Tuesday, April 17, 2007

  • Gestures honour Virginia Tech's dead
  • UW showing off automotive research
  • Lunch next week for staff and faculty
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • credmond@uwaterloo.ca

Link of the day

National Dental Hygienists Week

When and where

April Showers Book Sale from UW bookstore, Tuesday-Thursday, South Campus Hall concourse.

Education Credit Union seminar: Tony Verbeek, "Tips on Purchasing and Financing a Vehicle", 12:15 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research workshops: "EHealth Risk-Opportunity Report Card" April 17-18, "Health Privacy" April 18-19, details online.

Alumni in western Canada: special events tonight in Vancouver (Sequoia Grill Restaurant, 6 to 8), Thursday in Calgary (Art Gallery of Calgary, 6 to 8), details online.

Architecture student projects end-of-year review through June 16, Design at Riverside gallery, Architecture building; opening reception today 6:30 p.m.

Auditions for June production of "Don Juan in Chicago" by K–W Little Theatre continue tonight and Wednesday 7 to 10 p.m., Humanities room 373, information afrey69@yahoo.ca.

'Bridging the Gap' retirement planning workshop, six Tuesday evenings starting tonight, Rockway Centre, Kitchener, information 519-741-2576; to be repeated starting October 16.

Terpsichore Dance Competition all day Wednesday and Thursday, Humanities Theatre.

Centre for Family Business, Conrad Grebel University College, breakfast seminar: Lowell Ewert, "Social Responsibility of Businesses", Friday 7 a.m., Westmount Golf and Country Club.

Germanic and Slavic studies 5th departmental conference, sessions on applied linguistics, German and Russian literature, and sociolinguistics, Friday, details online.

43rd annual used book sale sponsored by Canadian Federation of University Women, Friday (9:00 to 9:00) and Saturday (9:00 to 1:00), First United Church, details online.

Graduate Student Research Conference April 23-26: presentations in Davis Centre room 1302 and 1304; seminar on NSERC postgraduate scholarships Monday 11:15, Davis room 1351; seminar on SSHRC fellowships Thursday 11:15, Davis 1351; keynote address by Roberta Jamieson, National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Monday 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts (note corrected location), tickets $3 at Humanities box office; awards reception Thursday 4:30, Graduate House; details online.

Spring term fee payments due April 24 by cheque or April 27 by bank payment, details online.

Friends of the Library authors' event: lecture by history professor Ken McLaughlin, launch of his book Out of the Shadow of Orthodoxy, and display of work by UW authors, Wednesday, April 25, 3:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

'Passport to Health' Fair for staff and faculty, Thursday, April 26, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Student Life Centre; stations include blood pressure reading, ergonomics, "reading your stress level".

Alumni networking workshop on campus April 26, 6:00 to 9:30 p.m., details online.

'Learning about Teaching' symposium, including Presidents' Colloquium on Teaching and Learning, speaker Ken Bain, April 30, 2 p.m., Humanities Theatre; workshops and discussions May 1-2, details online.

50th Anniversary Dance sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, DJ, prizes, Saturday, May 5, Federation Hall, tickets $20 at Humanities box office.

Toronto 50th anniversary alumni celebration with chancellor Mike Lazaridis, president David Johnston, co-op director Peggy Jarvie, Thursday, May 24, 6 to 8 p.m., Liberty Grand, Exhibition Place, details online.

Matthews Golf Classic (18th annual) Monday, June 18, Grand Valley Golf Course, details online or call ext. 3–2686.

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[Reporter with camera interviews student in front of fire trucks]

Media converged on Blacksburg, Virginia, yesterday to report on America's worst-ever campus shooting. Photo from Virginia Tech's Collegiate Times, which blogged the developments minute by minute through the day.

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Gestures honour Virginia Tech's dead

Waterloo joins in the mourning after yesterday's multiple shootings at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University — Virginia Tech. As the news was still unfolding late Monday afternoon, UW president David Johnston asked for a moment of silence at the monthly meeting of UW's senate and announced that the university's flags would be lowered to half-staff in honour of those who were killed in Virginia.

A message of condolence has been sent from UW to Virginia Tech, Johnston said. "We should recognize a terrible tragedy that has happened to a sister institution, the vulnerability of our institutions and the senselessness that something like this could have taken place."

The death toll has settled at 33 people — mostly students, but apparently including two professors — following two outbreaks of gunfire on the Blacksburg campus in Virginia's Blue Ridge mountains. One took place in a residence in the early morning, and the other in the mechanical engineering building about two hours later. Police continue to investigate, and are still not certain the same gunman was responsible for all the shootings.

The inevitable questions are being raised today about whether security measures were adequate. Virginia Tech's president has called a gathering of the university this afternoon in the 10,000-seat Cassell Coliseum "to come together to begin to deal with the tragedy". But Tech students, as well as their friends, are doing much of their own healing and mutual support already, through the familiar channels of Facebook.

At Waterloo, Tom Ruttan, director of counselling services, says any students, faculty or staff who are "impacted by this set of horrific events" are urged to get in touch with the counselling centre, where extra appointments are available for that purpose (call ext. 3–2655).

Links between Waterloo and the Virginia institution, one of the leading engineering universities in the United States, are not hard to find. A number of UW researchers have collaborated with colleagues at Virginia Tech; David Blowes of the department of earth sciences was a distinguished lecturer at Blacksburg last fall. Waterloo and Virginia Tech students have encountered each other at international competitions, including the General Motors "Challenge X" project to design a low-fuel automobile. An electronic thesis program at Virginia Tech was the principal model for UW's system for accepting and archiving online theses.

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UW showing off automotive research

a news release from Canada's Technology Triangle

As the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress kicks off in Detroit today, the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR) showcases their technology and innovation. This comes on the heels of an Ontario government and private industry announcement to fund their research and continues to highlight that innovation is a vital dimension of the auto sector in Waterloo Region, the area known as Canada’s Technology Triangle.

John McPhee, Executive Director of the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research, heads the SAE mission. With Amir Khajepour, director for mechatronics and manufacturing, he leads a WatCAR thrust in Automotive Systems and Safety. Also attending SAE will be Xianguo Li and Roydon Fraser, key researchers in “Green Auto Drive Train”, and Michael Worswick, the Waterloo lead in the $45M Initiative for Automotive Manufacturing Innovation, a partnership with McMaster University, the Ontario Research Fund and automotive industry partners to undertake research that focuses on auto structure weight reduction and cost-competitiveness. Over the next five years, this research will investigate uses of lightweight metals and alloys and other elements such as plastics and composites.

UW is also involved in a multi-university research project for the Ontario BioCar Initiative lead by nearby University of Guelph. The $6 million project involves sixteen scientists at the Universities of Guelph, Waterloo, Toronto, and Windsor. The goal is to incorporate farm and forest products like wheat, corn, soybeans and forest biomass into viable materials for the manufacture of autos, through alternative uses supporting the agri-food sector. In a UG news release Alan Wildeman, Vice President (Research), comments on the innovative approach. “It involves a consortium of universities working with two of the largest industries in Ontario, the automotive industry and the agricultural industry. This combination provides an unprecedented opportunity for the province to be seen as a major contributor to the global bio-based industrial revolution that is occurring.”

Leading the research for BioCar at UW is Leonardo Simon of the chemical engineering department. Ontario’s BioCar research brings together key research elements for the complete auto package: the raw agricultural materials and studying crop genetics from Guelph; the processing and separation of the biological feedstock through the University of Toronto; applications for engineering composite resins and polymers for automotive parts at Waterloo; and Windsor’s expertise in incorporating the new products into auto manufacturing.

John Tennant, CEO of Canada’s Technology Triangle Inc., says the institutional research capacity of this area and the innovative nature of manufacturers and suppliers here is key to remaining competitive on the global stage. “The SAE World Congress provides a platform for Canada’s Technology Triangle to showcase this advantage.” Tennant notes the event forms part of the history of the regional economic development approach where partners from the economic development offices of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo came together for investment attraction. The partners will again embark on a campaign to raise the profile of Waterloo Region and demonstrate the significant concentration of skills, research and businesses that support the automotive and manufacturing sectors.

This year, the SAE World Congress features Toyota as the host company. The World Congress connects original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers, economic development professionals and academic leaders from around the world to create an international forum to exchange business and technical knowledge for advancing the passenger-car and light-truck industry. The show runs from April 16 to 19 at Cobo Hall in Detroit and is themed around engineering for globally sustainable mobility.

The area known as Canada’s Technology Triangle includes Waterloo Region, the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo, and the townships of North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich. CTT is the location of choice for some of North America’s leading automotive manufacturers, and is home to production of the Toyota Matrix, Corolla and Lexus RX 330. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada in Cambridge was chosen as the first plant outside Japan to produce a Lexus vehicle and will lead project management of the newest Toyota plant in nearby Woodstock opening in 2008. Part of the North American Free Trade Area, Canada’s Technology Triangle’s automotive and transportation equipment industry exported more than $6.3 billion in 2004. The area’s strength in automotive is complemented by a diverse economy with a strong capacity in tool and die, machinery and metal fabricating, advanced manufacturing, plastics, business and financial services and high technology.

UW researchers are at the forefront of automotive industry advances. Through WatCAR, six key areas of strength have been brought together — providing for an interdisciplinary approach to complex issues. These key areas are manufacturing, mechatronics, alternative fuels, design, environment and human factors. WatCAR is playing a major role in AUTO21, Canada’s industry-academic automotive research network. UW researchers are leading or collaborating in 15 of 41 AUTO21 projects in the areas of design processes, manufacturing, health, safety and injury prevention, powertrains and intelligent systems.

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Lunch next week for staff and faculty

A thank-you lunch event for staff and faculty members will be held at noontime next Tuesday, says an invitation that was distributed across campus yesterday. It's an expansion of the "staff appreciation" event that's been held at this season for the past several years, hosted by UW's top administrators.

[Looks like a daisy]Says this year's invitation: "The President and Members of Executive Council would like to thank you for the important contributions you make to the continued success of the University of Waterloo. Please join us for lunch on April 24."

There was a hint of the event weeks ago, with the news that the second of four draws in UW's big 50th Anniversary raffle would be held during the appreciation lunch. However, some of the publicity — including the poster reproduced in the Daily Bulletin — got the date wrong, assigning the event to April 25. It's really happening on the 24th, a week from today.

Raffle tickets will be on sale until 1 p.m., with the draw scheduled for 1:15. Those who want to buy tickets ahead of time (and you don't have to be a staff or faculty member — students and friends of UW can also try their luck) can get them at the UW Shop, Brubakers cafeteria in the Student Life Centre, or the Federation of Students office. The prize in this second draw of the year is a bundle of fifty $50 gift certificates for restaurants in and near Kitchener-Waterloo, including Langdon Hall, Twenty King, and Stratford's Old Prune.

Tuesday's event will also include a round of hot competition in the campus "Reach for the Top", which was premiered at the 50th anniversary launch event in January. Staff and faculty from UW's Kitchener and Cambridge outposts are welcome at the event and will find free parking in several main campus lots that day.

Says the flyer that went out yesterday: "Offices are expected to be closed over this period; however, departments providing essential services and thus obligated to remain open are urged to make arrangements so as many staff as possible can attend." The event will run from noon to 1:30 on Tuesday in the "central complex" of Village I. A repeat of the party, aimed at night shift staff, is scheduled for 10 p.m. that day in the Davis Centre great hall.

The "appreciation" event is just one fixture of the not-so-quiet period between the end of winter term exams (this Saturday) and the beginning of spring term classes on May 1. The "When and Where" column at right mentions some of the others, including the Graduate Student Research Conference April 23-26, the Friends of the Library "authors event" and book launch April 25, the Passport to Health Fair April 26, and a "Learning about Teaching" symposium starting April 30.

Tuesday's lunch is not to be confused with the staff association barbecue celebration that was publicized last week (it's scheduled for Tuesday, May 15), and that in turn, shouldn't be confused with the Keystone Campaign picnic, which will soon be announced for June 6.


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Yesterday's Daily Bulletin