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Thursday, February 7, 2013



  • Professor gives back to help students succeed
  • On weather closing guidelines...just in case
  • Getting Togethr just got easier
  • Sawatsky Lecture Friday and other notes


  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs


Professor gives back to help students succeed

by Gillian Martin, Development Officer, Faculty of Mathematics

Jennifer Clapp.The first thought you might have upon walking into Professor Jennifer Clapp’s office in Environment 2 is “I could really spend some time here.” The walls are lined with hundreds of books, some written by Jennifer herself. 

Jennifer is a leading scholar in food security policy and sustainable practices to eradicate worldwide hunger.   She is making an important impact by educating students, governments and people about food policy through her teaching, writing, blog, and public lectures. 

Jennifer obtained her BA from the University of Michigan, and went on to earn an MA and a PhD from the London School of Economics.  “As a student, I received several awards and scholarships, which allowed me the chance to study and conduct field work abroad.  That financial assistance was invaluable to me, and it’s one of the main reasons why I support student scholarships now.”

Jennifer is a Keystone Campaign donor who wants Waterloo’s students to have access to opportunities that may lead them to great places and great things.  “My students are serious and hard-working, and when they can see the practical applications of what we’re doing in class, they know they’re on the right track.”


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On weather closing guidelines...just in case

With "significant snowfall" predicted for Waterloo Region and other parts of Southern Ontario this afternoon and into the evening, it's worth reviewing how the university decides to close during inclement weather, if it should come to that. The decision to close the university is normally made by the Vice-President, Academic & Provost after consultation with the Director of Police and Parking Services, the Vice-President, Administration and Finance, and the Director of Custodial and Grounds Services.

The storm guidelines provide for a complete closing of the university "when normal operation would pose a significant danger to students, staff and faculty, or would prevent large numbers of them from coming to campus”. However, they also say: “When UW does not close in inclement weather, faculty, staff and students are reminded that they are responsible for determining when weather conditions make their travel unsafe and should consider public transportation because it may well be the safest option and cleared parking spaces may be in short supply.”

As per the university's guidelines, "closed" means: classes are not held; meetings and other scheduled events are cancelled; scheduled examinations are cancelled, to be rescheduled; deadlines for assignments and other submissions are postponed until the same hour on the next business day on which the university is not "closed"; staff, other than those providing "essential services," are not expected to be at work, but are paid for a normal day.

When a decision about the university's opening or closing in the face of severe weather conditions, a notice will be posted to the university's homepage by 7:00 a.m. (and will remain in effect until 7:00 a.m. the following day), and a message will be sent out through the university's Twitter accounts. The university's info line (1-866-470-0910) will be updated to announce the closure. A storm closing call list exists to inform the members of the university's Executive Council, faculty and staff association presidents, federated and affiliated college administrators, and satellite campus contacts of the decision in the early morning. The Daily Bulletin will also be updated.

Similar provisions exist in the guidelines for decisions on closing the university during a workday if needed.

Regular updates of storm-related conditions on campus will be posted to the university's homepage, the Daily Bulletin, and through Twitter. Look for messages to appear at the top of the university's homepage that will inform you of the university's status when the snow starts piling up, and be sure to follow @uwaterloo on Twitter for real-time updates.

And keep your shovels handy!


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The Togethr logo.
Getting Togethr just got easier

Just in time for Valentine's Day, a startup founded by three University of Waterloo alumni who want to make giving gifts and sharing smiles with loved ones as simple as sending a text message has its flagship app available for download on the Google Play Store in Canada.

Togethr, based out of the VeloCity Garage in the Communitech Hub in Kitchener, recently launched its mobile gift-giving app that gives users the ability to receive notifications about special events and celebrations important to their family and friends, and the opportunity to send a positive message that can be linked to a gift, like a postcard.

"The intent behind Togethr is to bring loved ones closer together," says Aditya Sharma, co-founder and CEO.

“We live in a world where we are increasingly connected online, and yet, oftentimes feel disconnected from our friends and family. Togethr aims to bridge that gap by delivering a seamless experience to send the perfect thoughtful and physical gift to loved ones – whether to celebrate a special life moment or simply to say hello!”

The app also puts a mobile spin on philanthropy, with Togethr recently forging partnerships with charitable organizations Mercy Ships and Agape in Action to streamline the online donation process.

With the launch of the app, Togethr app users will be able to send real postcards to loved ones to any address in Canada, for free, for a limited time. Paid gift items such as chocolates, cookies, tea, flowers, jewellery and fashion accessories will soon be added to Togethr’s inventory of gifts, sourced from boutique local and national vendors.

In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, Togethr worked with a cappella singing group The Unaccompanied Minors to surprise and delight a group of deserving students on the University of Waterloo campus. Following the serenade – a performance captured on film– the students were all hand-delivered postcards sent using Togethr.

Togethr will be released on the iTunes App Store in the coming weeks.


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Sawatsky Lecture Friday and other notes

Gerald Gerbrandt.Gerald Gerbrandt, Professor of Bible Studies at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, will deliver the annual Sawatsky Lecture at Conrad Grebel University College on Friday, February 8. His talk is entitled, "Where the Church Thinks: The Role of the Christian Scholar," and (spoiler alert) in his lecture he will explore the phrase "The University is where the church thinks." While not fully affirming the phrase, Gerbrandt sees it as "containing a truth related to the role of Christian scholars."

Gerbrandt is this year's Rod and Lorna Sawatsky Visiting Scholar. According to Conrad Grebel, the visiting scholar position is awarded to "renowned scholars, practitioners and performers whose expertise in their field represents a wide range of interests to the Grebel community. In addition to this year’s public lecture, Gerbrandt will also speak in some Conrad Grebel classes and present at a Faculty Fellows Forum. The visiting scholar position is named for Professor Rodney Sawatsky, who joined Conrad Grebel's faculty in 1974, and honours the leadership and contributions of Rod and his wife, Lorna, to Conrad Grebel, the University of Waterloo, the Mennonite Church of Eastern Canada, and the Kitchener-Waterloo community during his years as faculty member, academic dean, and president. He died in November 2004.

The Biology department will be celebrating Darwin Day on Tuesday, February 12 with a number of events, including guest speaker Jack Pasternak delivering a talk entitled "Charles Darwin and the making of 'On the Origin of Species'" from 3:30 p.m. to 4:20 p.m. in B2 350, and a Darwin Birthday Celebration in the EIT Foyer from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. that involves, according to event organizers, "Feast! Cake! Prizes!" The celebration features Darwinian Team Trivia and a Phylum Fashion Show, with attendees encouraged to come dressed "as a member of your favourite phylum."

Human Resources is reporting that the following faculty members have retired, effective January 1, 2013.

  • Thomas Yoder-Neufeld began working at Conrad Grebel as a Professor in July 1983;
  • J. Graham Strong started in September 1980 as a Clinical Supervisor in Optometry and retired as a Professor;
  • Paul Kay began working in Environment & Resources Studies in July 1992 as an Associate Professor and retired as Professor; and
  • David Barton, who began working in the biology department as an Assistant Professor in May 1983, retired as Professor.


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Fire at 21 Columbia Street

Fifteen students, a dozen of them from the University of Waterloo, were in need of shelter last night after a fire at an apartment building at 21 Columbia Street. There were no injuries.

Housing and Residences ensured that the students found emergency housing overnight and will continue to accommodate them until the students can return to their units.

The University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University have spent the last few years developing a plan with the City and Region of Waterloo to ensure assistance to students displaced in the event of an emergency.

Don't be left out of the February cold!

Order your Treat-a-Grams now before tomorrow’s deadline (Friday, February 8).  Details, including how to order, are on the Treat-a-Gram webpage.   

myHRinfo down Friday morning

The following is a message from Human Resources:

“myHRinfo will be down for scheduled maintenance the morning of Friday February 8th. As it is also a pay day for some, we would suggest that you login to myHRinfo on Friday afternoon if you wish to check out your latest pay information online.”

Link of the day

255 years ago: the first legislative assembly in Canada starts with a letter.

When and where

UW Drama Department presents On Love, Wednesday, February 6 to Saturday, February 9, Hagey Hall 180.

Federation of Students SLC celebration event, Thursday, February 7, 11:00 a.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Observations and Free Inquiries seminar featuring Hamid Tizhoosh, Systems Design Engineering, "The Myth of Nonviolence," Thursday, February 7, 5:30 p.m., E5 6004. Details.

Warriors Band Practice, Thursday, February 7, 5:30 p.m., PAC 1001. Details.

Deadline for Amit and Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student nominations, Friday, February 8.

History Speaker Series featuring Prof. Lynne Taylor, associate professor, history department, "“In the Children's Best Interests”: Unaccompanied Children in Germany, 1945-1949,"
Friday, February 8, 1:00-2:00 p.m., Hagey Hall 117. Details.

Knowledge Integration seminar: Students on Ice Alumni Delegation: Lessons from Rio+20 & Introducing the Youth Arctic Council, Friday February 8, 2:30pm, Environment 3 (EV3), room 1408. Details.

Department of Philosophy Colloquium featuring Robert McCauley, "Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not," Friday, February 8, 3:30 p.m., HH 334.

Conrad Grebel presents Prof. Gerald Gerbrandt, Canadian Mennonite University, "Where the Church Thinks: The Role of the Christian Scholar," Friday, February 8, 7:00 p.m. Details.

FASS presents FASS for President, Thursday, February 7, 8:00 p.m., Friday, February 8, 7:00 p.m., Saturday, February 9, 7:00 p.m. All shows at the Humanities Theatre. Details.

University of Waterloo Chinese Student and Scholars Association (UWCSSA) 2013 Spring Festival Gala, Sunday, February 10, 7:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre. Details.

Town Hall Meeting, Tuesday, February 12, 3:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Biology Department presents Darwin Day talk by Jack Pasternak, "Charles Darwin and the making of 'On the Origin of Species'", Tuesday, February 12, 3:30 p.m., B2 350.

Biology Department presents Darwin Day celebration, Tuesday, February 12, 4:30 p.m, EIT foyer.

Waterloo Women's Wednesday, Wednesday, February 13, 12:00 p.m., DC 1301. Details.

VeloCity Campus Event: "Customer Discovery #1 Cold Calling, how to ask customers for money," Wednesday, February 13, 7:30-8:30 p.m., EV3 4412, Details. FREE pizza.

Conversation from Space with Astronaut Chris Hadfield, Friday, February 15, 11:30 a.m., Hagey Hall. Details.

UWRC Book Club meeting, featuring "The House I Loved" by Tatiana de Rosnay, Wednesday, February 20, 12:00 p.m., LIB 407.

Retirement party for Linda Kieswetter, Wednesday, February 20, 3:30 p.m., University Club. RSVP to Karen Browne, ext. 31743 by Monday, February 11.

Vision Science Research Seminar Series featuring Professor Agnes Wong, University of Toronto and The Hospital for Sick Children, “Skew Deviation: From the Laboratory to Bedside”, Friday February 22, 3:30 p.m. OPT 1129. Details.

Waterloo Women's Wednesday featuring Jeremy Steffler and Katrina Di Gravio, "Sexual Orientation and and Gender Identity Workshop," Wednesday, February 27, 4:00 p.m., Grad House.


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