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Thursday, June 2, 2011

  • Stationery tweaked at users' request
  • The experience of co-op in Silicon Valley
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Running through field of grass]

Here come the leaders for this summer’s Student Life 101 program. Registration for participants — new students, coming in September, who want to preview Waterloo in a lively two-day program — began at the You @ Waterloo Day open house May 28, says Heather Westmorland, director of student life. “Our team of 16 Experience Leaders were out in full force,” she says, “promoting the program and answering questions from interested and curious parents and students. Our leaders are an enthusiastic group of students (co-op and regular) who have been training for their role since the beginning of May. They’ll be continuing training throughout June in addition to taking on many aspects of planning Student Life 101 including the evening social, prepping for their first community meetings with students and connecting with students through social media.” The first SL101 session runs July 14-15. Organizing it all is Gabrielle Finnie, coordinator of first-year experience in the student life office.

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Stationery tweaked at users' request

Some changes have been made to the university’s official stationery as the result of feedback from users, according to the people in the Communications and Public Affairs office who are involved in Waterloo’s “identity” and the face it shows to the public.

“Stationery is just one part of the much-larger makeover of Waterloo’s visual identity that began to roll out in summer 2009, following the campus-wide consultations about Waterloo’s identity and positioning as a university,” says Kelley Teahen, director of external communications.

The detailed changes come from the designers and associated staff in what’s now called Creative Services — formerly a part of the UW Graphics department, but now under the CPA umbrella.

[Waterloo wordmark, left and right aligned]

One key change is that stationery ordered from now on will have the Waterloo wordmark (above) and artwork on the right-hand side of the page, rather than on the left, as previously designed. The left-artwork version of the stationery caused some difficulty for departments of the university that send letters in envelopes with windows to show the address: at times, a bit of the faint wordmark showed up in the envelope window, Teahen reports. That contravenes Canada Post requirements. Moving the artwork to the right solves this issue.

As before, stationery is available with multicoloured lines, in black-and-yellow, or in faculty (or school) specific colours.

There has been a small change, too, to the official business cards for the university. The previous option had a solid black background with a grey watermark of the university seal. However, that option came at a premium cost, and some users noted it left little room to jot a note anywhere on the card since the only white space was on the front. So the new cards now have just a swoop of black on the back, with the seal printed on white space. That gives note-jotting room and lowers the cost of these cards significantly.

Examples of the new stationery can be found in the positioning guide and can be ordered through the Creative Services stationery page.

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The experience of co-op in Silicon Valley

from a feature story by Alana Rigby appearing in the Inside Scoop e-newsletter for Waterloo co-op students

[IMVU logo]Even if you’ve never played the game, you’ve probably seen the IMVU logo (right). IMVU is an online social entertainment destination where members use 3D avatars to meet new people, chat, create and play games with their friends. Its headquarters are in any tech fan’s number-one-must-see locale: Palo Alto, California. In other words, Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley is the go-to place for anyone with a technological inclination — it’s a breeding ground for innovation and entrepreneurship and thus is an ideal work location for an enterprising co-op student. The fact that it’s in California, the Golden State of long beaches, sunshine and palm trees, is just the icing on the cake.

So it was that during the fall term of 2010, while the rest of us were getting ready for winter, Benjamin Luke, Andre Magalhaes and Leander Lee headed south for the winter and a work term with IMVU.

We’ve all faced those doubts when applying for international or out of province co-op jobs — how will I find a place to live, who will I live with, is rent going to be ridiculously expensive? For Luke, it was a “fairly painless transition”. He’d lived in the States before and thus already had a social security number. All he needed to do was find a place to stay which he did fairly quickly using Craigslist. The rent was steep but the location was worth it, in his eyes.

But before they could contemplate living arrangements, these aspiring engineers had to impress in the interview. Lee thinks it was his analytical thinking that set him apart: “Sometimes they present you with a problem and instead of just giving an answer, I’d go through the steps I took to get to that answer. So even if I was wrong at least they could see how I got the answer.”

Silicon Valley plays host to just about every big name technology company, from Amazon to Yahoo! To warrant square footage in such a prestigious location, a company has to be top of the line, built on the backs of equally qualified employees. Luke certainly got this impression while working there: “Everyone knew their stuff really well and I hadn’t experienced that before. It’s fun and you can collaborate with people. All the pressure isn’t on you if you make a mistake.” In terms of tangible benefits, he says: “I got good at PHP. I’d never worked in PHP before. Also, the holiday party was really, really awesome.”

“Every day I learned something new,” Magalhaes added, and as clichéd as that sounds, the learning opportunities were the result of IMVU’s uniqueness. IMVU does something that very few in the technical world can claim to do: they publish code their employees have created in a matter of hours. As Magalhaes said, “you commit something on the first day and it’s live before lunch”. Though this might not sound impressive to the non-tech-savvy, it’s an incredible feat in the industry. Lee was also impressed with the IMVU’s rapid code pushes. “There was an article,” he explains, “about how people online were saying ‘that’s not possible’ but IMVU was doing it.”

The trio did some sightseeing, checking out the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Stanford University was a scant five minutes from where he lived, so Magalhaes joined the university’s Great White North Club of Canadian students. With them, he saw a hockey game and celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving. In terms of professional networking, he says: “I added people on LinkedIn and I’m helping the IMVU guys set up an info session. It’s good to stay involved with the companies you’ve worked for.”

Tourist attractions aside, Silicon Valley is a busy place. Conferences and meet and greets, networking events and info sessions — these students worked in a watering hole for entrepreneurs of all stripes. Lee, an enterprising student who’s lived in Velocity several times, felt obligated to get involved: “I went to and joined user groups. Companies host events, usually for recruitment. You go there and you meet all the people who run the industry.”


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Link of the day


When and where

Children’s show: Judy & David, “JiggiJump” 10:00 and 1:00, Humanities Theatre.

Country presentation: St. Maarten, 12:00 noon, Needles Hall room 1116.

Propel Centre lecture: Rob Sanson-Fisher, University of Newcastle, Australia, “Bridging the Evidence Gap” 1:00, Lyle Hallman Institute room 1621.

‘The Rogers Story’ presentation by Nadir Mohamed, president of Rogers Communications, 2:00, Davis Centre room 1350.

Career workshop: Work Search Strategies, 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Library workshop: "Introduction to RefWorks” 3:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

VeloCity venture fund finals, 4:00, Student Life Centre great hall.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group volunteer workshop: “Principles of Inclusivity” 5:00, Student Life Centre room 2135.

Optometry continuing education weekend Friday-Sunday. Details.

Warrior hockey PA Day camp for students aged 7-12, Friday, Columbia Icefield, information ext. 32635.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Colin Bell and Jason Testart, spring update on information security services, Friday 9:00, IST seminar room.

Child care festival organized by day care centres, guest performer Erick Traplin, Friday 9:45, Village green.

Midnight Sun X solar car unveiling Friday 11 a.m. (car appears at noon), Engineering 5 first floor.

Spring Rainbow Social for LGBTQQ faculty and staff and allies, Friday 4:30 to 6 p.m., University Club Burgundy Room.

School of Optometry Bobier Lecture by Susan Barry (“Stereo Sue”) Friday 5 p.m., Optometry building room 1129, RSVP ejreidt@ by June 2. Details.

International Development student fundraiser: Roy Sesana, Botswana medicine man, speaks on land claims issues in the Kalahari, Friday 7 p.m., Davis Centre room 1350. Donation requested.

Niagara Falls and winery tour sponsored by International Student Connection, Saturday, tickets $23 at Federation of Students office, Student Life Centre.

Bike repair workshops sponsored by WPIRG and Bike Centre, June 4 and 18, noon to 5 p.m., Student Life Centre room 101A. Details 519-888-4882.

Department of English debate: author Christopher Hitchens and academic Barry Brummett, “Religion, as a literary value, is a force for good” Saturday 7 p.m., overflow tickets $10 from Humanities box office; part of Literature, Rhetoric and Values conference.

Equinox Summit: Energy 2030 sponsored by Waterloo Global Science Initiative, June 5-9.

Commuter Challenge June 5-11: register; questions to Mark Lisetto-Smith, ext. 38257.

President’s Golf Tournament in support of Athletics Excellence and Awards Fund, Monday, Westmount Golf and Country Club. Details.

Keystone Campaign picnic, Tuesday 11:30 to 1:30, Graduate House green.

Soup in a good cause

A note from the Federation of Students: "The Federation is partnering with Zoup! Uptown Waterloo to celebrate their grand opening with a fundraising event to benefit the Colour Me Educated campaign. Today from 5 to 8 p.m. anyone who comes out to Zoup! will receive a delicious bowl of soup, a big hunk of bread and a soft drink for $5, and all proceeds will be donated to Colour Me Educated. Zoup! is a soup concept restaurant from the U.S., and Waterloo is its first Canadian location (75 King Street South, street entrance on Willis Way)."

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