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
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.
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.
Keystone calendars are here and other notes
A message from the Office of Advancement.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 37195.
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.
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.