Friday, April 22, 2016

Campus celebrates Earth Day

Today is Earth Day. As political leaders from around the world congregate in Paris to sign the Paris Agreement, members of the University community are using today as an opportunity to inspire each other to make a difference and protect the environment. Earth Day has been celebrated worldwide on April 22 since 1970.

Sustainability Co-ordinator Mat Thijssen has shared the results of a number of green initiatives across Waterloo's campus, including:

  • Over 5 million kWh in electricity savings from conservation projects over the past four years; and
  • An estimated 2 million cubic metres in natural gas savings resulting from the installation of a heat recovery system in the University's central plant.

"Combined, these projects have saved an estimated 92,000 gigajoules, the same energy footprint of about 880 average Canadian homes," writes Thijssen. "And they have reduced over 4,000 tonnes of emissions from a business-as-usual scenario."

The President’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability’s Operations working Group continues to track and quantify how the University is making progress on its conservation and environmental stewardship goals even as campus continues to grow.

20 Minute Makeover group photo.If you're looking to make an Earth Day difference around campus today, then be sure to join the University of Waterloo's team as part of the City of Waterloo's 20-Minute Makeover. This annual event encourages members of the community to tidy up the natural environment on and around their place of work. Stop by EV2 - 1001 to pick up supplies including a garbage bag and pair of gloves, and the team will split up into groups to give the campus a quick tidy. Don't forget to swing back to the room afterwards for coffee and a light lunch to celebrate Earth Day.

The University Club is also going green today with its Earth Day luncheon, which starts at 11:30 a.m.

In addition, the 1000 Acts of Green Campaign at Waterloo winds down today.

With the Waterloo Global Science Initiative just around the corner, this week has been chock full of events as part of #PowerShiftWR, a program that advances discussion about our local energy future. Since today is a PD day for public school students, there are a number of Earth Day-related activities scheduled at various locations across Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge, including several at THEMUSEUM. Visit the PowerShiftWR website for their event calendar and other information about the discussions.

MBET grads' startup helps patients order meds

Founders of PopRx on Dragons Den

​This is the latest in a series of #UWStratPlan stories that profile some of the initiatives that are part of the robust efforts to implement the Strategic Plan. 

One quiet morning at home, Ali Esmail watched his wife photograph and deposit a cheque through a banking app on her phone. 

He paused for thought: shouldn’t people enjoy the same ease and convenience when ordering prescription drugs?  

That thought led Ali to develop PopRx, a startup that describes itself as a “prescription concierge,” enabling people to order, pay and arrange delivery of medication without leaving the comfort of their favourite chair.

But the path to PopRx’s early success — it earned a $100,000 investment in 2015 from Next Gen Den dragons Harley Finkelstein and Nicole Verkindt — started with the University of Waterloo’s Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) program.

"The MBET program, and the Waterloo ecosystem, breeds game-changers," Esmail says. "That’s really the ultimate goal. It is basically giving you the tools and the head start to do that."

A year in length, MBET immerses students in Waterloo Region’s rich startup ecosystem, where they meet like-minded entrepreneurs and mentors to help them develop their business ideas.

That help is close at hand: the program is based at UWaterloo’s Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre, on the second floor of the Accelerator Building in the David Johnston Research and Technology Park.

MBET courses include business leadership, finance, accounting, marketing, and entrepreneurship-specific courses like new venture creation and innovation management. All of it — the program, the Conrad Centre and the technology park — demonstrate Waterloo’s commitment to change through innovation. Encouraging entrepreneurship is one of eight themes in the University’s Strategic Plan.

Esmail, a head and neck surgeon who took a year off from his residency to pursue the MBET, met technologist Vejey Gandier in the program. Both were in the class of 2014 — the 11th cohort. Together, they launched Medlinx, a digital platform that allows health-care professionals to securely share medical information. Then they worked on what has become PopRx.

It isn’t an online pharmacy.

Read the rest of the article on the University of Waterloo's Strategic Plan website.

Grade 9 girls will Think About Math today

A pink banner with "Think About Math" on it.

About 40 girls in grades 9 and 10 will come to campus today to take part in the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing’s annual Think About Math workshop, where they will explore exciting career opportunities available in the field of mathematics.

Attendees have the opportunity to meet positive female role models, gain hands-on experience and meet other students their age from across Ontario with a shared interest in mathematics. Female graduates of Waterloo’s Faculty of Mathematics will take part in a mathematics career fair to answer questions about education, careers and experiences in the field of mathematics.

The workshop takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the Atrium of the Davis Centre.

Waterloo's Director of Police Services to retire

Dan Anderson.On Friday, April 29, Dan Anderson, the Director of the University of Waterloo Police Services, will be retiring after more than 7.5 years at the University of Waterloo.

The University of Waterloo Police Service is hosting a farewell social gathering in their office between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 28 in COM112D and all members of the University community are welcome to attend.

This is a fine opportunity to meet with Dave Gerencser, who recently retired as an Inspector from the Waterloo Regional Police Service and who will be replacing Anderson as Director.

Please RSVP to Lisa Ringuette at extension 33630 or by sending an e-mail to

Link of the day

Good night, sweet Prince

When and where

1000 Acts of Green campaign, Monday, March 28 to Friday, April 22.

Waterloo Global Science Initiative presents Power Shift Waterloo Region, Sunday, April 17 to Saturday, April 23.

Earth Day, Friday, April 22.

University Club Earth Day luncheon, Friday, April 22, 11:30 a.m., University Club.

Think About Math! workshop, Friday, April 22.

20 Minute Makeover campus tidy-up event, Friday, April 22, 12:00 p.m., EV2 1001.

Examinations end, Saturday, April 23.

Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI) OpenAccess Energy Summit, Sunday, April 24 to Wednesday, April 27.

Deadline for students to get "Fees Arranged," Monday, April 25.

Vision Science Graduate Research Conference, Monday, April 25 and Tuesday, April 26, 10:00 a.m., OPT 1129.

Library workshop: "Pursuing publication – author’s rights, research ethics, and tips from a journal editor," Monday, April 25, 11:00 a.m., DC 1568.

Science and Values in Peirce and Dewey: A Conference in Honour of Angus Kerr-Lawson, Monday, April 25 to Wednesday, April 27.

Staff and Faculty Yoga Classes, Tuesday, April 26 and Wednesday, April 27, 12:05 p.m. to 12:55 p.m., SLC Multipurpose Room. For more information or to reserve a space contact Sandra Gibson at

Mark Haslett retirement event, Tuesday, April 26, 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., University Club. RSVP by April 22 to Graham Yeates at ext. 32281 or

Cultural Men and Natural Women? Gender and Development, Wednesday, April 27, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Alumni Hall, St. Paul’s University College.

Chemistry Department Seminar Series featuring Prof. Xing-Fang Li, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Alberta, “Detection of Pathogens and Trace Disinfection Byproducts of Health Relevance” for Wednesday, April 27, 10:00 a.m., C2-361.

Water Institute Research Symposium 2016, Thursday, April 28.

Teaching and Learning Conference: OND 2016, Thursday, April 28, Hagey Hall.

Centre for Career Action staff panel, “You’re In Charge: Excel in Your Career at Waterloo,” Thursday, April 28, 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., DC 1351.

Farewell reception for Dan Anderson, Thursday, April 28, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Police Services office, COM112D.

Water Institute RBC Distinguished Lecture 2016 by Jay Famiglietti, University of California Irvine, “Water and sustainability: 21st Century realities and the global groundwater crisis,” Thursday, April 28, 4:00 p.m., DC 1350.

Water Institute RBC Distinguished Lecture 2016 featuring Jay Famiglietti, California Institute of Technology and University of California, Irvine, "Water and sustainability: 21st century realities and the global groundwater crisis," Thursday, April 28, 4:00 p.m., DC 1350.

UWSA Lunch 'n Learn: Fraud and Identity Theft, Tuesday, May 3, 12:00 p.m., DC 1302. RSVP to Janet Redman by Thursday, April 28:

Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship and Research Support Information Session, Wednesday, May 4, 10:30 a.m., QNC 1501.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop, CTE759: Designing Teaching and Learning Research, Wednesday, May 4, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., LIB 329.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop, CTE914: Teaching Dossiers and Philosophy Statements, Wednesday, May 5, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., EV1-241.

Symposium on Aging Research, Friday, May 6, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., DC 1301.

Writing Centre workshop, "Clarity in Scientific Writing," Tuesday, May 10, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

WatRISQ Seminar by Professor Luis Seco, University of Toronto; and President and CEO, Sigma Analysis & Management, “The Mathematics of Hedge Fund Fees,” Tuesday, May 10, 4:00 p.m., M3 3127.

Writing Centre workshop, "Getting Published," Wednesday, May 11, 12:30 p.m.

Writing Centre workshops, "Creating assertion-evidence presentations," Thursday, May 12, 1:30 p.m.

David Sprott Distinguished Lecture featuring Martin Wainwright, "Some new phenomena in high-dimensional statistics and optimization," Thursday, May 12, 4:00 p.m., DC 1302.

Waterloo Unlimited Grade 10 - Change, Sunday, May 15 to Thursday, May 19.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop, CTE601: Instructional Skills Workshop (24 hours), Monday, May 16 to Wednesday, May 18, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., EV1-241.

Writing Centre workshop, "Literature reviews for grads (Part A): Organizing research," Monday, May 16, 11:30 a.m.

Senate meeting, Monday, May 16, 3:30 p.m., NH 3407.

Writing Centre workshop, "Say it in your own words: Paraphrase & summary," Tuesday, May 17, 10:30 a.m.

Belonging: Diversity, Community Capacity & Contribution - An Evening with The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Wednesday, May 25, 6:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

You @ Waterloo Day, Saturday, May 28, various locations on campus.

Undergraduate School on Experimental Quantum Information Processing (USEQIP), Monday, May 30 to Friday, June 10, Quantum-Nano Centre.