Thursday, October 1, 2015

Shopify CEO visits campus for talk today

Tobias Lütke.

Tobias Lütke, founder and CEO of e-commerce platform Shopify, delivered a fireside chat in the Sedra Student Design Centre today as part of his first appearance at a Canadian university.

Around 250 students from the University heard from Lütke and Michael Litt, co-founder and CEO of Vidyard, discuss Shopify’s journey to becoming one of the country’s leading innovations and Lütke’s exciting new plans for the company.

The event took place from 9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in Engineering 5's Sedra Student Design Centre.

Bessma Momani receives Trudeau Fellowship

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation has recognized a Waterloo professor who is an expert on the economy and political situation in the Middle East with a prestigious fellowship.

University of Waterloo professor Bessma Momani.​Bessma Momani, a professor in the Department of Political Science, will receive $225,000 in funding over three years to support her research about Arab-Canadian youth.

"It's a group that's been targeted for its connection to homeland politics and issues," said Professor Momani, who is also a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, and the author of several books and journal articles. "My research has found that Arab-Canadians do feel targeted by government policies, and that many aren't perceived as welcomed into Canadian society, even though many have a deep history in this country."

The funding will enable Professor Momani to travel to seven cities in Canada that have larger Arab populations, to get their views on living in Canadian society, how they feel about their portrayal as Arabs in the media, and what can be done to improve their sense of belonging in Canada's multicultural society.

“The Faculty of Arts is enormously proud to see the Trudeau Fellowship go to Bessma Momani, whose research expertise and impact perfectly exemplifies the global and human perspectives to which our Faculty is deeply committed," said Douglas Peers, dean of the Faculty of Arts. "To see Professor Momani’s research insights on political, social and economic issues of the Middle East extend to Arab youth in Canada is especially timely.”

Professor Momani plans to share the information she gathers through her own writing and opinion pieces to educate the public and inform policy in this area.

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation named five new fellows as part of today's announcement. They represent all disciplines of the humanities and social sciences. The projects they propose are collaborative, featuring participation from other fellows and scholars.

Reminder: changes to minimum wage in effect today

"The Ontario government has announced changes to the minimum wage rates effective October 1st 2015, including an increase for the general minimum wage rate from $11 to $11.25 per hour," says a notice from Human Resources.

"Information is located on the Human Resources website including a link to the government’s website. The majority of our employees are not impacted by this change; however, there may be some employees where attention will be required by managers to ensure compliance."

Please direct any questions to the Human Resources department by sending an e-mail to

East Asian Festival brings international flavour to Reunion 2015

A young student performs a routine with nunchaku.

This Saturday, October 3 Renison University College will be hosting its 21st annual East Asian Festival.

This no-cost family event features cultural performances including martial arts demonstrations, and the always popular “Becoming a Geisha” exhibit, community booths, and university displays.

"New this year is our outdoor Sapporo Beer Garden, which will be paired with themed cuisine offered by local food trucks, all to highlight and celebrate East Asian culture and support the East Asian Studies program at Renison," says a note from Renison. "With support from the Consulates of Japan, Korea and China, this year the highlight of the Festival will be a beautiful fashion show from each different country. Adding to that will be many other talented performers from the local community, sharing songs, dances, and even magic with the audience."

“We are indeed fortunate to have so many very talented individuals in this community who will be performing on stage,” says Caroline Tanswell, Renison's Director of Institutional Advancement. “Children will delight in the magic show that will be presented and will be able to visit booths that offer calligraphy, origami, face painting and much more. The East Asian Festival is an entertaining family-friendly experience, which is an open event to all.”

There will also be a special workshop for participants to practice writing Chinese characters, learning about the origin of each character along the way. This workshop, sponsored by the Confucius Institute, will take place form 10:00 am to 11:00 am in Renison’s Dunker Family Lounge.

Notes as October gets underway

A plethora of United Way campaign activities gets underway today, including:

  • The Office of Research's annual bake sale from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in front of NH 1043; 
  • The Offices of the President, Provost and Secretariat silent auction and BBQ between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. outside the Arts Lecture Hall;
  • The Engineering Mystery Item Silent Auction for the United Way, which will begin accepting e-mail bids today, and will run until noon on October 23; and
  • WatPD is accepting orders for baked goods online, and will then deliver them on October 9th across campus. 

Be sure to stop by the Student Life Centre at lunchtime today for a special musical pop-up performance. Things get popping at 12:00 p.m.  Follow @UWaterloo on Twitter for updates.

Reconstruction of the service road running from the Dana Porter Library and Biology greenhouse to the Ring Road will begin on Tuesday, October 13 according to Plant Operations.

During this time, there will be no access available to Lot D underneath Needles Hall, and all parking will be temporarily relocated by UW Parking Services. Access to the interior of campus will be available via the EV3 roadway.

Plant Operations anticipates construction to take approximately 8 weeks, or less than that if the weather holds.

Information Systems and Technology (IST) has announced that the department will no longer provide support for BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) 5 devices, including the BlackBerry Bold, Torch or Curve, or software versions 5.0, 6.0 and 7.0, beginning January 1, 2016. This decision reflects the fact that BlackBerry software versions 5.0, 6.0, and 7.0 are no longer being developed or supported.

The effect of this is that come January 1, 2016, clients using Blackberry software versions 5.0. 6.0 And 7.0 will no longer be able to send and receive e-mail from their device and will need to upgrade to a BlackBerry 10, or any other phone.

Anyone with questions should contact the IST Service Desk by sending an e-mail to or by calling ext. 44357.

A cornucopia.The University Club is getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving with its annual luncheon buffet, which will be available from Thursday, October 8 to Friday, October 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 


Link of the day

Roller Skating Month: yes, roller skating is still a thing

When and where

Imaginus Poster Sale, Monday, September 28 to Friday, October 2, Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Office of Research United Way Bake Sale, Thursday, October 1, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., NH 1043.

UW Farm Market, Thursday, October 1, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., SLC lower atrium.

A Fireside Chat with Tobi Lütke, Thursday, October 1, 9:30 a.m., Sedra Student Design Centre, Engineering 5.

Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation Open House, Thursday, October 1, 10:30 a.m., DC 1301.

Office of the President, Office of the Provost, and Secretariat United Way Silent Auction and BBQ, Thursday, October 1, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. outside the Arts Lecture Hall.

Science and Democracy Under Threat: What Can You Do About It? Thursday, October 1, 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Inn.

Minka - A Social Justice Conference, Friday, October 2, 8:00 a.m., St. Jerome's University.

Warrior Weekend Charity Tailgate, Friday, October 2, 11:30 a.m., TechTown patio.

University of Waterloo Research Talks featuring Professor Heather Keller, "Finding solutions to nutritional vulnerability in older adults," Friday, October 2, 12:00 p.m., DC 1302. Register online, seating is limited.

Staff Relations Committee meeting, Friday, October 2, 12:30 p.m., NH 3001.

Say it in your own Words: Paraphrase & Summary, Friday, October 2, 1:00 p.m.

English Faculty Research Series: Mediated Bodies, Friday, October 2, 1:30 p.m., HH 373.

Knowledge Integration Seminar: Berlin Reflections, Friday, October 2, 2:30 p.m., EV3 1408.

40th Anniversary Mathematics Reunion - Class of 1975, Friday, October 2 to Saturday, October 3.

Reunion 2015, Saturday, October 3.

AHS Annual Fun Run, Saturday, October 3, 8:30 a.m., BC Matthews Hall.

Math-Bus Workshop, "Asset allocation and portfolio construction," Saturday, October 3, 10:00 a.m.

Further Education Boot CampSaturday, October 3, all day, RCH.

East Asian Festival, Saturday, October 3, 11:00 a.m., Renison University College.

Battle of Waterloo Reunion football game, Saturday, October 3, 1:00 p.m., Warrior Field.

A Liturgy and Feast 2015, Saturday, October 3, 4:00 p.m., St. George Hall, St. Jerome's University.

Conrad Grebel 70s-era reunion, Saturday, October 3, 6:00 p.m., John E. Toews Atrium, Conrad Grebel University College.

Fall Teaching Week, Monday, October 5 to Friday, October 9.

CBB visionary lecture series: Tackling grand challenges in global health & development, Monday, October 5, 2:00 p.m., DC 1302.

Waterloo Arts Distinguished Lecture in Economics featuring Richard B. Freeman, Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics at Harvard University, "Reducing inequality and improving productivity by employee ownership:
evidence-based economic policy for 21st century capitalism," Tuesday, October 6, 3:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

"Can I Kiss You? A Presentation by Mike Domitrz," Tuesday, October 6, 4:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

Canadian Engineering Graduate Studies Consortium, Tuesday, October 6, 5:00 p.m., Engineering 5.

UW Farm Market, Wednesday, October 7, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., SLC lower atrium.

Renison presents a Taiwanese OperaWednesday, October 7, 7:00 pm, Dunfield Theatre Cambridge.

Building A Unicorn: Kik’s Journey to $1 Billion, Wednesday, October 7, 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre. 

Velocity Alpha: Ain’t No Model Like A Business ModelWednesday, October 7, 7:30 p.m., Environment 3 room 4412. 

Thanksgiving Day, Monday, October 12, most University operations closed.

Velocity Science: Brainstorming, Tuesday, October 13, 7:30 p.m., QNC room 1506.

Noon Hour Concert: Surprising Shostakovich, Epic Tschaikovsky, Wednesday, October 14, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

Velocity Alpha: Setup Your Business Like A Boss, Wednesday, October 14, 7:30 p.m., Environment 3 room 4412.

Dragon Challenge Quidditch Tournament, Saturday, October 17, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Village 1 Green.

Mitacs Step Workshop - Time Management, Wednesday, October 21, 9:00 a.m., TC 2218.

Velocity Alpha: Do People Want Your Sh*t?, Wednesday, October 21, 7:30 p.m., Environment 3 room 4412.

WISE Lecture Series - The Impact of "Energiewende" on Renewable Energy in Germany, Thursday, October 22, 10:30 a.m., DC 1302.

111th Convocation ceremonies, Friday, October 23 and Saturday, October 24, Physical Activities Complex.

English Language and Literature Series featuring Lisa Hager, University of Wisconsin - Waukesha, "Towards a Queer Literary History of Gender Identity: Steampunk, Gender Nonconformity, and Victorian Studies," Friday, October 23, 1:00 p.m., PAS 2438.

Velocity Alpha: How To Find Your Customers Online, Wednesday, October 28, 7:30 p.m., Environment 3 room 4412. 

Noon Hour Concert: Attacca Quartet plays Haydn, Friday, October 30, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

PhD Oral Defences

Civil & Environmental Engineering. Mohamed Zawam, "Long-Term Behaviour of GFRP Prestressed Concrete Beams." Supervisors, Jeffrey West, Khaled Soudki (2010-2013). On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, PHY 3003. Oral defence Tuesday, October 6, 9:00 a.m., E2 2350.

Electrical & Computer Engineering. Xiaoxia Zhang, "Cooperative Relaying and Resource Allocation in Future-Generation Cellular Networks." Supervisors, Sherman Shen, Liang-Liang Xie. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, PHY 3003. Oral defence Tuesday, October 6, 10:00 a.m., EIT 3142.

Chemistry. Marwa Abd-Ellah, "Hybrid Transparent Conductive Oxide Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Applications." Supervisor, Kam Tong Leung. On deposit in the Science graduate office, PHY 2008. Oral defence Tuesday, October 6, 10:30 a.m., C2 361.

Computer Science. Kai Ma, "Numerical solution of two factor Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman equations in finance." Supervisor, Peter Forsyth. Thesis available on MGO - Oral defence Friday, October 16, 10:00 a.m., DC 1331.