Monday, October 26, 2020

Cheri Bilitz named Director, Counselling Services

A message from Campus Wellness.

Cheri Bilitz.Campus Wellness is pleased to announce that Cheri Bilitz, MSW, RSW is the successful candidate for the position of Director, Counselling Services. The position became vacant after the transition of the long-term director, Dr. Tom Ruttan, to the new part-time role of Senior Advisor, Student Services. Bilitz has graciously filled in as interim director, counselling since September 2019.  

Cheri has been with the University since 2015 when she accepted the Associate Director, Counselling Services role. Prior to joining the University, she was Clinical Director at Stonehenge Therapeutic Community. She has a Master's degree in social work from Wilfrid Laurier University and continues to pursue her PhD in social work on a part-time basis. In addition to her accomplishments as a leader in the mental health field, Bilitz is also a talented psychotherapist who has helped many students and community members over the years of her career. She has overseen many positive changes in our response to the evolving mental health needs of the student population including introducing the walk-in and single session service to Counselling Services. She has been an active participant on the University’s student mental health initiatives, including serving as a member of the Committee on Student Mental Health (CoSM).

As a result of her calm and thoughtful leadership style, Bilitz has established credibility in her role on the Counselling Services team, and she certainly has become a valued member of the Campus Wellness senior management team.

Please join us in congratulating Cheri on this appointment.

Registration open for virtual conference on student mental health research

Virtual conference on student mental health research banner.

A message from the Committee on Student Mental Health.

On Thursday, November 5, the University of Waterloo community is invited to join the Committee on Student Mental Health (CoSMH) at UWaterloo’s inaugural Virtual Conference on Student Mental Health Research. The goal of this event is to bring together members of our campus community to share knowledge, connect researchers, and promote mental wellness through presentations, posters, and interactive Q&A sessions. Topics broadly pertaining to student mental health will be explored with an emphasis on the following key themes:

  • Prevention of mental health issues and promotion of mental health-care strategies;
  • Suicide prevention;
  • Equity and wellness;
  • Harm reduction approaches to substance use; and
  • Mental health impact of COVID-19.

Attend this conference to learn more about what our faculty, staff, and student colleagues are researching. Student posters will also be featured online ahead of time on the CoSMH website, and poster presenters will be available for an interactive Q&A period during the day.

Please register to attend the conference.

United Way Charitable Spotlight: KW Counselling

By: Nora Emtesali, United Way Campaign Coordinator. This is an excerpt of an article published on the Go Red website.

The KW Counselling Services logo.KW Counselling Services is a multi-service agency in Waterloo Region, providing therapeutic counselling services to individuals, couples, and families. In 2019 alone, they provided 13,896 hours of counselling to 5,818 clients; meaning this service is in high demand.  

What does KW Counselling Services do for Waterloo Region? 

During an interview with Scott Williams, the Communications and Development Coordinator at KW Counselling Services, he explained how his organization provides a large variety of programs to our community - such as their seasonal Parenting with Passion courses and workshops, their OK2BME program for LGBTQ2+ youth, and even providing businesses with cultural competency training, as well as training on LGBTQ2+ issues and crisis management. 

The Parenting with Passion program has been running courses and seminars for many years, helping parents to find and embrace the delights of raising their children, with positive parent attitudes and healthy parent-child relationships. Every year they continue to improve their courses to ensure they're as relevant as possible. Scott explains, “each season we provide a different slate of multi-week courses, full-day seminars, or single evening workshops,” which adds to the demand for KW Counselling’s services. Over 400 people attended the Parenting with Passion workshops in 2019.  

Their OK2BME public education program is designed to help combat homo/bi/transphobia. To accomplish this, KW Counselling Services offers a course of advanced clinical fundamentals for health care professionals who work with LGBTQ2+ individuals. They also consult with businesses to enhance inclusivity within their organization.  

Read the rest of the article on the Go Red website.

Test of the campus emergency communication system set for October 28

A message from Information Systems & Technology (IST).

A test of the University’s emergency communication system is scheduled for Wednesday, October 28 at 11:00 a.m. Test activation and deactivation messages will be sent using the below channels: 

  • Tweets to @UWaterloo and @WatSAFEapp
  • WatSAFE mobile app
  • The ‘WatSAFE Desktop Notification’ on-screen pop-up for desktops and laptops
  • Portal alerts and push notifications

In the event of a real emergency during this test, please contact Police Services at 519-888-4911, or ext. 22222.

Be sure to install the WatSAFE app on your device and WatSAFE Desktop Notification tool on your desktop/laptop to receive this test message, and more importantly, to stay informed of campus emergency situations. Visit the WatSAFE website for more details.

Take your kids to (virtual) work day is coming up and other notes

Take Our Kids to Work Day banner featuring the University logo.

"Calling all employees with children in grade 9 - the University of Waterloo is pleased to announce its participation in The Learning Partnership’s national Take Our Kids to Work Day on Wednesday, November 4," says a note from Marketing and Undergraduate Recruitment (MUR).

"We hope you’ll take part by including your grade 9 student in the day’s events. This year will include virtual activities featuring a look at a variety of workplaces and interactive panels from Waterloo employees and Waterloo students." 

If you’re planning to participate, please register by Friday, October 30.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Alexis Condotta at or Jody Berringer at jberringer@uwaterloo.caStay tuned for more details.

The Friday prayer space located in Federation Hall has been extended until December 18, according to a note from Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion. "Following public health regulations and guidelines, the space hosts three prayer times each Friday and is accessible.


  • Everyone attending must have their own prayer mat, be wearing a mask, and remain 6 feet apart;
  • These sessions are open only to Waterloo campus community members; and
  • Students, faculty and staff can access the space through the main entrance facing Ring Road, which has an automated door and ramp.

Available times are Fridays at 12:30 p.m.; 1:30 p.m.; and 2:30 p.m.

"Continued gratitude and thanks to Drs. Elmasry, Tarek, Eihab, Wasem, and Ayman, who will be leading these sessions," says the note from HREI. "Please note, should public health recommendations change at any time, the prayer space may not be available for in-person prayer."

Students, staff, and faculty are invited to get their influenza vaccination through Health Services. "The change of seasons often brings an influenza outbreak," says a message from Health Services. "Although influenza activity generally peaks around January, it takes the body about two weeks after vaccination to develop antibodies that will protect against influenza virus infection. For that reason, it's important to get vaccinated before the seasonal outbreak, especially if you fall into the high risk category." 

The flu immunizations are available to students, staff, and faculty by appointment only starting November 9, 2020. To book an appointment please call 519-888-4096.

Read more at Health Services.

Link of the day

Intersex Awareness Day

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):

Remote Course Design Essentials, beginning August 26.

Independent Remote Course Design Essentials. Self-directed, continuous self-enrollment course in LEARN.

Introduction to Bongo Virtual Classroom (Technical Session), Wednesday, October 28, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Integrative and Experiential Learning Session (CTE7700), Wednesday, October 28, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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

Renison English Language Institute continues to offer virtual events and workshops to help students practice their English language skills.

De-escalating difficult student situations for Faculty and Staff, Tuesday, October 27, 1:30 p.m., Online – Register on GoSignMeUp.

Board of Governors meeting, Tuesday, October 27, 1:30 p.m., Microsoft Teams.

NEW - America Votes: What should we expect?, Tuesday, October 27, 7:00 p.m.

Noon Hour Concert: The Road to Peace, Wednesday, October 28, 12:30 p.m., online, free.

Taking Action Against Online Harassment Workshop for Students, with Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office & Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region, Wednesday, October 28, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology presents “Quality Management Systems Webinar Series – Basic Concepts of Quality, Wednesday, October 28, 1:00 p.m., online via Webex. Please register to receive the link.

Concept Intro Session: Pitch to Win, Wednesday October 28, 5:00 p.m., virtual event.

NEW - Design & Deliver II: Designing Visual Support Live Q&A, Thursday, October 29, 9:00 a.m.

President's Virtual Town Hall Meeting, Thursday, October 29, 1:30 p.m.

NEW - Grad Student Community and Conversation Circle, Thursday, October 29, 3:30 p.m., Online – Register on GoSignMeUp.

NEW - Speak Like a Scholar, Friday, October 30, 5:00 p.m.

NEW - TEDxUW 2020, Saturday, October 31, 12 noon to 4:00 p.m.

NEW - Portage-Global Water Futures Research Data Management webinar series: “Using the Open Science Framework to Enhance Your Research Projects, Wednesday, November  3, 1:00 p.m. Registration details are available here.