Friday, November 8, 2019

Waterloo to become signatory to UN Principles for Responsible Investment

The University of Waterloo plans to become a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) in the first calendar quarter of 2020 for both the University’s pension plan and its non-pension investments.

Dennis Huber, vice-president, administration & finance, described the plan in a report delivered to the University’s Board of Governors on Tuesday, October 29. The move has the support of the Board’s Finance & Investment Committee and Pensions & Benefits Committee.

At its June 2018 meeting, the Board of Governors endorsed the recommendations of the Responsible Investment Working Group. These recommendations included that staff develop a plan for the University to become a signatory in good standing to the UNPRI.

“Responsible Investment is an approach to managing assets that encourages investors to include Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors in their decisions about what to invest in and the role they play as owners and creditors,” says the Vice-President’s report.

The UNPRI’s framework includes six principles designed to promote Responsible Investment and the incorporation of ESG issues into investment practices. Also included within the principles is a rigorous and comprehensive set of reporting requirements that has signatories outline how ESG factors have been considered within investment analysis and decision-making processes. This reporting will allow the University to track its Responsible Investment progress over time and to benchmark itself against other UNPRI signatories.

During the course of the University’s analysis and development of an action plan relating to the decision to become a UNPRI signatory, feedback was collected from a stakeholder group including representation from the Board, the Responsible Investment Working Group and University administration. The stakeholder group and the Office of the Vice-President, Administration & Finance determined a number of initial actions required in the areas of governance, operational processes, and reporting requirements to continue on its Responsible Investment journey. These actions include: establishing policies and processes for evaluating the Responsible Investment practices of the University’s investment managers, refining responsibilities around managing the University’s Responsible Investment initiative, tracking investments in various business categories and industries, and integrating Responsible Investment efforts with other governance areas.

“The University will be among a leading group in Canada by committing to UNPRI,” Huber’s report continues. “There are currently 45 Canadian asset owners who have signed the UNPRI; these Canadian signatories include several universities.”

Waterloo takes actions to improve student mental health

A panel discussion at the student mental health forum

In 2017, tragedy struck campus when two students were lost to suicide. While Waterloo processed grief over the two members of our community gone too soon, it became apparent that there was an urgent need to address issues affecting student mental health. The University established the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health (PAC-SMH) to prepare a report with actionable recommendations, on an aggressive timeline, to improve the mental health of undergraduate and graduate students on and off campus.

The PAC-SMH report provided 36 recommendations related to campus policies and practices; inclusive and supportive campus culture; mental health awareness and communication; prevention and early intervention; service access and delivery; and broad campus-wide matters related to student mental health.

Wednesday’s Student Mental Health forum, put on by the Committee on Student Mental Health (CoSMH), was an opportunity to hear about the progress being made on these recommendations. There was a live Q&A session, along with booths set up where students could talk to community experts on a range of topics, including suicide prevention and gender identity and sexual orientation.

John Hirdes, chair of the Committee on Student Mental Health, shared an update on the progress that has been made on the recommendations. 39% (14) of the recommendations have been completed, 33% (12) are in progress, and 28% (10) are pending. One example of a completed recommendation is Recommendation 18, “The Sexual Violence Response Coordinator should provide training related to sexual violence to other healthcare workers on campus.” The Sexual Violence Response Coordinator now provides sessions for campus staff members, including healthcare workers, to create a train-the-trainer model for Responding to Disclosure. The mental health and wellness website has details on the progress of each recommendation.

As part of the Q&A panel, President Feridun Hamdullahpur and the Provost, Jim Rush both emphasized that while many achievements have been made, there’s still much to do. “Let’s not be complacent in our progress. The conversation around mental health should be continuous and ongoing,” said President Hamdullahpur. “Mental health issues belong to all of us and we need to come together as a community in open, honest conversation that shows we are here for you.”

For more information, visit the mental health and wellness website. If you are a student who requires mental health support, contact Counselling Services at 519-888-4096, ext. 32655.

Come back

Soldier marching in a ceremony for remembrance day

by Matt Austin. This is an excerpt of an article that appeared on Waterloo Stories.

November 11 is fast approaching: the time every year when Canadians stop on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month and, for a moment, reflect on wars and conflicts of the past and those continuing on today. For some, it’s a reflection on their family members who served, those who survived and those who did not. For others, it’s less personal, perhaps a reflection on the many Canadians and people around the world who fought and died in the pursuit of peace.

None of it, however, is more personal than to the veteran who stands at a cenotaph or sits in a wheelchair, or who sits alone at home on that day.

War, regardless of the degrees of separation between the soldier and the enemy, is always personal. Different arguments have been made by notable authors on the subject —like American author Dave Grossman in his work On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society—but the ease of pushing a button (compared to pulling a trigger) has its veil of separation removed when one considers the mental effects of those actions. The effects of pulling a trigger can be felt immediately by infantry and front-line soldiers, but with advances in technology, artillery soldiers can also watch in real-time as a live drone feed shows their rounds impacting on target. Social media and sites like YouTube are now littered with battle footage from drones and GoPros carried by soldiers recording the conflicts (sometimes on both sides of the fight). This allows soldiers to replay the event, save it on a hard drive and revisit it again and again.

Or, in many cases, stow it away and try to forget. 

Read the rest of the article on Waterloo Stories.

Keystone calendars are here and other notes

A message from the Office of Advancement.

Keystone Campaign logo.The Office of Advancement is pleased to release the 2020 Keystone calendar today. Calendars will start arriving via interoffice mail today, and delivery will continue until November 15. All staff and faculty members receive the Keystone calendar as a token of gratitude for their work at the University of Waterloo. The calendars also recognize your financial contributions to the Keystone Campaign, which fund enhancements to the student experience, research and our institution’s success.

If you have questions about the calendars or the Keystone Campaign, please contact Cristen Brown at or ext. 37195.

Silversides Artist Series poster.The latest edition of the Silversides Theatre Artist Series takes place on Wednesday, November 13. Theatre and Performance professor Naila Keleta-Mae will moderate a panel of three impassioned speakers on the topic of Women in Theatre.

Panelists include:

Rebecca Burton: Burton has a BA in theatre and history from the University of Guelph, an MA in theatre history from the University of Victoria, and PhD ABD status from the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies in collaboration with the Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto.

Lisa O'Connell: A fierce advocate for regional theatre artists, O’Connell is the founding Artistic Director of Pat the Dog Theatre Creation, a catalyst for new works of theatre and PlaySmelter, Northern ON’s New Work Theatre Festival.

Evalyn Parry: Parry is the artistic director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto.

Through their different perspectives – researcher, dramaturg and artistic director/performer, they will discuss the trends they have witnessed over the last twenty-five years and how theatre educators can facilitate the representation of under-represented people and ideas. The Silversides Theatre Artist Series is named after Brian Silverside, a Canadian Actor and stage technician who died in 2000. His family set up an endowment to offer an annual artist talk with leading Canadian Theatre artists. This free event takes place on Wednesday, November 13 at 4:30 p.m. in the Theatre of the Arts.

Beyond the Bulletin logo with two vintage microphones.

Beyond the Bulletin Episode 22

The latest episode of the Beyond the Bulletin Podcast is now live. As the Student Service Centre approaches its first anniversary, Nancy Heide shares ways the Centre supports students, and talks about what’s coming up. Services mark Remembrance Day on November 11. Thrive Week was a success. And Excellence Canada awards UWaterloo gold certification.

Link of the day

30 years ago tomorrow: The Berlin Wall falls

When and Where

Résumé and Cover Letter Writing – Graduate students and post-docs, Friday, November 8, 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m., TC 2218

School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability PhD Seminar featuring Barbara Davy, “A Rationale for the Study of Ritual and Unconscious Motivations of Pro-Environmental Behaviour,” Friday, November 8, 10:00 a.m., EV2-2022.

Knowledge Integration seminar: “Unveiling the effects of medications using numbers and visualizations”, featuring speaker JM Gamble, Clinical Associate Professor, School of Pharmacy, University of Waterloo, Friday, November 8, 1:00 p.m., EV2-2002.

Bridges Lecture featuring Arnold T. Blumberg and Robert Smith?, University of Ottawa, "Zombies: Monsters with Meaning," Friday, November 8, 7:30 p.m., Vanstone Lecture Hall, St. Jerome's University.

Writing Session for Résumés and Cover Letters – Graduate students and post-docs, Friday, November 8, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., TC 2218.

Warriors Men’s Hockey vs. Laurier Camp and Minor League Day, Donor Appreciation Day, Friday, November 8, 7:00 p.m., CIF Arena.

Warriors Volleyball vs Ryerson Home Opener, Donor Appreciation, Saturday November 9, (W) 6:00 p.m., (M) 8:00 p.m., PAC main gym.

Transit of Mercury Viewing Party, Monday, November 11, 7:40 a.m. to 1:08 p.m., Physics rooftop (accessible across from PHY 313).

Preventing Depression Relapse: A Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Group, Monday, November 11, 10:30 a.m., NH 2447 – Register on LEADS.

Remembrance Day interfaith service, Monday, November 11, 10:45 a.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Regulating Emotions: Learning Skills from Dialectical-Behavioural Therapy, Monday, November 11, 1:00 p.m., HS 2302 – Registration is by referral.

The Centre for Teaching Excellence presents - Statements of Teaching Philosophy, Monday, November 11, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., TC 2218.

Résumé Tips: Thinking Like an Employer, Monday, November 11, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Coping Skills Seminar – Thriving With Emotions, Monday, November 11, 3:30 p.m., HS 2302 – Register on LEADS.

Eating Disorder Support Group, Monday, November 11, 4:30 p.m., NH 3308 – Register on LEADS.

Faculty of Mathematics Graduate Information Session, Monday, November 11, 4:30 p.m., Mathematics 3 atrium.

What's your employer's problem? – Graduate students, Monday, November 11, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., STC 2002.

Justice as a Solution to War: Facing Down Terrorists, Warlords, and Thugs, “Lecture by David Crane, Founding Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone”, Monday, November 11, 7:00 p.m., CIGI auditorium.

President’s Town Hall Meeting, Tuesday, November 12, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Federation Hall. Luncheon to follow from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Waterloo Centre for German Studies presents The Social Media Aesthetics of Mobility: Reinhard Kleist’s The Olympic Dream and Comics on Refugee Experience, Tuesday, November 12, 3:00 p.m., PAS 1241. 

Coping Skills Seminar - Empowering Habit Change, Tuesday, November 12, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302 – Register on LEADS.

Women in Mathematics presents talk by Nobel Laureate Donna Strickland, “Generating High-Intensity, Ultrashort Optical Pulses,” Tuesday, November 12, 4:30 p.m., QNC 0101. People of all genders are welcome. Register today.

Research Ethics drop-in session for faculty and students, Wednesday, November 13, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Dana Porter Library (study booth on the main floor).

Career Advancement for Women (for employees only), Wednesday, November 13, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., TC2218.

Brown Bag Lunch: Let’s Chat about Sexual Violence, “with Guests from Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region,” Wednesday, November 13, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., HH (Hagey Hall) 373.

Legal and Immigration Services Lunch n’ Learn, “University of Waterloo Marketing and Branding Bootcamp:  Everything You Need To Know About Canada’s New Trademark Regime,” Wednesday, November 13, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm, NH 3308 and NH 3318. Please note: this event has been cancelled.

Noon Hour Concert: Root Systems, Wednesday, November 13, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College Chapel. Free admission.

Exploring Your Personality Type (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) Part II, Wednesday, November 13, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., TC 1112.

Mindfulness Meditation: A Stress Reduction Program, Wednesday, November 13, 2:00 p.m., NH 2447 – Register on LEADS.

Horizon2020 and Horizon Europe information session for faculty: An overview of Europe’s Horizon 2020 program, the new EU framework Horizon Europe, and specific opportunities for Canadian participation. Wednesday, November 13, 2 3 p.m. Please register.

Get a Job Using LinkedIn, Wednesday, November 13, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., DPL 329.

NEW - Silversides Theatre Artist Series, "Women in Theatre," Wednesday, November 13, 4:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

Work abroad: Learn about co-op in San Francisco, Wednesday, November 13, 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Online.

NEW - Annual LAIRD Lecture featuring Professor Melanie Campbell, "The Eye as a Window on the Brain", Wednesday, November 13, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Western University, University College (UC), Room: Conron Hall, UC 3110.

Coping Skills Seminar – Cultivating Resiliency, Wednesday, November 13, 6:00 p.m., HS 2302 – Register on LEADS.

Concept by Velocity - Intro Session: Networking Extravaganza, “Connect with other students and build your network”, 7:30pm, Wednesday, November 13, South Campus Hall 2nd Floor