A campus conversation on mental health
A message from Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice-Chancellor.
Further to my earlier message, I want to acknowledge that when the members of our university community suffer the kind of heartbreaking loss that we did this week, we are all affected.
When tragedies like this happen, the University’s main concern first and foremost is the student’s family. We do not take lightly our obligation to ensure that they have been informed and do our upmost to respect their wishes. The University always reaches out to the families to offer any support they need. This is a very sad duty, but must be done, even though it is very difficult.
This week’s event has spurred a lot of discussion about mental health and well-being and what we can do to support people who are struggling. Similar conversations are taking place at universities and in communities across our country. This is not a situation that is unique to Waterloo. Mental health issues and access to mental health services are affecting a wide portion of our society.
In co-operation with students the University has done much to increase the mental health resources available. They now include 22 full-time counsellors, two psychiatrists, a mental health nurse and peer support groups in addition to the more than 25 health centre professionals who themselves address mental health issues on a routine basis. We understand that more needs to be done.
I have met with students and heard from faculty. I anticipate receiving an online petition, and numerous discussions are taking place in traditional and social media. This conversation requires many voices.
We need to provide leadership and find solutions that are specific to Waterloo. Moving forward, we expect to hear more from faculty, staff, alumni and especially students on what more we can do to support people who may be struggling with mental health issues. These efforts are already underway and will need to include input from all of us.
While we don’t yet know exactly what these conversations will look like, or what their outcome will be, I think we can all agree that they need to happen.
It is important to remember and reflect on what has happened as well as to focus on the things we can do together.
Take a global view for Earth Month 2017
Earth Day takes place globally on Saturday, April 22. In the lead-up, the Office of Sustainability is hosting an Earth Month Campaign for staff, students, faculty, and community members. Waterloo is hosting events that help facilitate discussion on some of the most pressing sustainability challenges, like energy and climate change, along with local challenges and solutions.
If you’re looking for ways to get involved, there are a number of activities that you can join to help build a more sustainable community:
- Sustainable Campus Photo Contest, Monday, March 20 – Friday, April 21;
- Green Office Energy Challenge, Thursday, March 30 – Friday, April 21;
- Home Energy Efficiency Lunch and Learn, Tuesday, April 4, 12:00 p.m., EV3-3412;
- Public Lecture: PowerShift: Transforming Energy in Waterloo Region, Tuesday, April 18;
- High School Sustainable City Challenge (April 20)
- 20-Minute Makeover, Friday, April 21, 12:00 p.m., EV3 Foyer.
For more information and to register for events, please visit our Earth Month 2017 page.
Idle No More founder speaks on Nationhood Interrupted
Sylvia McAdam, co-founder of the global Indigenous-led movement Idle No More, will visit the University to speak on her recent book, Nationhood Interrupted: Revitalizing nêhiyaw Legal Systems, a compilation of Cree oral traditions, teachings, laws, and language.
McAdam will speak on Wednesday, March 29 at 4:00 p.m. in the Theatre of the Arts.
nêhiyaw (Cree) laws are shared and passed down through oral tradition and landbased use, utilizing stories, songs, ceremonies, and other sacred rites. Colonization has dramatically caused the heartbreaking loss of Indigenous languages, customs, and inherent systems. This has necessitated a departure from oral tradition to record and write the physical laws of the nêhiyawak. "The spiritual laws can never be written down," says a statement from event organizers. "As a result, this book is the first of its kind."
Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum) is a nêhiyaw woman, a citizen of the nêhiyaw Nation. She holds a Juris Doctorate (LL.B) from the University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor’s of Human Justice from the University of Regina. Along with Idle No More co-founders, Jessica Gordon, Sheelah McLean, and Nina Wilson, she was awarded the 2013 Carol Geller Human Rights Award and named as Foreign Policy’s 2013 Top 100 Global Thinkers. Most recently she received the 2016 Margolese National Design for Living Prize for her work on the crowdsourcing campaign, “One House, Many Nations,” which builds homes for First Nations. The project has brought critical attention and awareness to the crisis of homelessness that affects Canadians and Indigenous peoples, especially women.
The Faculty of Arts and the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre (WAEC) are sponsoring Sylvia’s visit as a part of its new Indigenous Speakers Series highlighting the voices of Indigenous artists, writers, activists, and leaders from across Turtle Island. The series offers Waterloo students, faculty and staff opportunities to learn from, understand and engage with Indigenous issues.
Remembering Fran Allard
A message from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.
With sadness, the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences announces that Fran Allard, retired professor in the Department of Kinesiology, died on Tuesday, March 21.
Allard completed four degrees at University of Waterloo, including a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Physical Education prior to graduate studies. She was a member of UWaterloo's first female basketball team and captain of the team for two years. She played for the university’s first field hockey team for two years and was inducted in the Waterloo Warriors Hall of Fame in 1984 in recognition of outstanding contributions to the athletic program.
She joined faculty in 1975 as assistant professor in psychology, moving full-time to the Department of Kinesiology in 1980. A specialist in psychomotor behavior, Allard’s research focused on information processing in learning and performing motor skills, and social psychological variables that facilitate or impede learning and performance.
Her intimate understanding of the learning process and her caring nature translated to the classroom, where Allard shone. A recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award (1983), she encouraged her students to work at the limits of their abilities then guided them in extending those limits. An undergraduate student proclaimed she approached teaching “with a conviction that it is possible to be casual, informative, humorous, and demanding all at once.” In graduate classes, she “knew and enjoyed her subject matter, had little tolerance for those who evade the issues, and was an astute and penetrating critic.”
An active member of the academic community, Allard also served as associate chair in kinesiology, for both undergraduate and graduate studies, and associate dean, undergraduate studies in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences for more than a decade. David Johnston, former president of the University, praised Allard for excelling in these roles as a “compassionate, fair and even-handed advocate, and up-holder of the rules."
Allard retired in 2010. Says a former colleague, “Fran was an inspirational female leader when I arrived on campus as an undergrad and continued that inspiration and mentorship as a colleague and friend. She will be missed.”
Visitation is scheduled for Monday, March 27, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. and memorial service Tuesday, March 28 at 2:00 p.m. at Erb and Good Family Funeral home, 171 King Street South, Waterloo.
Hallman Lecture, FIRST robotics, and other notes
The next Hallman Lecture will be delivered by Fabian Frenzel of the University of Leicester.
Professor Frenzel is an internationally renowned expert in the study of tourism and urban poverty, and the spaces where these two intersect.
His lecture introduces his newest book, entitled "Slumming It." In the book, Professor Frenzel reflects on ‘slumming’ as a social practice that takes better-off visitors to areas of urban poverty. With a long history dating to the 19th century, slum tourism today is a significant urban tourism niche with over one million tours sold annually, taking in poor neighbourhoods and slums in the larger cities of South Africa, Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai and an increasing number of other cities in the world. Frenzel investigates this controversial pastime, reflecting on the ethical debates it triggers and the moral ambiguities involved.
The Hallman Lecture takes place on Tuesday, April 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Sun Life Auditorium in BMH 1621. Refreshments will be provided before the lecture.
Thirty teams of high school students with a passion for designing, building and programming robots will be competing at the annual Ontario District University of Waterloo FIRST Robotics Competition this weekend. 2017 marks the 13th year of FIRST Robotics Competitions (FRC) at the University of Waterloo, the longest-running FRC event in Canada.
This year’s challenge invites teams to travel back in time by preparing steam-powered airships for an ultimate long-distance race. Each team “takes flight” by collecting fuel for a boiler, building steam pressure in a tank, installing gears to drive a propeller, and having a robot climb aboard its airship at the end of the game.
Teams constructed their robots over a six-week period starting in January. Each team came up with its own creative solutions to meet this year’s unique design challenges. The high-tech sporting competition involves brainstorming, teamwork and mentoring. Referees oversee the contest and judges give awards for design, technology, sportsmanship and commitment.
Opening ceremonies take place at 8:30 a.m. Friday, with play continuing to the final elimination rounds on Saturday afternoon.
Here's today's Nutrition Month myth vs. fact supplied by Health Services Dietician Sandra Ace:
Myth: Intestinal gas is a sign of bad digestion or illness.
Fact: Intestinal gas is rarely a sign of a serious problem and is the result of the normal process of digesting foods. Everyone one has gas in their digestive tract. In fact the average person passes gas between 12 and 25 times a day. Gas can be embarrassing and is uncomfortable if it builds up and causes bloating. About 90 percent of the gas found in the intestinal tract comes from swallowed air. The rest is produced when bacteria in the large intestine feed on undigested carbohydrates and dietary fibre.
Some foods contain certain fermentable carbohydrates which are more likely to produce gas when they react with gut bacteria. Beans, peas, lentils, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, onions and garlic are foods that often increase gas. Sugar-free foods or candies sweetened with sorbitol or mannitol are also culprits. Foods or beverages that contain high fructose corn syrup, like pop and many fruit drinks are also more likely to result in more gas. People with lactose intolerance lack the enzyme needed to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk. This can result in gas, cramping and sometimes diarrhea when lactose is fermented by bacteria in the colon.
Eat slowly and chew food thoroughly to reduce swallowed air. Avoid carbonated beverages, chewing gum and sucking on hard candies as they can contribute to excessive air swallowing. Keeping a food and symptom diary might help you pinpoint foods that you have a harder time digesting. If you suspect a certain food might be causing gas, trying cutting it out for a couple of weeks to see if your symptoms improve. If dairy products are a problem, consider using a lactase enzyme available in the digestive aids section of the pharmacy and switch to lactose free milk and yogurt. For beans, gassy vegetables or other carbohydrate-containing foods that cause excessive gas, the digestive enzyme product beano® can be helpful for preventing or reducing your symptoms.
If you have gas that is also accompanied by pain, a change in bowel habits, unintentional weight loss or other significant changes, talk to your health care provider.