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Monday, February 14, 2011

  • Orchestra highlights ties with Nanjing
  • Students elect Feds leaders for 2011-12
  • Valentine's Day, and the mine rescue
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Orchestra in red]
Orchestra highlights ties with Nanjing

The “Traditional Instruments Orchestra” from Nanjing University will play at Federation Hall tonight, showing off the Spring Festival Overture and “Theme Song of Dream of the Red Chamber” and incidentally putting the spotlight on Waterloo’s links with one of China’s oldest and most prominent universities.

The “Celebrating Spring Festival and Sharing Harmony Cultural Exchange Performance”, which is sponsored by the Confucius Institute at Renison University College, starts at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

The orchestra is made up of students from all departments of Nanjing University, its publicity says. “As an amateur artistic group, the orchestra mainly gives traditional instrumental performances in the form of instrumental ensemble, unison, small ensemble and solo, by using bowed and plucked strings, wind and percussion instruments.

[Nanjing campus]“The orchestra is particularly good at presenting music which represents the grace and beauty of the picturesque Southern Jiangsu, the home of Nanjing University (right). Through diligent training, the orchestra has developed a refreshing, lively and innovative style, and has built a batch of prominent repertoire. A performance recording entitled ‘Melodies on Campus’ has been widely received by professional musicians.” The orchestra has played on campuses around the world, from Hong Kong to Harvard.

Nanjing is one of China’s top tier of “centrally funded” universities, and is generally seen as one of the top five universities in the world’s largest country. It traces its history to the Imperial Central College of ancient times, and during the 20th century was the first Chinese university to offer doctoral degrees. It currently boasts about 3,000 faculty members and 20,000 students.

It’s also a university with which Waterloo has lasting connections. In 2006, Waterloo and Nanjing signed an agreement for steps toward a "Sino-Canadian College" on a planned "international higher education park" at Nanjing. Sponsored by the government of Jiangsu province, it's intended to be home for several such colleges involving various countries. Waterloo and Nanjing University have been the lead institutions for creating the Canadian college.

As a result, Chinese students can be admitted to a “2-plus-2” academic program in arts (history), science (physics), environment (geography) or mathematics (computer science) and take their first two years of study at Nanjing, then come to Waterloo to finish a bachelor’s degree.

The Sino-Canadian College could also operate joint graduate programs, organizers said as it got started. There have already been some shared research and training projects, and five faculty members and one staff member from Nanjing have come to spend time at Waterloo. This year for the first time, Waterloo students will have the opportunity to visit Nanjing during the spring term and earn an academic credit in a high-intensity block course on Chinese history and culture.

And Nanjing is the home institution for Renison’s Confucius Institute, a government-funded cultural program.

Bruce Mitchell, UW's associate provost (resources), says collaboration with Nanjing began in the environment faculty, with a longstanding project headed by geography professor Geoff Wall, now called Ecoplan China. Waterloo and Nanjing experts have both been involved in offering environmental training and expertise in the Dalian region of southeastern China. As that project moved along well, Nanjing officials suggested that Waterloo could be involved in similar collaborations in Jiangsu itself, and things moved along from there, Mitchell said. Progress was helped by an existing governmental agreement between Jiangsu province and Ontario, he added.

Nanjing, the eighth largest city in China, with more than 7 million people, has at least three dozen universities, and Waterloo has links with a couple of the others as well as with Nanjing University itself:

• Nanjing University of Finance and Economics is a provincially funded university, and has a partnership with Waterloo to operate a 2-plus-2 program for students in environment and business. The first class will graduate in June of this year.

• Nanjing University of Technology has some links with Waterloo engineering researchers.

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[Posing in front of Feds sign]
Students elect Feds leaders for 2011-12

Matthew Colphon has been elected president of the Federation of Students for 2011-12, and will take office May 1. Federation officials announced Friday morning that Colphon had collected 1,425 votes in last week's online polling for undergraduate students, compared to 597 votes for rival Ian Charlesworth. There were 320 declined ballots (presumably from students who wanted to vote in other races but didn't have a presidential preference).

He'll be joined in office for the coming year by two other candidates on the Team Real ticket: Prashant Patel serving as vice-president (administration and finance) and Natalie Cockburn as VP (education). The third vice-presidency, "internal", goes to independent candidate Luke Burke. "Today feels awesome!"

Colphon said in a BlackBerry message at midday Friday. "I'm really excited with the way things turned out. The team dynamic worked out well, and it will be great for us when we get in office. Looking forward to the transition and to the year ahead!"

Full election results are on the Federation web site. The photo comes from Feds communications coordinator Kirsty Budd (left to right: Burke, Cockburn, Colphon, Patel).

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Valentine's Day, and the mine rescue

[Heart]Well, it's Valentine's Day — a good day for romance, of course, but also (like every day) a good day for web-surfing. What can you find on the University of Waterloo's web site with a little searching ingenuity?

  • A report by Craig Kaplan, of the graphics lab in computer science, about the pixels of the "average" Valentine card.
  • A Valentine's Day chemical quiz from Chem 13 News.
  • Thoughts from architecture professor Terri Boake about the symbolism of the colour red ("both Cupid and the devil").
  • Analysis of the medieval French Roman de la Rose from the French department's MARGOT text preservation project: "How do the woes of love seem to you? Are they too sweet or too bitter?"
  • A "positive look" from the sexuality, marriage and family studies program.
  • Stories of student love, collected from Waterloo alumni.
  • All the "missed connections" on the OMGUW blog site.

It's no coincidence that the treat-a-grams the Keystone Campaign has been selling over the past few days will be delivered across campus today, chocolatey rich and sealed with a love-red heart. There are special Valentine lunches today at the University Club and at the Festival Fare cafeteria in South Campus Hall, and dinner at Mudie's cafeteria in Village I. And tomorrow is "Loving to Learn" day, when we'll hear, thanks to the Centre for Extended Learning, many heart-warming examples of the things people have learned in (and outside) this university this year.

Valentine's Day also marks the beginning of "Queer Sexuality Week", organized by GLOW, which was formerly “Gays and Lesbians of Waterloo” but now "GLOW — The Queer and Questioning Community Centre". Under those auspices, today promises "little kinky games" in the Student Life Centre, "with Sexy Bingo starting at 2 p.m." At 6:00, upstairs in GLOW's office, "Sapphic Monday" will be observed: "Make your own valentines!" Tomorrow promises workshops in the multipurpose room of the SLC: "Self-Defence" at 10:00, "Kink" with Stacy Jacobs of Planned Parenthood at 11:30, "Sexual Communication" at 1:00, led by Carm De Santis of the Sexuality, Marriages and Family Studies program, and "Brain Safe Sex" with GLOW's own Natalie Dick at 2:30. There's more later in the week, with a full schedule on the GLOW website.

Moving on to tomorrow . . . the successful rescue efforts in last fall's Chilean mine disaster will be explored during a free public lecture by a pair of earth and environmental sciences professors. Maurice Dusseault and Steve Evans will examine the geoengineering triumph in a lecture entitled “Disaster and Deliverance”. Says Evans, an engineering geology expert well-known for his work on giant landslides and rock instability in steep terrain: “We will describe the mine and the nature of the cave-in, how the miners were located, and how they eventually were brought to surface.” The talk will be illustrated with images from the mine site before and during the rescue, as well as geological and engineering illustrations explaining the various actions that took place. "The geoengineering issues associated with the mine were critical to the management decisions made, and we will explain why the hammer drilling that reached the miners was so successful," says Dusseault, a rock mechanics expert who has worked extensively with salt mines and in the petroleum industry worldwide. Last August 5, an underground rock collapse isolated 33 miners in the San Jose Mine in the Atacama Desert region of northern Chile. The miners survived underground for a record 69 days until, on October 13-14, all 33 men were successfully brought to the surface one by one in a steel capsule. Tomorrow’s lecture, hosted by the faculty of science, starts at 7 p.m. in Physics building room 145.


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Link of the day


When and where

Employer interviews for spring term co-op jobs (“main” group of students) through Wednesday. Ranking opens Wednesday 1 p.m., closes Friday 2 p.m., results available 4 p.m. Details.

Open enrolment for spring term courses begins today on Quest. Details.

Senate graduate and research council 10:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

Women's Centre "Paint My Picture", an evening of "poetry, sweets and warm beverages", 6:00,  Student Life Centre room 2102.

Library workshop: “Find Books and More” February 15, February 23 and March 1 at 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

‘Life After the U’ panel of retirees, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Tuesday 12:00, Math and Computer room 5158.

Staff career seminar: “Exploring Your Personality Type” Tuesday 3:00, Tatham Centre room 1112. Details.

Propel Centre for Population Health Impact presents “Advancing Public Health: Science and Innovation in Tobacco Control”, talk by researchers from Harvard School of Public Health, Tuesday 3:30, Sun Life Financial Auditorium, Lyle Hallman Institute, reception follows.

WatPD elective course information session, Tuesday 4:00, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Ballroom Dance Club lecture-demonstration by Vanessa Lawson, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Tuesday 4:30, Lyle Hallman Institute room 1621, admission free.

Author reading: Gregory Scofield, Canadian poet, Tuesday 4:30, St. Jerome’s University, room to be announced.

School of Accounting and Finance Sun Life Financial Lecture: Deborah Moor, president, Lloyd’s Canada, “The Aftermath of the Financial Crisis” Tuesday 4:30, Hagey Hall room 1101, reception follows. Register.

International development event: Emily Pittman, returned from CIDA internship at Dzaleka refugee camp, Malawi, describes her work; networking with groups and faculty working in development, Tuesday 4:30, Needles Hall room 1116.

UWRC Book Club: The Swallows of Kabul by Yasmina Khadra, Wednesday 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy presents Stephen Carpenter, Enermodal Energy, “The Making of Canada’s Greenest Office Building” Wednesday 5:00, CEIT room 3142.

‘Open Classroom’ session for instructors, organized by Centre for Teaching Excellence: Physics 444, Thursday 8:30. Details.

Education Credit Union session on “Personal Tax Planning” Thursday 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302, RSVP janinew@ by February 10.

Surplus sale of furniture and equipment, Thursday 12:30 to 2:00, East Campus Hall.

Lois Claxton, secretary of the university, farewell reception Thursday 4:00, University Club, RSVP ext. 36125 by February 11.

Dragons’ Den auditions for CBC television program, Friday 11:00 to 6:00, CBET, 295 Hagey Boulevard. Details.

Senate finance committee Friday 1:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

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