Shift Neutral Town Hall today
A message from the Sustainability Office.
The virtual town hall meeting on Waterloo's Shift: Neutral climate action plan will be taking place this afteroon from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. via Teams Live Events.
Attendees can connect to the event using the link to the live stream, which will begin at approximately 1:25 p.m.
The event will feature welcoming comments from President Feridun Hamdullahpur, an overview of the plan, and an open Question & Answer session moderated by Dean of Environment Jean Andrey.
We hope you can join and support the discussion around Waterloo’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions across campus operations.
COVID-19 Testing Assessment Centre availability expands
"I’m pleased to share that the campus COVID-19 Testing Assessment Centre at Health Services is now also open to family members of all University of Waterloo students, employees, and postdocs," wrote President Feridun Hamdullahpur in a memo circulated to students and employees yesterday. "Many in our campus community have expressed the need for this service to be extended, so I am very pleased that groups across campus have worked to make this important step in our COVID-19 response possible."
Family members must be living at the same household/residential address as the student, employee or postdoctoral fellow.
How to make an appointment for testing
Testing is by appointment only. You do not need a doctor’s referral to get tested.
To make an appointment:
- Complete this online COVID-19 Assessment Registration Form.
- Once registered online, you will be contacted with an appointment date and time. Appointment times will be from Monday to Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
"We must continue to look out for one another and each do our part to keep our campus community safe," says a communication from Health Services. "You can learn more about COVID-19 testing on the Health Services website."
Faculty salary negotiating teams established
A message from James W.E. Rush, vice-president, academic & provost, and Professor Dan Brown, president, Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo (FAUW).
The negotiating teams for the upcoming faculty compensation negotiations have been established.
On the University administration side, the team is composed of Professor Bob Lemieux (Chief Negotiator) dean of the Faculty of Science, Professor Jean Andrey, dean of the Faculty of Environment, and Professor Mark Giesbrecht, dean of the Faculty of Mathematics.
Representing FAUW is Professor Bryan Tolson (Chief Negotiator) of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
Professor Mary Hardy of Statistics and Actuarial Science, and Continuing Lecturer Linda Robinson, director of the University’s Centre for Accounting Ethics.
A portion of faculty salaries are determined through negotiation, with other factors including performance evaluations also affecting pay.
The previous faculty salary settlement was negotiated in 2018 and remains in effect until April 30, 2021.
The faculty compensation negotiations are set to begin in December, and the chief negotiators of both teams have been in contact to confirm logistical plans in advance of the beginning of negotiations.
Q and A with the experts: COVID-19 means we need a "winter strategy" to keep us outside and in touch
The University of Waterloo has a number of experts available for comment on various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For months, we’ve relied on the outdoors to enable us to gather with others in relative safety. Slow streets, expanded bike lanes, and extended patios, as well as access to quality open spaces, trails, and parks made the COVID-19 experience more tolerable.
As we brace for another possible spike in COVID-19 infections this winter, Professor Troy Glover of Waterloo’s Recreation and Leisure Studies program says we need a reason to bundle up and go outside.
Glover says more towns and cities should follow the lead of places like Montreal, Edmonton and Winnipeg – which have dubbed themselves “winter cities” and have embraced a global movement to bring tourism to winter destinations.
Why do we need a winter strategy?
While it may seem safer to stay apart and inside within our bubbles during the pandemic, the fact is, the risk of contagion worsens indoors. Outside, air dilutes the virus, thereby mitigating the risk, as long as people physically distance, within public health guidelines.
We should be worried about an escalation of COVID-19 cases, but we should also be concerned about the negative impact of social isolation on our community. Social isolation can severely harm our well-being, especially for those already dealing with depression. “Winter blues” will likely take on a whole new meaning this year. Accordingly, the health benefits of social connectedness ought to outweigh the low risk of transmission in outdoor settings.
What is a winter strategy?
First, let’s invest in outdoor sociability. Installing gas heaters, creating warming stations, erecting overhead shelters, and replacing outdoor metal seating with wooden benches or straw bales make outdoor spaces more inviting in the winter. We’re seeing some of these strategies with the extension of patio programs, but they need to be expanded further. Municipalities should work with fire departments to enable the safe use of public fire pits. Ultimately, we need a four-season patio culture, and this year ought to be the start of one.
Second, let’s encourage physical activity during the winter season, albeit more creatively. What if we flooded a portion of local trails for skating? What about hosting a weekly candlelit night walk? We’ve already seen a temporary commitment to expanding protected bike networks, so why not continue it into the winter? Also, what about making sure sidewalks are cleared to ensure everyone, no matter their ability, can get outside and enjoy the outdoors? If we want people to remain active during winter, we need to provide a supportive infrastructure.
Third, let’s eventify our public spaces. Street markets can boost community spirit during the coldest season, so more of them would be welcome. What about organizing Open Streets in the winter?
Fourth, let’s support more outdoor attractions. In addition to extending patios, why not encourage more pop-up food vendors, like food trucks, outdoor barbecues, and hot chocolate bars to create foodscapes in our communities? What about building makeshift stages for musicians, church or school choirs, or theatre groups? These spectacles could occupy the same space as outdoor rinks and tobogganing hills. We could learn from ski towns that make après ski activities rival the enjoyment of the slopes themselves.
Who will make this happen? How will it work?
These sorts of initiatives can transform our streets, parks, and open spaces into great places to be during our coldest, darkest season, while also creating exciting spaces for our local businesses to thrive. Many of these strategies are already in use, but a more deliberate plan to coordinate and leverage them for greater benefit would help us change mindsets about winter.
Local, provincial and even the federal government can encourage these strategies, and they should. We’re all going to need a bit more help to get through this tough winter ahead.
Professor Troy Glover is the Chair of the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences. His research interests include transformative placemaking, which is the creation of positive change for people and communities through the (re)shaping, (re)territorializing, and (re)making of community spaces. He is also the director of the Healthy Communities Research Network.