[University of Waterloo]


Past days


About the DB

Monday, March 13, 2006

  • Clean snowmobile team competes
  • Future students visit tomorrow
  • Drops in the daily deluge
Chris Redmond


[At the head of the table, in pinstriped suit]

Chief executive of Boston Pizza, at least for a week, was UW French student Melissa Marchese, after she traded jobs with full-time CEO Mike Cordoba for the sake of CBC television's "The Big Switcheroo". The episode aired last night, showing Cordoba making and serving meals in Boston Pizza's Kitchener outlet, while Marchese lived the corporate life at headquarters in Edmonton. It'll be repeated several times next weekend on CBC Newsworld.

Clean snowmobile team competes

A Waterloo team will be in Michigan's far north this week to take part in the seventh annual Clean Snowmobile Challenge, being held at Michigan Technological University on the edge of Lake Superior. "The public is invited," MTU is saying, "to check out some of the greenest snowmobiles on the planet."

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge is the Society of Automotive Engineers' newest collegiate design competition. Fifteen teams of engineering students from across North America have taken a stock snowmobile and reengineered it to reduce emissions and noise while maintaining or improving performance.

The Waterloo team is currently headed by captain Brian LeMoine, a fourth-year environmental-civil engineering student. Roydon Fraser of mechanical engineering is the faculty advisor. UW skipped last year's competition, after an 11th-place finish in 2004, but will be back in the running this week in Houghton, Michigan, a seven-hour drive west of Sault Ste. Marie.

After opening ceremonies tomorrow morning, the two all-electric sleds that are part of the competition set out on a 10-mile range test, while the 13 fuel-powered machines, including UW's, begin a 100-mile endurance run, which starts at MTU's Keweenaw Research Center track and extends north to Copper Harbor.

Visitors are encouraged to see the sleds up close and talk with their designers at a static display on Wednesday evening. "This is an important part of the competition for the students," says event organizer Jay Meldrum, director of the Keweenaw Research Center. "They have to sell visitors on the quality of their sleds, just as they would in industry. Plus, it's a great chance for everyone from snowmobile enthusiasts to environmentalists to learn about some of the technology that goes into the development of cleaner, quieter machines."

Describing their plans for this year's machine, the UW team says on its web site that "We are adapting our 500cc Polaris 2-stroke engine to run using high pressure direct injection (HPDI) instead of carburetors. This system has an injector mounted beside each spark plug. Fuel is injected into the cylinder at a high pressure (750 psi) after the exhaust port has been closed off by the piston. The high pressure compensates for the short timing of the injection window and overcomes cylinder pressures. All of this means that no unburned fuel exits through the exhaust during scavenging and emissions are significantly reduced. Oil will be injected into the air-stream running through the crank case to keep vital engine components lubricated. This system will use a control unit designed by the team and will incorporate various sensors to keep our engine running clean while maintaining peak performance."

The competition continues until Saturday, with the popular acceleration and handling events, followed by an awards banquet in the Michigan Tech ballroom.

Canadian entries come from the Ecole de Technologie Supérieure in Montréal, McGill University in Montreal, and UW. Teams for Clarkson University and SUNY Buffalo nabbed first and second place last year.

Future students visit tomorrow

Thousands of visitors will be at UW tomorrow for the annual Campus Day open house, aimed at future students and always scheduled for the Tuesday of the high schools' March break.

Says Andrea Richter of the marketing and undergraduate recruitment office: "This action-packed event is planned to provide an opportunity to tour the campus and learn more about academic programs, campus life and student services. Special presentations include Financing, Co-op, and Student life. Printed Campus Day guides that detail the events will be available at the Visitor's Centre in South Campus Hall, the Student Life Centre, and other locations on campus."

Activities will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and parking lots could be a little crowded tomorrow, not to mention cafeterias. The Student Life Centre is the focus of events, with tours starting and ending, staff providing information about applications and admissions, and a number of booths representing such units as athletics, the library, the office for persons with disabilities, and counselling services.

At various spots on campus, the Applied Health Sciences student society is running a pizza lunch; arts has an "academic fair" in the Arts Lecture Hall; environmental studies promises a geomatics demonstration at 10:30; mathematics will hold separate students-only and parents-only information sessions; engineering has a midday barbecue; and science will have special sessions about optometry and pharmacy as well as its main presentations about undergraduate programs.

The Campus Day program and map handout features John Andersen, president of the Federation of Students, delivering a welcome to students and, by implication, their parents and other family members. "It's so great," he writes, "that you've taken the time during your March Break to come and visit the campus so that you can see for yourself if Waterloo is the right fit.

"I've been at Waterloo for almost 5 years now and I can honestly say that I love it here. From the very beginning I found that there was so much support available, not to mention an endless list of activities in which to get involved. . . . I hope your visit today will become a great memory and one of many memories you'll form during your time here."

There's more information about Campus Day -- which includes a separate open house at the Architecture building in Cambridge -- on the recruitment web site.

Engineering Explorations tours for students in grades 6-8, 5 p.m. and 6:45, details online.

Computational mathematics colloquium: Richard Cleve, computer science, "Efficient Quantum Algorithms for Simulating Sparse Hamiltonians", 2:30, Math and Computer room 5158.

Career workshop: "Business Etiquette and Professionalism" 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

Groundbreaking ceremony for Kitchener health sciences campus and School of Pharmacy building, Tuesday 9:30, King and Victoria Streets (outdoor event).

Gannon University (Erie, Pennsylvania) information session about Doctor of Physical Therapy program, Tuesday 10:00 to 2:00, Tatham Centre room 1208.

'Let's Talk About Google': open house, recruitment event, official announcement of Google operations in Waterloo, Tuesday 4 p.m., Federation Hall.

'Our Country's Good' drama department production: preview for alumni and guests Tuesday 7:00; public performances Wednesday-Saturday 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, tickets 888-4908.

'Money Matters!' information session about OSAP, scholarships, banking, financial management; sponsored by office of the ombudsperson, with support from student awards and financial aid, and other groups, Wednesday 12 noon, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

'The Power of the Mac' information session on Mac computers for software engineering and development, Wednesday 12 noon, Campus TechShop, Student Life Centre, registration online.

Faculty association confidential general meeting of members, Wednesday 3:30, Math and Computer room 4059.

Health Privacy Professional Workshop Thursday-Friday, sponsored by Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research, details online.

'Footloose' produced by Conrad Grebel University College student council, Thursday-Saturday 8 p.m. and Saturday 2 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets 888-4908, details online.

[Oratory in full flight]

Drops in the daily deluge

About 50 people attended last week's gathering on campus "sustainability", organizers say, and heard speakers such as Jean Andrey (right), associate dean of environmental studies. "It's great to see so many people involved, because it is this generation that will have to make the critical decisions for our future," says ES dean Deep Saini. He told the audience: "This university ought to get on board with sustainability issues, create a Sustainability Office and give it some teeth." Michelle Zakrison, president-elect of the Federation of Students, was among participants in the Tuesday afternoon session, saying she was "very excited" about the possibility of creating a sustainability office at UW. "It was great to see students and administration out to one event," says Darcy Higgins, who coordinated the event, sponsored by the student-run UW Sustainability Project.

As staff members will know, it's the annual season for performance appraisals -- managers are supposed to complete the appraisal process and file the documents with the human resources department by this Friday. "We would like to remind staff," says a recent memo from HR, "of the information regarding the Staff Compensation program and performance appraisals which can be found online. The University Support Group Staff Compensation Program brochure with the black, yellow and red covers, part of the Working Relationship documents provided in the 'First Day of Work' package, also provides the same information."

It's the time of year for new Waterloo Region telephone directories -- each one a massive block of newsprint, making the previous directory obsolete. Ed Goodwin of central stores says he doesn't know exactly when Bell will be delivering thousands of new books to campus, but it will be shortly. When they arrive, old books can be recycled by the simplest of methods: put them beside the usual white paper recycling boxes, and custodians will take them away with other recycling. (If there are difficulties, call ext. 2262 and ask for a special pickup.)

Faculty members with a story to tell about using technology in teaching are being urged to tell it at an important venue this summer: the annual MERLOT International Conference, being held in Ottawa under the leadership of a UW person. Conference chair for MERLOT's sixth annual event is Kevin Harrigan of the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology. The California-based organization is officially called Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, and its conference has tracks on such topics as "authoring learning objects" and "the digital library" as well as, this year, an emphasis on health and biological sciences. Harrigan says a number of UW faculty have been specially invited to take part, but he's looking for more. The official deadline for presentation proposals is next Monday. There's information online, and Harrigan can be reached at ext. 6652.

Also coming right up is a symposium on campus, focused on nanoscience and nanotechnology work being done by UW graduate students and others. Flora Li of electrical and computer engineering is one of the organizers. "The 2006 Ontario Nano Symposium," she writes, "will provide an excellent opportunity for students and researchers to present their work, exchange ideas and set up collaborative work with fellow researchers in Ontario. It will also provide a great opportunity to promote the new Nanotechnology Engineering Program at UW. We have sent out an announcement to the various Science and Engineering Departments in early February, to invite students/faculties/post-docs to participate and present posters. We strongly encourage all grad students doing research in nano-related area to present a poster." The event is scheduled for May 19, and there's more information online.

Friday is the deadline for nominations to a passel of seats on UW's senate representing faculty members and graduate students. . . . The Federation of Students, which had announced a general meeting (that means all undergraduate students) for March 24, has rescheduled the event to March 31 at 3:30 p.m. . . . Auditions for this fall's production of "Single and Sexy" will be held March 29 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre. . . .


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