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Thursday, May 12, 2011

  • Summer events bring visitors to Village
  • Waterloo prof at Nobel session next week
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Ron Eydt Village main entrance]
Summer events bring visitors to Village

From quantum physicists to wedding guests and jugglers, the world is coming to Waterloo’s conference centre in Ron Eydt Village (pictured) this summer — in fact, some of the guests are there already.

With reduced demand from Waterloo’s own students to occupy residence rooms during the spring term, REV turns to hosting conferences and special events (and the REVelation cafeteria opens only when there are enough guests to justify it). The population ranges from hundreds — 1,000 people are expected for a church conference in early July — to just a handful, as for a Women in Physics conference later the same month.

REV also offers a “motel” facility for individual travellers, with single rooms listed for $50.75 a night, breakfast and games room access included.

The conference centre is officially a branch of the food services department and is headed by coordinator Susanne Keppler, who issued a list this week of the clients that are expected between now and Labour Day. They include participants in the optometry school’s continuing education program on the first weekend of June, overnight participants in the Arts Computer Experience “leadership” camp, visitors to academic conferences, and some of the people attending this week’s conference of the Ontario Association of International Educators, hosted by Wilfrid Laurier University and Waterloo.

There are also conferences with no university connection at all, such as the Ontario Folk Dance Camp over the Victoria Day weekend. Revenue from events of that kind helps to hold down residence and food costs for  Waterloo students during the rest of the year.

At the other extreme, REV will be hosting eight overnight sessions designed to resemble a regular student experience as much as possible. For the first time, Student Life 101 is being held as a two-day event, with a sleepover in the middle for an estimated 300 people. (Parents are also invited.) The first SL 101 session is scheduled for July 14-15 and the last one August 8-9.

This week’s visitors at the conference centre include participants in the Conceptual Foundation & Foils for Quantum Information Processing workshop being hosted by the Perimeter Institute; people attending the OAIE conference; and overflow from CU Expo 2011, being held at Wilfrid Laurier University. CU Expo 2011, according to its website, is “a Canadian-led conference designed to showcase exemplars in Community-University partnerships worldwide, and together to introduce creative ways of strengthening our local communities”. This weekend, as many as 200 participants in a youth convention organized by the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada will be sleeping at REV; their daytime sessions are at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex.

The largest gathering of the summer is also church-related, a 1,000-person assembly of the Mennonite Church Canada in the first week of July. That convention will spill over into unused areas of Village I as well as REV, and working sessions will be held in a number of rooms on the main campus and at the university’s Mennonite-affiliated institution, Conrad Grebel University College.

A couple of big weddings, one in June and one in July, have REV rooms booked for some of the guests. Near the end of the season, the annual MS Bike Tour will pass through Waterloo, with more than 500 people expected to be at EV August 12-14. That’s followed by Warrior football camp (opening August 21), the Waterloo Busker Carnival (with about two dozen street performers sleeping in REV beds), and residence dons’ orientation in the last week of August.

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Waterloo prof at Nobel session next week

a release from the university's media relations office

A Waterloo social innovation expert will join more than 50 leading thinkers, including 17 Nobel Laureates, next week for a high-level meeting to draft an action plan to save a world under siege from climate change, deteriorating ecosystems and poverty.

[Westley]Frances Westley (left), the J.W. McConnell Chair in Social Innovation at Waterloo, will chair a session on sustainable development at the third Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability, which will take place May 16 to 19 at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm.

"The 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium will provide the evidence that a great transformation in societies is needed to achieve global sustainability and thereby a prosperous future for humanity,” said Johan Rockström, chair of the symposium. “Frances Westley, with her international academic standing on social innovations research, provides a critical part of the solution of how to transform societies towards sustainable development.”

Discussions at the symposium will focus on how economic, political and social systems can be governed within the boundaries of the planet. They will explore three themes:

• Tipping Towards Sustainability: The Great Transformation Towards Sustainable Development. This theme, chaired by Westley, explores the links between crisis, opportunity and innovation for creating radical shifts and large-scale transformations towards sustainability. 

• Ecosystems and Human Development. The theme focuses on the role of ecosystems and the services they provide as the basis for societal development and human well-being. 

• The Human Dominated Planet: Where are the Boundaries? The theme looks at the great acceleration of human enterprise and recent scientific attempts to identify the safe operating space for the ability of planet Earth to support human development. 

"What excites me about the symposium is that it brings together brilliant thinkers from different sectors and disciplines,” said Westley, the symposium’s only participant from Canada. “Innovative responses to crises — from global financial recession to climate change — need not only our best minds but also new forms of integrative thinking. These challenges are dynamically interconnected and our response must be also; it is time to move beyond solutions drawn from single disciplines or perspectives, no matter how brilliant, and towards new modes of knowledge creation and action."

The symposium will conclude with a memorandum signed by key Nobel Laureates. It will be sent to the High-level Panel on Global Sustainability appointed by the United Nations Secretary General. The conclusions of the panel will feed into the preparations for the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro and into the ongoing climate negotiations. 

The symposium is part of a series of meetings initiated in 2007 at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research hosted by the German chancellor Angela Merkel, followed by a second meeting at St. James’s Palace under the auspices of the Prince of Wales. The event next week will be held in the presence and with the support of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.


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Staff wanted for VP nominating committee

A reminder from the university secretariat: "With the recent approval of Feridun Hamdullahpur as president of the University of Waterloo and as required by Policy 48, we are preparing to constitute the nominating committee to identify the next vice-president, academic & provost. Nominations are requested for the following seats on the nominating committee (at least three nominators are required in each case): ‘Two staff members, elected by and from the regular staff of the University.’ Completed nomination forms to be sent to the Chief Returning Officer, Secretariat, Needles Hall, Room 3060, no later than 3:00 p.m., Friday, May 13, 2011. An election will follow if necessary.”

Eduroam on Facebook

And a note from Peggy Day of the information systems and technology department: "A new Facebook page has been created titled "University of Waterloo CHIP — Eduroam". This page was created to explore new ways of engaging the campus wireless user community, to help identify coverage, capacity and other problems, which will help us prioritize expansion and upgrades of the service. This page will also provide an opportunity to ask how various mobile devices need to be configured to use Eduroam, and provide a way for users to assist each other on common issues."

Link of the day

Limerick Day

When and where

Employee Assistance Program sponsors UW Campus Walk, May 9 to June 5, individuals and teams welcome. Details.

Ontario Association of International Educators and Ontario region of Canadian Bureau for International Education, meeting at Waterloo concludes today, hosted by international student office. Details.

Clubs, Services and Societies Days showing off volunteer and extracurricular opportunities, Thursday-Friday 10:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre great hall.

Chemistry seminar: Catherine Middlecamp, University of Wisconsin at Madison, “Matching Our Curriculum to Our Planet” 10:30 a.m., Chemistry 2 room 361.

Colon Health presentation by Dr. Jelena Damjanovic, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, 12:00, Math and Computer room 5158.

Career workshop: “Work Search Strategies for International Students” 2:00, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Canadian Women in Technology kickoff event for Waterloo chapter, 5:30, The Tannery, 151 Charles Street West.

International Genetically Engineered Machine team invites new students to get involved: modelling and software subteams 6:00, Rod Coutts Hall room 305. Details.

Michaëlle Jean, former Governor General of Canada, gives the 2011 Stanley Knowles Humanitarian Service Lecture, speaking on national and international issues, 7:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, admission free but registration is full.

Open class enrolment for spring term courses ends, May 13.

Pension and benefits committee Friday 8:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Eva Grabinski, “Agile Project Management” Friday 9:00, IST seminar room.

Ontario Association of Mathematics Educators Waterloo alumni reception, Friday 4 to 6 p.m., Vanier Hall, U of Windsor. Details.

Carousel Dance performances May 13 (7:00), May 14 (1:00 and 7:00), May 15 (12:30), Humanities Theatre.

Library books borrowed on term loan before mid-April are due May 15; return or renew.

Spring into Motion including traditional “UW Blooms” gardening event with new clothing swap, Monday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Student Life Centre multipurpose room. Details.

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