Thursday, December 5, 2019

WUSA and GSA expand mental health coverage

A woman stands on the beach with her arms raised

On November 25, The Health Plan Oversight Committee voted unanimously to expand student healthcare coverage. The Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) and the Graduate Student Association (GSA) worked extensively with Campus Wellness and StudentCare to re-evaluate insurance coverage offerings. The health plan expansion will further recommendations laid out in the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health (PAC-SMH) for expanding healthcare funding and developing better referral mechanisms to community partners. 

The changes include: 

  • Addition of the EmpowerMe, a 24/7/365 confidential student assistance program designed to support mental health and wellbeing
  • Doubling the annual coverage limits for mental health services under the health plan to 80% coverage for mental health practitioners to a new total of $800.00 per calendar year
  • Expanding the scope of allowed mental health practitioners covered under the health plan to include psychologists, registered social workers, psychotherapists, and clinical counsellors
  • Eliminating referral requirement from a medical doctor to have your psychological treatment covered by the health plan  

The expanded coverage will broaden the scope of care and remove barriers to accessing mental health supports for students without increasing the current cost of their healthcare plan over the next two terms, with only minor increases in the fall 2020 academic year.  

The changes will come into effect on January 1, 2020, with WUSA and GSA working to have the program fully integrated with the University of Waterloo Campus Wellness over the coming terms. All part-time and full-time on-campus students will have access to this program.

Congratulations to the semi-finalists of the MIPC 2019

This article was originally published on the Mathematics Business and Accounting site.

Group of winners posing for the mipc awardOn November 8-9, 2019, a team of Math Business and Accounting students (Jeremy Wang, Sunny Li, and Seldi Shembitraku, all 5A BBA/BMath Double Degree students) participated in the McGill International Portfolio Challenge (MIPC) in Montreal. The third edition of the MIPC case competition was focused on sustainability issues. Even though our team didn’t make it to the list of five finalists, the team should be proud to be among the 25 semi-finalists. Those 25 semi-finalists were chosen from roughly 90 team applications submitted from the best universities throughout the world. Competition was intense and there were, obviously, some very good presentations.

The 25 semi-finalists were divided into five pools, the winner of each pool making it to the final five. Judges and event organizers underscored that the University of Waterloo's team’s case was strong. Apparently, delivery and a 10-minute short presentation made all the difference in which teams got selected to be in the final five.

This was the first time the University of Waterloo participated in MIPC and the experience should be useful for future participants. Congratulations again to Sunny, Jeremy, and Seldi for reaching MIPC semi-finals and establishing strong footing for Math Business and Accounting students competing in future MIPC competitions!

HREI to host workshops on healthy relationships

A couple holds hands during sunset

A message from the Office of Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion

We are pleased to welcome special guest TK Pritchard, public education manager at the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region (SASC), for a special lunch workshops event on December 12 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m

TK will facilitate an informative and interactive workshop on Healthy Relationships and discuss the services and resources available at SASC. TK’s workshop will discuss: What does a healthy relationship actually look, sound, and feel like? What are ‘red flags’ that someone may be trying to control or harm us? The workshop will also explore the characteristics of healthy, unhealthy, and abusive sexual, romantic, and peer to peer relationships. Finally, TK will discuss what to do if you are worried about a friend and their relationship.

The workshop is open to all students, faculty, and staff. The workshop will be held in Hagey Hall 373. Registration is now open. Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot today! Attendees are encouraged to bring their lunch and we will provide sweet treats, coffee, tea and water.

Any questions about the event can be directed to Joseph Pazzano, senior education officer, at

Thanks for showing how much you care

A message from the Office of Advancement

Thanks to the kindness of donors, the Giving Tuesday movement is growing around the world. Its impact can be felt in our communities, including right here across our campuses.

In just 24 hours, more than 700 caring Waterloo supporters came together with our matching gift champions to raise over $230,000 on this special day. What an incredible accomplishment — our most successful Giving Tuesday to date!

We hope you had fun following the celebration on our social channels. Here’s a short video from some very appreciative Waterloo students. Enjoy!

Thursday's notes

Math students build a snowman

University of Waterloo Math students took advantage of the packing snow yesterday and built a stylish snowman, complete with a pink tie.

The Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo (FAUW) will be holding its General Meeting today from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in QNC 1502. Among the agenda items are reports from the FAUW president, treasurer, and committee chairs; employee benefits survey concerns and updates on the University presidential search.

Whether you attended the President's Town Hall Meeting on November 12 in person, watched it online, or didn't attend the meeting, University Communications and the President's Office is interested in hearing your views on the meeting format and content. The 2019 President’s Town Hall survey is now open and will run until Friday, December 20. Your feedback is important and will help enhance future President’s Town Hall meetings.

Link of the day

World Soil Day

When and Where

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, Monday, November 25 to Tuesday, December 10.

University Club Holiday Lunch Buffet, Thursday, November 28 to Monday, December 23, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., University Club.

2019 President’s Town Hall survey, open until Friday, December 20.

Free Exam Fitness, Monday, December 2 to Friday, December 20.

Student Life Centre Housing Office closed, Monday, December 2 to Friday, December 6, SLC 0134 lower atrium.

Pre-examination study days, Wednesday, December 4 and Thursday, December 5.

Faculty Association General Meeting, Thursday, December 5, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., QNC 1502.

QPR Mental Health Training for Faculty and Staff, Thursday, December 5, 1:30 p.m., NH 2447 – Register on Workday.

Seminar: Towards Fair and Accurate Peer Review, featuring Ivan Stelmakh, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, Thursday, December 5, 2:30 p.m., DC 1302.

Social Impact Showcase, Thursday, December 5, 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., STP 164.

Life drawing session, Thursday, December 5, 6:30 p.m., ECH 1224A.

On-campus examinations begin, Friday, December 6.

Online examination days, Friday, December 6 and Saturday, December 7. 

Ecohydrology Research Symposium, Friday, December 6, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., DC 1302.

Research Strategic Plan Consultation for postdoctoral fellows. Help shape the future of research at Waterloo. Friday, December 6, 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., East Campus 5, Room 3167. Register to attend.

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women memorial event, Friday, December 6, 10:30 a.m., Engineering 7 Second Floor Atrium.

Research Strategic Plan Consultation for graduate students. Help shape the future of research at Waterloo. Friday, December 6, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., East Campus 5, Room 3167. Register to attend.

Research Strategic Plan Consultation for undergraduate students. Help shape the future of research at Waterloo. Friday, December 6, 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., East Campus 5, Room 3167. Register to attend.

Make-A-Difference Market, Saturday, December 7, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Conrad Grebel atrium.

Germanic and Slavic Studies Conference, Monday, December 9.

Preventing Depression Relapse: A Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Group, Monday, December 9, 10:30 a.m., NH 2447 – Register on LEADS.

Pension plan information session, Monday, December 9, 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., RCH 301.

Pension plan information session, Monday, December 9, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., RCH 301.

Eating Disorder Support Group, Monday, December 9, 4:30 p.m., NH 3308 – Register on LEADS.

Pension plan information session, Monday, December 9, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., RCH 301.

4th Waterloo Symposium on Technology and Society featuring keynote lecture by Douglas Rushkoff, "Team Human: It's Time to Remake Society Together as the Team We Are," Tuesday, December 10, 7:00 p.m., Balsille School of International Affairs.

Research Ethics drop-in session for faculty and students, Wednesday, December 11, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Dana Porter Library (study booth on the main floor).

Webinar: Copyright for Teaching, Wednesday, December 11, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Deadline to get "Fees Arranged," Tuesday, December 12.

Brown Bag Lunch: Let's chat about Healthy Relationships, Thursday, December 12, 12:00 p.m., HH 373.

Alleviating Anxiety Seminar, Tuesday, December 12, 5:00 p.m., HS 2302 – Register on LEADS.

Life Drawing Session, Tuesday, December 12, 6:30 p.m., ECH 1224A.

New - Entrepreneurship Information Session for Undergraduate Advisors, Thursday, December 12, 10:30-12 p.m., Conrad School, E7, 2nd Floor

President's Holiday Luncheon, Friday, December 13, 12:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

Pension plan information session, Tuesday, December 17, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., RCH 301.

Pension plan information session, Tuesday, December 17, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., RCH 301.

Research Ethics drop-in session for faculty and students, Wednesday, December 18, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Dana Porter Library (study booth on the main floor).

Retirement celebration for Phil Knipe, Wednesday, December 18, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Graduate House green room. RSVP to

Co-operative work term ends, Friday, December 20.

On-campus examinations end, Saturday, December 21.

PhD oral defences

Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. Alex Axel Navarrete Gonzalez, "Determination of the fracture strength of brittle material thin films at high temperature using MEMS." Supervisor, Patricia Nieva. On display in the Engineering graduate office E7 7402. Oral defence Friday December 6, 2:00 p.m., E5 3052.

Applied Mathematics. Leon Avery, "Mathematical Modeling of C elegans L1 Aggregation." Supervisor, Brian Ingalls. Thesis available from MGO - Oral defence Friday December 6, 9:30 a.m., MC 6460.

Computer Science. Priyank Jaini, "Likelihood-based Density Estimation using Deep Architectures." Supervisors, Pascal Poupart and Yaoliang Yu. Thesis available from MGO - Oral defence Friday December 6, 2:00 p.m., DC 2310.

Chemical Engineering. Pan Xu, "Platinum Group Metal-Free Catalyst Layer Design for PEM Fuel Cells." Supervisor Zhongwei Chen. On display in the Engineering graduate office E7 7402. Oral defence Friday December 6, 9:00 a.m., E6 2022.