Friday, September 18, 2020

Concept celebrates a year of student success

Team members celebrate the launch of Concept in 2019.

A message from Concept. This article was originally published on the Concept blog.

One very long year ago, in the simpler time of 2019, Concept by Velocity arrived on the scene at the University of Waterloo. Our goal was to connect and support more students who were keen to create impact by being entrepreneurial. We called ourselves ‘Concept’ because we believe in the power of ideas as the starting point to build or improve a business.

Velocity is humbled every day with the creativity and ambition that UWaterloo community generates and felt compelled to build Concept as an entry point to help unleash this ambition. This is core to our mission to support the UWaterloo community for an increasingly entrepreneurial world. That means we are entrepreneurial as well. Adapting and improving is in our DNA. We’re committed to maximizing the audacity of the UWaterloo community to be change-makers, leaders, and of course great founders.

To Our Partners

We want to extend a massive thank you to our UWaterloo partners who have been instrumental in helping us support and empower students. It takes an entire community to support entrepreneurship, we’d like to specifically thank:

The Science Innovation HubConrad School of Entrepreneurship and BusinessThe Problem LabGreenHouseThe Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace AdvancementThe LibraryHousingThe Centre for Career ActionCo-operative and Experiential EducationThe Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3)The Graduate Student AssociationEntrepreneurship SocietyWatCoAthleticsGEDISchool of Accounting and Finance.

As we celebrate one full year of Concept, what we are really celebrating is the incredible accomplishments of the students we have been able to support over this time. We have seen amazing student ideas through our three Concept $5K Finals in Fall 2019Winter 2020, and Spring 2020, the Graduate Student Startup Fund, the Pandemic Challenge, and the countless projects discussed with our Concept Coaches. The continued engagement and commitment from students to entrepreneurship and the belief in themselves and their diverse ideas has been truly impressive. Each semester brings forth more innovative and imaginative ideas from a student population that has proved time and time again that entrepreneurship is always top of mind.

It is clear that UWaterloo will continue to be incredibly entrepreneurial, and we will be there as long as they need support. As we grow and continue to work with a variety of units on campus, students will continue to be at the forethought of all of our efforts and initiatives.

The Future is Bright

Later this term we will be announcing some incredibly exciting new programs and events with high profile partners so stay tuned. To stay up to date on all things Concept and exciting entrepreneurial opportunities, join our mailing list. We could not be happier with the first year of Concept, but with the creativity and enthusiasm from UWaterloo students, we know that the best is yet to come.  Thanks for a great first year.

A distorted image of a picture window and potted plants that illustrates concussion-related visual problems.

A message from the School of Optometry & Vision Science.

People who suffer a concussion often experience visual disorders, such as double vision and difficulty focusing, as a result of their injury. However, very little is known about these often debilitating symptoms and how long they may last.

A group of researchers, including Dr. Kristine Dalton of the School of Optometry & Vision Science at the University of Waterloo, is hoping to change that. The researchers recently received funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH) for a 2-year study that may be the first step toward new treatments for concussion-related vision disorders.

“Optometrists usually aren’t involved in treating patients with concussions in the acute phase,” Dalton says. “We need to be able to follow concussion patients over time to learn about the changes that occur in their visual symptoms.”

The NIH-funded study will lay the groundwork for a future five-year, multi-site study that will observe hundreds of concussion patients to see how and if their visual function and visual symptoms change over time. During the initial study, the team will see participants in order to determine the best battery of tests that will be used in the larger study and develop standard procedures for all participating clinic sites.

One of the key points of inquiry for the larger study will be to have a better understanding of when symptoms can be expected to go away on their own. This will give doctors a better timeline to determine when intervention may be needed.

“Right now, we don’t understand how concussion-related vision disorders change over time, which makes it hard to measure how much benefit additional vision treatments provide,” Dalton says. “This research will give us a better understanding of how these disorders progress and could one day lead to new treatment options.”

Waterloo is the only Canadian institution participating in the pilot study, which includes members from eight US institutions; Dalton serves on the project’s executive committee with Dr. Laura Purcell of McMaster University’s Department of Pediatrics, who is also the medical principal investigator at Waterloo.

While COVID-19 has pushed back the pilot project’s July 1 start date, the team is hopeful that patient recruitment can begin in the fall.

Register for wellness sessions on managing anxiety and remote work

A message from the Healthy Workplace Committee.

The University's Healthy Workplace Committee is pleased to announce that the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider, Homewood Health, will be presenting their wellness session, Reducing Anxiety and Managing the Transition to Remote Work during the COVID-19 crisis, for the University five times over the Fall 2020 term through Microsoft Teams. Up to 50 employees can register for each online session.

Each one-hour session will be facilitated by a Homewood Health representative and will be broken down into two sections: Part I – Reducing Anxiety: This portion of the session will explore practical strategies and resources you can start using today to help mitigate stress and anxiety.  Part II - Managing the Transition to Remote Work – COVID-19: Whether you are a seasoned remote worker or new to this arrangement, the transition and associated uncertainty can feel overwhelming. This portion of the session will explore strategies for navigating the transition with greater ease while providing tips and tools to increase your wellbeing and productivity in this new work setting.

Multiple dates are available. Register for your preferred date today.

September 23 is UWaterloo Custom Jacket Day

University of Waterloo leather jackets on display.

A message from W Store.

It’s that time of the year again. Students and faculty are invited to wear their UWaterloo pride on their sleeve with a custom University of Waterloo leather jacket. Order your jacket from South Campus Hall on UWaterloo Custom Jacket Day and receive $75 off. Jackets may be customized with your graduation year, degree and program.

The jackets are available to students from all faculties. Faux leather options are also available. No appointment is required. For more details, visit

Waterloo Police issue public safety warning and other notes

Hayan Yassin.Waterloo Regional Police Service has issued a public alert concerning a high-risk offender who was recently released into the community. "Hayan Yassin, 34, was convicted in 2011 of Sexual Assault with a Weapon, Forcible Confinement, Sexual Assault Cause Bodily Harm, and Kidnapping. He was released in 2018 on parole with conditions and monitoring," says the police statement. "His parole was revoked four months later after he violated several of his terms. As a result, he was placed back in custody. He was released on September 14, 2020 and will reside in Kitchener."

Yassin has a number of restrictions as part of the terms of his release, but the most salient for the University is that he is not to be in, near, or around the campuses of the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University without the written permission of his parole supervisor. This area specifically encompasses the locations contained from Columbia Street West to Weber Street North, from Weber Street North to Erb Street East, from Erb Street East to Willow Street, from Willow Street to William Street East, from William Street East to Westmount Road South, from Westmount Road South to Erb Street West, from Erb Street West to Fischer Hallman Road North and back up to Columbia Street West.

"The Waterloo Regional Police Service’s Offender Management Unit believes Mr. Yassin poses a high risk to reoffend or breach his terms," police say. "The WRPS is working with Correctional Service of Canada to monitor the terms of his release (including through electronic monitoring), but are seeking community assistance to help reduce the risk."

"If seen breaching any of his terms, please do not approach but call 9-1-1."

We share this update so our campus community can stay safe, but we are aware that this news has impacts. If you need support, please connect with the University's Sexual Violence Prevention & Response Office (SVPRO) at

The full text of the public safety alert is available on the Waterloo Region Police Services website.

A collage of machine-shop images.

The Engineering Machine Shop in E3 has announced that its inventory is now available onlineThe Engineering Machine Shop provides machining and fabricating services for the University community, specifically the Faculty of Engineering. The inventory system is behind a CAS login. Please note that the EMS only accepts Watcard and account numbers for payment.

An image of the Optometry Rack Pack team.The 2020 Optometry Rack Pack team will again be participating in the 'CIBC Run for the Cure' virtual run on Sunday, October 4 to support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. "Our current total is $6,200," says a note from the Optometry Rack Pack representative Marie Amodeo. "As a breast cancer survivor and the team captain, I know how important research to find a cure is. We are gratefully accepting donations to our team at Every amount makes an impact. Together we can make breast cancer beatable."

Beyond the Bulletin Episode 60

Beyond the Bulletin banner featuring two vintage microphones.

The latest episode of the Beyond the Bulletin podcast is now liveReturning to school can be stressful at the best of times, but the pandemic probably means there is a lot more anxiety for parents and their kids. Dillon Browne, a clinical psychologist in the Faculty of Arts, has some coping advice that can help adults and children. A coronavirus testing centre for employees and students will open October 1. Waterloo joins the conversation on WeChat. The Grad House reopens, plus lots more.

Link of the day

The 40th anniversary Marathon of Hope takes place virtually on Sunday

When and Where to get support

Students can visit the Student Success Office online for supports including academic development, international student resources, leadership development, exchange and study abroad, and opportunities to get involved.

Instructors can visit the Keep Learning website to get support on adapting their teaching and learning plans for an online environment. The following workshops are current offerings from the KL team (CTE, CEL, ITMS, LIB):

Getting Ready to Facilitate Online Courses: TA Training, beginning July 13.

Remote Course Design Essentials, beginning August 26.

Independent Remote Course Design Essentials. Continuous self-enroll course in LEARN.

Grading Your Remote Assessments with Crowdmark, Friday, September 18, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Online Instructional Skills Workshop. Approximately six hours per week for six weeks: 8:00 am Monday, September 21 to 4:00 pm Friday, October 30.

Introduction to PebblePlus, Monday, September 21, 2020 — 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

NEW - Drop-in Q&A with the Keep Learning Team, Wednesday, September 23, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

NEW - Thirty Minute Thursdays – PebblePad, Thursday, September 24, 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Employees can access resources to help them work remotely, including managing University records and privacy of personal information

Interested in learning more about engaging your students in an online course? The Centre for Extended Learning has created a new resource for you called "Fostering Engagement: Facilitating Online Courses in Higher Education"

This Open Educational Resource was designed for post-secondary instructors and teaching assistants who would like to better understand the critical role of facilitation in online course delivery, and build practical skills and strategies that are relevant, effective, and authentic.

Here are some tips for staying healthy while working from home.

The Writing and Communication Centre is rolling out virtual services and programs for fall term: 

  • Undergrad students -- work with us to brainstorm, draft, revise, and polish assignments by meeting with our writing advisors in virtual appointments. Chat with our friendly and knowledgeable peer tutors in our virtual drop-ins and PJ-friendly writing groups. Or experience an online workshop at your own pace. 
  • First-year Warriors! Check out Waterloo Ready to Write to build your skills for writing success.
  • Graduate Students -- meet with an advisor in a virtual appointments, take an online workshop,  join the grad writing community at our Virtual Writing Cafés and #WaterlooWrites groups, develop your academic voice at Speak Like a Scholar, or make progress on your thesis at Dissertation Boot Camp.
  • Instructors and faculty -- Request and access WCC workshops for use in your courses, join a virtual writing group, or speak with a writing advisor about a writing project.

We understand that these circumstances can be troubling, and you may need to speak with someone for emotional support. Good2Talk is a post-secondary student helpline based in Ontario, Canada that is available to all students. If you feel overwhelmed or anxious and need to talk to somebody, please contact the University’s Campus Wellness services, either Health Services or  Counselling Services. You can also contact the University's Centre for Mental Health Research and Treatment.

The Library has published a resource guide on how to avoid information overload.

The Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo (FAUW) continues to advocate for its members. Check out the FAUW blog for more information.

The University of Waterloo Staff Association (UWSA) continues to advocate for its members. Check out the UWSA blog for more information.

WUSA supports for students:

Food Support Service food hampers are currently available from the Turnkey Desk on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Student Life Centre. If you have any questions please email us at

The Bike Centre – Now open by appointment for your bicycle repair and rental needs in the Student Life Centre. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please go to:

Centre for Academic Policy Support - CAPS is here to assist Waterloo undergraduates throughout their experience in navigating academic policy in the instances of filing petitions, grievances and appeals. Please contact them at More information at

WUSA Commissioners who can help in a variety of areas that students may be experiencing during this time:

WUSA Student Legal Protection Program - Seeking legal counsel can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time facing a legal issue. The legal assistance helpline provides quick access to legal advice in any area of law, including criminal. Just call 1-833-202-4571

Empower Me is a confidential mental health and wellness service that connects students with qualified counsellors 24/7. They can be reached at 1-833-628-5589.

When and Where (but mostly when)

Healthy Warriors at Home. Free programming including Online Fitness, Health Webinars, Personalized Nutrition and more from Warriors Athletics and Rec. Open to students, staff, faculty and alumni. Register today.

WUSA Welcome Week, Monday, September 14 to Friday, September 18.

IT Seminar: IST Client Services Update, Friday September 18, 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Join online.

University Senate meeting, Monday, September 21, online.

More Feet on the Ground Mental Health Training for Faculty and Staff, Tuesday, September 22, 9:30 a.m., Online – Register on GoSignMeUp

Women in Math Virtual Welcome Event session 1, "What I Wish I Knew Then...", Tuesday, September 22, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. RSVP.

WaterLeadership Training Program seminar, "Project Management Skills for Students," Tuesday, September 22, 12:00 p.m.

Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation (WICI) Webinar: Dr. Raja Sengupta from McGill University  “It's Complex: Future of Modelling and Simulation in a Changing Geospatial Data Environment"Tuesday, September 22, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Women in Math Virtual Welcome Event session 2, "What I Wish I Knew Then...", Tuesday, September 22, 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. RSVP.

Free Yoga on Warrior Field, Tuesday, September 22, 12:00 p.m. Class free for all Students, Staff and Faculty. Register today.

NEW - Zen Out: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Students, Wednesday, September 23, 2:00 p.m., Online – Register on GoSignMeUp.

NEW - Skills for Safer Living – Suicide Ideation Group for Students, Wednesday, September 23, 3:00 p.m., Online – Register on GoSignMeUp.

Concept Intro Session: What’s Your Problem, Wednesday, September 23, 5:00 p.m., Virtual Event.

NEW - Global Insights: “The Future of Peace and Conflict: Nuclear Arms, Space and Killer Robots”, featuring Jessica West, Senior Researcher, Project Ploughshares, moderated by Ann Fitz-Gerald, Director, BSIA, Thursday, September 24, 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon.

NEW - Global climate connections: How changes to our environment, food systems, and health will shape our future, Thursday, September 24, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.

NEW - Unhook from Anxiety: Learning Skills from CBT for Students, Thursday, September 24, 1:30 p.m., Online – Register on GoSignMeUp.

School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture Series, Moshe Y. Vardi — An Ethical Crisis in Computing? Thursday, September 24, 2:00 p.m.

NEW - Knowledge Integration seminar: “Veiled Muslim Women: Challenging patriarchy in the Canadian legal system”, speaker: Zainab Ramahi, Friday, September 25, 1:00 p.m.