Monday, January 15, 2007

  • UW closed by snow and ice
  • Tale of a Caribbean work term
  • Notes on an icebound campus
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

Americans remember Martin Luther King, Jr.

When and where

Events may be cancelled or rescheduled because of today's storm closing.

[Blood]Blood donor clinic Monday-Friday, Student Life Centre, make appointments now at turnkey desk.

Senate long-range planning committee 3:00, Needles Hall room 3004.

UW senate 4:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Banff Festival of Mountain Films, 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Housing information sessions about second-year life in residence: tonight 10 p.m. at Columbia Lake Village community centre, Ron Eydt Village south quad lounge, Village I great hall, and Beck Hall community centre, UW Place. Other sessions Tuesday-Thursday nights.

Classical studies three-part lecture series on classical Greece begins with Riemer Faber, "The Architecture of the Acropolis", Tuesday 12 noon, Kitchener Public Library main branch. Future lectures: January 23 and February 13, same time.

Design project symposium with the work of final-year electrical and computer engineering students, Wednesday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Davis Centre; visitors welcome to browse interactive displays.

Montréal artists Héloise Audy and Julie Faubert, "The Hive Dress", Wednesday 7 p.m., Architecture lecture hall, as part of the Render Lecture/ Performance Series on contemporary art; details online.

Graduate studies in mathematics: information session for third and fourth-year students, Thursday 4:30, Math and Computer room 5136.

Master of Business, Education and Technology program information session January 24, 4:00 p.m., Needles Hall room 1001, reservations ext. 3-7167.

PhD oral defences

Civil and environmental engineering. Yuxin Liu, "Progressive-Failure Analysis of Steel Building Structures under Abnormal Loads." Supervisors, D. Grierson and L. Xu. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Tuesday, January 30, 10:00 a.m., Engineering II room 3324.

Psychology. Timothy Murphy, "Subtle Effects of Sleepiness on Electrocortical Indices of Attentional Resources and Performance Monitoring." Supervisors, Sid Segalowitz and Barbara Bulman-Fleming. On display in the faculty of arts, HH 317. Oral defence Friday, February 2, 12:00 noon, PAS building room 3026.

Health studies and gerontology. Stephanie Gower, "A Computer-Based Decision Tool for Prioritizing the Reduction of Airborne Chemical Emissions from Canadian Oil Refineries Using Estimated Health Impacts." Supervisor, Stephen McColl. On display in the faculty of applied health sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Thursday, February 8, 10:00 a.m., Matthews Hall room 3119.

Civil and environmental engineering. Ludomir Uzarowski, "Development of Asphalt Mix Creep Parameters and Finite Element Modelling of Asphalt Rutting." Supervisors, Susan L. Tighe and Leo Rothenburg. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Monday, February 12, 1:00 p.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 208.

UW closed by snow and ice

The university is closed for the day because of a winter storm that paralyzed the American midwest with ice over the weekend and came howling into southwestern Ontario overnight.

Following procedure, UW automatically closes when the Waterloo Region District School Board shuts all its schools (not just buses). News of that decision by the school board came a little before 6:00 this morning, and a UW announcement was sent to local radio stations and posted on the main web site.

The closing means that there will be no classes today, staff get a paid day off, libraries are closed, and everybody gets a 24-hour extension on assignments. A few essential services, including policing, the Student Life Centre, and residence cafeterias, continue regardless of an emergency closing.

Wilfrid Laurier University and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board are also closed for the day, along with a multitude of smaller organizations. The University of Guelph is open, as is Conestoga College. Early this morning, as ice pellets peppered the city and slicked the pavements, radio traffic reporters had word of one crash on the roads, then another and another. Freezing rain and snow are both expected to fall before the day is over.

Less than two weeks into the winter term, today wasn't scheduled to be a busy day at UW — no midterm exams, no co-op interviews. It was to be the first day of a five-day blood donor clinic, and the university senate loses its monthly meeting.

Closing the campus (as well as UW's outlying units, architecture in Cambridge and distance education in Kitchener) means staff, faculty and students who have kids will be able to stay home with them. It also keeps thousands of people off the dangerous streets.

And it gives the plant operations grounds crew — who don't get the day off — more room for the plows, salters and sanders to work on campus roads and parking lots. The UW police told me at about 8:20 that roads on the main campus are in "terrible" shape, although the grounds crew is hard at work.

Back to top

Tale of a Caribbean work term

from an article by Marianne Nguyen in the co-op student newsletter Inside Scoop

The four months Caustan De Riggs spent in Grenada resulted in more than just a successful work term; it was the ultimate opportunity for him to inspire social change while exploring his cultural roots.

After learning about Hurricanes Ivan and Emily, which had seriously devastated Grenada in 2004 and 2005, De Riggs — a student in environmental studies and business — looked into how he could do his part in helping rebuild. "A hurricane causes more than just physical damage,” he says. “Psychologically, it's horrible. Think of a lush green paradise whose mountains are torn bare because of strong winds. Then to have another hurricane hit six months later!"

He approached the Grenadian government and, with the added help of a letter of reference from UW's president David Johnston, his initiative was a success; he received a call from the Grenada Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and was offered a position as a research assistant. He observes: "JobMine is comforting because you're given a list of jobs to apply to, but not all positions are advertised in the real world. Once you've gone through the JobMine system a few times and are comfortable with the job application process, you should begin to branch out. University is supposed to prepare you for the real world, and one day you're going to have to go out and find a job on your own."

[Shaking hands beside Grenadian flag]In addition to learning the ropes of international trade, De Riggs devoted his time to projects whose goals were to preserve the environment, culture and heritage. "Although the Ministry of Environment had created environmental legislation and many great strategies on how to rebuild the country, they had no concrete plan of action." Thus, to improve communication between the government and the public, he proposed that environmental education be introduced at the primary school level so that these values would grow with the generation and become more of a long-term focus. The proposal was approved by both the Ministry of Environment and Health and the Ministry of Education and he even got the chance to present his plan to Keith Mitchell, prime minister of Grenada (pictured).

To help combat the psychological damage caused by the hurricanes, De Riggs also began a project focused on youth motivation and empowerment which involved motivational speaking and seminars that taught things like networking and business skills.

Spending time in Grenada opened his eyes to a cultural environment greatly different than Waterloo: "People say Canadians are friendly but in the Caribbean, people will stop you on the street and engage with you, especially if you're a foreigner. With a population of 90,000 on the island, they actually really know everyone. I tried my best to dress locally and what not, but people were still able to pick me out."

He also learned to appreciate the island's relaxing environment. He spent afternoons traveling around the island meeting different people and making contacts in the private business community through the Chamber of Commerce and other business venues. "Access to technological services was limited, so I got used to making fewer phone calls and not having the internet — getting back to a simpler life — and that was very therapeutic."

Back to top

Notes on an icebound campus

Where to live next fall gets to be a preoccupying question this time of year, especially for first-year students who have been in residence since they got to UW. Mike Iley of the housing and residence office sends some thoughts on the subject: "If students already know they would like to live in a UW residence next fall, the fall 2007 application is available online. First round residence offers will be made January 18. Enjoy the campus convenience of short walks to class, all inclusive utilities, furniture, and services, and flexible 4-month contracts. Students can choose to live on their own at Minota Hagey or request to live with friends in UW Place suites or at Columbia Lake Village townhouses. Students who are still unsure about where they would like to live next year are encouraged to attend an Upper-year Housing Information Session. The sessions provide a wealth of knowledge about living both on and off campus. For a complete schedule visit the Student Life website."

Renovations continue on the first floor of the Humanities building to make room for the new Office of Organizational and Human Development (meanwhile, the box office is in temporary quarters nearby in the Humanities Theatre green room). Katrina Di Gravio, named last fall to head the OHD, says big plans are ready for the winter term, "beginning with focus group sessions to discuss the possibility of Supervisory Training at UW. OHD will meet with Executive Assistants and some Department Heads as well as several new and existing supervisors to get their point of view on this key issue. New Skill Development Workshops will be created over the term in conjunction with other campus departments to address some of the how-to questions. i.e. How to Run a Meeting, How to Take Minutes. Two full time co-ordinators and one part-time administrative staff member will be hired shortly, with ads for the positions being posted before the end of January. OHD will be moving to Hagey Hall approximately February 1 if all goes well."

[Leave the Pack Behind logo]Registration is to open today in the Student Life Centre, and continue all this week, for the fourth annual "Let's Make a Deal!" contest, designed to encourage people to quit smoking, but also open to those who don't want to start the bad habit. The contest is organized by the Leave the Pack Behind program, which is organized by UW students and the Health Services department. “This is a great opportunity for people with New Year’s resolutions. It’s much easier to kick the habit with incentives like cash and prizes!” says Lia Johnson, a staff member of the Leave the Pack Behind team. The contest has four possible “deals” or categories to enter, and aims to include everyone. The Quit for Good deal encourages smokers to quit smoking for the eight-week duration of the contest and has a grand prize of $600 cash. There are also categories for smokers to reduce the amount they smoke by 50 per cent or to break the tobacco-alcohol pairing by "partying without the pack". Non-smokers can also enter and win by vowing to not start smoking for the duration of the contest. All deals last eight weeks and start on January 22. Students who stick to their deal are eligible to win prizes, and everyone who joins gets to do a carbon monoxide “Smokalyzer” test and receives a free "survival kit" to help them stick with the deal.

The engineering faculty's electronic newsletter reports that Philip Beesley, associate professor in architecture, has received a Canada Wood Council Wood WORKS! Design Award for the best multi-unit residential development in Ontario for 2006. The award recognizes the work Beesley did for the River Beach town homes in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Wood WORKS! honours excellence and innovation in construction projects that use wood. Beesley's work has won a number of other awards including the Prix de Rome.


Back to top

Friday's Daily Bulletin