinse the Blood Off My Toga

[Harrigan from a video clip]

Kevin Harrigan is the widener of bottlenecks for UW's Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology, or LT3. "Kevin has spent most of his adult life working in multimedia," says a profile that appears on the LT3 web site this month. "Kevin supervises LT3's efforts at learning object creation, including a number of students working on diverse projects each term. As an example, this past term his co-op students worked on creating learning objects ranging from Kinesiology to Accounting." And a definition: "Learning Objects are simply online multimedia interactive components of courses which help students master their understanding of hard-to-understand concepts."

Eye on the Ontario election

Peter Woolstencroft was really hoping Ontario premier Ernie Eves would call the provincial election during the summer. That was when Woolstencroft was teaching Political Science 373 -- "Political Parties, Voting and Elections" -- and the province would have made a perfect laboratory.

But no, the election was delayed until fall, and the biggest effect on Woolstencroft is likely to be "another box in the house with newspaper and magazine articles that I'll save."

Woolstencroft is one of two faculty members in UW's political science department with a direct interest in the politics of Canada, Ontario and the province's municipalities. "I don't teach Ontario politics," he said yesterday, "but a large fraction of my publications have been on Ontario politics."

The other UW professor specializing in Ontario is Bob Williams, who's on a non-teaching term this fall -- and, ironically, may miss the actual election, as he has a trip to Australia planned.

Both Woolstencroft and Williams will watch the election with an eye to collecting material for chapters they'll probably write in a future edition of a standard book in the field, Government and Politics of Ontario. The current fifth edition came out just after the Progressive Conservative Party came to power in 1995 -- Woolstencroft wrote a chapter about that development -- and "it's due for a new edition," he says. So he'll be taking notes as the Tories move towards either a defeat or a third term at Queen's Park.

"For most people, politics means elections," says Woolstencroft, estimating that in reality, no more than 20 per cent of political science is about what happens in campaigns and at the polls. "I'm more interested in the players behind the scenes. Elections, as important as they are, constitute a small fraction of what political scientists think about."

But it's election season, a month every four years or so, when people like Woolstencroft draw the attention of the media, and he's asked to do interviews and comment on the news. "I say no more than I say yes," he observes, adding that he prefers print interviews -- when it's sometimes possible to discuss complex ideas and get the context across -- to the rush of television.

"I've been involved in almost 40 elections," says Woolstencroft, who noted that he wasn't "involved" as a partisan in the last election and won't be playing a role in this one either. Though he's well known as a Tory, that's at the national level; provincially, "I'm an apolitical voter," he insists, with no ties to any party.

Williams also isn't identified with any one party. That's in contrast with the acknowledged partisanship of John Wilson, patriarch of UW's political science department, who was identified all his life with the New Democratic Party. Wilson -- who died earlier this year -- was the founder of UW's Centre for Election Studies, a massive collection of data on Canadian voting over the years. Williams is now the director of that centre.

Black and gold, movies and togas

Orientation events continue. Off-campus students are having "Breakfast with Big Bird" this morning, residents of St. Paul's United College are off on a trip to the Elora Gorge, and Villagers will be taking part in the famous Carnival this afternoon -- and that's just a sampling of what's on the schedule. (Oh, and software engineering students, who usually ride along with either engineering or math, have an event all their own tonight, a dinner in the Davis Centre.)

No wonder, after burning all that energy, that most first-year students will take advantage of tomorrow morning's designated "sleep-in". The only official exceptions are the residents of Conrad Grebel University College, who march to a Mennonite drummer, so to speak; they're off to a retreat at Silver Lake before classes start.

Otherwise, life tomorrow begins with the spirit and noise of Black and Gold Day -- a pep rally to be held at the Student Life Centre in advance of the afternoon football game against the Western Mustangs. The game itself begins at 2 p.m. at University Stadium.

Then in the evening, from 9 p.m. and into the small hours, it's the eagerly awaited toga party, held on and around the Matthews Hall green. The Saturday night party, last and biggest event of orientation week, is now the only official orientation activity at which liquor is available. Attendance is tightly controlled: a temporary fence will discourage interlopers (I'm told the fenced-in area will be bigger than last year, because of the record size of the first-year class), and UW police can be expected to keep an eye on things. (At the 2001 party, the police had words with a total of 31 people, mostly for drinking under age.)

[John Belushi] The toga party became a feature of UW orientation somewhere around 1990. The popular idea of a toga party seems to be celebrating its silver jubilee this year with the 25th anniversary of the film "Animal House" (right), which features a memorable party that revellers have been imitating ever since.

Not all the people at tomorrow night's UW party, but a good majority of them, will actually wear togas. Typically (or so I'm told) the classical attire is made of sheets brought from home for the occasion -- sometimes in traditional white, sometimes with a Woody Woodpecker or Star Wars motif, or whatever Mom found in the bottom of the linen closet last week.

An alternative is provided for first-year students who don't fancy the crowds at the toga party: movie night will start at 9:00 tomorrow evening in the Math and Computer building.

And on the seventh day, they'll rest. Classes start Monday.

  • Beloit College 'mindset list' explains new first-year students
  • City 'thwarts' student enumeration efforts ('uwstudent.org')
  • New faculty development web site
  • Windsor club will pay strippers' tuition fees
  • Domino's founder funds new Catholic university
  • Laurier's Brantford campus holds orientation
  • Canadian Bureau for International Education, annual conference in October
  • Plagiarism Advisory Service
  • Daily observations and announcements

    I can't quite promise that "the earth will move," but at least the earth sciences department will move -- and the big day is getting close now. Lorraine Albrecht writes from the "B. F. Goodrich" building on Columbia Street to say that her department's official move is scheduled for September 18, 19 and 20, 'with the help of AMJ Campbell and Central Stores. Most are moving into the new building" (the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology) "and a few are moving into ESC. We are busy now getting telephones switched over, computers hooked up, and moving the labs, and of course packing!" As for the BFG building itself, "options are being reviewed," says Bruce Mitchell, associate provost (academic and student affairs), who acknowledges that there are "many permutations and combinations" of how UW could assign the space once it's available.

    An end-of-term report from the Waterloo Engineering Endowment Foundation indicates that $34,997 was allocated to various projects during the spring term. The money comes from the interest on a fund -- just shy of $5 million now -- raised over the years by a voluntary fee that engineering students pay. Spring grants from WEEF ranged from $3,370 for teaching equipment in chemical engineering to $1,900 to support this winter's Clean Snowmobile Team (which I'm sure we'll be hearing more about).

    An announcement on the Federation of Students web site notes that the Feds, "in cooperation with the City of Waterloo, will be conducting a survey of the Lester-Sunview neighbourhood, which is to the west of UW. This survey is designed to gather data on a typical suburban student neighbourhood, to ascertain attitudes on student housing and to help produce smarter housing policies in the City of Waterloo. The Federation needs approximately 30 students to help. . . . The survey is scheduled to take place on Monday September 22 (and September 23 if necessary). . . . Policies and by-laws dealing with student housing need proper research to be effective. The Federation hopes that this effort will aid in making the City's housing policies more suitable to student needs. Anyone who would like more information or is interested in joining the survey team should contact Chris Edey at pres@feds.uwaterloo.ca."

    With fall term classes not even started yet, people are thinking ahead to the winter term. Undergraduate students can, according to the registrar's office, now check on their winter enrolment appointments with the electronic Quest system. Enrolment appointments run from September 29 to October 25, and "if you miss your enrolment appointment," a memo says, "you'll have to wait until Open Enrolment to select or make changes to your classes. Open Enrolment begins November 3."

    A student-led Habitat Canada build is under way in Kitchener this week, and likely nearly finished on this fifth day of work. . . . A session for graduate students at 1:30 today in the Davis Centre library is the first of many how-to workshops and tours the library will offer over the next few weeks. . . . Information systems and technology is resuming its Friday morning seminars for computing support staff, with a session today summarizing projects that were conducted over the summer. . . .

    A funeral for Judie Lankowski of information systems and technology, who died Tuesday, will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Kitchener's Schreiter-Sandrock funeral home. . . . The bookstore, the UW Shop and TechWorx are now regularly open on Saturdays (noon to 4 p.m.), and the CampusTechshop in the Student Life Centre will be open the same hours tomorrow and all the Saturdays in September. . . . Watch for Wilfrid Laurier University students on streets and in parking lots tomorrow as the annual Shinerama fund-raiser for cystic fibrosis is held. . . . The mature student services office will be holding its annual used book sale Monday (and Tuesday, if there's anything left) in the Modern Languages building lobby. . . .

    People at UW will be taking part in the "30-Hour Famine" in support of World Vision Canada on October 16 and 17. A key organizer of the event is Nancy O'Neil of the Student Life Centre, who writes: "For the last four months the co-ordinators of the have been busy with planned activities. Silent Auctions, Famine Relief Concert, distribution of a UW Drum Circle/World Vision Cook Book, karaoke, meditation, bonfire, movies, games, dance performance, silent word, just to name a few, and I do mean a few." She adds that she'd like to hear from anyone who might want to contribute to the cookbook. "We are collecting recipes for soups, salads and snacks. The only stipulation is that it must be vegetarian. If you would like to submit your recipe I will need the person's full name and their favourite quote." O'Neil can be reached at noneil@uwaterloo.ca. As for the event itself, "We are inviting everyone to participate in the 30 hours of fast. We invite everyone to come out to support the silent auction and the Famine Freedom Concert."

    Sports this weekend: As I've mentioned, the football Warriors will host Western tomorrow afternoon. On Sunday, both rugby teams will be in action with exhibition games against alumni squads -- the women's team at 11 a.m., the men's team at 1 p.m., and I'm sorry I don't know the location of those games. The field hockey Warriors, who fell to Columbia, Yale and Princeton at their recent American tournament, will be taking part in the Toronto Invitational tomorrow. And the baseball Warriors, who lost to Brock 11-1 last night, continue in Blue Jay Cup action with games against Guelph and Western tomorrow.


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