Friday, March 6, 2020

Waterloo named one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers

A staff member at the W store hands a bag to a woman in a wheelchair.

The University of Waterloo has been named one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers.

Mediacorp Canada and The Globe and Mail partner to publish the Best Diversity Employers ranking as part of the larger Canada's Top 100 Employers competition.

The University was cited for its participation in the UN's HeForShe initiative, its recent review of its hiring practices and its implementation of unconscious bias training, its support of the recruitment and employment of neurodiverse students in co-op jobs, and the establishment of a research grant of $80,000 per year for the next five years to support research and scholarship focused on gender equality.

The official magazine announcing this year's winners was published today in the national edition of The Globe and Mail, reaching over a million readers in print and online.

Canada's Best Diversity Employers 2020 logo."Inclusion is a central part of conversations happening across the country," says Kristina Leung, senior editor of the Canada's Top 100 Employers project. "Organizations that make this an integral part of their workplace reap the benefits of diverse perspectives, which leads to increased innovation, productivity, and engagement."

Now in its 13th edition, the Canada’s Best Diversity Employers competition recognizes the nation’s leaders in creating inclusive workplaces for employees from five diverse groups: women; visible minorities; persons with disabilities; Aboriginal peoples; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) peoples. The annual competition is open to any employer with its head office or principal place of business in Canada. Employers of any size may apply, whether in the private or public sector.

HeForShe Writing Contest winners announced

A woman reads the HeForShe Writing Contest booklet.

This is an excerpt of an article originally published on Waterloo Stories.

Gender equality requires a global effort — one that takes the force of everyone who wants to make a change.

The University of Waterloo is proud to be one of the leading institutions in achieving gender equity. As a partner of the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10, Waterloo closely monitors and improves the framework that encourages gender equality and the empowerment of women across campus and beyond. To honour this commitment, every March Waterloo runs the HeForShe writing contest ahead of International Women’s Day. Students, staff, faculty and alumni are invited to share stories about their hope for social change.

“These talented writers and poets inside this year’s anthology have already added so much to our community,” says Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor. “Their voices have broadened our perspectives and I congratulate each of the winners and all of our newly published writers on their wonderful pieces.”

This year’s theme was LEGACY. Authors were encouraged to consider how the idea of legacy brings us to the present and how our choices today will impact generations to come.

“The diverse stories and experiences within this year’s Anthology highlight how far we have come, but also remind us of the work required to ensure an equitable future for all,” says Diana Parry, associate vice-president Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion. “This writing contest is a catalyst to begin and continue important conversations and action around gender equity, and I am deeply thankful for all who have contributed to this and past editions. Our campus is indebted to you for sharing your experiences.”

Judges from the University of Waterloo selected four winners, each of whom were awarded with a $500 prize. Winners are recognized at Waterloo’s International Women’s Day Dinner held annually at Federation Hall. This year’s event will take place on Friday, March 6.

Category winners include:

WINNER (Poetry)

The Student and the Goose, Sarasvathi Kannan (BA 16)

WINNER (Poetry)

Dear Son, Anna Wang, student, Computer Science

WINNER (Fiction)

Divine Intervention, Sarasvathi Kannan (BA 16)

WINNER (Creative Non-Fiction)

Contents of a Jewellery Box, Anonymous student    

Additional submissions have been published and can be found in the printed anthology outside the W Store and the Writing and Communication Centre.

About the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative

HeForShe is a global effort to engage men and boys in removing the social and cultural barriers that prevent women and girls from achieving their potential, and together positively reshaping society. The United Nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women created the initiative and hosted an official launch in September 2014 with UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson.

As part of this initiative, the framework involves 10 heads of state, 10 CEOs and 10 university presidents to advance gender equity. Waterloo is currently the only Canadian organization involved in the IMPACT 10x10x10 framework.

To read the winning submissions, check out the full article on Waterloo Stories.

Waterloo mourns the loss of Ambar Roy

This message was originally posted on Waterloo News.

It is with deep sadness that the University of Waterloo community learned of the loss of one of its students, Ambar Roy, a first-year student in the Faculty of Environment.

Ambar went missing in the spring of 2019 near Iqaluit.

The University has reached out to Ambar’s family to offer its condolences and support and stands ready to give them any assistance we can provide. A funeral service for Ambar will be held in Toronto on March 7.

Support is available on and off-campus and we encourage any students, faculty or staff who feel they need of assistance to contact services on campus or in the community.

Services include:

Counselling Services - 519-888-4567;32655
UW MATES (Mentor Assistance Through Education and Support)
Here 24/7 - 1-844-437-3247
Health Services - Student Medical Clinic - 519-888-4096
Grand River Hospital - 519-749-4300
St. Mary's Hospital - 519-744-3311
Good2Talk - 1-866-925-5454
Crisis Services Canada - 1-833-456-4566 or by text 45645 
Employee and Family Assistance Provider (Homewood Health) - 1-800-663-1142
Occupational Health - Linda Brogden at ext. 36264 or Karen Parkinson at ext. 30338

Friday's notes

Here's the latest Nutrition Month myth vs. fact supplied by Health Services Dietitian Sandra Ace:


Food waste is inevitable.


According to an eye-opening 2019 study by Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue organization, 58 per cent of food produced in Canada is wasted.  While the majority of this is at the food production, processing and distribution levels, about 20 per cent of food wastage occurs in our homes. As consumers, there many way we can minimize food waste. This helps to reduce the environmental impact of food production but can also save Canadians a significant amount of money. In fact, Second Harvest calculated the annual cost of avoidable food loss and waste to be more than $1,700 per household.

Making small changes can collectively make a big difference. Before you shop, take time to plan your meals by setting aside a few minutes each week to write a quick menu for the week ahead. Check your cupboards, refrigerator and freezer so you can include foods you have on hand that need to be used up. Write out a grocery list and stick to it, avoiding impulse buys which typically increase grocery bills, waistlines and household waste. Shopping without a plan makes it difficult to estimate the right amount of food, with the tendency being to buy too much.

Cook only what you will use up and label and freeze leftovers or search for creative ways to use them. Use perishable foods, like berries, fresh greens and ground meat, fresh fish and poultry, sooner rather than later. If you’re not already doing so, use a green bin to compost organic waste. Find out how long you can safely store food. FoodKeeper is a free Android or iPhone App developed by Cornell University’s Department of Food Science and the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service that provides guidelines on the safe storage of food in the pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Here are other resources that contain strategies to reduce food waste: Health Canada: Food Waste and Loss, Dietitians of Canada Tips On Reducing Food Waste At Home and University of Waterloo’s Sustainability Guide.

Beyond the Bulletin Episode 36

Beyond the Bulletin graphic with two vintage microphones

The latest episode of the Beyond the Bulletin Podcast is now live. James Skidmore, a professor and member of UWaterloo’s Open Scholarship Committee, tells us that free online textbooks and course materials tailored to instructor needs are only some of the benefits of open education. The winners of the HeforShe writing contest are announced just in time for International Women’s Day. For the first time, an all-women panel of judges will determine the winners of the Concept $5K pitch competition. And the Gender and Sexual Diversity Working Group will hold an event for faculty and staff who identify as LGBTQ2S+.

James Skidmore smiles as he speaks with a microphone.

Link of the day

20 years ago: Sony launches the PlayStation 2

When and Where

Educational Technologies Week, Monday, March 2 to Friday, March 6.

International Women’s Day dinner, Friday, March 6.

Knowledge Integration seminar: “Volunteering without the Voluntourism,” featuring speaker Michelle Metzger, Service Learning Program Coordinator, St. Jerome’s University, Friday, March 6, 1:00 p.m., EV2-2002.

Master of Taxation Open House, Saturday, March 7, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., 220 Yonge St, Unit 115, Toronto. To register, visit

safeTALK training for students, Monday, March 9, 1:00 p.m., NH 2447 – Register on GoSignMeUp.

Coping Skills Seminar – Cultivating Resiliency, Monday, March 9, 3:30 p.m., HS 2302 – Register on GoSignMeUp.

World's Challenge Challenge, Monday, March 9, 5:00 p.m., NH 3407.

2020 Latin American Film Festival screening, Post-Mortem, Monday, March 9, 6:30 p.m., Kitchener Public Library main branch. Admission is free.

First Year Residence Problem Pitch, Thursday, March 19, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., V1 Main Lobby.

Alleviating Anxiety Seminar, Tuesday, March 10, 1:30 p.m., HS 2302 – Register on GoSignMeUp.

Coping Skills Seminar – Thriving With Emotions, Tuesday, March 10, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302 – Register on GoSignMeUp.

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

Noon Hour Concert: Selections from 24 Paganini Caprices,  Wednesday, March 11, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University Chapel. 

2020 Silver Medal Award Guest Lecture: What is Arabic good for? Future Directions and Current Challenges of Arabic Language Educational Reform in France, Wednesday, March 11, 4:00 p.m. PAS room 2083.

Coping Skills Seminar - Challenging Thinking, Wednesday, March 11, 6:00 p.m., HS 2302 – Register on GoSignMeUp.

Systems Design Engineering Capstone Design Symposia 2020 Thursday, March 12, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., E7 2nd Floor.

Biomedical Engineering Capstone Design Symposia 2020 Thursday, March 12, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., E7 2nd Floor.

Grad Student Community and Conversation Circle, Thursday, March 12, 3:30 p.m., HS 1106 – Register on GoSignMeUp.

Global Engineering Week Game Night, “SYDE 261 Design Showcase,” Thursday, March 12, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., E7 Event Space.

Mechatronics Engineering Capstone Design Symposia 2020 Friday, March 13, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., E7 1st and 2nd Floor.

Bridges Lecture Series presents François Bergeron, Mathematics, Université du Québec à Montréal and Members of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Symmetry: Bach and Math, Friday, March 13, 7:30 p.m., SJ2/Academic Centre, Vanstone Lecture Hall. Please register in advance. 

BLND Design and Business ConferenceCreative People. Innovative Ideas. Fun Workshops.” Saturday, March 14, all day event, Stratford School, University of Waterloo.

Concept by Velocity - Graduate Student Startup Fund applications close, “Apply for the chance to win $20,000 and take your research to the next level.” Monday, March 16.

Coping Skills Seminar – Cultivating Resiliency, Monday, March 16, 3:30 p.m., HS 2302 – Register on  GoSignMeUp.

2020 Latin American Film Festival, Ruben Blades is not My Name, Monday, March 16, 6:30 p.m., Kitchener Public Library main branch. Admission is free.

NEW - More Feet on the Ground Mental Health Training for Students, Tuesday, March 17, 2:00 p.m., HS 2302 – Register on GoSignMeUp

NEW - Distinguished Lecture Series, “An Ethical Crisis in Computing?” featuring Moshe Y. Vardi, University Professor, Rice University, Tuesday, March 17, 3:30 p.m., DC 1302.

NEW - Electrical and Computer Engineering Capstone Design Symposia 2020 Wednesday, March 18, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., E7 1st and 2nd Floor.

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

NEW - Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business MBET information session, Wednesday, March 18, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., E7 2324-2328. Register today.

PhD oral defences

Chemical Engineering. Chong Meng, "Straw Pressboard Composites." Supervisor, Leonardo Simon. On display in the Engineering graduate office E7 7402. Oral defence, Monday March 30, 9:30 a.m., E6 2022.

Civil & Environmental Engineering. Ekin Eray, "Measuring and Visualizing Integrated Project Interface Status." Supervisors, Carl Haas and Derek Rayside. On display in the Engineering graduate office E7 7402. Oral defence, Tuesday March 31, 1:00 p.m., E2 2350.

Psychology. Harrison Oakes, "Closets Breed Suspicion: Environments that Stigmatize Concealable Identities Raise Doubts about Claims to Contrasting Non-Stigmatized Identities." Supervisor, Richard Eibach. On deposit in the Arts graduate office, PAS 2428. Oral defence, Tuesday March 31, 1:30 p.m., PAS 3026.

Electrical & Computer Engineering. Mohamad Shahab, "A New Approach to Multi-Model Adaptive Control." Supervisor, Daniel Miller. On display in the Engineering graduate office E7 7402. Oral defence, Wednesday April 1, 1:00 p.m., EIT 3142.