- Campus maps, and other new things
- Savings on work term? Maybe, study finds
- Chris Redmond
- Communications and Public Affairs
A video contest over the summer, sponsored by the marketing and undergraduate recruitment office, challenged current students to make videos representing life at Waterloo. Entries were posted on a Facebook page where people could vote on their favourite video. Steph Chandler of MUR sends word that Tristan Pilcher and the Unaccompanied Minors, a campus-based a cappella group, have won the contest and $500 to spend at Waterloo’s Retail Services stores. Their winning video, "Tik Tok U-Dub" is a takeoff of "TiK ToK" by recording artist Ke$ha, and is available on YouTube. Four students who cover a lot of ground around campus with their song "Yes!" were runners-up.
Campus maps, and other new things
New campus maps have arrived on campus just in time for the fall term. (Each summer the electronic and print versions of the campus map are updated and reprinted.) In this latest version of the map, a few new buildings have been added to the main campus, such as Engineering 5 and Research Advancement Centre 2. A few building name changes occurred as well in the past year. The Photovoltaic Research Centre has been renamed to Energy Research Centre. And although the second building on the Kitchener health sciences campus was informally known as the School of Medicine, it is now officially the Integrated Health Building. Satellite locations are described on the map as well — more than before, with the addition of the Huntsville Summit Centre and the Stratford campus. And for the first time, international campuses are listed on the map: the Architecture Annex Rome, the Sino-Canadian College in Nanjing, and the United Arab Emirates (Dubai). New campus maps can be ordered by phoning ext. 33580 or emailing karen.mason@ uwaterloo.ca.
Nancy Heide of communications and public affairs, who manages the campus map and keeps careful track of these things, has provided a list of a few new building abbreviations, most of them in far-flung locations, but some as close as the main campus. Engineering 5 will be E5, not surprisingly, and it's now official that the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre will be QNC. Among other new listings: the temporary Stratford location at 6 Wellington Street is WSS (that's "Wellington Street, Stratford"); the Huntsville Summit Centre is HSC; the Sino-Canadian College is SCC; the Architecture Annex in Rome is AAR. Heide notes that an official up-to-date building name list can be found on the CPA web site.
Earlier this year, officials announced a change to the university’s Policy 18 (“Staff Employment”), intended to benefit long-service staff members in “contingent on funding” positions. Those are jobs — usually involved with research — that can cease to exist if the external funding, such as a research grant, dries up. The policy change meant that staff who have been at the university for ten years or more, and whose jobs disappear in that kind of situation, are entitled to the same privileges, such as priority consideration for other jobs, as regular staff whose jobs might be eliminated. People have clearly been asking questions about the details, and the latest newsletter from the staff association includes a three-page Q-and-A document prepared by Neil Murray of human resources along with association director Chantel Franklin. They write: “This change means that regular full and part time staff who are contingent on funding ad who have completed 10 years of regular UW service will now have rights and eligibilities available under Organizational Change (section 7 of Policy 18) — this includes staffing priorities, notice of termination and pay in lieu of notice, retention of internal status, re-employment, and reinstatement. Note that these rights are in addition to eligibility for severance pay.” There’s lots of fine print in the policy, and in the newsletter explanation.
The iconic inventor of the Fox40 Whistle will speak to a group of more than 200 student-athletes on Monday as part of an innovative new Warrior training camp program. Ron Foxcroft “will share his unique perspectives on leadership, community service, and overcoming obstacles,” says the director of athletics, Bob Copeland. “Our student-athletes will get a master class in community service, leadership, and entrepreneurship.” This speaking engagement is part of a new pilot project that will see athletes from five Warrior teams (men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, football and women’s rugby) join together in an integrated residential training camp, Sunday through next Friday. Athletes will train independently according to their team protocols but will live, eat, and learn together in residence during the camp. “This approach was developed as a teambuilding exercise, to develop camaraderie between teams, and to provide a shared learning environment,” Copeland says. Foxcroft, the founder and CEO of Fox40 International and CEO of Fluke Transportation, is also “an accomplished sports figure,” says Copeland. “He was the first Canadian to referee in the NCAA and officiated the Gold medal basketball game between Russia and the USA at the 1976 Olympics. He currently serves as an evaluator and observer of game officials for the NBA and is a member of the Board of Directors of Basketball Canada. Ron Foxcroft was inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.”
Savings on work term? Maybe, study finds
Students could use help saving more money, but they don’t always know it, says a study by psychology researchers.
Most people intend to save more money, and spend less, than they currently do. If they were offered a simple way to do so, would they take it? New research suggests the answer is no. And the reason is that good intentions can give rise to a sense of optimism that leads people to undervalue opportunities that could make it easier to actually achieve a long-term savings goal.
"Our results highlight the costs of being too optimistic," said the study’s senior author, Waterloo psych professor Derek Koehler.
The researchers asked co-op students to set a savings goal at the beginning of a work term, and then asked them again at the end of the term whether they had met their goal. At the beginning of the term, the students expressed strong intentions to save and estimated their chances of doing so to be quite high, around 85 per cent on average. If those self-predictions were accurate, then about 85 per cent of the students would have been expected to achieve their goal by the end of the term.
But only 65 per cent of the students reported having been successful. In short, at the beginning of the term, students were overly optimistic about their chances of reaching their savings goal.
Some of the students were offered enrolment in a program that could help them to save. The program required them to monitor their savings and report their progress every other week during their work term. It turns out that the students in that program were more successful at achieving their savings goals.
Although the progress-report program helped the students to save, the students failed to recognize its benefits. When they were asked at the beginning to predict the impact it would have, most students thought the program wouldn’t do anything to help. After all, they were very optimistic (in fact, too optimistic) that they could achieve their savings goal on their own.
In a second study, the progress-report program was described to another group of students, who were asked how much they were willing to pay to be enrolled in it. (The cost was deducted from an $8 payment the students received for being in the study.)
Students were typically unwilling to pay more than $1 for the program, and the most common response was zero. In reality, the progress-report program seems to have been worth quite a bit more: it increased students’ chances of achieving their savings goal, which averaged around $5,000, by a full 10 percentage points.
The study’s authors suggest that being overly optimistic about achieving future goals, whether in saving money or in some other aspect of life, can be costly if it leads people to overlook ways they could make it easier to accomplish those goals.
Take retirement savings plans as an example. Many people intend to make a contribution every year but fail to do so. Optimism that they will manage to make a lump-sum contribution by the end of the year might lead them to undervalue the benefits of setting up automatic monthly (and less painful) withdrawals from a bank account to a RSP.
As the authors conclude, optimism "can be costly if the disproportionate focus on good intentions leads people to overlook steps they could take to make their futures brighter."
Interestingly, the optimism the students exhibited in predicting their own success in achieving their savings goals did not extend to their predictions of how other students would fare. In fact, the same students who had undervalued the progress-report program for themselves thought it would be helpful for others.
The study's authors say that being "in the grip" of a strong intention to accomplish an important goal makes people’s self-predictions of their own future behaviour more susceptible to excessive optimism than their predictions of how others will behave.
The study, "Good Intentions, Optimistic Self-Predictions, and Missed Opportunities", is scheduled to appear in a forthcoming issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. The two other researchers involved are Rebecca White, a postdoctoral fellow with the Center for Decision Research at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Leslie John, a doctoral candidate in behavioural decision research at Carnegie Mellon University.
Quest down at 3:30
The Quest student information system will be unavailable from 3:30 to 5:30 this afternoon, "due to critical hardware maintenance", the registrar's office announced last night.
Link of the day
When and where
Physical Activities Complex closed through September 6 (Columbia Icefield open).
Spring term marks now appearing on Quest; marks become official September 20.
St. Paul’s University College Masters Golf Tournament, Friday, Glen Eagle Golf Club, Caledon. Details.
Physics building shut down Saturday 8 a.m. to noon (safety hazard while air supply unit is lifted to roof).
Feds Used Books open Saturday, August 28, in addition to regular Monday-Friday hours.
Optometry building electrical power shut down Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Fall term fees due Monday, August 30 (fee arrangements), September 8 (bank payment). Details.
Women’s field hockey camp August 30 through September 1, Warrior Field.
Women’s basketball back-to-school camp August 30 through September 3, Physical Activities Complex.
Waterloo Stratford kickoff event: presentation and reception Tuesday 11:00 a.m., Stratford city hall auditorium, RSVP 519-275-2727.
WatCACE financial support for research on co-op: proposals deadline September 1. Guidelines.
Staff association election information session, particularly for potential candidates, Thursday 12:00, repeated Wednesday, September 8, 12:00, Davis Centre room 1304.
Weight Watchers at Work information session and sign-up Thursday 12:15, PAS (Psychology) room 2438, information ext. 32218.
Labour Day holiday Monday, September 6, UW offices and most services closed, classes not held.
Orientation 2010 for new first-year students, September 6-11. Details.
International student orientation (undergraduate and graduate; spouses welcome): Wednesday, September 8, 9:00, Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall room 101 (primarily mathematics and AHS); September 8, 1:00, Coutts 101 (primarily engineering); Thursday, September 9, 9:00, Biology I room 271 (primarily arts, environment, science). Details.
Fall term classes begin Monday, September 13.
Athletics open house September 14, 4:00 to 8:00, Village I great hall; September 15, 9:30 to 2:00, Physical Activities Complex main gym. Club and team demonstrations, information, prizes.
David Johnston “Thank You Celebration” September 14, 6:00 reception, 7:00 dinner, Bingeman Conference Centre, Kitchener, tickets $150. Details.
UWRC Book Club discusses Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis (One Book, One Community choice), September 15, 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.
Ice cream social honouring David Johnston as he ends his term as president, September 16, 3:30 to 5 p.m., Matthews Hall green (rain location, Davis Centre great hall).
New international students reception September 16, 5:30 to 8:00, Festival Room, South Campus Hall. Details.
• “A department on campus now has 'action' in its name, awesome.”
• “Only 9 days and 22 hours left until move-in day!”
• “’Welcome back students! It’s your Waterloo’ sign up at Bridgeport. Is the city’s campaign returning for another year?”
• “Are you a student? Do you speak classical arabic? Interested in becoming an emcee for Palestinian Nights (Nov 12)?”
• “Marianas Trench to be the headliner for @uwWelcomeWeek on September 17! Who's excited?”