[University of Waterloo]


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About the DB

Friday, March 18, 2005

  • Uncertainty worries scholarship donors
  • Turnout of 4,000 for Campus Day
  • Brain researcher aids stroke patients
Chris Redmond

The annual Snowman Burning


Maureen O'Brien, a staff member in UW Graphics since 1984, died Wednesday, aged 59. "For the last five years," a colleague writes, "Maureen worked in the reception area and greeted many of the UW staff, faculty and customers with a smile and a cheery hello. Maureen's great wit, sense of humour, strong will for life, and kind and compassionate ways will be remembered by all." She is survived by her husband Hugh, who works in the plant operations department, as well as a son and a daughter and other family members. visitation is today from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 at the Henry Walser Funeral Home, Kitchener. A funeral service begins at 10:30 Saturday morning at Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church. Memorial donations to Mount Sinai Hospital or Grand River Regional Cancer Centre are suggested.

Uncertainty worries scholarship donors -- by Patricia Bow

A government program that has helped UW raise millions of private dollars to help students in financial need may not be in place past the end of March. Or it may. The uncertainty is posing a problem for university fundraisers.

Basketball run ends with loss

The St. Mary's University Huskies defeated the Warriors 78-66 last night, bringing an unexpected end to their national championship hopes. Rob McDermand has an online report on the game. The Warriors will play Brandon at 11:00 this morning in a consolation round of the championship tournament, taking place in Halifax.
Since March 27, 2003, the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund (OSOTF) has promised to match, dollar for dollar, any endowed gifts made to universities for student financial assistance up until December 31, 2005. The cash matching would extend to 2011, because donors would be given that long to fulfill their pledges.

The program has been a great help to UW fundraisers working to encourage private donors to support awards and scholarships. According to a letter dated January 21, sent by Waterloo president David Johnston to Mary Anne Chambers, minister of training, colleges and universities: "The prospect of doubling the impact of a gift has been a powerful motivator for our donors, and one that we have actively promoted through our fundraising activities."

The university does, however, find its fundraising capacity cramped by the size of its allotment under the program -- a modest $8.95 million, based on how it performed in the program's earlier stage, 1996-2003. In the 2003 budget, the government announced it would put $400 million into the program. According to the recently published "Ontario: A Leader in Learning" -- also known as the Rae Report -- more than three-quarters of the funding so far has gone to six Ontario institutions with, between them, one-third of the province's student enrolment. UW is not one of the six.

UW is asking the minister to redistribute the allocations to more accurately reflect the universities' financial needs today: for example, by using a ratio based on the number of incoming students.

In July 2004, the government announced it was thinking of making changes to OSOTF. In particular, it said that the province would offer no assurances that the dollar-matching would continue after the end of March 2005. In other words, the matching might stop, or it might not. The announcement, Johnston, wrote, "was, to say the least, a blow to our ability to increasingly provide adequate student financial support, particularly for our lower-income students. . . . This dismays our donors, and jeopardizes many relationships with individuals who entered into agreements with the university in good faith, only to find the terms of their agreements have been modified without their input."

'Queer film' festival begins

Rainbow Reels -- a film festival "dedicated to celebrating queer culture and experience on film" -- runs tonight through Sunday in Davis Centre room 1302. The festival, organizers say, "is dedicated to exploring the diversity of the LGBTQ community by showcasing films that explore the world of queer culture beyond the mainstream -- because there is more to the queer community than the Fab Five and Will Truman! This year's film selection ranges from inspiring documentaries to dramas, from a coming of age story to the tragedies of homophobia. With a broad combination of feature length and short films of various genres from Canada and abroad, there is sure to be something for everyone." Admission is free. Screenings start at 7:30 tonight, 7:00 Saturday night and 7:00 Sunday. Descriptions of each film are available on the web.

Juggling festival and show

The UW Juggling Club hosts its 13th annual Juggling Festival tomorrow (10:00 to 10:00) and Sunday (10 to 5) in the great hall of the Student Life Centre. Through both days, jugglers from around Ontario and the northeastern United States will meet to play juggling games, attend workshops, and compete in various events. Admission is free, for both jugglers and spectators. The highlight of the weekend is a public show at 7:00 Saturday night. More information is available online.
By the end of December, UW had raised $1.5 million that could be matched for scholarship endowments. Another $2 million in pledges could not be matched because UW had already hit the ceiling set by the government for the period up to this month.

UW is urging the minister to continue the dollar-matching program. This is in line with recommendations in the Rae Report, which says: "The provincial government should continue OSOTF on a permanent basis, providing matching funds in the amount of $50 million a year starting in 2005-06." The report also recommends that "the match . . . to institutions whose OSOTF endowment is less than $1,000 per student should be enhanced for a two-year period." At the end of that period, "the match would be the same, subject to a fair system of allocation."

The fate of the program will not be known until the Ontario government brings in its next budget, probably in early to mid-April.

Turnout of 4,000 for Campus Day

The sun was shining and the crowds were "unprecedented", say the organizers of Tuesday's Campus Day open house, which gave a first glimpse of Waterloo to many of the university's future students.

Heather Godelie, manager of the Visitors Centre, calls the day "a huge success". She writes: "Final registration numbers as of Tuesday morning showed that registrants including guests was well over 4,000. We had a great turnout with beautiful weather which was not only a huge draw for visiting campus but created an energy and enthusiasm all over campus that was incredibly contagious. It was great to see the campus swarming with prospective students and parents, all eager to get the inside scoop on life at Waterloo.

"The SLC was alive with activity throughout the day as our student ambassadors provided over 700 visitors with campus tours. New this year was our student services tour which provided an overview of the campus and the services available to students with a bit of campus trivia (with prizes for visitors:) Also new this year was a session in the Multi-Purpose Room -- "Student Life at UW". Touching on athletics, clubs, societies and residences, this presentation brought student life at UW to life. With a student panel available at the session, visitors were able to engage current UW students and appreciate how unique life at UW is.

Canada-India Research Priorities workshop involving nine universities, 9:00 to 4:30, CEIT room 3142.

Income tax clinic conducted by students from Accounting Students Education Contribution, 9 to 4, Student Life Centre great hall.

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Jack Mintz, C. D. Howe Institute, "Tax Policy in the 21st Century for Mid-size Economies", 12 noon, 57 Erb Street West.

'Marat/Sade' final performances by UW drama department, tonight and Saturday 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts. Tickets 888-4908. (For the record: the photo in Wednesday's Daily Bulletin included Jen Scullion as Charlotte Corday, in the background, as well as the cast members identified at the time.)

'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown', play produced by Conrad Grebel University College students, tonight and Saturday 8:00, Registry Theatre, 122 Frederick Street, Kitchener.

Engineering play: Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's "You Can't Take It with You", performed by engineering students, today 8 p.m., Saturday 2 and 8 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 113, tickets $6, on sale noon hours in the Student Life Centre and Carl Pollock Hall foyer.

Students for Palestinian Rights present Layalee Falasteeniyeh, Saturday 7:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Water rights: Frank Schwartz, Ohio State University, speaks on "Whisky's for Drinking, Water's for Fighting Over", as this year's TD Canada Trust Walter Bean Visiting Professor in the Environment, March 23, 3:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

  • Engineering students get training at institute in India
  • 'Engineering rituals and rites of passage' (Iron Warrior)
  • UW students chat on LiveJournal web site
  • 'Should UW adopt a universal bus pass?' (Iron Warrior)
  • Québec students march in protest | 'Fees are too low' (Montreal Gazette)
  • RIM settles lawsuit over BlackBerry patents
  • 'Is postsecondary access more equitable in Canada or the United States?' (Stats Canada)
  • Database of NSERC Chair holders across Canada
  • NSERC grants 'to foster science and engineering awareness'
  • Boston U moves ahead with plans for infectious disease lab
  • US government barring scholars for political reasons, ACLU says
  • Open Student Television Network online
  • 'Life on campus getting tougher, lonelier' (Star)
  • "The Financing session in the MPR also drew large crowds of visitors and was highlighted on the 6 o'clock news on CKCO TV.

    "Faculty areas were busy throughout the day with information booths and program information sessions. It was great to be able to speak with so many visitors who were already beginning to feel their faculty was their home-base. Overall, I think visitors were impressed with the amount of information and resources available to them. Faculty and program sessions, sessions about Co-operative Education, information booths in the SLC, campus tours, residence tours and visits to the University Colleges throughout the day provided visitors with ample opportunity to interact with staff, students and faculty."

    The called the event "a great day" and sent thanks to the many people who were involved in various ways, "not only for your hard work and dedication beforehand but especially during".

    Tina Roberts, director of undergraduate recruitment and marketing, adds that "virtually all areas on campus" had something to do with the day's activities, with faculty, staff and students numbering in the hundreds playing one role or another.

    Roberts adds: "During Campus Day, we hosted our first President's Scholarship reception. About 70 students (all having received offers with 90-plus averages) and 190 family members gathered to listen to David Johnston speak and to meet faculty representatives. The energy was extremely positive at this reception and we heard many enthusiastic comments from parents about how impressed they were with our school and the 'you're in' offer package. Four more President's Receptions are being planned (two in May, one in June, and one in September)."

    Brain researcher aids stroke patients -- by Graeme Stemp, for the UW media relations office

    There is hope for stroke patients who suffer from unilateral neglect, which causes them to behave as if the entire left side of their world has ceased to exist.

    "Affected individuals have no basic perceptual difficulties for things on the left side, but at some point that signal is interrupted," says UW psychology professor James Danckert, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience.

    But those patients are being given half the world again. Researchers in France, whom Danckert studied with, have discovered that through wearing prismatic eyeglasses their awareness of the left can be improved. "French researchers found that prism glasses, which are thick on one side and taper thinner on the other side, returned patient's awareness of the left for anywhere from two hours to two weeks after they removed the glasses," he says.

    How this remarkable phenomenon occurs is the subject of Danckert's research. "We think that with the glasses on their perception is skewed to the right, and once they are removed their perception overcompensates to the left so that they have a more normal awareness of the world."

    Danckert also wants to know what causes this bizarre and debilitating phenomenon. His team is using MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) to scan affected individuals to try to determine how their brains differ.

    "Loss of awareness usually occurs after a stroke, typically a stroke that leads to a lesion of the right parietal lobe. Unfortunately, it has proven difficult to find patients suitable for testing in the MRI magnet," he said.

    Danckert's research keeps him busy, but he still works to combat boredom. "It's the old psychology adage, right? Physician, heal thyself; I study boredom so that I don't get bored," he said. What actually happened is that a relative suffered a traumatic accident and afterwards was bored by events that had previously been exciting. "I thought it was a little odd, but when I talked to other people that had suffered similar traumas it appeared that this was very common. So, now I am trying to determine what causes boredom."

    Danckert theorizes that the traumatic injury might raise the threshold of interest in the same way that drug addicts need increasing doses to get the same high. Or it might be that the interesting stimuli have a delayed response so the brain can't connect interest with stimulus. "Our brains tell us what's interesting, but what happens if that enjoyment response isn't there? My research gets at a more basic human ability, which is the ability to enjoy life."


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