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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

  • OSAP gets boost; fees under study
  • Welcoming the UW interns home
  • Services, music, safety and more
Chris Redmond

Science jokes for September 20

[Magazine cover]

Issue #25 of the student-published Chinese-language magazine UW Dimensions is available now around campus. Among features in the new issue is an interview with John Crossley, principal of Renison College, who talks about the East Asian studies program, Renison's international links, and development of an Asian-themed garden. There's also an interview with the four students -- now alumni -- who founded Dimensions five years ago. The magazine will be holding a general meeting Thursday night at 7:00 in the Student Life Centre.

OSAP gets boost; fees under study

Students at UW "applaud the provincial government", the Federation of Students says, after the province announced additions to the financial aid plan that it says will benefit 135,000 students.

The enhancements include increased living allowances (the basic figure goes from $110 a week to $140), a decrease in expected parental contributions, and a new $500 allowance to help cover the cost of computing equipment.

"These OSAP enhancements will increase the amount of assistance available to students," said Howie Bender, vice-president (education) of the Feds. "These reforms will increase the amount of students eligible for OSAP and increase assistance for those already in the system."

He noted that for graduates, the government is increasing the income thresholds for interest relief by 5 per cent so that 6,000 more graduates can qualify for this assistance.

"The government has recognized that costs for attending post-secondary institutions have increased considerably; however, there are still costs, such as tuition, that the government can and must control," continued Bender. "Tuition fees must be capped until a sustainable, student-centric tuition policy is established."

(The province is working on a "tuition framework", in the wake of the Rae Review of post-secondary education last winter, but not everybody in the debate has the same idea of what the policy should be. "Neither continued tuition freeze nor limitation of tuition increases can achieve improved access and quality," UW president David Johnston told the university senate last night.)

The government's news release about the OSAP changes began by declaring that "The McGuinty government is doubling its financial aid program to give 135,000 Ontario postsecondary students from low- and middle-income families more assistance starting this year."

It quoted Chris Bentley, minister of training, colleges and universities: "Under our plan, a student's ability -- not their wallet -- will determine whether they reach higher through postsecondary education. . . . These are the most significant improvements to student aid since the Ontario Student Assistance Program was set up more than 25 years ago."

Last month the province announced the Millennium-Ontario Access Grant program, in cooperation with the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation -- a program that it said would provide grants of up to $3,000 to 16,000 first-year students each year. It's the first student grant program in Ontario in a decade.

Now come changes to the amount of money a student can receive in subsidized OSAP loans. "The government will be working with students, universities, colleges and others to make the student aid system easier to access, more understandable and available to students earlier in the decision-making process," the government announcement added.

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  • Welcoming the UW interns home -- by Andrew Dilts

    The Waterloo chapter of Engineers Without Borders will be holding a Fall Gala on Wednesday, September 28, to welcome home two of the chapter's most recent interns from overseas volunteer placements.

    Engineers Without Borders general meeting tonight 5:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 301 -- all welcome. Volunteer recently returned from Mali will speak.
    Ginny Lee, a UW computer science (bioinformatics) student, spent the last four months in the Philippines, where she was working on establishing information technology learning centres for impoverished youth as part of EWB's acclaimed Scala project. Bringing employable skills to the under-educated and employed in developing nations throughout the world, Scala won the United Nations' Global Knowledge Partnership Youth Award for Education, presented at the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva in 2003.

    Meanwhile, systems design engineering student Steven Young spent his four months overseas working on development projects in Tanzania. Both Lee and Young will be speaking at next week's gala, recounting stories of their adventures in international development.

    UW president David Johnston will be speaking at the event, as will Engineers Without Borders co-founder Parker Mitchell. Mitchell, a UW engineering grad, was recently named to the Globe and Mail's "Top 40 under 40" along with co-founder and fellow UW alumnus George Roter.

    Engineers Without Borders is described as Canada's fastest growing not-for-profit organization, having grown to more than 10,000 members since its inception at UW in 2000. Its mandate is to promote human development through access to technology. Not just for engineers, EWB has seen students from diverse disciplines head overseas to work on development projects. The current UW chapter president, Sarah Lewis, is a UW economics student who spent a four month internship in Cameroon in 2004, working on issues related to economic development.

    The Fall Gala will be held at South Campus Hall on Wednesday, September 28, running from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Faculty and staff are particularly invited to this fund-raising event; refreshments will be served throughout the evening. A minimum donation of $25 per person or $40 per couple has been set for this fundraiser; all proceeds go to the local chapter of Engineers Without Borders. More information is available from chapter president Sarah Lewis at sa2lewis@artsmail.

    Jerry Gray, recently retired from the office of research, funeral service 1 p.m. today, Ward Funeral Home, 52 Main Street South, Brampton.

    Engineering faculty council 3:00, CEIT room 3142.

    Canadian Federation of University Women local chapter, 6:30 p.m., First United Church, details online.

    Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Jean Chamberlain of Save the Mothers, "Motherhood Around the World: The Tolerated Tragedy", Wednesday 11:45, 57 Erb Street West, e-mail reservations rsvp@cigionline.org.

    'Small Group Personal Training on Campus', talk by Lori Kraemer, fitness consultant, sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, Wednesday 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1302.

    Café-rencontre du département d'études françaises: Marie-Christine Gomez-Géraud, Université de Picardie, "Le récit de voyage aux frontière de l'indicible (XVIe siècle)", mercredi 14h30, Humanities salle 373.

    Accounting Students Endowment Contribution presents Dennis Kavelman, chief financial officer of Research In Motion, Wednesday 4 p.m., Humanities Theatre; reception follows.

    Jewish studies Allan Kerbel Lecture: Stephen Berk, Union College, "Great Trials in Jewish History", Wednesday 7:30, Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University.

    Warrior Weekend Friday and Saturday with special evening activities -- craft corner, UW jugglers, house-of-cards competition. Movies: "Prisoner of Azkaban" and "Batman Returns" Friday, "Gattaca" Saturday. More information online.

    Services, music, safety and more

    Today brings something new organized by Federation of Students leaders: a "Service and Society Fair" to give students a close look at what student societies -- the Engineering Society, the Science Society and the rest -- have to offer, as well as volunteering opportunities with Feds services. "I have also invited external organizations like FASS, the ES coffee shop, Homecoming and WPIRG to have booths," writes Lawrence Lam, vice-president (internal) of the Feds, so the event is something of an extension of last week's Clubs Days. It runs from 10 to 4 today in the Student Life Centre great hall.

    Students who take advantage of a special offer today could end up paying less than $1 a concert for a fall and winter of music. "For a one-time purchase of $60, you can attend an unlimited number of concerts," writes Leah Landriault of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, which will be playing Wagner and Rachmaninoff this weekend, Mozart in his own four-part series, the "Pirates of Penzance" overture in one of the Sunday Light Classics concerts, Canadian and American works in a pair of "New Music" concerts, and so on and on. The $60 offer is available at a KWS booth that will be open today in the Student Life Centre

    Employee safety orientation sessions, and training in the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, will be offered this fall as usual by UW's safety office. "UW's Health, Safety and Environment program requires that all UW employees that have not previously attended, attend one of the following sessions," says a memo from the safety office. (Douglas Dye at ext. 5613 can explain how that applies.) WHMIS training, including safety orientation, runs about 90 minutes and is suitable for "employees who work in proximity to, or handle, hazardous materials routinely as part of their duties". It's available Tuesday of next week (September 27) at 9:30 a.m., or September 29 at 2 p.m., in Davis Centre room 1304. Employee safety orientation sessions for those who don't deal with hazardous materials runs about an hour and is available September 28 or October 4 at 10 a.m., again in Davis 1304. There's no need to preregister.

    Ann Barrett of the Writing Centre has been busy in the wake of the English Language Proficiency Exam earlier this month. "We marked over 4,000 essays," she writes, "but we are done, and the ELPE grades are now ready for viewing in all undergraduate offices and outside the Writing Centre in PAS 2082. Grades are not posted online, but students who passed will find the credit under the Milestones category in Quest in about two weeks. Students who did not pass should consult their academic advisors, the UW calendar, or us."

    A memo from Bill Cunningham in the combinatorics and optimization department: "Bill Pulleyblank, who spent some years as a UW faculty member in the 1980's, returns to campus for a visit this week. Pulleyblank held the NSERC/Canadian Pacific Industrial Research chair in Computers and Optimization before leaving in 1990 to join IBM in New York. He is currently Vice President and Director of the Center for Business Optimization at IBM. From 2000 to 2004, he was leader of the BlueGene project, to build the world's fastest supercomputer. Pulleyblank holds a UW PhD in Combinatorics and Optimization and is a 2005 winner of the Mathematics Alumni Achievement Medal. He will receive the medal at the Mathematics faculty banquet on Thursday evening. He will also give a lecture 'BlueGene, Cyberscience and Business Optimization', Thursday at 4:00 in MC 2065."

    And this memo comes from the university secretariat: "In response to demand, the Secretariat has produced a tabloid version of all UW policies, and selected procedures and guidelines, for use as a handy reference guide; policies appear in the form which was current at the time of printing. Although department are notified when policies are revised or new policies approved, members of the campus community are asked to refer to the web for the most recent and official version. We expect the tabloid will be distributed to the campus community next week. Individuals who prefer to use the web version are encouraged to return the tabloid to the Secretariat."

    A TB skin testing clinic will be in operation for a second day today, from 9:30 to 4:30 in the Village I great hall. . . . A weekly "Bede book group", organized by the Institute of Ministry at Renison College, gets going today at noontime. . . . The UW retirees association has set its annual wine-and-cheese reception for next Wednesday afternoon, September 28. . . .


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