Thursday, March 15, 2007

  • UW's black banner to decorate city
  • Bronze medal, dinosaurs, and more
  • Lectures probe Mennonite identity
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

Caius Iulius Caesar

When and where

Philosophy conference sponsored by UW Philosophy Graduate Students Association, Thursday-Friday, keynote speaker Imogen Dickie, University of Toronto, details online.

Career workshops: "Writing CVs and Cover Letters" 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218; "Work Search Strategies" 3:30, Tatham room 1208; registration online.

Travel slideshow series: Andrew Smith, environmental studies, Isles de la Madeleine and Prince Edward Island, 12:10, Environmental Studies I room 221.

Craft afternoon at Columbia Lake Village, 2 to 3 p.m., community centre.

Faculty of Arts presents Alice Kuzniar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, "Whose Melancholy? On the Muteness of Humans and Animals", 3 p.m., Tatham Centre room 2218.

'An Inconvenient Truth' documentary on climate change, showing by UW Sustainability Project, 7 p.m., great hall, Student Life Centre.

Jewish studies program presents James Kugel, Harvard and Bar Ilan Universities, "The God of Old: The Divine-Human Encounter in the Hebrew Bible", 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University.

Wilfrid Laurier University March break open house for potential students, Friday 9:30 to 3 p.m.

Luncheon buffet marking St. Patrick's Day with Irish stew, cabbage and potato bake and other emerald dishes, Friday 11:30 to 2:00, University Club, $16 per person, reservations ext. 3-3801.

Women in Mathematics Committee and department of applied mathematics present Hongmei Zhu, York University, "Time-Frequency Representations: Useful Views of a Signal", Friday 3 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304, talk aimed at graduate and upper-year undergrad students.

Business and technology conference organized by Science and Business Students Association, Saturday, Davis Centre, details and registration online.

University of Guelph College Royal open house, Saturday 9 to 5, Sunday 10 to 4, details online.

Class enrolment appointments on Quest for undergraduate courses: for spring term March 19-31; for fall term June 11-23.

Blood donor clinic Monday-Friday, March 19-23, Student Life Centre, appointments now at turnkey desk.

Senate finance committee begins work on UW's 2007-08 budget, meeting Monday, March 19, 9;30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Safety office open house: meet Joint Health and Safety Committee members, see displays, try out safety gear, Monday, March 19, 11:30 to 1:00, Commissary building.

Gardening expert Marjorie Harris speakers on her new book, How to Make a Garden, Tuesday, March 20, 12 noon, Laurel Room, South Campus Hall, tickets $11.95 from UW bookstore.

'Preparing Your Finances' seminar for newer faculty members, March 20, 12:30 to 4:30, sponsored by WatPort: financial planner speaking on tax returns, key financial statements, investments, risk tolerance, retirement planning; registration online.

Grand River Transit public meetings about possible rapid transit routes and station locations: March 20, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church; March 21, First United Church, Waterloo; March 22, United Kingdom Club, Cambridge, all with displays at 6 p.m., presentation at 6:30, discussions 7:00 to 8:30; preregister by e-mail, rtinfoline

UW Food Bank drive for non-perishable food, money, and Zehrs or Sobeys receipts, March 21-23, Student Life Centre and bins across campus.

'Be a Ring Road Runner' spring workshop and release of Running Mates' Guide to Physical and Mental Health, March 21, 12 noon, Rod Coutts Hall room 112, registration ext. 3-5418.

First Robotics Waterloo Regional Competition for teams of high school students, March 22-24, Physical Activities Centre, details online.

Orchestra@UWaterloo end-of-term concert March 22, 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets free from Humanities box office. Program: Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D (Wallace Wu, violin), Mendelssohn, Hebrides Overture, Brahms, Symphony No. 2 in D.

Accountancy building ground-breaking ceremony March 27, 11:00 a.m., northeast corner of Hagey Hall.

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[Mace and 50 logo]UW's black banner to decorate city

Over the next few weeks, Waterloo residents and visitors to the city and the university will be seeing more anniversary banners turning up on local streets.

Banners celebrating UW's 50th anniversary and the city's 150th anniversary will be flying soon on University Avenue west, Columbia Street West, Westmount Road North and Phillip Street. The banner program is part of the university's promotional activity for the anniversary under the direction of the 50th steering committee. It's being done in partnership with the city to help celebrate and promote the dual anniversaries in a spirit of cooperation.

The plan is to hang the banners in alternate fashion starting from the Conestoga Expressway (Highway 85) all the way down University Avenue West to the university, says Martin van Nierop, UW's director of Communications and Public Affairs. (Plans are to omit the UW banners on the section of University Avenue that goes past Wilfrid Laurier University.) Banners will then ring the university on the city/regional streets — Westmount, Columbia and Phillip.

The UW banners are similar to ones that are already in place on the campus ring road. They're a pair, one featuring UW's silver mace, the other sporting the numerical "50" signature, each with the anniversary's slogan "the spirit of 'why not?'

More of these banners will also be hung on the ring road once the necessary hardware is secured for the lampposts. As for the banners on the city streets, they'll be hung on hydro
poles under an agreement with Waterloo North Hydro which has allowed the city and university to use its poles free of charge for the year-long promotion. The banners will stay until the end of 2007.

Complementing the street banners are two large wall banners hung from Matthews Hall at the Columbia Street entrance to campus and Hagey Hall off the main University Avenue entrance. Each features the mace and the full quote attributed to dramatist George Bernard Shaw: "You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream of things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'"

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Bronze medal, dinosaurs, and more

UW's team placed ninth last night, earning a bronze medal, in the world championships of the Association for Computing Machinery programming contest, held in Tokyo. That's ninth among the 88 teams in the finals, and by implication ninth out of 6,099 teams from 1,756 universities that entered regional competitions seeking to qualify. Members of the UW team, coach by Gordon Cormack of the school of computer science, are Simon Parent and Malcolm Sharpe (both CS students) and Tor Myklebust (combinatorics and optimization). They qualified for the finals through the East Central North America regional competition last fall, where they placed third behind Toronto and Carnegie Mellon — neither of whom earned medals in Tokyo last night. The world championship goes to Warsaw University (Poland), with other gold medals won by Tsinghua University (China), the St. Petersburg University of IT, Mechanics and Optics (Russia), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The only other North American university among the medal winners was Caltech in 12th place.

An eagerly awaited mural of Parasaurolophus dinosaurs (and you should see what that one does to my spellchecker!) will be unveiled today in the March Networks Exhibit Atrium, otherwise known as the main concourse of the CEIT building at the centre of the campus. The mural has been under preparation by prominent local artist Peter Etril Snyder over the past weeks, and word came a couple of days ago that it was ready for installation just in time for a scheduled visit to UW by a prominent dinosaur expert. The result is that Phil Currie of the University of Alberta will take part in the ceremonies, scheduled for 4:00 this afternoon, says Peter Russell of UW's earth sciences museum. Currie is then scheduled to speak in the Humanities Theatre at 7 p.m., on the topic "Cretaceous Park: Dinosaurs of Alberta". Everyone is welcome; the event is a 50th Anniversary Lecture sponsored by UW's faculty of science.

[Aerial view of crowd at buffet in ML lobby]A good time was had by all, says Alex Lippert of the arts alumni office, at last night's premiere of "The Caucasian Chalk Circle" in the Theatre of the Arts. As usual with drama department major productions, the opening night audience was made up of VIPs and alumni guests, who not only saw the play and heard from dean of arts Ken Coates, but got to dig into a buffet in the Modern Languages building lobby (right). Performances of the play, the drama department's major production for this term, continue tonight through Saturday, and March 22-24; tickets are at the Humanities box office.

"Campus Day 2007 was a success!" Kim McKee writes from the visitors centre in South Campus Hall, exuberant but doubtless exhausted after Tuesday's open house. "We've already heard a lot of compliments and positive feedback about how well everything was organized, how friendly and welcoming staff and volunteers were and what a great day visitors had here at UW! It was great to see so many different areas on campus come together to provide such a comprehensive and exciting opportunity for applicants, prospective students, and their families wanting to learn more about what we have to offer.
In total, approximately 4,935 people (including guests) were registered. Just as exciting as knowing our visitors enjoyed their day is the number of current students who participated in this event. Over 400 current UW students participated by volunteering across all areas of the campus. They provided a warm welcome for our visitors, helped them plan their day and find their way, talked about life and academics at UW, took them on tours of the campus and residences and generally demonstrated that UW was a great place to be."

With the Canada Revenue Agency's announcement that its computer problems have been solved and it's safe to file income tax returns, attention turns back to calculations and receipts between now and the April 30 deadline. T4 slips (for people who were on the UW payroll in 2006) and T2202A forms (for students who paid fees during the year) were distributed from UW's payroll office and finance office, respectively, in late February. Now all you need is the courage to face the inevitable — and if assistance from a trained volunteer would help, a crew of UW accounting students stands ready. Sponsored by the Accounting Students Education Contribution group, a volunteer tax clinic, open to all students, will be held in the Student Life Centre on Tuesday and Wednesday next week (9 to 5 both days).

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Lectures probe Mennonite identity

a news release from Conrad Grebel University College

Canadian author Sandra Birdsell will deliver the 2007 Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies at Conrad Grebel University College tonight and tomorrow night. She has described her lectures as "The Confession of a Reluctant Mennonite".

As a young person in search of an ethnic and cultural identity, Birdsell's question "what is a Mennonite?" went unanswered. She was left to make assumptions based on actions rather than words — on what she could observe rather than what she was told. In her first lecture, Birdsell revisits the range of conclusions she arrived at after years of studying her Russian Mennonite relatives, and offers a commentary on the influence their heritage had both on her development as a writer and on the themes of her fiction. In her second lecture, she recalls how, during a seven-year journey through the inner and outer landscapes of the Russian Mennonite world, she re-examined her Mennonite heritage, and describes how she came to evoke the Mennonite voice while writing her gripping historical novel The Russländer.

"These lectures reveal how I had to read between the lines when I tried to break the code of silence adopted by my Russian Mennonite family," Birdsell explained. "The lectures provide an anecdotal and biographical commentary on the perceptions and misconceptions that governed my coming to understand the Russian Mennonite experience."

"We are delighted to have someone of Sandra Birdsell's literary reputation and skill deliver this year's Bechtel Lectures!" says Grebel president Henry Paetkau. "The examination of her Russian Mennonite identity from the insider/outsider perspective is especially intriguing. I expect that anyone who has seriously pondered or even wrestled with their particular identity will be challenged and inspired by her reflections."

Currently writer in residence at the University of Winnipeg, Birdsell has written three collections of short fiction, five novels (including one for children), radio and theatre plays, as well as television and film scripts. Her most recent books are Children of the Day (2005) and The Russländer (2001). She has received the W.H. Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the McNally Robinson prize for best book of the year and was nominated for a Governor General's Award in 1992 and 1997.

The Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies at Conrad Grebel were established in 2000 by Waterloo County businessman and farmer Lester Bechtel. The purpose of the lectureship is to foster interest in and understanding of Anabaptist/Mennonite faith and its relevance today by seeing it projected through the eyes of experts from a range of disciplines. This year's lectures will be given tonight and Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in the great hall of Grebel's Academic Building.


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