Thursday, June 22, 2006

  • Canada Day celebration has green tint
  • Future students get loonie advice
  • Pixels in the big picture
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Rates rising for UHIP insurance

The human resources department has issued a memo with "important news about the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP). This program, available since 1994, provides coverage comparable to OHIP for all international employees, students and their families coming to the University.

"Participation in UHIP is mandatory for anyone who has a formalized relationship with the University and who are not eligible for provincial health insurance coverage (including all paid or unpaid workers, international post-doctoral fellows, researchers, visiting scholars, and international students and any accompany-ing spouse and children). It is critical that a reference to UHIP be incorporated into your hiring procedures and appointment letters.

"The UHIP plan has been renewed for 2006-2007 and substantial rate increases have been implemented in order to preserve the financial health of the plan. The new rates are in effect September 1, 2006 to August 31, 2007."

Link of the day

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

When and where

World Cup soccer showings at Student Life Centre: Japan vs. Brazil and Croatia vs. Australia, 3 p.m.

International spouses group "summer stroll along the river" in St. Jacobs, postponed from previous date, meet 1 p.m. at Columbia Lake Village community centre, off Columbia Street west of West-mount Road. All spouses of international students or pro-fessors welcome. Information

Career workshop: "Exploring Your Personality Type" 3:00, Tatham Centre room 1112, registration online.

Volunteer Impact Awards sponsored by Volunteer Action Centre, 6:30, Centre for International Governance Innovation, 57 Erb Street West, details online.

City of Waterloo presents Cynthia Nikitin, Project for Public Spaces, "Planning for Public Spaces", 7 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, reservations and information online.

Shot in the Dark golf tournament at Westhill Meadows, 9:30 p.m. Faculty, staff and students welcome; registration $35 (includes glow-in-the-dark equipment) at athletics department, Physical Activities Complex.

Canada's Wonderland trip organized by Federation of Students, Friday, tickets $37 at Fed office, Student Life Centre.

'An Inconvenient Truth', film on global climate change, Waterloo opening Friday at Princess Twin Cinemas, special participation by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group and other agencies.

Graduate Student Association picnic at Elora Gorge Conservation Area, Saturday, buses leave campus 8:30 a.m., tickets $10 at Graduate House (includes transportation and two meals), all welcome.

Columbia Lake Village North community barbecue Saturday 4 p.m., CLV community centre, free to CLV North residents.

National Aboriginal Day celebrations Saturday noon to 5 p.m., Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery: arts and crafts, displays, food, drumming, workshops, all welcome, information 519-763-5292.

Vancouver alumni event: Southern Ontario Alumni Reunion, UW and other universities volunteer-driven family picnic, Sunday at Jericho Beach, details online.

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Canada's new 'open digitization initiative'

Canada Day celebration has green tint

from the UW media relations office

What's red and white and green all over? Canada Day at the University of Waterloo.

[Canadian flag with crayon about to turn it green]This 22nd annual celebration, to be held at Columbia Lake on July 1, will focus on respecting the environment, says Natai Shelsen, administrative co-ordinator for the celebrations and a UW student in speech communication and peace and conflict studies. "Although red and white are the official colours on Canada Day, this year we want people to 'think green.' "

Shelsen said that, besides celebrating Canada, it's important to go a step further "by respecting and celebrating part of what makes Canada so great -- our environment. We are encouraging all of our attendees to 'think green' on Canada Day by being environmentally conscious and by taking the GRT buses, riding a bike, walking, rollerblading or skateboarding to the celebrations."

Shelsen said Grand River Transit liked the idea so much that the public service has come on board as a "presenter sponsor" of the event.

Canada Day organizers will set up a green booth to offer environmental information and showcase green initiatives on campus, such as UW's Midnight Sun solar race car, the UW alternative fuels team and the UW sustainability project. As well, "green games" will be held to encourage children to think about the environment and how to improve it.

"We can't run the event properly with the number of volunteers we currently have!" laments Dana Evans of UW's public affairs office. She urgently wants to hear from students and others who can assist with anything from setup to face-painting, food sales to cleanup. There are "great incentives" (ice cream, T-shirts). Details are online, or call ext. 3981.

Organizers are seeking volunteers from the campus and community to help out at the celebrations, widely seen as Waterloo Region's premier Canada Day event. Volunteers are needed on June 30, July 1 and July 2 for a variety of roles, from helping with the children's activities to working in the food tent. "The University of Waterloo's Canada Day celebrations is largely the result of the hard work and dedication of volunteers," says Ahinsa Mansukhani, volunteer manager for the day.

Everybody is invited to attend the Canada Day events, which begin at 2 p.m. on that Saturday and continue throughout the day, wrapping up at 10 p.m. with the grand finale of fireworks. This year's family entertainer will be Eric Nagler of Eric's World and The Elephant Show, who will perform on the main stage at 5 p.m.

The annual event, sponsored by UW and the Federation of Students, is expected to attract up to 60,000 people to celebrate Canada's 139th birthday at the Columbia Lake fields on the north campus. The event's popularity is credited to the big list of free activities and events planned for the entire family. Water slide, dunk tank, obstacle course and magic shows are a few of the many activities, along with an arts and crafts fair featuring hand-made goods and kid-friendly products.

Canada Day at UW also features live musical entertainment throughout the day and evening, leading up to the fireworks. Performers include Matthew Barber and The Union Dues, who headline the show at 9 p.m. While most of the children's activities wrap up at 8 p.m., the main stage performances and the arts and crafts fair continue until 10 p.m.

Parking is free in all UW lots for the day; visitors are advised to enter from University Avenue, as Columbia Street will be closed.

The event is made possible by the support of many local businesses and organizations. Attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to donate on-site to the UW food bank.

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Future students get loonie advice

“You may not be aware of all the sources of funding available to you,” says a new brochure on student finances that’s bringing some compliments to the UW office of marketing and undergraduate recruitment.

[Cover of student financing brochure]Says Julie Hummel of the recruitment office: “The brochure was developed with a primary purpose of communicating in print to Canadian applicants and their parents the UW financial aid guarantee. This guarantee is an important University of Waterloo strategy to recruit high quality students, and it was felt that it was important to deliver the message effectively.”

Here’s how the guarantee is stated in the booklet (left): “The University guarantees to fund unmet need as defined by OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program) or a student assistance program from another Canadian province. The University aspires to identify students in need and ensure that all eligible students admitted to full-time undergraduate programs have the financial assistance necessary to complete their studies.”

Students, in turn, “are required to seek financial support from all sources, including family, employment, loans, and government support programs.”

The rest of the 12-page brochure is the details, including charts of “sample costs” for a UW education, details on scholarships and bursaries, a summary of OSAP rules, budgeting tips, and a financial worksheet.

The brochure went out to applicants this winter, as Hummel notes: “The timing of the brochure in the application cycle is critical as we know from experience and research that students don't think enough about how they are going to pay for university. Research indicates that February and March is a good time to start talking to them about it. This coincides nicely with the bursary application deadline in April, which is another goal of the brochure.”

She says it was developed by a team that included Alice Pelkman and Brenda Denomme of the student awards and financial aid office, as well as Barb Trotter, Julie Kalbfleisch, and Julia Mordini of recruitment.

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Pixels in the big picture

"With the coming change to the UW extension numbers (from 4 digits to 5)," writes Sean Van Koughnett, the director of UW Graphics, "I would encourage those interested in having their business cards updated to get their orders to Graphics as soon as possible to avoid the expected rush come August. For this particular job, submissions would be handled more efficiently the low-tech way — on one requisition per department with a copy of each old business card attached, mailed to Jan Weber in Graphics. Alternatively, you could use our online requisition, which has recently been re-developed with a more user-friendly webform-based front end. (For all other jobs, this is the best way to submit your requests)."

A number of people from UW's information systems and technology department were in Halifax earlier this month for the annual Canadian Higher Education Information Technology conference, known as CanHEIT. Some of them will report tomorrow, talking about "their top 5 take-aways" at the weekly IST professional development seminar. (It starts at 8:45 in the IST seminar room in Math and Computer.) "This conference will be hosted by the University of Waterloo in 2007," Bob Hicks of IST notes, "so our attendees were taking a lot of notes with respect to the organization of the conference."

An item of interest from the latest issue of the staff association newsletter: “The Staff Association has heard from some of its members that they feel advice given to them regarding their University pension was bad. Now the fact is that there have been legislative changes over the years that can make what was (perhaps) good advice ‘then’ seem like (perhaps)’bad’ advice ‘now’. Also, social attitudes have changed and women may have been treated differently in the past. The Staff Association is interested in finding out how people feel about the information they received with respect to their pension options and consequences. Did you get clear, unbiased, accurate, information? Did you get all the information you needed? We want to know how you feel. We even want to know how people who used to work for the University feel about the matter, so if you know people who used to work at UW who may wish to tell us about their experience, please encourage them to contact us. The Staff Association is aware that current procedures for newly hired employees do stress the importance of decisions made regarding Pensions, and we are comfortable with today's system. We are not suggesting we will be able to redress anything done in the past. All we are hoping to do is come to a better understanding of how big an issue the matter of these past pension decisions might be.”

The biology department reports that graduate student Mark Held is this year's winner of the E. B. Dumbroff Award in Plant Sciences, "presented annually to the author of an outstanding MSc or PhD thesis". The award honours E. B. "Dutch" Dumbroff, a faculty member who retired in 1996 after a career in specializations ranging from plants and environmental stress to biostatistics. Held's thesis, supervised by Barbara Moffatt of UW and Frederique Guinel of Wilfrid Laurier University, is catchily titled "Characterizing Cytokinin Oxidase/Dehydrogenase (CKX) Throughout the Development of R50 (sym16), a Pea (Pisum sativum) Mutant Accumulating Cytokinins (CK)".

A former UW staff member, Norman Preston, died May 24, the human resources department notes. He was a mechanic in the plant operations department, who came to UW in August 1969 and retired August 1, 1984.

Renison College has announced the creation of an "Alumni Cornerstone Club" of building campaign donors in the $250 to $500 range, each of whom will get their name etched on a brick in the college's new wing. . . . The University Club will offer a "Celebrate Canada" luncheon buffet next Wednesday, with "creamy potato and Canadian bacon salad", pork loin in a Canadian whiskey jus, wild mushroom bread pudding, and other delicacies. . . . Up to July 31, anybody who buys a laptop at the Campus TechShop in the Student Life Centre is eligible to "win your purchase" in a promotional draw. . . .


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