Funding allows students to "do good"
by Eugenia Xenos Anderson.
Yes, they’re do-gooders, and they’re proud of it. The five recipients sharing the $5,000 St. Paul’s GreenHouse Social Innovation Fund claimed their grants recently at the spring GreenHouse Social Innovation Showcase and spoke about the projects that are shaping the world.
Elle Crevits is tackling food waste and hunger issues with her startup, Food Not Waste. The Arts and Business student found that while 34,000 people in the region need more food, 40 percent of useable food was being thrown away by businesses, farms, and households. She wants to make it possible for small businesses to donate food to those who are hungry. Elle’s rationale is: “Food is ample. People are hungry. What are we waiting for?”
Prianka Siva, an Environment and Business student who may have taken every entrepreneurship program on campus, is putting IDEASPACE into action. IDEASPACE is an online community that facilitates the sharing of entrepreneurial ideas and allows for businesses to test ideas and share solutions. Entrepreneurs store and track their ideas, or publicly share them to optimize their potential or connect with mentors, advisors, or volunteers. Right now, more than 300 innovators from universities such as Waterloo, Laurier, Ryerson and the University of Toronto are connected.
Sylvia Green is a cycling enthusiast who enrolled in Civil Engineering because she wants to help organize infrastructure that supports a culture of bicycling. Her project, Your City in Motion, will start by researching how St. Paul’s can better encourage a cycling culture, and then work at broadening her scope to the larger KW community.
Alec Vyshnevski is a hard-working Science student who cares about fitness and health and wants to build social communities around exercise. Why? Because research shows that exercise initiatives are more successful when people connect with communities of shared interest. Alec’s initiative, Gravity Chamber, already has 300 members and the grant will help take the project to the next level.
Finally, Kwame Ansong is an Arts and Business student who is frustrated by how individual news sources do not form an accurate picture of a story or event. That’s why he’s setting up Civil News, a site that will aggregate news to compare and contrast reports on issues from international and local perspectives. “I came into GreenHouse with a general idea. The program helped me take my grand idea and make it manageable, and for that, I’m forever grateful.”
National Volunteer Week profile - Meaghan McCracken
This story is part of the #UWCommunity National Volunteer week series, profiling University of Waterloo members who give their time and talent by volunteering in our community.
Meaghan McCracken has a serious love for music.
A recent graduate of Waterloo’s Conrad Grebel University College Music program, she is keen on using the knowledge she’s gained through her freshly minted degree to explore the field of music librarianship. Over the past year, Meaghan has been taking time off to focus her efforts on exactly that by dedicating her time to learning more about the role and what it entails.
Merging her hands on and theoretical musical background with a strong desire to help musicians and musical groups succeed, Meaghan has been able to quickly adapt to her current volunteer role in music librarianship with our local Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (KWS).
“I never really wanted to be a performer or be a teacher and was trying to find some other way to use my degree because I still am a huge supporter and lover of the arts; this role has been a great solution for helping me navigate the next steps after graduating.”
Formed in 1945, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony is a significant cultural resource for Waterloo Region. With 52 full-time, professional musicians, the KWS presents over 100 performances each season, with music from early Baroque composer Monteverdi through commissioned music by Arcade Fire bassist and Canadian composer Richard Reed Parry. The KWS is praised for its original programming and exceptional performances. KWS Music Director, Edwin Outwater, is one of North America’s most creative, dynamic, and engaging conductors. His ingenious programming has earned him international acclaim, in particular for his Intersections series.
Innovative and experimental in approach, the KWS works to redefine what an orchestra is today and to present music – much of it Canadian – in new and relevant ways. This approach resonates with many and has drawn attention to the KWS locally, nationally, and internationally.
Chris Sharpe, Director of Education and Community Programs for the symphony, acknowledges how important volunteers are to their organization:
“Volunteerism is essential to the KWS. In its earliest years, the KWS was entirely run by volunteers. Today, our Volunteer Committee is over 125-strong. They, along with the help of additional volunteers, run fundraising events and assist in many vital aspects of the orchestra’s busy season. Meaghan’s work is an example of how a volunteer can make the complex duties of the orchestra librarian run so much smoother and easier.”
A flute player at heart, Meaghan learned about this volunteer position through one of her favourite flute teachers, Barb Kaplanek, towards the end of her schooling. Barb also works with the symphony and was able to directly connect Meaghan to their Orchestra Librarian, Alex Clark. She’s been volunteering there 3 days a week ever since.
“I definitely feel like I’ve gotten really useful experience and I’ve got my foot in the door. I’ve met so many people that I would never have known otherwise.”
Meaghan assists with collecting the sheet music, taking it off the shelves for upcoming concerts and then separating it all into folders for each individual musician. She’s been getting connected to other orchestras, as well as other regional music groups and choirs, and has been gaining hands on experience working with their digital archiving platform to keep track of music. On top of that, she attends their shows and helps clean up the music sheets from the stands on stage, getting it organized post-concert so she can take it all apart again and put it back on the shelves.
“One of the biggest reasons I volunteer is gaining experience and contacts in the field I’m passionate about, but it’s also about just getting the sense of helping and feel like you’re making a difference in the arts community.”
This May, she will be going to a conference in Montreal for the Major Orchestra Librarians Association, as her affiliation with the KWS enabled her to get a discount on the entry fee.
Chris Sharpe recognizes the special support a volunteer like Meaghan brings to their organization:
“The most remarkable thing is the fact that she has consistently been coming in to do work that has kept the library running smoothly while asking for nothing in return. Meaghan is responsible for the prevention of many library disasters this season and most of the orchestra doesn't even know it!”
Meaghan has been having such a great time learning and giving back to her community at the same time. And there’s no doubt that this opportunity has allowed her to feel more connected to our region’s cultural scene. She feels strongly that without this experience, she would still feel directionless, and is thankful for the ties our university has with external community groups in order to foster this kind of volunteer engagement.
“Volunteering with the symphony has made me feel more confident in having some sort of path and plan, and it’s really solidified what I enjoy and now I know that this is something I want to be a part of.”
Do you volunteer or know of someone who should be recognized? Help celebrate the many University of Waterloo volunteers by sharing their stories and positive impact online with #UWCommunity and #NVW2015, or contact us via email.
Remembering Don Scott and other notes
Retired Chemical Engineering Professor Don Scott died April 7. Scott joined the University of Waterloo in September 1964 and served as Chairman of the Department of Chemical Engineering from 1964 to 1969, as Acting Dean of the Faculty of Engineering from 1969 to 1970, and Associate Dean, Graduate Affairs in Engineering from 1980 to 1983. He was named a full professor in 1970. Scott sat on a number of University committees and served on Senate from 1971 to 1977 and the Board of Governors from 1975 to 1978. Scott's research specialties included bioenergy, the design of chemical reactors, air pollution, and mixed gas-liquid flow.
A native of Edmonton, Professor Scott received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Alberta and spent a year working in petroleum production in the Northwest Territories before joining academia and spending 15 years at the University of British Columbia. He also served as Vice-President and President of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering and was a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada. He was also one of the first Canadians to be named a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
Scott retired in 1989, but was involved in energy research projects at the University as an adjunct professor until 2004. He was 92 years old.
Human Resources has reported that retiree Johanna Welkisch died April 6. Johanna worked in the Minota Hagey Residence, now home to Velocity, as a Housekeeper from September 1968 until her retirement in January 1986. She was predeceased by her husband Heinz in 2005. A memorial service to celebrate her life will be conducted at St. James Lutheran Church in Elmira on Monday, April 27 at 11:00 a.m. with a reception to follow.
Human Resources is also reporting that retiree Gertrude Kyer died April 1. Gertrude began her employment at the University in August 1967 in Food Services. She retired from her position as Secretary in Food Services in March of 1981.
Mary Synnott of Women's Studies and Management Studies snapped this picture of a wild turkey strutting its stuff outside Hagey Hall yesterday.
Its presence is sure to ruffle a few goose feathers on campus.
Information Systems & Technology (IST) has joined the Twitterverse, according to a recent announcement. Follow @UWaterloo_IT for information about IT services, projects, events, training and more,
"While IST will manage the account, tweets will be relevant to the entire campus community," says a note from IST. "The account will serve as a platform for IT service and support providers and clients to connect and stay up-to-date on campus IT initiatives. If there’s something you’d like to share on this account or want us to help promote, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org."