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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

  • Groups call for better education on drugs
  • MBET students show off their start-ups
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Groups call for better education on drugs

Two high-profile task forces looking at the use of “performance enhancing drugs”, such as steroids, in university sports delivered their reports yesterday at a news conference held in Toronto.

One group, chaired by Waterloo athletics director Bob Copeland, was set up by Ontario University Athletics to look at “education” programs to combat the use of drugs in all sports. The other was set up by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, and looked specifically at drug use in football. Both groups got to work following a national scandal last year that was centred on some players from Waterloo’s Warriors.

The two task forces had overlapping membership, worked cooperatively and have consistent recommendations, spokespeople for both agencies said yesterday. Here’s some of what Copeland said at the news conference:

“In the wake of doping violations in football over the past year, the management committee of the OUA did not want to sit on the sidelines — the stakes were simply too high: the health of our student-athletes, the integrity of our league, and the reputation of our institutions of higher learning.

“Our task force set out to review current PED educational programs offered to OUA student-athletes and have made a number of important recommendations based on our own research as well as promising practices in other jurisdictions. A fundamental part of this process was the implementation of a groundbreaking survey of OUA athletic directors and senior university administrators to first get a baseline understanding of PED educational practices and opinions on our campuses.

“This survey paints the picture of an underfunded system that is just getting by, with the need for more coordination, leadership, and emphasis on learning outcomes — although there are some excellent practices at selected institutions. We need to do a better job of engaging our student-athletes, coaches, and other leaders in this process. In some cases, we are simply checking the regulatory boxes — I mean the requirement for athletes competing in CIS sports to complete the CCES e-learning module. We have learned through our research, including direct feedback from athletes, that this particular e-learning module is not effective, and simply not enough. A more rigorous, targeted, and continuing PED educational program is called for.

“Beyond the student-athletes themselves, our coaches must be better educated on PEDs, their warning signs, as well as how to act upon rumours about such use in any locker room. Our task force recommends that all coaches, therapists, and other medical personnel be mandated to complete a standardized PED educational program and that this become a matter of policy for the OUA and CIS. This is a straightforward recommendation, and tools currently exist to implement this without delay.

“The recommendation about how to act upon rumours is more complex and nuanced, but it is the elephant in many locker rooms across North America. We must first take steps to change the culture of the locker room, but at the same time, develop specific protocols to  educate both our student-athletes and coaches about how to deal with rumours — transparently and proactively. A surprising finding of the OUA survey was the fact that not a single athletic director had any specific, written policies and procedures for coaches or other staff outlining how to respond to rumours or information that may become apparent regarding the use of PEDs. We recommend that the current CIS Anti-Doping Policy be expanded to mandate the reporting of PED rumours or suspicions.

“While a reporting mechanism for rumours is an important recommendation as a form of deterrence and investigation, it does not address the root cause of why some student-athletes are compelled to make such choices. It is widely accepted that PED education, as it relates to both ethics and health, must start long before an athlete walks into a university dressing room. We recommend that PED education be developed for inclusion in health and physical education courses in our high schools — and universities can certainly play an important role here; our universities have a significant presence and influence in our communities, and there is an opportunity to leverage the thousands of university athletes in helping to inform the next generation about the importance of making good, ethical, and healthy choices. And it is important for everyone to recognized that this is not just a football issue, but a broader public health concern amongst adolescents. In fact, the fastest growing user group in the United States is 15-year-old girls who are taking these substances for appearance and body image reasons.

“Another important cause for concern raised by both the OUA and CCES task forces involves the unregulated supplement industry and the risk that many of our high performance athletes are taking when choosing to consume supplements. Some studies estimate that as many as 20 percent of supplements may be spiked with anabolic steroids, in addition to other non-labelled ingredients; and with an internet connection and a credit card, the latest and greatest muscle building concoction can be ordered in an instant. There have been several recent cases of positive doping tests, not only in the CIS, but also in the Canadian Hockey League, where over-the-counter supplements have been cited as the reason for an anti-doping violation. We have found that athletes are poorly informed about supplements, their risks, as well as more healthy alternatives for achieving their high performance objectives. For these reasons, our task force recommends that the CIS and CCES should play a key advocacy role with Health Canada’s Drug and Health Products Compliance and Enforcement division as well as other relevant enforcement agencies to proactively identify illegal sport nutrition supplements and ensure that they do not reach the consumer through legitimate or illegitimate sources.

“Although the OUA task force was focused on PED education, it is acknowledged that this is only one component of an integrated strategy, which also must include more rigorous testing and policy development, and the OUA membership both acknowledges and supports this. In fact, 100% of survey respondents indicated their support for an increased frequency of performance enhancing drug testing as a deterrent to augment educational strategies.

“It is clear that a well-coordinated and well-led national strategy is necessary to combat PEDs, and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport is the organization tasked with this mandate. We also recognize that no single entity can bring about change, and we must leverage our collective resources and expertise to combat this issue. Our university leaders, from athletic directors, to deans, to university presidents recognize what is at stake: the health of our student-athletes, the integrity of our programs, and the reputation of our institutions.”

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[Two guys with their poster]
MBET students show off their start-ups

Students in the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program unveiled new and emerging technologies at an Innovation Fair June 23, the climax of an eight-month effort to move them from concept to commercial success.

Industry and government guests from the tech community, students, faculty, and alumni gathered to witness the future of robotics, waste management solutions, mobile applications and the travel industry, says Jenn Zehr, marketing manager for the Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre, which operates the MBET program.

Says Zehr: “The showcase highlights the accomplishments of students in the MBET program, and provides an advance viewing to the public of up-and-coming start up ventures in the community.

“MBET students spend eight months working on a commercialization practicum project in combination with their academic course load. This experience challenges students to construct new ventures from the ground up and take the idea through the commercialization process. Students also work closely with local startups and established firms to develop a technology that requires a strategy to effectively move it to market and to introduce a new solution.”

Since its inception, the MBET program has witnessed many successes as a result of the commercialization practicum component of the program. MBET graduates have launched more than 50 start up operations, including Clearpath Robotics, PushLife (a company acquired by Google in April 2011), and Tangam Systems.

"This class has again proven to be an exceptional group of students with industry changing ideas,” says Doug Sparkes, director of the MBET program. “It’s crucial that we provide opportunities like this for students to share their ideas with the community. Our students are passionate about their work, and it’s fascinating to witness how a concept can evolve into commercial success in a matter of months when the proper resources and learning environment are provided.”

Among the students who displayed their work last week were David Saint-Onge and Yen (Andy) Tseng, pictured above with their project, CrossChasm, billed as “hybrid and electric vehicle specialists that provide control systems that maximize efficiency so auto developers can bring high-efficiency vehicles to market”. The duo won third place in the pitch competition.

In first place was Clearpath Robotics (“robust and reliable unmanned vehicles for industrial and military applications “), and in second place was CHAR Technologies (“provides a non-toxic, convenient and cost effective method of cleaning methane rich gas streams”).

Other projects on show included ICE Leadership, a strategy and marketing firm that “helps start-ups and companies move from Beta to Bucks”; Dyverga, a renewable energy company that has created a system that converts low heat to AC/DC power; FrontRow Xperience, “an exclusive online community to connect independent producers and industry professionals to empowering independence, to nurture, track and monetize success”; OpenText PinPoint (“uses location-based technology on your mobile devices to pinpoint your company's resources”), Koate (“data content control security for child-safe internet solutions”), and iXplore Adventures (“a travel adventure application and service to enhance your travel experience”).


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A few notes for today

Asparagus and gruyere tart and grilled wild Pacific salmon are among the "Celebrate Canada" specials on the University Club menu this week. • Meanwhile, Mudie's cafeteria in Village I is offering maple syrup glazed chicken and "BBQ ribs with cowboy fries". • The second annual yoga event sponsored by the Employee Assistance Program is being held today at 12:05 in the Village I great hall.

Link of the day

The night journey

When and where

Math Society carnival 11:30 to 3:00, Davis Centre quad.

Career workshop: The Power of LinkedIn, 3:30 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, BMO Field, Toronto, bus sponsored by Waterloo athletics department leaves 4:45 p.m., tickets $65. Details.

Canada Day in San Francisco reception welcoming Waterloo alumni, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Quadrus Conference Centre, Menlo Park. Details.

Library workshop: “Exploring the World with Google Earth” Thursday 10:15, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

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

Chemical engineering seminar: Lichang Wang, Southern Illinois University, “Catalysis of Transition Metal Nanoparticles” Thursday 3:30, Doug Wright Engineering room 2529.

Canada Day, Friday, July 1, university closed. North campus celebrations 2 to 11 p.m. Details.

National Mennonite Conference sessions July 3-8, Humanities Theatre.

Summer camps for children begin Monday, July 4: Arts Computer Experience; Engineering Science Quest; Warrior multi-sport camp; men's volleyball camp.

Drop, penalty 1 period for spring term courses ends July 8.

Architecture employer interviews for fall term co-op jobs, held in Toronto July 8, in Cambridge July 11-13; rankings July 14-15; match results available July 18.

Digital Media Project: new arcade games created by English department students, sponsored by the department’s Critical Media Lab and Libro Financial, opening July 9, 2:00 to 4:00, TheMuseum, 10 King Street West, Kitchener.

DaCapo Chamber Choir, based at Conrad Grebel U College, concert with Harvestehuder Kammerchor (Hamburg, Germany) July 9, 8:00, St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Kitchener, tickets $20 (students $15).

Engineering alumni golf tournament July 10, Grey Silo Golf Club, tee time 10:00, $85 (students $75), reservations at Engineering Society office or e-mail djbirnba@

Donny and Marie Osmond at Four Seasons Centre, Toronto, bus trip sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, July 10, 2:00. Details.

Class enrolment appointments for fall term undergraduate courses: first-time students, July 11-24; open class enrolment, July 25.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department, viewable through myHRinfo:

• Campus recreation coordinator (fitness and wellness), athletics and recreational services, USG 7/8
• Pension information analyst, human resources, USG 7
• Human resources financial officer, human resources, USG 10
• Program officer, political science, USG 9
• Administrative and graduate assistant, French studies, USG 6
• Administrative assistant to the chair/ director, health studies and gerontology, USG 6

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