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Monday, April 19, 2004

  • Summer falls in winter-spring
  • Students call for 'sustainability'
  • IST gives BlackBerry briefing
Chris Redmond

The Boston Marathon

[Corsages and smiles]

Celebrating milestones at the University Club on Friday were three staff members from the housing and residence department who have all reached, so to speak, a certain age. Left to right are Wendy Cooper, manager in UW Place since 1966; May Shane, on the Ron Eydt Village staff since 1987; and Mary Anne Jantzi, a key figure on the conference centre staff since 1966. Shane will retire April 30 and Jantzi at the end of June, but Cooper has opted to keep nose to grindstone for a little longer.

Summer falls in winter-spring

A week ago there was snow -- just yesterday it hailed -- and today it's sultry with a forecast high of 24. Before the winter term is even quite over, summer is making a visit.

As proof, the UW weather station has a winner in its annual guess-the-thermometer contest. Coordinator Frank Seglenieks writes: "After flirting with 20 degrees C on Friday (19.1) and Saturday (18.3) the temperature finally hit 20.3 C at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Thus we now have a winner for the 6th Anniversary Waterloo Weather Station Contest!

"This year's winner was Hiu Ming Man, whose guess of 1:45 p.m. was the closest to the actual time. Manfred Papenfuss was second with his guess of 1:30 p.m. They will both be receiving weather-related books as their prizes.

"This was the latest date for the 20 degree day since the weather station began operation in 1998. The previous latest date was last year's April 15. At 605 entries it was also the highest number of people to enter the contest. We look forward to holding the contest again next year and hope for a earlier winning date."

A few other summery notes today had better start with a correction I wrote in Friday's Daily Bulletin that "UW's 88th Convocation will be held in five sessions on the usual pattern: Thursday, June 16, for environmental studies, applied health sciences and independent studies," and so on. Well, June 16 is in fact a Wednesday, and that's when the AHS-ES convocation is happening. The rest of the schedule as I summarized it is correct: Thursday, June 17, for arts; Friday, June 18, for science; Saturday, June 19, in the morning for mathematics; and Saturday afternoon for engineering.

There's also, apparently, a correction to a correction, having to do with the dates of the "Drop Penalty 2 Period" for the winter term of 2005. The beginning date of this period is printed wrong in the new undergraduate calendar, the registrar's office says, and I duly reported the correction in Friday's Daily Bulletin. But somehow I got part of it wrong. Next winter, the "Drop Penalty 2 Period" will begin on March 1. The printed calendar apparently says February 26; don't believe it. (The full "Important Dates" list from the calendar is now available on the web, and probably it's even correct.)

Renovations are about to begin on the fourth floor of Carl Pollock Hall, where the dean of engineering office is located. Accordingly, the dean's office will be temporarily moving to the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology. Says Sue Gooding of the dean's office: "On Monday, April 19, we will start the move by re-locating our computers to our interim offices in EIT. The following day -- Tuesday, April 20 -- we will be moving everything else and officially arrive in the EIT location. I am trusting that there will be only minimal disruption during this transition. We will be located in clusters over the third and fourth floors of the EIT building. Any mail should be addressed as usual, using EIT 3152 as our mailing address location. Our telephone extensions will remain the same, and have been scheduled to switch to EIT on that Tuesday. We will have our interim office locations listed on our website. Should you need to pay us a visit, please check our site for specific location details. We expect the renovations will be completed by June 30, and it is our hope that we can be returned by then to CPH."

Here's a reminder that nominations for the UW Excellence in Research Awards are due by April 30. Nominations go to the office of Paul Guild, UW's vice-president (university research). The awards were set up "to recognize distinguished research achievements of UW faculty members. The Award provides a $1,500 grant for research to four recipients annually: two from Applied Health Sciences, Arts, Environmental Studies and the Federated & Affiliated Colleges; and two from Engineering, Mathematics and Science. . . . In assessing excellence, the term 'research' must be interpreted in its broadest sense, referring to any original, productive scholarship in any of the disciplines of investigation and learning in the University. The Committee will give cognizance to differences among disciplines in terms of funding levels, time to publish, and nature of publications or other scholarly contributions." The dean's office at ext. 3432 can provide more information.

Artwork by Pat Kalyn, who retired in 2000 from her job as secretary to UW's registrar, will be hanging in the University Club for the next couple of weeks. The exhibition, titled "Here, There and Home Again", can best be described as "representation, loosely rendered", Kalyn told me a few days ago. "I strive to capture the moment," she said -- "I paint with passion." The show includes floral paintings, landscapes and urban scenes; there's even a picture of the Dana Porter Library. "House portraits" are a specialty in her commissioned work, Kalyn added. All are for sale, and none had been pre-sold when the show went onto the walls a few days ago. A meet-the-artist reception will be held at the Club on Thursday, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Also because it's Earth Week

  • Sustainability Project booth in the Davis Centre. Today's theme: Air and its problems.

  • Campus Environment Quiz on the waste management web site.

  • Student "naturalistic landscaping team" plants native wildflowers and shrubs on the north campus, northeast of Columbia Lake, Tuesday 1 to 5 p.m.
  • Students call for 'sustainability'

    With Earth Week overlapping the last few days of the winter term, two environmental studies students are saying in their course presentations that UW should make a campus-wide commitment to "sustainability".

    They'll be showing off their work tomorrow, along with a third student whose project deals with "Indoor Landscaping of the Student Life Centre". That work comes from Elizabeth Nguyen, advised by environment and resource studies professor Steve Murphy.

    One of the students showing off her project is Sandy Kiang, well-known as a leader of the student-run UW Sustainability Project, which grew out of the WatGreen initiative, created in 1990. Kiang's poster to be presented tomorrow is titled "The Path to Institutionalizing Campus Sustainability". Her advisor was Greg Michalenko, also of ERS.

    She writes that UW's proposed Sixth Decade Plan, for the years ahead from 2007, "has been identified as a useful tool to operationalize sustainability into research, planning, operations, teaching and service activities, and she urges "a campus sustainability mission statement" as part of the plan.

    "Our university constantly prides itself," she writes, "for being the most innovative institution in Canada. In our journey to reach a more sustainable campus, there is one quote that comes directly to mind: 'Change is inevitable. It's the resistance to change that's optional.' If UW is to regain leadership of campus sustainability in Canada, we must gain the commitment from senior-level administrators to ensure the necessary climate is created."

    Kiang also argues for creation of "a campus-wide sustainability course" and policies that will encourage "green research", sustainable practices from the plant operations department.

    [At luncheon table]

    UW provost Amit Chakma, left, meeting with Sandy Kiang, second from left, and student leaders to discuss the green campus

    The other student making a presentation tomorrow is Crystal Legacy, advised by ERS faculty member Susan Wismer. Her project deals with "Integrating a Campus Sustainability Assessment Framework into the University of Waterloo". She concludes that "the assessment framework proposed can most effectively be applied at UW through a bottom-up approach, which suggests that students take the lead in implementing the framework. The student volunteers in UWSP will act as the coordinating body. . . .

    "The WatGreen Advisory Committee will act as a liaison to information that may be difficult for students to access, as well as the liaison to the university administration. The final goal of the assessment is for it to be published as a 'sustainability report'. . . . This assessment will help guide the efforts of student volunteers, student projects, staff, and faculty and administrative efforts to making the University of Waterloo a model of socio-biophysical responsibility."

    The presentations are being made tomorrow, starting at 10:30, in Environmental Studies I room 221 and the nearby ES courtyard.

    Senate graduate and research council, 10:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

    Cancer and its effects, "lunch and learn" session by Nancy Leach Shaefer of Hopespring Cancer Support Centre, at the office for persons with disabilities, Needles Hall, 12 noon.

    Staff appreciation luncheons at the University Club, today through Friday, $13.95 plus tax, reservations ext. 3801.

    UW senate monthly meeting, 4:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

    Warrior football camp today through Friday in preparation for fall season.

    Novelist Donna Morrissey, reading rescheduled for Tuesday 4 p.m., St. Jerome's University room 2009.

    North campus environmental reserve design open house Wednesday, May 5, 2 to 4 p.m., Environmental Studies courtyard.

    IST gives BlackBerry briefing

    Enough "people on the go" at UW now have BlackBerries that information systems and technology gave a brief course on them on Thursday -- which included the customary warning that the hand-held electronic communicators "can be addictive".

    Pat Lafranier of IST's client services group led the course and estimates that "perhaps 50 or so" staff and faculty members currently have BlackBerries, with the number going up. Arrangements to buy the devices and make airtime arrangements charged to UW budgets can be made through the telephone services division of IST.

    [Blue BlackBerry] A BlackBerry -- made by the UW spinoff company Research In Motion, which neighbours the campus on the northeast -- is a wireless gadget, clipped to a belt or carried in a purse, that provides access to e-mail, calendar, phone, web, and an organizer. It's "compact and easy-to-use", Lafranier's course notes point out, adding that it's "always connected 24/7" -- although yes, it can be turned off, if the willpower is there.

    Wireless e-mail is the traditional big attraction, and in her course on Thursday Lafranier talked about how to have e-mail to a UW account forwarded to a BlackBerry as well, without overwhelming the system ("Only give people your UW email address . . . use the auto-aging facility in the web client").

    The gadget also has address book and schedule features, and many models have voice services to double as a cell-phone. There's also a web browser, and a number of other software applications are starting to be available from third-party suppliers.

    BlackBerries are no longer all black: "Colour model is the newest, and becoming the most popular," Lafranier notes.


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