Tuesday, January 23, 2007

  • Feds call bus pass vote for March
  • Many speakers on UW's platform
  • Artist's view of Somali life and death
  • Downtime, vandalism and other joys
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • credmond@uwaterloo.ca

[50 logo]

Fifty of them will be named by UW's Faculty of Science, in honour of the university's 50th anniversary. Nominations for the "Alumni of Honour" are being received now, on paper or through the web. Decisions will be made by the end of June with an eye to presenting the awards at Homecoming next fall. Also coming from science: a new, annual Distinguished Alumni Award. E–mail for more information: sci_alum@uwaterloo.ca.

Link of the day

Babin Den

When and where

Winter book sale of bookstore merchandise in the South Campus Hall concourse, Tuesday-Thursday 8:30 to 4:00.

Classical studies lecture series on ancient Greece continues: Sheila Ager, "The Oracle of Delphi", 12 noon, Kitchener Public Library main branch.

Seminar on RRSPs sponsored by Education Credit Union, 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302.

Career workshop: "Thinking about an International Experience?" 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, information and registration online.

English tutors information session for potential volunteers to teach English as a second language, 5:30, Student Life Centre room 2143, details online.

Know Your Workplace sessions for staff on "Delivering Performance Appraisals", Wednesday 11:30 and 12:30, Davis Centre room 1302, no preregistration required.

Japan video series resumes at Renison College "Link Lounge", Wednesday 12:10, with "The Family Life of a Salaryman", "Kendo", and others, all welcome.

Master's in computational mathematics (new proposed program starting September 2007) information session Wednesday 4:30, Math and Computer room 5158.

Applications for don positions in UW residences due February 2; information sessions Wednesday 5 p.m., Student Life Centre room 2134, and January 30, 5 p.m., Beck Hall community centre, UW Place.

'City Fragments: Toronto Urban Form' one-day colloquium hosted by UW school of architecture, Thursday 10:30 to 4:30, Architecture lecture hall, details online.

Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program information session Thursday 4:00 p.m., Needles Hall room 1101, reservations ext. 3-7167.

Mathematics Faculty Awards Banquet Thursday 5:30, South Campus Hall, details ext. 3–6757.

Weight Watchers information and registration meeting Friday 12 noon, Math and Computer room 5136, information ext. 3–5072.

Nobel Prize winner Tony Leggett, professor of physics, "Does the Everyday World Really Obey Quantum Mechanics?" Friday 2 p.m., CEIT room 1015, reception to follow; for free reservations e-mail ljhowe@uwaterloo.ca

Polar Jam outdoor concert beside Federation Hall, "six bands in six hours", Friday 5 to 11 p.m., details online.

Volunteer/internship fair with representatives from non-profit agencies, Tuesday, January 30, 11:00 to 2:30, Student Life Centre great hall.

Graduate Student Research Conference April 23-26; deadline for submission of abstracts is February 2, details online.

Feds call bus pass vote for March

The Federation of Students announced last night that after students' council put off a decision on a Grand River Transit bus pass for all students, its board of directors has called a campus-wide referendum on the issue, to be held in March.

Council postponed the issue at its January 14 meeting, despite hearing that advocates of the so-called U-Pass have more than 2,500 student signatures calling for a referendum. The group asked for more information, including details on the possibility of a refundable pass rather than a compulsory one, before letting a referendum go ahead.

The issues around the bus pass have had lively discussion on LiveJournal and other web sites, and Friday's issue of Imprint gave a summary of discussion at the council meeting.

Yesterday's unanimous decision by the directors to go ahead with a referendum "was reached in response to clear student interest in the issue and the need to more fully prepare the service and logistical details necessary to implement a non-refundable bus pass," said Renjie Butalid, the Feds' vice-president (administration and finance). "Given the sizeable support as demonstrated by a circulated petition and the substantial financial implications of a bus pass, the Board is obliged to give sufficient attention to the details of how the pass would work. . . .

"Over the next month, a service agreement will be further negotiated with Grand River Transit. In addition, logistics for administering the bus pass will be discussed with the University of Waterloo."

Earlier yesterday, the Federation announced the candidates who are seeking to lead undergraduate students in the 2007-08 year. Voting is scheduled for February 13-15, with the new executive to take office May 1.

Three people are seeking the Federation president's post. Current president Michelle Zakrison, an environmental studies student, will try for a second year in office; she's being challenged by Kevin Royal (political science) and Adam Schubert (electrical engineering).

Candidates for vice-president (administration and finance) are Petrina Akor (history), Arthur Chan (mathematics), and Delsavio Pereira (philosophy). Candidates for VP (education) are Stuart Hastings (planning) and Jonah Levine (political science). And candidates for VP (internal) are Darcy Higgins (environment and resource studies), Nhu Nhat Nguyen (economics), and Faraz Warsi (science).

Candidates for positions on students' council and students seats on the UW senate will also be on the ballot in next month's voting. The Daily Bulletin will list those aspirants later this week.

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Many speakers on UW's platform

Every so often it happens: a convergence of special lectures on a single day leaves you with the feeling that wow, there sure is a lot happening at this university. Tomorrow (Wednesday) is such a day. Here’s a list, very likely incomplete, of tomorrow’s fixtures:

2:00 p.m.: An Asia-Pacific studies seminar sponsored by Renison College is held in the college’s Chapel Lounge. Scott Harrison of the history department will speak on "The Indigenous Ainu and the Northern Territories Dispute", a longstanding conflict between Japan and Russia.

3:00 p.m.: Jake Thiessen, director of the school of pharmacy, speaks as part of the “Smarter Health” series sponsored by the Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research. Thiessen's lecture, entitled Why Not Bring Medications and Their Uses Out of the Dark Ages?, will reveal how the new notion of personalized medicine could avoid further illness and save lives.

"We are just beginning a journey whose destination is personalized medicine," says Dominic Covvey, director of WIHIR. "The new school of pharmacy at UW, and Dr. Thiessen in particular, are in the vanguard of efforts to deliver the fruits of genomic and proteomic research to the bedside and the physician's office for the benefit of us all. So, Dr. Thiessen is perfect as our series kick-off speaker, and his topic is of great import.” Smarter Health lectures are held monthly on a Wednesday afternoon, in Davis Centre room 1302. They’re also available via live webcasts. Free preregistration is online.

4:00 p.m.: Canadian novelist David Gilmour, who won a Governor General's Award for A Perfect Night to Go to China, reads from his work in St. Jerome’s University room 2017.

6:00 p.m.: Rick Haldenby, director of the UW school of architecture, speaks in a series on “knowledge mobilization” that’s being offered as part of a new graduate course on putting research findings, especially in the social sciences, to work for the public benefit. Haldenby will talk about community-university partnerships (such as the arrangement that took the architecture school to Cambridge) under the title "New Public Space". Location: PAS (Psychology) room 3026.

7:00 p.m.: The “knowledge mobilization” series continues, still in PAS room 3026, with David Moorman of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. He'll talk about "Building a Knowledge Council: Policy Imperatives and Realistic Possibilities". The course as a whole is led by Kathleen Bloom of UW's psychology department, who observes that "Effective mobilization of knowledge is a two-way process. It's built on partnerships between those who produce new knowledge and those who can use it. This is how decisions about social issues extend beyond opinions and beliefs. This is how researchers make their knowledge count."

[Cover of Field Guide]7:00 p.m.: At the lecture hall of the Architecture building in Cambridge, Julian Montague will speak on "The Stray Shopping Cart Identification System". It's less technological than it might sound — Montague is a Buffalo artist whose work includes, yes, photos of wandering grocery carts. He's brought to UW as part of the lecture-performance series being sponsored this fall by "Render", the university art gallery.

7:00 p.m.: The Waterloo chapter of Engineers Without Borders presents a talk by Jennifer Clapp, of the Centre for International Governance Innovation, on "The Politics of Food Aid". Says an EWB announcement: "There will, as always, be a focus on steps that you can take in your everyday life to have a positive impact on the development world." Location: the CIGI auditorium at 57 Erb Street West. Registrations go to waterloo@ewb.ca.

7:30 p.m.: St. Jerome's University hosts this year's School Boards Lecture, sponsored by a group of Roman Catholic boards of education. The visitor is Adele Reinhartz of the University of Ottawa, speaking on "Jesus of Hollywood". Says the publicity: "Jesus is everywhere — in our bookstores, churches, museums, concert halls and theatres. Many of us, Christians and non-Christians alike, have encountered Jesus most vividly on the silver screen. Yet the Jesus movies do much more than tell us about Jesus' life and times. Indeed, what the Jesus movies do best is mirror our society's fears and anxieties, our comforts and joys, our beliefs and values. In this lecture, we will sample mainstream movies about Jesus, and consider what they might tell us not only about Jesus but also about ourselves." Location: Siegfried Hall at St. Jerome's. The lecture will be recorded for broadcast on the CBC radio "Ideas" series.

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Artist's view of Somali life and death

A video in two languages and a wall drawing based on the images in it make up “Somalia Yellow Vignettes”, one of three exhibitions that opened last week at UW’s art gallery in East Campus Hall.

Says Andrew Hunter, director of the gallery, which has taken the title of Render: “Somalia Yellow Vignettes is presented as part of RENDER’s ongoing Witness Project that features the work of artists who have witnessed conflict and dramatic change.”

Allan Harding MacKay’s 29-minute video is derived from footage that he shot in March 1993 during his Canadian Armed Forces Civilian Artists assignment with the United Nations led intervention "Somalia: Operation, Deliverance and Cordon." The vignettes juxtapose high-tech military might and machinery with scenes and moments of everyday life in Somalia.

“The video,” a publicity release explains, “moves through an extraordinary pictorial view of war-ravished Mogadishu, intimate portraits of Somali women in the desert and village abattoir, a view (in image and text) set in the Canadian military compound where a Somali youth was murdered and an accused soldier attempted suicide. It closes with a compelling look at an outdoor abattoir in Belet Huen that poetically renders in sound and image the ancient ritual of healing through a blood bath of a child at dawn.”

Says the release: “A decade later, Somalia Yellow Vignettes remains a timely work as the tragedy of contemporary Somalia remains front page news with a civil war pitting Islamist ‘rebels’ against the Ethiopian-backed army of the ‘internationally recognized’ government of Somalia. Although there remains a larger question of the reasons for United States and subsequent United Nations intervention in Somalia in the 1990s, MacKay’s work acknowledges the efforts of the majority of Canadian peacekeepers to achieve the goals of their humanitarian mission while honouring the Somali people's survival and continuation as a traditional society in a harsh environment amid the violence of civil war.”

MacKay’s new charcoal-and-chalk wall drawing is based on his still images from 1993, “and this unique composite image shifts the balance to the people of Somalia while maintaining the intimate nature of the video work,” the release says.

Currently based in Kitchener, MacKay has had a long career in the visual arts as both creator and gallery curator. Since 1993 the Somalia experience has been featured prominently in his art, and his Somalia Yellow series has produced videos, drawings, collages and prints. MacKay also visited Afghanistan in 2002 as part of the Canadian Forces Artist Program. In 2006, he produced the image timeline/montage for the new Veterans Memorial at Queen’s Park.

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Downtime, vandalism and other joys

Frustrations may be over for co-op students waiting to apply for spring term jobs. The JobMine electronic system has been out of operation since Friday, but the co-op department announced a few minutes ago that it's back functioning as of this morning. The department said on its web site at the end of normal business hours yesterday that "Work to resolve the problem is continuing in earnest around the clock. The problem that caused the shut down to occur has been fixed, but a second problem is now keeping JobMine from being operational. . . . Job postings closing dates will be adjusted accordingly. Information about the extension will be announced on this page as soon as JobMine re-opens." The department added: "CECS is well aware that is is a frustrating situation for everyone and we sincerely apologize for the stress that the shutdown is likely causing you."

Dennis Huber, UW's vice-president (administration and finance), has confirmed reports that the prank somebody pulled at the university's central plant (the building with the smokestack) in early November is going to cost big bucks. A giant "V for Vendetta" symbol drawn on the building's roof was done in oil-based paint, which has done serious damage to the building's rubberized roof. Temporary repairs have been made; longer-term work to fix the roof will be put out to tender, Huber says, and are likely to cost in the neighbourhood of $100,000. Imprint reports that the UW police have "an ongoing criminal investigation" under way.

"The Library is very close to meeting the Kresge Challenge," says the new issue of the UW library's electronic newsletter, "so close that our deadline was extended. The Kresge Foundation awarded the Library a Challenge Grant of $750,000 to be used for renovations in the Davis and Porter Libraries. This grant was made on a challenge basis: if the Library could raise $2.8 million by the end of December 2006, then the grant funds from Kresge would be received. Since we were close to meeting the goal, our deadline is now extended to February 28, 2007. Securing the Challenge Grant will not only help the Library complete its second phase of renovations, it will help enhance the space and services needed to support UW's innovative research needs for future generations. Interested in helping the Library meet its goal? You can direct all or a portion of your Keystone Campaign gift to the Kresge Challenge. Gifts to the challenge can be pledged for up to 5 years. The same gift-matching opportunity applies: the University will match gifts from the campus community dollar for dollar."

Today's brings the end of the "family enrolment and opt-out" period for this term for the student health and dental plan. • It's also the last day for withdrawing from undergraduate courses with a full refund and no academic penalty. • Had you noticed that a bonny black flag symbolizing UW's 50th anniversary has been flying underneath the regular lions-and-chevrons flag at the main campus entrance for the past few days?


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