Friday, December 14, 2007

  • UW, an enduring trust, a long history
  • O Christmas tree! Blight hits UW pines
  • The rhythm slows, the holiday nears
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Last day is near for fall OSAP

A memo from the registrar's office: "Fall 2007 OSAP student funding and out-of-province student funding is available from the Student Awards and Financial Aid office only until December 20. Winter 2008 OSAP student funding and out-of-province funding will be available beginning Wednesday, January 2. The Student Awards and Financial Aid office is located on the second floor of Needles Hall. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday."

Link of the day

The Hajj begins

When and where

Trellis library system down for upgrade, backup catalogue available, through December 18, details online.

Kinesiology Lab Days: last day for this year's visits to kin department labs by Ontario high school students.

Tourplay children's performance, "Alligator Pie", 10:00 and 1:00, Humanities Theatre.

Institute for Computer Research seminar: Michael McCool, RapidMind, "A Unified Programming Model for Multi-Core CPUs and Many-Core Accelerators," 1:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Early Childhood Education Centre, PAS building, open house to honour teacher Joyce Buckley, 3:00 to 4:30.

Visiting artist Alexis Harding, involved with fine arts department "New Models for Abstraction" project, exhibition and publication sale 3:00 to 6:00, Lang Building, 170 Joseph Street, Kitchener.

[King Warrior and athletes with cartons of food]
Warrior athletes' food drive
in support of Food Bank of Waterloo Region, tonight 5:00 to 9:00, Saturday 8 to 4, Sunday 8 to 4, outside Zehrs at Conestoga Mall.

Student videos from Architecture 443/646 ("how uncanny!") Saturday 8:00, Architecture lecture room, Cambridge campus.

Waterloo 150 ("Profiles of the Past, Faces of the Future") book signing by writer Beth Gallagher, Saturday 1:00 to 3:00, Waterloo Public Library main branch.

Chinese folk music concert Sunday 7:00, Humanities Theatre.

Winter term fees due December 17 by cheque or January 2 by bank transfer, details online.

Federation of Students nomination period for 2008-09 executive January 7 through 21, information ext. 36781.

Application deadline for Ontario secondary school students entering UW in September 2008 is January 9 (exceptions and details listed online).

Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference January 10-12, Hilton Hotel, Toronto, details online.

[Holding two ends of the flag as it's removed from pole]

The black 50th anniversary flag was lowered for the last time in a brief ceremony yesterday morning at the University Avenue entrance to campus. Raymond Logan and Wayne Shortt of the UW police do the honours. In the background, behind the Tatham Centre, a crane marks the new School of Accountancy wing. Later yesterday, a plant operations crew was circling the ring road with a cherry-picker, lowering the street banners that have marked the special year.

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UW, an enduring trust, a long history

Thoughts by Bud Walker, UW director of business operations, as read by Lois Claxton, secretary of the university, at yesterday's flag-lowering ceremony

"The University of Waterloo is more than a great place to work, live, play and learn. It is an enduring trust to be stewarded by each of us for a short time in what will become its long and prominent history.

"I have met people who have worked, taught or researched at UW for less than a year and others for more than forty. I see the pride in the eyes of retirees — UW's first heroes in the story that has become UW. I see the game face of the current UW team — today’s heroes in expanding UW’s prominence. And I see the anticipation in the eyes of the young members of the UW community — tomorrow’s heroes to whom we pass the torch for the future of the University of Waterloo.

"Some of the iconic Waterloo features are gone now. There is no more Red Room, there is no more Watfor, there is no more School of Physical Education. Gone are the slide rules, banks of key punch machines and bulging card catalogues. They have been moved aside to make way for an ever changing progression of innovation and invention at UW. And we all share in the excitement that development brings.

"There is some institutional treasure that each and every one of us can point to and say 'We did that', or 'We made that happen', or 'I was part of that.' We have gone from an upstart school with an unconventional format, to the signature university for career preparation, to a truly diverse institution of higher education, to a globally recognized crucible for innovation and entrepreneurship.

"As we take pride in what we have done over the last fifty years we turn our thoughts to the next fifty. Will there be another Watfor? Will there be another set of spin-offs like RIM or Open Text? Will we be the science and technology powerhouse of the nation?

"Will we pioneer a new paradigm for learning as we did with co-op? Will we be the social conscience of the nation as we were in the sixties? Will we dominate in the production of leaders? Will we make a difference to our society, wellness, economy and environment? Will we perform on the world stage? Will we still challenge convention in the Waterloo way?

"We will do all these things and more. We have only just tasted what the future holds. We will do things we can’t conceive today. We will strike out in directions that are more fantastical than the predictions of the great fiction writers.

"We will solve problems thought unsolvable. We will create prosperity, harmony, health and happiness on a scale unknown to our society, just as we have over the last fifty years. Let us start the sixth decade with the excitement, energy and boldness that was present at our beginning.

"The University of Waterloo has an exciting future. I envy tomorrow’s heroes."

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O Christmas tree! Blight hits UW pines

by Barbara Elve

The signs are everywhere. From the entrance to Modern Languages to the east side of Matthews Hall, the Austrian pines — limb by browning limb — are dying.

[Tree with brown branches]Planted in the early years to make UW look less like a cornfield and more like a campus, the sprawling conifers grew quickly. Over the years, they shaded and defined the raw new buildings, providing shelter for birds and homes for squirrels. Now, as the trees are nearing the end of their 50-year lifespan, they’re being attacked by diplodia tip blight (right).

“The species is particularly susceptible to the disease, which causes browning of the needles,” says UW arborist/horticulturist Ted Stratton of the plant operations grounds crew. “Eventually, maybe within 10 years, the fungus will affect severely or kill all the Austrian pines on campus.”

He estimates there are hundreds planted in clumps on campus. A 1996 WatGreen study counted 478 Austrian pines just within the Ring Road, with more than one-third of those already showing signs of diplodia tip blight.

Because the trees are planted in clusters, the death of these trees will leave large gaping holes in the landscape. For that reason, Stratton says, there are no plans to clear-cut Austrian pine on campus in anticipation of their demise. Rather, the trees will be removed as they become unsafe or unsightly.

As the dead trees are replaced, the university will avoid planting pockets of trees of the same species together. “We’re trying to mix things up,” says Stratton. “Not only is it aesthetically better, but when infestations of insects or disease attack, we won’t lose everything.”

The new trees will be a mixture of coniferous and deciduous plantings, with native species used as much as possible. “We’re trying to transform the campus over time.”

Austrian pine are not the only trees suffering. Oaks are threatened by a mysterious sudden death syndrome, and grounds crews are keeping an eye peeled for signs of emerald ash bore. Other species are stressed by an increase in temperature and decrease in moisture over the past five years, says Stratton, and by soil compaction caused from foot traffic across the roots.

“If you disrupt the environment, a tree can shut down.

“In the past three years, we have planted trees more aggressively to replace those nearing the end of their lifespan. The university does a reasonably good job of trying to save trees,” he added. “We transplant, if possible, and have become very good at watering in the last couple of years.”

Nevertheless, Stratton feels the slings and arrows of a disapproving public when he wields a chainsaw. He hopes people will be more accepting of the need to remove trees if they understand the disease process.

“I love trees,” he says. “I would do whatever I could to protect them.”

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The rhythm slows, the holiday nears

“Traditional roast Ontario turkey with fruit and sage stuffing” will be on the menu today, and that has to mean that Christmas is near. (Also offered as UW Catering Services serves a $16.95 luncheon in the Festival Room, South Campus Hall: roast sirloin of beef with wild mushroom ragout, vegetarian paella, and Christmas pudding with eggnog and dark rum sauce.)

Meanwhile, services across campus are preparing for a shutdown as the fall term moves toward its close and the community marks Christmas and the New Year.

The last official working day at UW is next Friday, December 21, and the last fall exams will be written just the day before. (Spare a thought for students in Computer Science 200 and Music 140, among other courses, who will be facing their exams at 7:30 that Thursday night.) Then the university closes, to reopen on Wednesday morning, January 2, 2008. Winter term classes start on Monday the 7th.

“University buildings will be locked over the holidays,” director of security Al Mackenzie warns. “Anyone who believes they have to get into a building should check with the appropriate staff member in their department to get a key authorization.”

Over the next few days, the Daily Bulletin will include various announcements about special arrangements before and during the holiday. The issue for Friday, December 21, will involve a roundup of such information, and will be available from the UW home page all through the holiday. (Any announcements that should be included there can be sent by e-mail,, as soon as possible, please.)

Here are a few advance notes on what's happening and what will be happening soon:

• A number of food services outlets will have reduced hours next week or be closed altogether. Today’s the last day until January 7 for the Modern Languages coffee shop, the CEIT Café, Tim Horton’s Modern Languages, and the Eye Opener in the Optometry building. Round-the-clock service ends today in REVelation in Ron Eydt Village (it’ll have daytime hours for the next few days, closing as of December 19), and in the Davis Centre both Bon Appetit and Tim Horton’s will have reduced hours next week. (Detailed hours are online.)

• Round-the-clock operation continues in the Davis Centre library (except for 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Sunday), and the Dana Porter Library continues with exam-time hours of 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. On Thursday the 20th, Porter will close at 11 p.m. and Davis at midnight. Both libraries will be open 8 to 5 on Friday the 21st, then close until January 2.

• The Student Life Centre will be open 24 hours a day throughout the holiday break. The UW police will also be on duty throughout. Quest, the student information online system, will be in operation, but support will not be available during the days the university is closed.

• The safety office has sent a memo to lab supervisors reminding them of safe shutdown procedures for the holiday break.


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Yesterday's Daily Bulletin