Monday, May 10, 2021

Celebrating the Class of 2021: an update on Convocation

The University's mace.

Convocation ceremonies will be taking place in online formats in June, and invitations are being sent to the graduands via email today. President Feridun Hamdullahpur is providing an update for employees about the University's plans for Spring convocation.

"Convocation is a monumental occasion in the life of our students and we look forward to celebrating the University of Waterloo graduating Class of 2021," President Hamdullahpur writes. "Many of you, our staff and faculty, work behind the scenes to make sure convocation is a ceremony to remember."

"The decision to not host in-person convocation ceremonies was a very difficult one to make. Not being able to celebrate in person is a disappointment for our spring 2021 graduates and our campus community. As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the well-being of our students, their families and our campus community remains our top priority." 

"We have a dedicated team of staff and faculty across the campus working to ensure our students have a memorable experience. Alumni from around the world are supporting these efforts and are eager to congratulate our newest alumni."

"Though we can’t gather in person, let’s come together to celebrate our students’ achievements virtually with photos, remarks and videos. Here’s how you can support and celebrate convocation this June."

UWaterloo celebrations

"Based on student feedback, the format of our ceremonies will closely resemble a traditional in-person convocation. We will have live, online remarks and speeches to make our graduates feel special and recognized. There will be six ceremonies, one per faculty as well as a PhD reception event."

"You are welcome to attend convocation ceremonies. If you are interested in attending, please register on the convocation website."

"You can also participate on social media. The Class of 2021 will be celebrated the week of convocation (June 14 to 20) on our Waterloo social channels and home page. We ask you to join us in this celebration using #UWaterlooGrad in your posts."

Faculty celebrations

Deans will participate live in the online ceremony on June 18 and 19. They will share messages on behalf of their faculty, introduce the valedictorians, honorary doctorates (for relevant faculties) and special student awards.

We encourage faculty members to attend a ceremony as part of the virtual audience. You can participate in live chats and wish graduates well as they start their next chapter. Faculty should watch for invitations being delivered today and learn how faculty can share advice to our graduating class.

Keeping students informed

Students who may be eligible to graduate this spring are receiving a bi-weekly newsletter with information and resources for spring convocation. Our convocation website is updated accordingly.

Over the past year, we have witnessed the resiliency and compassion of our community in the face of unprecedented challenges. Thanks to each of you for working together to ensure the best academic experience for our students.

Up-to-date information is available on the University's convocation website and you can send questions to

Waterloo students bring home silver in Solar Decathlon event

A banner celebrating the University of Waterloo's student team in the Solar Decathlon.

The University of Waterloo's Warrior Home team brought home a number of trophies as part of the 2020 U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon Build Challenge, an international competition that challenges university students to design and build highly-efficient buildings. The event, which took place from April 15 to 18, was the culmination of three years of hard work for the design team.

Over the last several years, the Warrior Home Team designed and built a net-zero energy building on the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation’s Neyaashiinigmiing Reserve in southwestern Ontario. During the Solar Decathlon competition, the Warrior Home Team won a total of six trophies for their design and build:

  • 1st in Financial Feasibility & Affordability
  • 2nd for the 2020 Build Challenge
  • 2nd for Comfort and Environmental Quality
  • 2nd in Resilience
  • 3rd in Market Potential
  • 3rd in Innovation

The University of Waterloo was the only Canadian University competing in the Solar Decathlon Build Challenge, and worked with Habitat for Humanity Grey-Bruce to complete the project, which was recently profiled in the Daily Bulletin.

You can check out the award ceremony, including the announcement of the University of Waterloo's second-place finish.

"We would like to acknowledge and congratulate the following students who competed in the seven presentations at the Solar Decathlon: Gabrielle Tuck, Jeffrey Ren, Darren Sheh, Nancy Zhou, Jessica Dulku, Dana Usaty, Ankit Shah, Kashifah Ahmed, Sara Turner, Michael Wong, Galen Fernandes, Nicole Politis, Rebecca Wong, Matea Ceric, Pierre Roy, Sharon Emmanuel, Anastasia Jaffray, Dilroz Rana, Ryan Charlinski, Asjad Khan and Kyle MacDonald," wrote Professor Daniel LaCroix and Lecturer Andrea Atkins, both of Civil and Environmental Engineering, in a letter to colleagues. "Also, congratulations to the numerous students involved in the Team throughout the last few years. Finally, thank you to the following Faculty members who have mentored and helped the Warrior Home Team: Professors Cory Zurell, David Mather, and Costa Kapsis."

A collection of recollections and reminders

Human Resources is reminding employees that employee benefit plan provider Canada Life will be hosting two more public information sessions this month about what the recent changes to the benefit plan means for faculty, staff, and their dependents.

If you attend a session, you can expect to hear about benefits changes for:

  • in vitro fertilization (IVF),
  • continuous glucose monitors,
  • vision care,
  • age for dependent children,
  • enhanced paramedical and out-of-country coverage, and
  • prescription drug management programs.

Following the presentation, representatives from Canada Life and Human Resources will be available to answer questions.

The sessions are scheduled as follows:

  • Monday, May 17, 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon;
  • Thursday, May 20, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

In the event you are unable to attend, a copy of the presentation has been posted on the HR website. Please register online.

Also as a reminder, the Co-operative Education Council is requesting proposals for the re-development of a PD course that focuses on critical reflection and workplace success. Development will take place August 2021 to July 2022.

This course will be the second core PD course that students in the faculties of Arts, Environment, and Health take and is typically completed during their first work term. A major reflective report will serve as the final assignment and counts as the first work term report for these students. The course is also available as a PD elective to co-op students in other faculties.

The proposed objectives for the course are:

  • Provide strategies to help students make the most of workplace opportunities and challenges
  • Introduce the value of professional development and work-integrated learning
  • Demonstrate the value of critical reflection for personal and professional growth
  • Reinforce the importance of planning for the future of work, through integration of Waterloo’s Future Ready Talent Framework

Authoring a PD course means participating in the development of an innovative online course and gaining experience with work-integrated learning. It also offers members of the University community a unique opportunity to reach thousands of co-op students across multiple faculties each term. Since this course is typically completed during the students’ first work term, its instructor can make a positive impact on student learning and workplace success at a critical juncture in their co-op journey.

Additional information can be found in the Request for Proposals on WatPD’s website. In advance of submitting a proposal, interested applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Natalie Clifford, Manager of Academic Programs, by sending an email to

Proposals need to be submitted to Natalie Clifford by May 23, 2021.

Wayne Whetstone at the University Club.Longtime Food Services employee Wayne Whetstone is retiring after 47 years at the University. 

"We are wishing Wayne Whetstone a happy retirement and we know that many more on campus have gotten to know Wayne and would like to wish him well," writes Wayne's colleague Amanda Liebeck. "We have created a Kudo board for people to send him a farewell message."

Link of the day

35 years ago: Rock Me Amadeus

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.

Course templates are 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):

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.

The Writing and Communication Centre has virtual services and programs to help undergrads, grad students, postdocs and faculty members with academic writing.

Co-op students can get help finding a job and find supports to successfully work remotely, develop new skills, access wellness and career information, and contact a co-op or career advisor.

The Centre for Career Action assists undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, staff, faculty, and alumni through navigating career services that are right for them. You can attend a one-on-one appointment or same day drop-in session at the CCA for assistance with cover letter writing, career planning and much more. You can also book an appointment online or visit our Live Chat to connect with our Client Support Team. The CCA is here to help you.

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 TreatmentGood2Talk is a post-secondary student helpline available to all students.

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 Indigenous Initiatives Office is a central hub that provides guidance, support, and resources to all Indigenous and non-Indigenous campus community members and oversees the university Indigenization strategy.

The Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, based at St. Paul’s University College, provides support and resources for Indigenous students, and educational outreach programs for the broader community, including lectures, and events.

WUSA supports for students:

Peer support  - MATES, Glow Centre, RAISE, Women’s Centre - Visit to book an appointment

Bike Centre – Will be reopening soon

Campus Response Team, ICSN, Off Campus Community and Co-op Connection all available online. Check for more details.

Food Support Service food hampers are currently available from the Turnkey Desk on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Student Life Centre. If you have any questions please email us at

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.caMore information is available.

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 (Online Fitness)

Drop-in to Warrior Virtual Study Halls on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Come together in this virtual space to set goals and work independently or in groups each week.

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. 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

Virtual Writing Café, Tuesday, May 11, 9:00 a.m.

Return to Campus Virtual Town Hall, Tuesday, May 11, 1:30 p.m.

Breaking Free From Low Mood, Tuesday, May 11, 2:30 p.m.

PJ-Friendly Writing Groups, Wednesday, May 12, 10:00 a.m.

36th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Biomaterials Society, Thursday, May 13 to Saturday, May 15. Hosted by the University of Waterloo.

Indigenous-Mennonite Encounters: Conference Preview, Thursday, May 13, 10:00 a.m.

Engineering Term Olympics, Friday, May 14 and Saturday, May 15.

Lectures in Catholic Experience presents The Black Church in Canada featuring Carol Duncan, PhD, professor, Department of Religion and Culture, Wilfrid Laurier University, Friday, May 14, 7:30 p.m., online.

Centering Indigenous engagement in the work of wellbeing and health promotion, Monday, May 17, 1:00 p.m.

Ballet After Dark: Strength & Healing Through the Arts, Tuesday, May 18, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

GEDIx: A 30-minute Exchange, Tuesday, May 18, 1:00 p.m. 

Health Challenges Forum, Tuesday, May 18, 2:00 p.m.

Warriors Athletics and Recreation Spring Virtual Open House. Tuesday, May 18, 4:00 p.m. Learn about how to stay active and engaged this spring term. Register now.

How faculty members can counter anti-Black racism in universities, Wednesday, May 19, 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.

Resilient Warriors Virtual Panel presented by President’s Golf. Wednesday, May 26, 4:00 p.m. Panel featuring Mandy Bujold (Olympic Boxer), Dr. Kim Dawson (Mental Performance Consultant), Tre Ford (Student-Athlete) and Garrett Rank (NHL Referee, Canadian Amateur Golfer). Free tickets for students, staff, faculty and Alumni. Register now.