Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Show your support on Giving Tuesday

A banner for Giving Tuesday that shows a woman in a lab coat with "will you rise to the challenge?" highlighted.

A message from the Office of Advancement.

Today, people around the world will come together to support charitable causes they care about. We hope you’ll join them, by making a gift to Waterloo.   

Your gift can help unlock more than $100,000 in charitable support for projects across campus. Or, depending on which challenge you choose, your gift could be matched, effectively doubling its impact. If you’re our lucky 100th or 500th donor, your gift will receive a $1,000 top-up.

On our Giving Tuesday site, you’ll find some cool features to keep you on top of the action in real time:

  • track the progress of individual challenges;
  • see which challenges have received the most support – in dollars and in number of donors – with our leaderboard;
  • see where in the world gifts are coming in from as they are made;
  • browse our donor roll to see who made a gift and where they directed their support; and
  • let your Facebook and Twitter followers know you support Waterloo.

On Thursday we’ll share the results with all Giving Tuesday donors. Thank you for supporting Waterloo.

Transition and Orientation programming for Waterloo's newest students

Students stand on the bridge over Laurel Creek.

The Student Success Office and Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) are providing an update on transition and orientation programs for incoming undergraduate and graduate students.

For graduate students: Waterloo Grad Ready

Starting today, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) will welcome 700+ incoming master’s and doctoral students for winter 2021 through the Waterloo Grad Ready program.  Over the course of eight weeks, the virtual transition and orientation program will offer graduate students a suite of resources to prepare for grad studies at Waterloo, including:

  • a winter 2021 new student checklist;
  • opportunities to build connections with other incoming students;
  • resources to help them transition to graduate life at the University of Waterloo; and
  • live sessions to welcome them to campus and support their ongoing graduate experience.

Waterloo Grad Ready will be delivered through UWaterloo’s online learning management system, LEARN. To learn more about Waterloo Grad Ready, visit the Graduate Studies Resources website, designed specifically for our faculty and staff.  For questions, email gradready@uwaterloo.ca.

For undergraduate students: Waterloo Ready

Approximately 56 new undergraduate students will begin their studies in January 2021. To help welcome these students, whether they are coming to Waterloo or learning online from elsewhere, the Student Success Office is providing coordinated resources to prepare students for their first term at Waterloo, including:

  • Email communications about the steps they need to take before they start their first term.
  • Waterloo Ready LEARN content about what to expect academically and socially, including online learning resources.
  • The option to participate in a peer mentorship virtual community with other new students and ask questions from an upper year students.

For questions about Waterloo Ready for undergraduate students, email sso.newstudent@uwaterloo.ca.

Rethinking priorities and reinventing economies

A collage of Waterloo Innovation Summit speakers.

This is an excerpt of an article originally published on Waterloo Stories.

As governments and businesses in Canada and around the world look to rebuild from the economic fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have an opportunity to rethink and retool capitalism to meet the challenges of the climate crisis.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly created an imperative to restart,” said Jean Andrey, dean of the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo. “But it's also an opportunity for us to rethink economies at the local, national and global scale.”

Business leaders, entrepreneurs and academics like Andrey came together virtually on Monday to discuss the possibilities for a greener economic recovery. The Waterloo Innovation Summit explored the business case for climate capitalism and illuminated the imperative to balance sustainable financial growth with sustainable environmental impact. As we all look for solutions to recover from a global pandemic and a climate in crisis, we asked speakers how we can seize this crisis as an opportunity to rethink our priorities and redesign the global economy, cities and job markets.

Running out of time

The event’s keynote address was delivered by entrepreneur, author and venture capitalist Tom Rand (BASc '91), who emphasized the need for innovation, not just in technological solutions to climate change, but in our economy and society as well. Rand also highlighted the urgency of the situation, adding that we no longer have time to rely on tools like a carbon tax. The time has come, he said, to prioritize efficacy over efficiency.

When asked how the pandemic changed society's view toward climate resilience and green recovery, alumnus Tom Rand (BASc ’91) said he hopes individuals realize how important the public sector is as conductors of recovery, and how private sectors need to follow suit.

“If your house is on fire, you don't care about how efficient the fire hose is, right?” asked Rand. “You care about how much water it puts on the fire, and you don’t really care if the hose leaks. So, when we think about innovations on the policy side, we need to think about how effective it is and how fast it will lower emissions?”

Investing in cleantech

The importance of investment in renewable energy and carbon reduction technologies was a common theme throughout the Summit. Professor Olaf Weber, a University Research Chair in Sustainable Finance, pointed to a lack of conventional investments, referencing a report that less than 1 per cent of research and development investment is in renewables. Government help could take the form of financial supports for investors or the idea of a sustainable infrastructure bank, he said, adding that as governments look forward to rebuilding, they’ll have a decision to make.

“After COVID, there will be much money spent to recover. So, do we want to continue to pour it into the fossil fuel industry, or do we want to change and invest into other industries?” asked Weber, who joined the event’s second panel.

Read the rest of the article on Waterloo Stories.

Notes as December's first snow settles in on December 1st

There is snow on the ground with more on the way and the Waterloo Region District School Board has cancelled schools, but the University of Waterloo in the main is open today, with a couple of exceptions:

  • Bright Starts Co-operative Early Learning Centre, located on the University's north campus, will be closed today, reopening on Wednesday, December 2 at 8:00 a.m.
  • The Early Childhood Education Centre, located in the PAS building, is also closed today due to the weather.

According to the University's weather closing guidelines, the University and the affiliated and federated institutions of Waterloo will close "because of severe weather when normal operation would pose a significant danger to students and employees, or would prevent large numbers of them from coming to campus or returning safely to their homes."

For the most part it is safe to assume that the University's default status is "open" unless messaging indicates otherwise.

Notice of the University's status will be posted on days where severe weather is forecast, normally at 6:00 a.m., to allow faculty, staff and students time to decide their course of action that day. As the guidelines indicate, "those who judge that it may be unsafe to come to campus should discuss alternate work and study arrangements with their instructor or supervisor."

Link of the day

World AIDS 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.

Updated Course templates are now available within your course in LEARN to help you build and edit your content and assignment pages quickly.

The following workshops, webinars, and events are offered by 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. 

Getting Started in LEARNWednesday, December 9, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.   

Getting Started in LEARNThursday, December 10, 1:00 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.

Stay informed about COVID cases on campus by consulting the COVID case tracker.

Whether you’re student or faculty, the Writing and Communication Centre has virtual services and programs to help you with your academic writing needs. 

  • Undergraduate students - come brainstorm, draft, revise and polish your assignments with us by meeting with one of our writing and multimodal communication specialists at a virtual appointment. Chat with our awesome peer tutors at our virtual drop-ins, PJ-friendly writing groups and Instagram Live Q&As. Or check out our online workshops at anytime, anywhere.
  • Graduate students - meet with one of our advisors at any step of the process at our virtual appointments. Take an online workshop at anytime, or join a virtual writing session at our Virtual Writing Cafés and #WaterlooWrites groups.
  • All UWaterloo instructors and faculty can request and access WCC workshops for use in your courses. You can also 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. 

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 https://wusa.ca/services/centre-academic-policy-support-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.

University Christmas Project is seeking sponsors for clothing and gifts for children in need. Contact Christian Girodat at ceedco44@uwaterloo.ca for information on how to participate.

Take the UN75 survey. Waterloo International is asking the Waterloo community to fill out a survey to gather your perspectives about the state of global governance and where it should be headed. If you have questions, contact Aisha Shibli.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, Wednesday, November 25 to Friday, December 10.

Giving Tuesday, Tuesday, December 1.

NEW - National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women ceremony, Friday, December 4, 10:30 a.m.

Geographies of Threat, Cities of Violence: Shaw-Mannell Lecture with Rasul Mowatt (Indiana University Bloomington). Friday, December 4, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Lectures and classes end, Monday, December 7.

NEW - Pre-examination study day, Tuesday, December 8.

NEW - Final examinations begin, Wednesday, December 9.

QPR Mental Health Training for Faculty and Staff, Wednesday, December 9, 9:30 a.m., online – Register on GoSignMeUp.

NEW - Examinations on Sunday, Sunday, December 13.

NEW - Faculty panel: Making the Most of Your Mid-Career Years, Tuesday, December 15, 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Please register to get the link.