Friday, July 16, 2021

Waterloo enters Step 3 of the province's reopening framework

The Region of Waterloo has moved into Step 3 of Ontario’s Reopening Framework. "Step 3 means we are making small changes to campus operations as we continue to move towards more in person campus experiences," wrote Director of Safety Kate Windsor in a memo circulated to the campus community yesterday afternoon."

"We are continuing to resume in-person course activity scheduled for spring term," Windsor writes. "You can find a list of undergraduate and graduate courses happening in person on the COVID-19 website. Class sizes and safety procedures such as wearing a mask and physical distancing will stay in effect for the remainder of the spring term."

"If your departmental COVID-19 Safety Plan or course schedule requires you to work on campus you can now start or resume permitted activities with the approval of your supervisor. You must continue to follow the instructions for work laid out in your departmental safety plan. These regulations apply whether you or your colleagues have had a vaccination or not."

"The Step 3 regulations include no changes to current research activities. We are beginning to transition research safety plans and compliance monitoring from the Office of Research to Faculties. The Office of Research will share more information on this soon, after discussions with department chairs and deans."

Operational changes on campus

  • The Student Life Centre and Turnkey Desk are open Monday to Friday (excluding holidays) from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Limited study or dining spaces are available in the Great Hall. You must present a valid WatCard to use the space and there is a limit of one person per table only. The former Bomber patio is also open for use Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., seating for one person per table.
  • Athletics and Recreation will be opening Columbia Icefield (CIF) for open recreation, fitness classes and Fitness Centre usage as of Monday, July 19th. The PAC pool will open during the week of July 19th for lane swims. You must register in advance for all programs.
  • W Store Gifts + Apparel is open for in-person shopping Monday to Friday 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. W Store Course Materials + Supplies will re-open for in-person shopping in mid-August. Print + Retail Solutions will continue to facilitate textbook and course material ordering and offers shipping or curbside pickup options. W Print will be operating online-only until further notice.
  • All Library locations are closed except for book pickup and delivery services. Davis Centre Library is open for study space only: Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. by appointment.

"If you are working or studying on campus, please note that we are temporarily removing some COVID-19 signage from common areas in preparation for new signage that we will install in the coming weeks," Windsor's memo continues. "Please continue to follow all public health guidance including physical distancing, daily self-assessment using Campus Check-In, hand hygiene and use of face coverings in all common spaces."

"If you have not yet been vaccinated, or need to get a second dose, there is now an on-campus vaccine centre for employees, students and their families. The COVID-19 Rapid Antigen screening site is also open and screening eligible asymptomatic employees and students, no appointment needed."

"We appreciate your efforts in continuing to keep our campus community safe," Windsor concludes.

Water Institute announces 2021 Seed Grant recipients

Blue-green water droplets.

A message from the Water Institute.

The Water Institute is pleased to announce that two research teams have been awarded funding in the recent 2021 seed grant competition. The Water Institute’s seed grant program was initiated in 2014 to stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration, international partnerships, and to encourage the development of research proposals that tackle increasingly complex global water issues. 

This year’s seed grant projects include diverse initiatives and collaborators: 

Supporting decisions about groundwater extraction for irrigation with modern economic risk assessments  

Primary Applicant


Farm irrigation equipment suspended over a field of crops.The team will explore the application of risk management strategies developed in the finance literature, in particular the use of conditional value at risk (CVAR), to decisions about groundwaterextraction for agriculture. More specifically, the seed grant will be used to develop a decision-making framework using CVAR to characterize the risk-return trade-off of groundwater extraction in an agricultural context. The team will develop this framework focusing on two case studies: 1) irrigation in the severely depleted High Plains Aquifer in Kansas; and 2) expanding irrigation in the Saskatchewan River watershed in the Canadian Prairies.  

Data fusion and analysis to predict overland flow flood risk: establishing a proof of concept 

Primary Applicant:

  • Derek Robinson, Department of Geography and Environmental Management 


An image of a creek overgrown with vegetations.The team will use the seed grant to support work being undertaken by the City of Kitchener to restore Montgomery and Shoemaker creeks, which will include “daylighting” and reconfiguring water channels, installing new recreation areas, and, in collaboration with a local NGO (Reep Green Solutions), implementing a major educational and assistance campaign to encourage property owners to implement precipitation catchment features. The proposed seed grant will be used to 1) create a proof of concept showcasing how street-view data can be used to identify locations of flood risk, 2) collect baseline data prior to the modification of both the natural and human system, 3) identify critical properties for stormwater retention features, and 4) develop a working relationship with potential partners for future proposal collaboration. 

Congratulations to both research teams.

Graduating from university — 36 years after I started

A banner image showing a recent photo of Glen Cooke and a photo from his undergraduate days in the 1980s.

By Glenn Cooke (BMath ’20). This article was originally published in the Spring 2021 issue of Waterloo Magazine.

I was accepted into a Waterloo math program back in the early 1980s. Unfortunately, I was far too immature to be successful. I lasted a few terms but eventually I had “required to withdraw” on my transcript.

Over the decades, I settled in Waterloo Region, got married, had a family and built a career. Despite not completing my degree, I always felt it was an important milestone. I maintained that when I retired, I would finish my degree.

Working in the yard one day I realized there was no reason to defer it any longer. I wasn’t sure I would be able to complete a degree in retirement, and my career allowed me the flexibility to attend classes.

So at the age of 51, I re-applied to math at Waterloo.

On my first day, I was fortunate to meet undergraduate advisor Alice Pfeifer-Hanov (BA ’06). When she asked everyone if they had their form, I stuck my hand up and queried, “Form? There’s a form?” Alice took me under her wing from that point forward. Without her guidance and support, along with other staff and faculty, I likely wouldn’t have been successful.

Despite the age difference, my classmates were friendly and welcoming. The current generation of students are the smartest, most welcoming group of people to ever grace this planet. The next 20 years is going to be an exciting time as they move out into the workforce and start to make changes in society.

Some new connections revolutionized my career. A professor who frequently mentors entrepreneurial students helped me shape a business idea which led to my being accepted to the Accelerator Centre, an incubator just north of campus. Thanks to the infrastructure, mentorship and overall ecosystem, I launched my venture, an online life insurance company, far more successfully than I could have on my own.

Surprisingly, a sense of accomplishment wasn’t my main takeaway when I graduated in 2020. Instead, I have a sense of closure for something that’s been unfinished for far too long.

Today, every time I pass the campus entrance, I point at the signs and proudly say, “I went to school there!”

W Store offers staff computer purchase payroll deduction program

A man sits at a table using three computers.

A message from W Store.

With back to school season just around the corner, many of us are looking to upgrade our personal computer hardware for the year ahead.

W Store’s Staff Payroll Deduction Program is open to all regular full-time employees of UWaterloo. The program assists University employees in purchasing personal computer hardware from W Store by offering competitive pricing and a low-interest payroll deduction arrangement. The details of the program are listed below.

Computer Payroll Deduction program details

  • Low-interest loans are available for amounts ranging from $500 - $3 000.
  • With a term no longer than 36 months.
  • Payments are arranged through payroll deduction, either monthly or bi-weekly.
  • A 20 per cent (minimum) down payment is required at the time of purchase.
  • The loan can be paid in full at any time with no penalty.

Contact John Jaray (  for more information, or to set up a payroll deduction program arrangement.

Beyond the Bulletin episode 95

Beyond the Bulletin banner image featuring two vintage microphones.

The latest episode of the Beyond the Bulletin Podcast is now live. Warrior Home is a student design team that builds net-zero-energy homes, and Jeffrey Ren, project manager, discusses a special house the team worked on with Habitat for Humanity and the Chippewas of Nawash. Health Services now has a vaccine centre for students, employees, and their family members who are over the age of 18. Waterloo Region enters Step 3 of reopening, and there are implications for campus operations. And so long N: drive.

Link of the day

Lunar wobbles portend climate problems

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 – Open via Appointments and Rentals

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)

Fitness Classes on Warrior Field. Starting June 14. Power Yoga, HIIT and Zumba. Only $4/class. Advanced registration required.

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

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.

Warriors Custom Varsity Apparel. On sale July 7 to July 21. Show your Warriors pride with the line-up of customizable apparel including dry-fit tees, Nike Hyper Dry Hooded Long Sleeves and Nike Fleece Hoodies from W Store. Please note that this will be your only opportunity this year to purchase sport specific black and gold gear. Order today at

Renison English Language Institute continues to offer virtual events and workshops to help students practice their English language skills.

Renison/WPL Lecture series, Invisible Heartbreak: Personal Support Workers Share Their Front Line Experiences, Tuesday, July 20, 7:00 p.m.

CrySP Speaker Series on Privacy, "Digital fitness instead of blame and entrapment: re-framing "security awareness," featuring Angela Sasse, Ruhr Universität Bochum, July 23, 11:00 a.m. Zoom link.

UWSA Open Consultation Session - Updated MOA, Tuesday, July 27, 12 noon.