Tuesday, June 8, 2021

President issues statement on Islamophobic attack in London

A message from Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor.

I am heartbroken and horrified over the deadly attack in London, Ontario. It is Islamophobiaand it is terrorism. We must not stand for this. 

I want all Muslims in the University of Waterloo community and beyond to know thiswe are here for you as you grieve the loss of this family. We grieve with you. 

Nobody should fear for their safety based on their religious beliefs, the colour of their skin, or simply who they are. We must do more to stop hate and make Canada a more tolerant, respectful and inclusive place for everyone.  

Please know that help is available for you if you are struggling or grieving.  


  • Mental health support line for Muslim youth 1-866-NASEEHA (627-3342) 
  • Counselling Services 519-888-4567 ext. 32655
  • Empower Me 1-833-628-5589.  


  • Homewood Health - 1-800-663-1142 

Our Equity Office is available for anyone seeking support with Islamophobia: https://uwaterloo.ca/human-rights-equity-inclusion/equity-office/resources-tools-get-support/get-support  

Volunteer with the University's United Way Campaign

Members of the University of Waterloo's United Way campaign committee stand in front of a banner.

Looking for an opportunity to make a difference in your community, enhance your skills, or have something to brag about on your performance evaluation? And maybe have a bit of fun while working with a small team of amazing people to help make your community a stronger, more resilient, and happier place? There’s no better way to do this than through volunteering for the United Way Campaigna cause that reaches those who need it and fosters autonomy and dignity.

For those who don’t know, our university hosts a fund-raising campaign every October for the United Way Waterloo Region Communities. The money raised is distributed to various charities across the KW area – such as the Literacy Group, Sexual Assault Support Centre, KW Access-Ability, Kitchener-Waterloo Counselling Services, and dozens more.

Planning and administering the campaign is the effort of several dedicated Core Committee members who work throughout the year to ensure our workplace campaign connects with our strong campus community to raise donations.

We’re looking for resourceful and enthusiastic people, just like you, to help us make this year’s campaign a massive success, especially since this pandemic has impacted many people in our community with undue hardships.

Learn how you can make a difference in your community while building upon key skills in areas like leadership, communications, event planning, and administration. Volunteer today.

Researchers address key research gaps in microplastic pollution

This article was originally featured on the Water Institute's website.

A person holds a sieve full of bits of plastic strained out of a body of water.Plastics pollution is a global environmental hazard with potentially harmful impacts on wildlife, ecosystem services, and human health and wellbeing. Microplastics in particular are of great concern because of their ability to be transported over great distances and absorb and disperse contaminants widely. Due to their extremely small sizes (from several millimeters to less than a micrometer) and great variety of shapes (pellets, films, fibers), one of the most significant research challenges is attempting to identify sources, transport pathways and environmental fates of microplastics.

An interdisciplinary research team led by Water Institute member and Professor in Waterloo’s Faculty of Science, Philippe Van Cappellen, intends to close critical gaps in our understanding of plastic pollution and its impacts, and generate new knowledge to support policy and decision-making aimed at reducing microplastic pollution and enabling the shift to a circular economy for plastics in Canada.

"By assembling together researchers from across the University of Waterloo, we will improve the capacity to detect, quantify and characterize microplastics and nanoplastics in the environment, and develop the assessment and modelling tools needed to comprehensively describe their sources and environmental fates,” said Van Cappellen. “Our goal is to contribute to science-based risk assessments, governance approaches and adaptive watershed management strategies designed to reduce and prevent the environmental and health impacts of plastics. "

This interdisciplinary project brings together expertise in watershed hydrology, limnology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, material sciences, nanotechnology, drinking water protection, wastewater treatment, environmental modelling, and environmental economics. The proposed holistic approach will link the sources, transport pathways, fate and exposure risks of microplastics at the scale of entire watersheds.

The research team builds on strong partnerships and will be working closely with federal (Environment and Climate Change Canada), provincial (Ontario Clean Water Agency) and regional (Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Region of Waterloo) government agencies, a non-governmental organization (Environmental Defence), a start-up company (Hoola One), University of Waterloo’s Water Institute, and the newly funded European research project EUROqCHARM: European quality Controlled Harmonization Assuring Reproducible Monitoring and assessment of plastic pollution.

"Our partners recognize that the issue of microplastics is of great public concern,” said Van Cappellen. “Working collaboratively with these partners will increase our capacity to explore more watersheds, access additional equipment and facilities, and facilitate public messaging, knowledge transfer and policy responses."

The research team will be sampling a number of watersheds across Canada. Important objectives are to analyze the reactivity and breakdown of microplastics in river systems and reservoirs, quantify the loads of microplastics delivered to the lower Great Lakes, optimize microplastics elimination in wastewater treatment plants, and determine the abundance and diversity of microplastics in drinking water sources and assess the associated exposure risks and economic implications.

The project is supported through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) and Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) joint funding initiative on Plastics science for a cleaner future. Environment and Climate Change Canada made the announcement today.

The project’s principal investigators are Philippe Van Cappellen and Fereidoun Rezanezhad (Earth and Environmental Sciences), Carolyn Ren (Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering), Wayne Parker and Peter Huck (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Rodney SmithJohn Honek and Juewen Liu (Chemistry), Roy Brouwer (Economics) and Roland Hall (Biology).

Microsoft Teams data collection policy change postponed

A message from Information Systems & Technology (IST).

The Teams data retention policy changes that were to be implemented today, June 8, are being postponed. The new implementation date will be communicated once confirmed. 

A summary of the pending changes includes

  • A one-year retention policy will be implemented for Microsoft Teams Chats (i.e., private 1:1 and group chat messages) (there was previously no retention policy for these chats);
  • Posts to a Teams Channel, including those made during a meeting, will be retained for the life of the Team (was previously three years);
  • Other Teams data (e.g., files) will not be impacted and will continue to exist for the life of the Team.  

Learn more about Teams

Visit the IST Knowledge Base to learn more about Teams, including Teams FAQs and Teams training resources. 

Ask us anything about data collection and other notes

Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion (HREI) is hosting a virtual event today entitled Equity Survey: Ask Us Anything About Data Collection from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. online, in advance of the campus-wide equity survey set for distribution next week.

"In mid-June 2021, Waterloo will invite all students and employees to participate in an equity survey. The purpose of this survey is to better understand the makeup of our community," says the note from HREI. "This virtual Ask Us Anything About Data Collection event will review the need for an equity survey, discuss the processes used to develop the survey, and create space and opportunity to hear any questions and/or concerns from the campus community regarding equity survey data collection and use."

The survey is voluntary, and respondents will have complete control over how much information their choose to share and are free to add or remove information when invited to complete survey updates.

The Library wants faculty feedback: The University of Waterloo Library invites faculty to participate in two feedback opportunities:

Library Website: Usability Test

  • What will you be doing? You will be using the Library website to complete short tasks and answer questions.
  • How long is the session? One hour maximum
  • Where does it take place? Virtually in MS Teams.
  • When is the study? Mid-June.
  • What will you receive? A small gift to show our appreciation.

Master Space Planning:

The Library is initiating the creation of a Master Space Plan for the Davis Centre and Dana Porter libraries. This project entails envisioning how library space will evolve over the next couple of decades. For this project, feedback from faculty is critical. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on new spaces and services that could be integrated into the Library.

  • What will you be doing? Participate in a virtual 30-60 minute consultation
  • How long is the session? One hour maximum
  • Where does it take place? Virtually in MS Teams.
  • When is the study? Mid-July.
  • What will you receive? A small gift to show our appreciation.

Interested in participating?

Book a time that works for you.

Want to learn more?

Please contact: Agnes Zientarska-Kayko and/or Carmen Peters.

Plant Operations reports that there was a failure in the campus's high voltage system around 1:00 a.m. this morning and that workers have been on site through the night to repair the damaged equipment. Power to all buildings except the General Services Complex was restored earlier this morning and ventilation controls are back online. Power was restored relatively quickly because the campus is served by a "loop" rather than a single power line. A high-voltage contractor will be on-site this morning to test equipment and energize the remaining parts of the system.

Link of the day

World Ocean 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.

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 https://wusa.ca/peersupport to book an appointment

Bike Centre – Open via Appointments and Rentals

Campus Response Team, ICSN, Off Campus Community and Co-op Connection all available online. Check https://wusa.ca 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 foodsupport@wusa.ca.

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

Bike Month, Tuesday, June 1 to Wednesday, June 30.

NEW - Equity Survey: Ask Us Anything About Data Collection, Tuesday, June 8, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Concept Intro Session: Conversing with Confidence, Tuesday, June 8, 5:30 p.m., virtual event.

W4: Waterloo Womxn + Nonbinary Wednesdays Workshops, Wednesday, June 9.

More Feet on the Ground Mental Health Training, Wednesday, June 9, 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon.

2Spirit, Queer & Trans Futures Panel, Wednesday, June 9, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. 

Concept Working Session: Customer Validation Practice, Wednesday, June 9, 5:30 p.m., virtual event.

Conrad School, Part-time Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) Info.Session, “Meet the Part-time MBETs” Online information session and Q&A with current part-time MBET students and alumni, Wednesday, June 9, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Happy Pride: Steps towards creating and maintaining healthy queer positive relationships, Wednesday, June 9, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

NEW - International Conference on Games and Narrative, Friday, June 11 to Wednesday, June 16.

Lectures in Catholic Experience presents No Power Higher: 12-step Recovery without God, Friday, June 11, 7:30 p.m. featuring Zachary Munro, doctoral candidate, University of Waterloo / Researcher for Non-religion in a Complex Future.