Monday, November 2, 2020

Thrive Week is here

Thrive Week banner.

Attend one of the many Thrive Week events this week (November 2 to 6). We have some amazing virtual events planned for the week focused on building positive mental health for the University of Waterloo community.

It’s not too late to participate. Join us for the Thrive walk on Monday, November 2 at 12 noon and walk or move in a way that feels good to you. We encourage you to wear a yellow shirt or a Thrive t-shirt and send us your photos at or tag @uwaterloowellness on socials.

Olivia Shortt with a saxophone.Tune in for the Noon Hour Concert series, sponsored by the University of Waterloo Music Department at Conrad Grebel University College, as they present performances by local and international talent, including saxophonist Olivia Shortt. To see the full list of recitals, click here.

We hope to see you in some of the exciting Thrive events happening virtually throughout the week. Let’s all build positive mental health together.

Campus events will support Treaties Recognition Week

A banner showing traditional Indigenous territories within the province of Ontario.

A message from the Indigenous Initiatives Office.

From November 2 to 6, the University of Waterloo will be participating in the annual Treaties Recognition Week for the first time. To contribute to broader goals of education, reflection and action, the Indigenous Initiatives Office is excited to host a series of virtual events and videos throughout this important week. 

These events and engagement opportunities are the start of what the Indigenous Initiatives Office hopes will be ongoing learnings about the treaties that affect where we live, work and the importance of honouring their rights and relationships. 

“Treaties Recognition Week came about as a response to the Truth and Recognition Commission’s Calls to Action. People often think of treaties as being something in the past, but they are living documents that impact our lives, still,” Jean Becker says, senior director, Indigenous Initiatives and Interim associate vice-president, human rights, equity & inclusion. “I think it’s really important in the work of reconciliation that people understand this and recognize them.”

The Indigenous Initiatives Office is excited to host a series of virtual events, videos and resources that will help create awareness about treaties in Canada while taking an in-depth look into the treaties that impact this area of Ontario.

University events planned for the week include:

  • Monday, November 2
    Welcome and opening remarks by Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor, and a brief conversation with Becker and Robin Stadelbauer from the Indigenous Initiatives Office about what a treaty is, the ways it impacts our historical and current relationships and why they’re important today.
  • Tuesday, November 3
    Professor Susan Roy will discuss treaties’ relationship with government, connecting historical context to current issues, challenges and successes.
  • Wednesday, November 4
    An evening virtual lecture with Phil Monture, who is Mohawk from the Six Nations of the Grand River. From 1975 to July 2002, Phil was the Director of the Land Claims Research Office at the Six Nations of the Grand River. Phil will discuss how Treaties impact life within the Six Nations, both historically and today.
  • Thursday, November 5
    A lecture with Chief R. Stacey Laforme who is the elected Chief of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MNCFN). Born and raised on MCFN, Chief Laforme has served his community for over fifteen years, being first elected to the council in 1999. Chief Laforme will discuss the treaties that intersect and impact the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
  • Friday, November 6
    Reflections and takeaways from the week with Roy and Becker.

For more details, registration information and resources, visit the Treaties Recognition Week website.

Q and A with the experts: Is there such a thing as 'pandemic time'

The University of Waterloo has a number of experts available for comment on various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we enter the winter months in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic, we are exploring the idea of time.

Lydia Hicks.Some people say it feels as though time is passing more slowly. Is this a common phenomenon? We asked Waterloo psychology PhD candidate Lydia Hicks for her thoughts on the passing of time, why it’s important to our mental health, and what strategies people can use to cope.

How has the pandemic shifted the way people experience the passing of time?

We examined this question using an online survey that we administered in an undergraduate group of students in early April – a couple weeks after the COVID-19 prevention measures (e.g., online learning) had been implemented at the University of Waterloo. Students who responded to our survey were from a second-year physiological psychology course, and were adjusting to these new and unexpected online course changes in all of their courses. We found that students perceived significant decreases in their abilities to keep track of time and day relative to their experiences before these COVID-19 prevention measures were implemented. 

Why is this important to our mental health?

We know these changes in time/day tracking are important for our mental health because of how these changes relate to changes in other factors that we examined. For example, we found that students who reported reduced abilities to track time were also more likely to report increases in their school-related anxiety, as well as decreases in their motivation. We also examined attentional factors that have previously been linked to mental health, and we found that when students reported reduced abilities to track time, they also reported reduced abilities to focus on school work and increased mindless technology use. Thus, students who are reporting worsened abilities to track time are also reporting worsening measures of mental health and attention.

What strategies can people use to help them deal with this phenomenon?

Researchers have already offered some suggestions for ways that we can improve our abilities to track the passage of time. One common method is the Pomodoro Technique, which suggests working and resting for a set time in a cyclic fashion (e.g., working for 25 minutes, resting for 5 minutes, repeat). Another technique that has been helpful is called Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intentions, which is involves first imagining a wished-for outcome that you’d like to see happen in the future (e.g., passing a midterm test), followed by imagining the roadblocks that might hold you back from obtaining that future (e.g., falling behind on your online course content). The last step is to plan how to deal with potential challenges beforehand (e.g., making up a schedule to stay on track and help you notice how much time you have left to prepare). This technique has been shown to improve both self-regulation and time management.

Lydia Hicks is a PhD candidate in the Psychology Department. She completed her undergraduate degree in the Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour program at McMaster University. She is broadly interested in the various factors that deplete or repair our attention.

November's first number of notes

A jack-o'lantern with the Waterloo Warriors logo carved into it in daytime and at night.

Waterloo alumnus Maria Marrone carved this Warriors jack-o'-lantern for Halloween. That's what I call some spooky school spirit.

Plant Operations is reporting that an elevator in Engineering 7 will be out of service for routine maintenance for two days beginning Tuesday, November 3 at 8:00 a.m. until Wednesday, November 4 at 4:00 p.m.

Information Systems and Technology (IST) has announced that single sign-on certificates for Webex will be updated on Tuesday, November 3 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Attendees and hosts logged in to Webex before and during the maintenance window may experience intermittent service issues. Users may need to log back in after the maintenance window. Anyone with questions or concerns can contact the IST Service Desk, or 519-888-4567 ext. 44357

Links of the day

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists

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.

Remote Course Design Essentials, beginning Wednesday, November 11. 

Assessment Design Cafe, Friday, November 20, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 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.

The Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre facilitates the sharing of Indigenous knowledge and provides culturally relevant information and support services for all members of the University of Waterloo community, including Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, staff, and faculty.

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.

Warriors vs. Laurier Blood Donation Battle, until December 2020. Join your fellow Warriors, donate blood and help us win the Blood Battle against Laurier for a second year in a row. Set up a profile or add the PFL code: UNIV960995 to your account if you have a account already. Questions? Contact

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.

WaterLeadership: Develop a Knowledge Mobilization Plan for Your Grant Proposals (Q&A with Nancy Goucher), Tuesday, November 3, 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

More Feet on the Ground Mental Health Training for Students, Wednesday, November 4, 9:30 a.m., Online – Register on GoSignMeUp

Noon Hour Concert: noondaagochige, Wednesday, November 4, 12:30 p.m., Online, Free.

Concept Intro Session: Billion Dollar Briefing, Wednesday November 4, 5:00 p.m., Virtual Event.

Cheriton School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture Series, featuring Oren Etzioni, Allen Institute for AI and the University of Washington, “Semantic Scholar, NLP, and the Fight Against COVID-19,” Thursday, November 5, 3:30 p.m., Zoom.

Waterloo’s annual travel survey for employees and students is available until Friday, November 6.