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Friday, May 25, 2012

  • Scholars land in Waterloo for Congress...
  • ...while making a $7M splash...
  • future students kick our tires
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Scholars land in Waterloo for Congress...

"Congress will transform the University of Waterloo for a few intensive days," say the organizers of the 2012 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences as the university prepares to host the thousands of attendees from more than 70 scholarly associations from May 26 to June 2.

Congress 2012 is co-hosted by University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and organized by the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences is the largest annual multidisciplinary academic gathering in Canada.

There are a number of events and lectures going on all week, but the signature series of Big Thinking Lectures is expected to attract a great deal of interest. These lectures are open to everyone - conference delegates, campus community members, and citizens-at-large. Each of the speakers will be addressing the theme of this year's Congress, Crossroads: Scholarship for an Uncertain World. Four of the Big Thinking lectures will be held at the University of Waterloo: Sidonie Smith, Mary Eberts, Margaret Atwood, and Don Tapscott. The Governor General of Canada, former University of Waterloo president David Johnston, will be opening the conference with an address on the democratization of knowledge.

The university's academic co-convenor James Skidmore has been kind enough to crack open his daytimer and give us a snapshot of interesting goings-on over the weekend:

Saturday, May 26

"The first day of Congress begins at 7:00 a.m. with a Congress Operations meeting. All of the employees at both universities who have a direct role in Congress logistics meet twice each day, 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., to make sure that Congress is running smoothly (or to fix it if it isn’t!).

Saturday has two Big Thinking Lectures, and as Co-Convenor I’m pretty much obliged to attend since I helped organize them. (Which is no burden because all of the Big Thinking Lectures promise to be interesting.) His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will be speaking on the democratization of knowledge and the need to forge research partnerships among universities, the public sector, and the private sector. Two panels on the same topic will be held the same day, and His Excellency will be in attendance for both. (Maureen Forrester Recital Hall, 12:15 p.m.)

I’m also looking forward to hearing Kim Thúy speak. Her novel Ru caused a sensation when it appeared in Québec. She’s a Vietnamese refugee who now lives and writes in Canada. (9:30 a.m., Senate and Board Chamber, WLU)

In the afternoon I hope to take a shift at the University of Waterloo’s booth at the Congress Expo. This book fair extravaganza is being held at Laurier’s athletic complex and is worth a visit. Our booth has been organized by Wendy Philpott in Arts and will have UW swag to give away."

Sunday, May 27

"On Sunday I have the privilege of introducing my colleague John H. Smith (Diefenbaker Memorial Chair in German Literary Studies) who is presenting the keynote lecture to the Canadian Association of University Teachers of German. (9:00 a.m., HH 1102)

After that I’ll make my way to a talk being given by the author Nino Ricci at the Canadian Society for Italian Studies. His talk will be about how the digital revolution is bridging the divide between the arts and sciences. (11:00 a.m., HH 1101)

I’ll have to run Hagey to Modern Languages in order to catch the first Big Thinking Lecture on our campus. Sidonie Smith is the former president of the Modern Languages Association and she will be discussing how to reconceptualize the PhD in the humanities for the 21st century. (Theatre of the Arts, 12:15 p.m.)

Once I’ve figured out how to change our department’s PhD program I’ll head over to Laurier to take part in the Aboriginal Welcoming Ceremony. Local groups such as the Red Hawk Tail Drummers will be participating. (Senate and Board Chamber, 1:30 p.m.)

In the afternoon I might go to the session “You have degree in French Studies? And what will you do with it?” I got my BA in French and German some 30 years ago, and I guess I should finally figure out what to do with the French part. (Peters 2007, WLU)

In the evening I’m going to rejoin my association for a screening of the documentary Neukölln Unlimited about Lebanese breakdancers in Berlin, something I know absolutely nothing about (and one of the reasons I love attending Congress – I always learn something!) . Plus there’s a reception after the film, generously sponsored by the German Embassy. Yay!"

Stay tuned for further daily "Skid At Congress" updates.

There are many ways to keep on top of Congress's busy schedule. From the University of Waterloo homepage, simply click on the links for Waterloo’s Congress portal page for information on Big Thinkers and other keynote addresses. Twitter users can follow the Congress hashtag, #congress2012.

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...while making a $7M splash...

with material from a Congress 2012 media release

That's the figure attached to the expected boost in the local economy when the 7,000 delegates attend the event.

The estimate, provided by Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corporation, is based on the Ontario government’s Tourism Regional Economic Impact Model (REIM). In addition to being an academic conference, Congress 2012 will connect the universities with the community through a number of events open to the public.

“There’s a direct benefit to the region from delegates paying for hotel rooms, meals, transportation and entertainment while they are here, and the indirect benefit of showcasing Waterloo Region as a great place to visit for an ongoing boost to tourism,” said Professor James Skidmore, Congress academic co-convenor for the University of Waterloo.

Hotels in the area are expected to be booked to capacity throughout Congress, and attendees are also being accommodated at university residences on both campuses. Business will likely be booming at local restaurants and retail outlets with the influx of visitors from across Canada, the United States and abroad.

“For delegates from Canada and abroad who have never been to Waterloo, this is an ideal opportunity to acquaint them with what this area has to offer,” said Professor Eleanor Ty, Congress academic co-convenor for Wilfrid Laurier University. “We’re connecting Congress and the community through collaboration with the City of Waterloo, Waterloo Region and local organizations for special events and attractions.”

So, where on campus can Congress attendees spend their money?

Retail services outlets will have extended hours during the conference, with the Book Store, Waterloo Store, Write Stuff, and Media.doc in the Dana Porter Library open Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Campus Tech open Saturday, May 26 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Several stores also have Congress-related specials going on. A full set of Congress hours is available online.

Food Services locations, including Browsers's Café in the Dana Porter Library, Brubaker's and Subway in the Student Life Centre, ML's Coffee shop in Modern Languages, William's in Environment 3, and the Tim Hortons in Modern Languages and the Student Life Centre, are also extending their hours for the conference.

Back to top future students kick our tires

Adding to the flurry of activity on our campus this weekend is You@Waterloo Day. More than 4,000 visitors, including future students and their families, will be giving the university the once-over, with campus, faculty, and residence tours going on from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and information booth displays in the Physical Activities Complex that will give visitors information about academics, admissions, student awards and financial aid, the Global Experience certificate, and offerings from Athletics, Food Services, the Office for Persons with Disabilities, the Student Success Office, residences, and Off-Campus Dons.

And there will be some literal tire-kicking Saturday as well, as the Faculty of Engineering Student Design Centre will host the first annual High School Electric Car Technology Challenge.

Eleven vehicles designed, built and driven by high school students will compete in two endurance runs and an engineering design competition. Schools from Guelph, Kitchener, Lindsay, Orangeville and Waterloo are participating. The event gets underway at 9:00 a.m. with an engineering design competition on the first floor of Engineering 5, with two endurance challenges, a 12V challenge in Parking Lot B at 11:00 a.m., and a 24V challenge, also in Parking Lot B, at 12:45 p.m.

Spectators are welcome. The event is run in cooperation with Engineering Outreach (WE Connect) and the Waterloo Center for Automotive Research (WatCAR).

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Countdown to Congress: 1 day remaining

Factoid: The Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada, in cooperation with the two universities, is hosting 18 career workshops for graduate students during Congress.

uWaterloo's Congress organizers have put together daily update videos, and here are the first three:

Video Update - Day One

Video Update - Day Two

Video Update - Day Three


Link of the day

Star Wars at 35

When and where

Pension and Benefits Committee meeting Friday, May 25, 8:30 a.m., NH 3004.

"Discovering Your Skills" staff workshop, Friday, May 25, 12:00 p.m., TC 2218.

UW Farm Market information session, Friday, May 25, 2:00 p.m., SLC 2105B.

Building and Properties Committee meeting Friday, May 25, 3:00 p.m., NH 3004.

Department of Psychology presents the Annual Ziva Kunda Memorial Lecture featuring Hazel Rose Markus, Davis-Brack Professor in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, "Inequality, Social Class, and Self." Friday, May 25, 3:00 p.m., TC 2218A.

You @ Waterloo Day, Saturday, May 26, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences hosted by Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, May 26 through June 2. Details.

Congress 2012 Big Thinking Lectures, May 26 - May 31. Details.

The University of Waterloo Art Gallery presents An Uncertain World, Saturday, May 26 to Saturday, June 2, open daily 12:00–5:00 p.m., East Campus Hall. Held in conjunction with Congress 2012.

UW International Spouses presents "Movie and Coffee with Patty," featuring A Streetcar Named Desire, Sunday, May 27, 1:00 p.m., Galaxy Cinemas Waterloo. To register email patty91872@

Measuring Wellbeing: A Symposium on the Use of Wellbeing Indicators, Monday, May 28, 1:00 p.m., Paul Martin Prosperity Centre, Wilfrid Laurier University.

WatRISQ seminar featuring Mikhail Krayzler, Department of Mathematics, Technische Universitat, Munchen, Germany, "Pricing of Guaranteed Minimum Benefits in Variable Annuities." Tuesday, May 29, 4:00 p.m. DC 1304.

Retirement celebration for Adel Sedra, Wednesday, May 30. Details.

Centre for Career Action presents a Social Media Presentation featuring Lisa Kramer, Thursday, May 31, 5:00 p.m., TC 2218.

Geographers Without Borders: geography department's 50th anniversary, Thursday, May 31, 5:30 p.m. Details.

Board of governors Tuesday, June 5, 2:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Master of Digital Experience Innovation brown bag lunch, Wednesday, June 6, 1:30 p.m., Communitech Hub Kitchener, P2P Meeting Room. Register today.

Master of Digital Experience Innovation student showcase, Tuesday, June 12, 5:00 p.m., Waterloo Stratford Campus. Register today.

University senate Monday, June 18, 3:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Ain't no party like a retirement party

Please join Human Resources as they celebrate the retirements of and honour
Neil Murray and Sandra Hurlburt for their many years of contributions to the University of Waterloo.

The event will take place Wednesday, May 30 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the University Club, where there will be a cash bar in effect.

The event is open to all members of the university community.

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