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Friday, July 29, 2011

  • StJ undergrad wins the Duke’s gold
  • Civic holiday Monday brings Ramadan
  • New environment dean; other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

StJ undergrad wins the Duke’s gold

Adapted from a St. Jerome’s University news release

Natalie Dewan pushed beyond her comfort level and achieved more than she ever thought possible as she worked toward a Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s award, founded by Prince Philip, is given to young people aged 14 to 25 and recognizes personal achievements in the categories of physical fitness, community service, skill development, and adventurous journey. There are three levels of achievement: bronze, silver, and gold.

Governor General David Johnston and Duke of Edinburgh winner In May, Dewan, an arts student at St. Jerome’s University, joined 100 young Canadians at a ceremony where she was presented with the Gold Award by the Governor General, the University of Waterloo’s former president, David Johnston (left).

Dewan said the “adventurous journey” activity for the gold level distinction, a dog-sledding trip through Algonquin Park, was difficult because of the physical aspects of the trek, but also extremely exhilarating and rewarding.

“The dog-sledding trip was an amazing experience,” she said. “I’m not a natural camper and the physical tasks of driving the sled, setting up camp and preparing meals, helped me achieve more than I thought I was capable of — it was great to know that I could do all that on my own.”

Dewan has pursued the award since her high school days, when she achieved the bronze and silver levels through activities like Irish dancing, soccer, and an overseas trip to Scotland to help in a school and a school library. Dewan also credits the leadership skills and community experience she gained through these activities in helping shape her as a person and changing her perspective on life.

For example, while volunteering at Ten Thousand Villages, a non-profit organization committed to fair trade, Dewan said, “I gained a better understanding of what it means to work in community with others. … I learned about fair trade and helping low-income countries find opportunities to sell their products at fair prices, while working together with people to better support handicraft and agricultural organizations. It was a very rewarding experience and one I’m not sure I would have had outside the Duke of Edinburgh program.”

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Civic holiday Monday brings Ramadan

Monday, August 1, is the Civic Holiday. University offices and most services will be closed, including retail services stores, athletics and recreation facilities (PAC and CIF), and most food services outlets. What will be open:

  • Davis Centre library on exam-time schedule, open 24 hours;
  • Dana Porter library, noon to 6 p.m.;
  • Mudie’s eatery in Village 1, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.;
  • Student Life Centre and Turnkey Desk open 24 hours; and
  • UW Police (dial 519-888-4911 off campus, 22222 on campus).

August 1 is not only a day off for most of Canada: this year it marks the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. One food service area affected by Ramadan “is the traditional-style residence where students are on a meal plan,” writes Rex Coffin, food services assistant director. (Devout Muslims are required to fast from sunrise to sunset, which means a breakfast in the predawn hours.)

“We have polled our summer students in V1 to gauge how many would be interested in extra service, and learned that only a few would need to make some accommodation for Ramadan," Coffin says. "As numbers did not necessarily warrant extending our hours of service, we have instead made arrangements for those students who are interested to pre-order from a customized breakfast menu ahead of time which can then be picked up the evening before, allowing them to eat on their preferred schedule.”

With the university generally quiet and students writing exams, no special activities are listed on the Muslim Student Association web site. However, Syed Muhammad Ali, MSA vice-president, noted two community events “that Muslim students on campus will definitely be interested in.”

  • Iftars (break of fast) will take place daily at sunset through August at Waterloo Masjid, 213 Erb Street West, Waterloo.
  • Iftar fundraising dinner to benefit K-W soup kitchens is being held August 13 at 7 p.m. at the Waterloo Memorial Recreational Complex, 101 Father David Bauer Drive, Waterloo.

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New dean in environment; other notes

Andre Roy Head-and-shouldersThe new dean of the Faculty of Environment, André Roy (left), starts work August 1. He's appointed for a five-year term, succeeding Mark Seasons, who served as interim dean since the departure of Deep Saini in July 2010 to become the University of Toronto's vice-president. Roy was a professor and administrator at Université de Montréal and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Fluvial Dynamics. As an internationally recognized researcher with a special interest in how environmental changes affect the structure and flow of rivers, he will also be a professor in the geography and environmental management department.

Architecture students raise Troy on stage
“The city of Troy is an ancient place, and a modern one.” So begins the haunting description of a play created by a group of architecture students. “Heinrich Schliemann, the German archaeologist; Homer, the mythical blind poet; and Achilles, the Greek hero, are each passionately trying to find their way into it. Imagining Troy, they begin recreating the city and its people.

Image from play, Ilion, girls running“As Schliemann investigates ruins and Homer sings his poetry, the legends and stories grow and come to life between them. Gradually, the ghosts of Greek armies and the shadows of Trojan walls become alive and solid. As Homer and Schliemann struggle to enter the re-imagined Troy, their lives and their quests are woven together. But what, and where, really, is the city?”

Each summer, second-year students from the University of Waterloo School of Architecture stage a play as the major term project for their Cultural History course. “Our class is responsible for all aspects of the production,” says Professor Tracey Winton. “We have developed an original script based on works of history, literature, and our imaginations. We have groups designing and fabricating sets, props, and costumes, writing the music, planning lighting and special effects, acting, directing, producing, and raising funds.”

This year’s presentation is Ilion, “our version of the legend of the siege of Troy.” Performances today and Saturday at the Lang Tannery in Kitchener are already sold out. Information is on the group’s Facebook page.

Research in the news: Stand up straight vs. pain …

Vanessa BohnsVanessa Bohns (right), a newly arrived assistant professor of management sciences at Waterloo, has been attracting media attention with work done at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. She and a colleague showed that your posture has a lot to do with the amount of pain you can tolerate. Adopting a dominant posture can make you feel stronger and in control, which is associated with a higher pain threshold, while adopting a more submissive posture – curling up and nursing a pain – can make it feel worse. Bohns was interviewed on CBC’s Ontario Morning on July 21 – the podcast is online – and an article appeared in the Toronto Star. The research is described in a article in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 

… and stay active to stay smart

Laura MiddletonLaura Middleton (left), an associate professor in kinesiology, was quoted in an article in the New York Times, July 27 on her research into the effects of exercise on the decline of cognitive abilities in old age. After studying a large group of elderly people over several years, Middleton and her co-researchers found that the most sedentary seemed to score worse on thinking and memory tests as time went on, while the most active showed little deterioration. She also found that activity didn’t have to be overly vigorous to be protective. The research was published recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine.  

CPA staff

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Link of the day

Mill Race Festival

When and where

Summer camps for children: Arts Computer Experience ; Engineering Science Quest ; Warrior multi-sport camp ; men's volleyball camp .

Diploma survey: Complete this anonymous survey of two semi-final diploma design options to help the Diploma Review Committee recommend a preferred choice to Senate.

"Just Food" travelling art exhibit sponsored by Mennonite Committee on Human Rights, through to September 27 in Conrad Grebel UC atrium. Information: 519-885-0220 and online.

Library hours during exams, July 24-August 13. Davis is open 24 hours except closed Sundays, 2-8 a.m. Porter is open Monday - Friday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile, play by Standard Deviation Theatre company started by Waterloo grads. July 27-30, 8 p.m., Registry Theatre, 122 Frederick Street, Kitchener. Tickets $15 ($12 students). Reserve by email.

Student Life 101 visits for future first-year students, July 28-29, August 2-3, 5-6, 8-9.  Details.

Sandford Fleming TA Awards: engineering students, nominate your most deserving teaching assistant. Ballots at EngSoc and at reception in CPH 1320. Deadline to nominate is today, 4:01 p.m.

Examinations for spring term courses, August 2-13. Unofficial grades begin to appear in Quest August 15; grades become official September 19.

WPIRG Seeds of Resistance workshop: Canadian Mining Injustice. Thursday, August 4, 5 to 8 p.m., Student Life Centre room 2135. For information or to register:

Quantum Cryptography School for Young Students (grades 10-12), August 8-12. Details.

Peace Camp for students aged 11-14, August 8-12, Conrad Grebel University College. Details.

Warrior athletics camps August 8-12: Womeh’s hockey. Details.

Ontario Mennnonite Music Camp August 14-26, Conrad Grebel University College. Details.

Warrior athletics camps August 15-19: Multi-sport camp; women’s basketball fundamentals. Details.

UWRC Book Club: Room by Emma Donoghue, Wednesday, August 17, 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

National women’s volleyball team vs. Netherlands, Saturday, August 20, 7:30, and Sunday, August 21, 3:00, Physical Activities Complex. Tickets.

PhD oral defences

Computer science. Femi George Olumofin, “Practical Private Information Retrieval.” Supervisor, Ian Goldberg. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, August 8, 9:00 a.m., Davis Centre room 1331.

Electrical & computer engineering. Hazem Ibrahim Elsayed Shehata, “Formal Vertication of Instruction Dependencies in Microprocessors.” Supervisor, Mark Aagaard. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, August 8, 9:00 a.m., CEIT room 3142.

Mechanical & mechatronics engineering. Syeda Humaira Tasnim, “Measurements and Models Related to the Components of Thermoacoustic Devices.” Supervisors, Roydon Fraser and Shohel Mahmud. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, August 8, 1:00 p.m., Engineering 5 room 3052.

Statistics & actuarial sciences. Claymore Marshall, “Financial Risk Management of Guaranteed Minimum Income Benefits Embedded in Variable Annuities.” Supervisors, Mary Hardy and David Saunders. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, August 8, 1:30 p.m., Math and Computer room 6027.

Physics & astronomy. Sean R. Gryb, “Shape Dynamics and Mach’s Principles: Gravity from Conformal Geometrodynamics.” Supervisor, Lee Smolin. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Tuesday, August 9, 11:00 a.m., CEIT building room 2053.

Physics & astronomy. Jonathan Hackett, “Topology in Fundamental Physics.” Supervisor, Lee Smolin. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Tuesday, August 9, 2:30 p.m., Biology I room 266.

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