Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Shift Neutral Town Hall today

Shift Neutral Town Hall banner showing an aerial view of campus.

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

An exterior image of the COVID testing and assessment centre at Health Services.

"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:

"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.

For more information on faculty salaries, visit the Human Resources website or  the FAUW website.

Q and A with the experts: COVID-19 means we need a "winter strategy" to keep us outside and in touch

Troy Glover at a sports field.

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.

Link of the day

World Science Day for Peace and Develpment

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):

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

Remote Course Design Essentials, beginning Wednesday, November 11. 

NEW - Connecting your students to course materialThursday, November 12, 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

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 foodsupport@wusa.ca.

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: https://wusa.ca/bikecentre

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 caps@wusa.ca. More information at http://wusa.ca/caps

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 blood.ca account already. Questions? Contact WarriorsInfo@uwaterloo.ca.

Shift Neutral Town Hall, Tuesday, November 10. 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Map the System Student Webinar, hosted by the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement, Tuesday, November 10, 3:00 p.m. Registration required.

Remembrance Day, Wednesday, November 11.

Social Justice Wednesdays presents a Virtual Discussion with Dr. Greta Kroeker, "The Artemisia Project and Rape Culture in Early Modern Europe,” Wednesday November 11, 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m., Webex meeting invite available through link.

Noon Hour Concert: The Path before Me - A Woman's Journey (Premiere), Wednesday, November 11, 12:30 p.m.

Global Insights: “Asia, the West, and the Global Economy: Promise or Crisis? featuring a panel of international experts, including Waterloo Professor John Ravenhill, and moderated by Balsillie School Director Ann Fitz-Gerald, Thursday, November 12, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Grad Student Community and Conversation Circle, Thursday, November 12, 3:30 p.m., Online – Register on GoSignMeUp.

WaterLeadership: Get Published: Tips from Editors-in-Chief (Live Webinar), Tuesday, November 17, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Portfolio & Project Management Community of Practice (PPM CoP) session, "How to create time to reach a goal," Wednesday, November 18, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Register for this event.

NEW - Proteus Innovation Competition, Thursday, November 19. Register by November 18.