Tuesday, June 8, 2010

  • 'Huge potential' for student resource office
  • Making Waterloo an 'age-friendly' city
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

'Huge potential' for student resource office

Katie Eley sees people with troubles, and she’s “really, really excited” about it.

Eley is filling in for a year as coordinator of the “student resource office”, which was the university’s “ombudsperson” office until it was given a new name and a slightly new role last fall. Coordinator — and former ombud — Evalena Matlock-Corley is taking a maternity leave.

[Eley]The office isn’t widely known and understood across campus, says Eley (right), who arrived on May 1. But she’s hoping to change things: “One of the main priorities right now is to build relationships, as well as to inform and engage students. I think there’s huge potential.”

While the long-time role of the ombuds office was to take up the problems that students (and sometimes other people in the university) had been unable to solve in the usual ways, the emphasis of the SRO is to help students find the right channels and know how to use them, Eley says. “We’re aiming to be a central information place. We can point them in the right direction.”

Often, she says, a student will arrive at the office reporting that “they’ve been bounced around” within the university. That can be the result of not understanding a big bureaucracy (“one student told me she always takes every problem to the registrar’s office”) and the answer can be as simple as giving a student the right name and phone number.

If someone’s problem boils down to interpersonal conflict or unfair treatment, Eley’s approach would likely be “talking with them about different options that they might have,” and if necessary pointing them to the conflict management and human rights office. “We’re not out there advocating, or anything of that nature,” she says.

Off-campus issues — such as landlord-tenant problems — are also part of the office’s caseload, and Eley knows where to send a student for information, city hall involvement, or legal advice. The goal: “a one-stop shop.”

The SRO is housed on the little-known third floor of the Student Life Centre, so Eley can’t count on heavy traffic going past her door to help make the office known. She’s planning more use of social media, big improvements to the office’s web site, and possibly a series of online videos about “services that I often have to refer students to”. Workshops are also a possibility, and she’s already in talks with such diverse UW units as food services and the academic integrity office about how to make services better known.

“I think there’s huge potential!” says Eley, who maintains that — as demonstrated in her previous job, as a community coordinator in the UW Place residence complex — “I have an ability to really connect with students.” But she won’t be doing it all herself; the SRO depends on a cadre of student volunteers, and she’s in the process of recruiting some now. “Students learn best from other students, from peer experiences,” she points out.

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[Lots of green in architect's drawing]

Environment 3 should look something like this when it's ready for prime time in the spring of 2011. Until then, well, it's a construction site beside and on top of the existing Environment 2. As work continues and a bigger crane is about to be needed, the ring road will be closed beside the site — between the PAS building and Needles Hall, opposite Laurel Lake — starting Thursday and continuing for about a month. All traffic, including Grand River Transit buses, will have to use the east side of the ring road instead.

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Making Waterloo an 'age-friendly' city

from a news release issued by the media relations office

The university’s Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program and the Mayor of Waterloo will host a joint public event Thursday to launch a new web-based planning tool for communities that seek to become more “age-friendly”. MAREP and its community partners, with support from the Ontario government, will unveil the Age Friendly Community tool, which outlines how to build communities that are sensitive to the needs of older adults.

Attending the opening ceremony at 11 a.m. Thursday, in the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex in central Waterloo, will be Vic Dhillon, parliamentary assistant to the Ontario minister responsible for seniors, Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran, and two researchers, Sherry Dupuis, MAREP director, and Leah Sadler, associate director for education.

The launch will be followed by World Café, a public event of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Age-Friendly Communities. Community members, organizations and agencies that work with older adults will share their experiences and discuss the next steps toward creating an age-friendly Waterloo.

As well, participants will have an opportunity to hear from community members about how age-friendly Waterloo is at present, including the city's strengths and weaknesses. A detailed questionnaire will be used outlining the key features of an age-friendly community; the data will be collated by a doctoral student on the advisory committee.

"As Mayor of Waterloo, I am delighted to support these two very important initiatives," Halloran said. "World Café will provide an opportunity to discuss and identify ways in which we can continue to create an Age-Friendly Waterloo, and with the launch of the new web-based tool we will be able to reach out to people in our community online to share information about age-friendly initiatives being offered."

Building on work of the Roundtable on Future Planning for Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias, which Dupuis was heavily involved with, MAREP researchers used local and international resources to forge a comprehensive and holistic approach to enable communities to become more age friendly. The Alzheimer Society of Ontario and the Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat have provided funding and additional resources to expand the Alzheimer Disease planning framework and tool-kit into a more universal age-friendly context.

The new tool was developed in partnership with community agencies and municipalities committed to ensuring that all citizens continue to be active contributing members.

"We want to achieve a community whose physical, social and service environment enables older people — and people of all ages — to live in security, enjoy good health and participate in society supported by and in strong relationships," says Dupuis, who is also a professor of recreation and leisure studies. "With this new web-based planning tool, interested people will be able to build age-friendly programs, services, organizations and communities that can provide opportunities to engage citizens in a variety of ways, including those who are marginalized."

An age-friendly community can provide a range of benefits to help older adults, organizations and businesses, she says. Such a community promotes the sharing of resources, talents and gifts of all citizens; promotes physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being; and ensures that older adults continue to be contributing members of the community.


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Link of the day

World Ocean Day

When and where

Class enrolment for fall term undergraduate courses, June 7-12; see appointment times in Quest.

Senate undergraduate council 12:00 noon, Needles Hall room 3004.

Conrad Grebel University College fund-raising banquet for Ralph and Eileen Lebold Endowment for Leadership Training, speaker Gareth Brandt, Columbia Bible College, “Leadership for the Next Generation: Is the Church Ready?” 6:30 p.m. at Grebel, tickets $50, phone ext. 24237.

Open jam night at the Graduate House every Tuesday, through July 27, 7 to 10 p.m. No cover charge, 19-plus.

Retirees Association bus tour, “Castle  Gardens and Wings” (Casa Loma and Canadian Air and Space Museum) Wednesday, details 519-885-6719.

Paul Heinbecker, for Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, speaks on foreign policy and recent events in Gaza, sponsored by department of history, Wednesday 2:00, Doug Wright Engineering room 3522.

Career workshop: “Exploring Your Personality Type”, first of two sessions, Wednesday 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1112. Details.

Health and wellness fair for people with developmental disabilities and their families, featuring School of Pharmacy students and other groups, Wednesday 5:30 to 8:30, Creekside Church, 660 Conservation Drive.

‘Test drive the iPad’  Thursday 11:00 to 2:00, Campus Tech (Student Life Centre) and E-Smart (South Campus Hall).

Net Change Week webcast, “The Future” and “Cybersecurity” panels, Thursday 12:00 to 4:00, Accelerator Centre, 295 Hagey Boulevard. Details.

Retirees Association annual general meeting Thursday 3:30, Sunshine Centre, Luther Village, information 519-888-0334.

Agile Coach Camp “open space conference” June 11-12. “Unkeynote” event open to all: “Interactive Agile Games” led by Gerry Kirk, Friday 5:30 p.m., Davis Centre lounge. Details.

Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery opening reception for “Lucid Dreaming” by Bruce Taylor, UW department of fine arts, and other exhibitions, Sunday 2:00 to 5:00 (artist talks 1:00), 25 Caroline Street North.

Matthews Golf Classic for staff, faculty, retirees and friends, June 14, Grand Valley Golf Course, 12:00 noon, includes dinner. Details.

New faculty workshop: “Kick-Starting Your Grant Application” June 15, 11:45, Rod Coutts Hall room 207. Details.

Centre for Extended Learning (formerly distance and continuing education) open house and name change celebration, June 15, 3:30 to 5:30, 335 Gage Avenue, Kitchener, RSVP jmoser@ uwaterloo.ca.

100th Convocation June 16-19, Physical Activities Complex: AHS and environment, Wednesday 10 a.m.; science Wednesday 2:30 p.m.; arts Thursday 10:00 and 2:30; mathematics Friday 2:30; engineering Saturday 10:00 and 2:30. Details. Special session Sunday, June 20, 9:45 a.m., Perimeter Institute, for MSc (physics) graduates.

Jake Thiessen, school of pharmacy, retirement reception June 23, 3:00 to 5:00, Pharmacy building 7th floor, RSVP ext. 84499.

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