Friday, June 7, 2019

Faculty of Environment celebrates 50 years at Alumni Weekend

A collage of images from the Faculty of Environment's 50th anniversary dinner.

This article was originally posted on the Faculty of Environment's news site.

It was a celebration 50 years in the making. This past weekend, more than 200 Faculty of Environment alumni, friends, faculty, staff and retirees gathered to reconnect, celebrate the faculty's 50th anniversary and show their support. The festivities began with a celebration dinner on Friday evening, attended by alumni from as early as 1968 to as recently as 2018, some traveling from as far as the UK and Trinidad. A full day of hands-on activities followed the next day, with programming focused on Environment’s strategic direction toward experiential learning and education, impactful research and true global citizenship.

Over the past five decades, the faculty has transformed from its humble but aspirational origins as an academic division to becoming the country's largest and most impactful Faculty of Environment. It has been home to nearly 16,000 alumni who now live in more than 80 countries around the globe, including geographers, ecologists, knowledge integrators, and planners as well as experts in green business, geomatics, tourism, economic development, sustainability, environmental governance and policymaking  – all connected by a shared sense of purpose and values.

While the weekend's events were a wonderful opportunity to reflect on all that has been accomplished, Dean Jean Andrey reminded guests to learn from the past but not be bound by it. "Let us continue to be bold in our vision, open in our approach, and willing to adapt ourselves and our world," she said. "By doing this, we invest in the next generation of Global Citizens and create a better world for generations to come." Indeed, many alumni attending pledged their support by donating to the Global Citizen Internship program, which funds experiential learning opportunities for our students through a four-month internship with partner nonprofit organizations. 

To all of our alumni, friends, faculty, staff, students and retirees who joined us, thank you for celebrating this tremendous milestone with us, and for continuing to be an integral part of our community and the Faculty of Environment’s journey in the coming years!

Visit our events page for more 50thanniversary events and save the date for our next Alumni Weekend on Saturday, June 6th, 2020.  Interest in becoming a Class Champion and bringing your former classmates back together for a class reunion? Sign up online and remember to update your address to make sure you hear about upcoming events.

Check out the full story with more images and a photo gallery on the Faculty of Environment's website.

Equity and inclusion begin with education

By Susan Fish.

Joseph Pazzano.When Joseph Pazzano graduated from law school at the University of California-Berkeley, his legal practice focused on employment litigation and advising companies on equity and employment practices.  Previously, he worked at a plaintiffs’ rights-focused firm that primarily represented those who identify as women and racialized groups in cases involving discrimination and accommodations.

“I saw so many instances where earlier intervention or better policies could have prevented the traumatic work experiences and lawsuits that followed.” It was precisely for this reason that Pazzano decided to move into a more proactive role, helping people learn about equity and inclusion.

This past April Pazzano began doing that in his role as Waterloo’s Senior Education Officer in the Office of Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion.

“I believe,” he says, “education is one of the main ways we can make an impact.” Between his time in California and beginning at Waterloo, Pazzano taught equity and human rights courses as a lecturer at various Ontario universities, where he found students eager to explore innovative ways of thinking that challenge established structures, recognize intersectional identities, and elevate marginalized voices.

Over the next year, Pazzano will work with other directors in the Office of Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion to provide training and education in equity, sexual violence response and prevention, human rights and conflict management.

By fall 2019, he plans to build a calendar of training and education for students, staff and faculty so that campus stakeholders can readily identify the educational programming that exists on campus. He also plans to pilot programming for an Equity Certificate, with differentiated streams for staff, students and faculty, and with other social-justice-oriented training on campus counting toward the certification. Details about the calendar of educational events and certification program will be posted at, a page that already includes training opportunities.

In his time at Waterloo so far, Pazzano has found many people are already deeply immersed in these issues; for them Pazzano’s role is to continue identifying new educational opportunities and facilitating discussion about being advocates and activists without burning out. For others, the challenge is to introduce content in ways that build awareness and new pathways.  As an example of this, Pazzano is refining workshops for staff and faculty about how to engage in equitable recruitment and selection practices.

“Ultimately,” he says, “the goal is that every person on campus will be well-versed in these topics and will think critically about how to implement them in their department.”

For now, however, Pazzano is engaged in the immersive work of keeping up with the volume of need for education on a wide variety of issues and figuring out how to scale programs up to meet demand.

He’s excited about the work ahead: “There’s so much willingness and openness on this campus to do better. We have a culture that encourages innovation, learning, and growth, and that’s a tremendous opportunity for an office like ours. We know there are so many champions on this campus who are genuinely interested in making our workplaces even more equitable and more inclusive, and that’s a terrific place to find ourselves.”

Gender Equity Research Grant deadline and other notes

The application deadline for the University of Waterloo Gender Equity Research Grants is Friday, June 14.

The ongoing HeForShe-related initiative offers grants of up to $10,000 each to support research investigating or addressing gender equity, with preference given to projects that advance Waterloo's three IMPACT 10x10x10 commitments.

For eligibility information and application details check out the Gender Equity Research Grants website.

Andrea Santi celebrates at a public Toronto Raptors viewing event.University of Waterloo staff member Andrea Santi of the Visitors Centre scored tickets to Game 4 of the NBA finals, according to an announcement by the University of Waterloo Staff Association (UWSA). Santi entered the Air Canada's Fan Flight Contest by posting a photo of her celebrating at Bobby O'Brien's Jurassic Square in downtown Kitchener as the Toronto Raptors won the first game in the finals, and was selected for an all-expense paid trip to Oakland to watch the next game in the series, which takes place tonight. Local media has also picked up on the story.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery is partnering with the University of Waterloo’s School of Architecture on a two-day Design Charrette that will creatively envision a culturally active presence in Kitchener's downtown Civic District. Four design teams of architects, engineers, developers, urban planners, artists and civic leaders will gather at KWAG today under the guidance of Rick Haldenby, former Director of the Waterloo's School of Architecture, to engage in a visionary exercise, and will present their ideas to the public at a free presentation on Saturday, June 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Centre in the Square.

The Registrar's Office has posted the Spring 2019 final examination schedule on their website. The examination period runs from Friday, August 2 to Friday, August 16, 2019.

Students write exams in the Physical Activities Complex.

Link of the day

That time when Pepsi had the 6th-largest military in the world

When and Where

Bike Month, Saturday, June 1 to Sunday, June 30, across campus.

Bike Challenge, Saturday, June 1 to Sunday, June 30, across campus.

The Water Institute international PhD summer school, "Climate change and water security in urbanized watersheds: An interdisciplinary perspective,” Monday, June 3 to Wednesday, June 12, SJ2 2003.

IT Seminar: Portal 2.0 Update, Friday, June 7, 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., EC5 1111.

Keystone Picnic, Friday, June 7, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., DC Quad. Event for evening workers, 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Student Life Centre.

NSERC Discovery Grant information session for faculty members, Friday, June 7, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Science Teaching Complex, Room 1012. RSVP by Monday, June 3 by email to

Soapbox Science Waterloo, Sunday, June 9, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Victoria Park (near the playground).

Not Just a Lab Report: The Recipe for Communicating in All Research Disciplines, Monday, June 10, 10:00 a.m., SCH 228F.

Open House for Climate and Energy Action Plan (SCH), Monday, June 10, 12:00 p.m., South Campus Hall foyer.

Skills Development Plan for Graduate Students – graduate/post-docs, Monday, June 10, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., TC 2218.

WaterTalk by Dr. Kaveh Madani, “Greater than the sum of its parts: Deceiving assumptions and misleading policies in modelling and managing water”, Monday, June 10, 2:30 p.m., RCH 112. 

Coping Skills Seminar - Empowering Habit Change, Monday, June 10, 3:00 p.m., HS 2302.

Decisions, Data and Dollars: A Canadian Nerd on Wall Street, Monday, June 10, 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., QNC 1502.

Spring 2019 Convocation ceremonies, Tuesday, June 11 to Saturday, June 15, Physical Activities Complex.

University Club Convocation Luncheon, Tuesday, June 11 to Saturday, June 15, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., University Club.

Procurement and Contract Services Annual trade show, Tuesday, June 11 and Wednesday, June 12, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., DC 1301.

Master Your Job Search, Tuesday, June 11, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Interviews: Preparing for Questions (for employees only), Wednesday, June 12, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., TC 2218.

Exploring Your Personality Type (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) Part 2, Wednesday, June 12, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., TC 1214

Chemistry Seminar featuring Arokia Nathan, Professor, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Chief Technical Officer, Cambridge Touch Technologies, Cambridge, UK,Electronics for Organic Displays an Ultralow Power Sensor Interfaces,” Wednesday, June 12, 2:00 p.m., C2-361.

Part Time Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Info Session, Wednesday, June 12, 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Online Webinar.

Velocity Start: Do People Want Your Sh*t?, “Learn about topics related to market validation,” Wednesday, June 12, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

Successfully Negotiating Job Offers, Thursday, June 13, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Balinese Gamelan ensemble concert, Friday, June 14, 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Town Square.

Velocity Fund $5K applications close, “Today’s Velocity Fund winners, tomorrow’s innovative companies,” Sunday, June 16.

PhD oral defences

Systems Design Engineering. Zilong Zhong, "Spectral-Spatial Neural Networks and Probabilistic Graph Models for Hyperspectral Image Classification." Supervisors, Johnathan Li, Alexander Wong. On display in the Engineering graduate office, E7 7402. Oral defence Thursday, June 20, 10:00 a.m., EC4 2101A.

Computer Science. Gustavo Fortes Tondello, "Dynamic Personalization of Gameful Interactive Systems." Supervisors, Daniel Vogel, Lennart Nacke. Thesis available from MGO - Oral defence Thursday, June 20, 10:00 a.m., DC 2310.

Applied Mathematics. Kevin Church, "Invariant manifold theory for impulsive functional differential equations with applications." Supervisors, Xinzhi Liu, Jun Liu. Thesis available from MGO - Oral defence Thursday, June 20, 2:30 p.m., MC 6460.

Statistics and Actuarial Science. Danqiao Guo, "A Statistical Response to Challenges in Vast Portfolio Selection." Supervisors, Chengguo Weng, Tony Wirjanto. Thesis available from MGO - Oral defence Monday, June 24, 9:30 a.m., M3 3001.