Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Volunteers needed for fall move-in

A smiling volunteer helps new students move in.

"As the fall term approaches, Campus Housing is preparing for another busy move-in," wrote Chris Read, associate provost, students in a memo circulated to faculty and staff this morning. “Similar to last year, we are implementing procedures to ensure the process is safe for each student.” 

"This year, residence move in will take place between September 1 and September 6. Each resident will be permitted to have two companions support their move. Like in previous years, we need your help to make the move-in experience memorable and positive.”

"I invite you to join me and the many others involved in welcoming our fall 2021 incoming class, and their families, to the University of Waterloo. We want to ensure our students are safe but also feel welcomed and connected to campus."

Members of the University community can get involved by volunteering to be one of the daily 15-50 volunteers needed during the move in period. Each volunteer shift is 2 hours in length.

Volunteer duties include:

  • Active Screening volunteers: As an active screening volunteer, you are the first point of contact when our residents arrive on campus. Your role will be to welcome them to Waterloo, ensure that they have the appropriate move in appointment based on their arrival time, and verify that those arriving have completed their pre-arrival active screening questionnaire and are safe to move in. Please note that active screening volunteers will be outside for the duration of their shift and will be asked to wear a non-medical face covering.
  • Directional volunteers: As a wayfinding volunteer, you’ll be a friendly face helping our residents follow the right path to their right destination. Your role will be to help point people in the right direction to find the right parking lot, building, or suite. Please note that wayfinding volunteers will be outside for the duration of their shift and will be asked to wear a non-medical face covering
  • Sanitization volunteers: As a sanitization volunteer, you’ll be helping our residents keep their new home safe by asking them to sanitize their hands as soon as they enter their building. You will be standing by a hand sanitizing dispenser and encouraging all those who enter to sanitize their hands effectively or helping to sanitize high tough surfaces across residence. Please note that sanitization volunteers will be inside for the duration of their shift and will be asked to wear a non-medical face covering.

Volunteers will attend a virtual training session on August 26 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. If you are unable to make the training, a recording will be available. Questions can be sent to

Sign up online to volunteer.

Q and A with the experts: The long-term effect of wildfires in Canada

A forest fire burns on a mountainside as viewed from a lake.

Professor Rebecca K. Saari.The most harmful air pollutant worldwide is fine particular matter. In Canada, the biggest natural source of this pollutant is wildfires. Winds can spread wildfire smoke over a wide area, affecting areas hundreds of kilometres downwind. Professor Rebecca Saari, who studies the consequences of climate change and climate policy on human health and environmental inequality, examines what causes these wildfires and the long-term effect on society. 

How do wildfires affect air quality and our health? 

Significant wildfire activity can result in poor air quality with high levels of pollutant concentrations resulting from wildfire smoke. We have seen dangerous levels of air pollution near the fires across British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Northern Ontario, but also, for example, in downtown Toronto due to winds spreading the smoke. 

Wildfire releases smoke and gases that include a harmful mixture of pollutants. Individually, many of these pollutants are known to affect our health. We might experience irritation in our throat, coughing, headaches, or other respiratory symptoms when exposed. People with underlying health risks, especially respiratory and cardiovascular illness, are at higher risk for more serious outcomes, like asthma attacks, that may require hospitalization.  

Smoke from forest fires blankets a city skyline.

What long-term effect may wildfires cause on air quality? 

The effects of wildfires on air quality are most severe while fires are actively burning. Thus, the worst effects are short-term. The chemistry and dynamics of the atmosphere mean that some effects can last for weeks and others for years, but these processes are complex. Over the long term, more frequent wildfires could continue to lead to more frequent days with poor air quality in affected areas.  

Is climate change or something else to be blamed for the numerous wildfires? 

Specific wildfires can have particular causes. Climate change is a change in the average weather. It plays a role in creating the weather conditions that make fires more likely to start, persist, and spread. The recent Sixth Assessment Report by Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notes the role of climate change in making wildfires more likely to occur over the last century and predicts future increases over parts of North America. Other reports, including Canadian academic studies, have suggested that conditions leading to unmanageable fires can more than double in parts of the country due to climate change this century.   

What needs to be done to lessen wildfires? 

Preventing wildfires and their effects is a complex challenge. Focusing on the atmospheric-related factors, we have increasing evidence that reducing the emissions causing climate change can help prevent some of the conditions that make wildfires more likely to occur and spread uncontrollably. We can also take multiple concrete steps to prevent some of the health-related effects of poor air quality on our health. For example, we can reduce other sources of air pollution to avoid some of the worst air quality and chronic exposure to poor air. We can continue to invest in systems that provide warnings and advice to lower exposures to wildfire smoke. Lastly, we can work to protect public health through prevention, targeting underlying health risks that make people vulnerable to poor air, and building public health systems resilient to future risks from wildfires. 

Rebecca K. Saari is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Professor Saari studies the consequences of climate change and climate policy on human health and environmental inequality. Her research interests include air quality impacts of energy and climate policy, environmental inequality, and air quality policy analysis.

Securing our energy infrastructure

A mouse pointer about to click on the word "Security."

By Brian Caldwell. This article was originally published on Waterloo News.

Just over $400,000 in federal funding was announced recently for a cybersecurity project led by a Waterloo Engineering professor.

Sebastian Fischmeister, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, heads a six-member team developing an enhanced cybersecurity system to protect Canada’s energy infrastructure.

The project, which is backed by Natural Resources Canada, also involves Bruce Power and Palitronica Inc., a startup company with roots in Fischmeister’s lab, the Real-time Embedded Software Group.

Sebastian Fischmeister poses in his lab at Waterloo Engineering.

Sebastian Fischmeister poses in his lab at Waterloo Engineering.

"In today's world of connected safety-critical systems, it's no longer enough to deliver just safe systems; systems must now be safe and secure," Fischmeister said.

"As a part of a comprehensive research agenda on safety and security in my group, this project creates and tests new technology to mitigate security threats in the supply chain when sourcing parts and systems out of region."

The innovative hardware assurance system being developed by researchers will detect compromised parts and devices to help ensure the safety and reliability of the country’s energy delivery.

That is especially important as growing complexity in supply chains makes it more difficult for organizations to identify and mitigate potential risks as they can lose sight of the supply chain security practices of their vendors and suppliers.

'Investing in cutting-edge technologies'

“Our lives have become increasingly digital which means the security threats we face are also becoming digital," Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan Jr. said in a media release.

"We’re investing in cutting-edge technologies with universities and industry leaders to protect Canada’s energy sector from cyber threats and keep our critical infrastructure secure.”

Bruce Power will provide equipment, evaluate machine learning processes and evaluate the overall performance of the new system. Palitronica, a Kitchener-based cybersecurity hardware and software company, is providing hardware sensors to enable development of the technology.

The University of Waterloo and Bruce Power are also contributing financially, bringing total investment in the project to over $830,000. The work is scheduled to continue until next spring.

"Cybersecurity is a core area in the University’s research profile,” Mary Wells, the dean of Waterloo Engineering, said in the release. “We are delighted to employ our research excellence to advance the state of the art in a sector as important to the Canadian public as the energy sector.”

Remembering Professor Emeritus Roger Green, bridge builder

Wearing a hard hat and high-viz vest, Professor Emeritus Roger Green inspects the historic Conestogo Bridge.

Professor Emeritus Roger Green inspects the historic Conestogo Bridge. Photo by Scott Walbridge.

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has announced that Professor Emeritus Roger Green died on August 11.

Born in London, UK, Green received an engineering degree from University College, London and emigrated to Canada in 1955. He completed his MSc in Civil Engineering at Queen’s University and an MSc in Applied Mathematics at Waterloo in 1962. He completed his PhD at the University of Texas at Austin with the help of a Ford Foundation grant.

Green joined the University of Waterloo as a Lecturer in December 1960, becoming an Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering in 1965 and in January 1967 was appointed Associate Professor, reaching full Professor in July 1975.

Professor Emeritus Roger Green.Professor Green’s research related to bridge design and evaluation, and building columns in frames, with topics of particular interest including vibration, safety, foundation design, analysis and the interaction of columns with frames.

Professor Green chaired and served on a number of provincial and national design code writing committees. At Waterloo, he taught structural concrete design, structural steel design, bridge design, structural synthesis and statics. In 1970 he won a C.D. Howe Memorial Fellowship.

While gathering to celebrate Roger’s life will not be possible immediately due to current COVID-related restrictions some memories were shared by email from those who recently learned of his passing. “Roger was an expert in bridge design who was well-known as a “character” and highly engaging instructor with a great sense of humour and an unrivalled level of enthusiasm for his field of expertise,” says Professor Scott Walbridge. “He contributed to the development of bridge design standards for the CSA for many years in a variety of areas and was a regular presence on campus who was particularly generous with his knowledge and time long after he retired.”

As former Professor Jeff West recalls, when he started at Waterloo in 2002: “Although Roger had already retired, he was frequently on campus and became a mentor to me and a good friend. He was very generous with his time and offered valuable advice and support on teaching and research. He happily shared his course notes and hundreds of photos of structures for me to use in my lectures. He had a love for bridges, big or small, and I have many fond memories of field trips we made in southern Ontario to look at bridges of all types and conditions.”

Professor Marianna Polak remembers Roger as “a great colleague, friend and a mentor”, who made important contributions to the work of the American Concrete Institute (ACI). Professor Giovanni Cascante confirms: “He was indeed a great structural engineer with a strong interest in foundations and a great sense of humour” and adds: “I had the fortune of enjoying his company and stories of bridges many times in my trips to Toronto to attend the monthly seminars of the Canadian Geotechnical Society with my students and Roger. The one in the group with the best attitude to learn and the most interesting questions was Roger!”

Retired University of Western Ontario Professor Michael Bartlett recalls: “My first TA as a new MASc student at Waterloo in the fall of 1979 was for Roger’s CIVE 414 Advanced Concrete Design Course. He was always patient and very helpful – and it was quite inspiring to interact with someone so supremely technically competent.” Waterloo Region Bridge Engineer John Stephenson remembers learning very early on that no technical meeting with Roger could begin without coffee. “I’ll miss our coffee-fuelled get-togethers...and Roger’s passionate napkin sketches, and the distinct “hmmm?” with which he always punctuated his explanations, to make sure you were following along.”

Green retired from the University in July 1996, one of 14 members of the Civil Engineering department to take early retirement as part of Waterloo’s Special Early Retirement Program (SERP). From May 2005 to July 2017, he worked part-time in Civil and Environmental Engineering as an adjunct faculty member.

He is survived by his wife Connie, his two children and 5 grandchildren. A family service will be held to celebrate his life on Saturday, August 21 at All Saints’ Anglican Church.

Link of the day

15 years ago: Snakes on a Plane

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 continues to offer virtual access to learning and research materials as well as through their book pickup and delivery services. Special Collections & Archives can also be accessed by appointmentDavis Centre study space will not be available between August 17 and September 6 as the Library prepares for the fall term. During this time, Library resources and supports will continue to be accessible virtually and staff available for questions via chat Monday to Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 4:00 p.m. The Library will be closed on September 6 for Labour Day. Full details on current services and hours are available on our Service Update webpage. Library staff are available for questions via Ask Us

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 Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO) supports all members of the University of Waterloo campus community who have experienced, or been impacted, by sexual violence. This includes all students, staff, faculty and visitors on the main campus, the satellite campuses, and at the affiliated and federated Waterloo Institutes and Colleges. For support, email: or visit the SVPRO website.

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 (CIF GYM 3). 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.

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

2021 World Fuel Cell Conference, Monday, August 16 to Friday, August 20.

Quantum Today: Dimension Reductions in Quantum Key Distribution, Thursday, August 19, 12 noon.

Co-operative work term ends, Friday, August 20.

Deadline to get "Fees Arranged" for the fall term, Tuesday, August 24.

De-Escalating Difficult Student Situations, Tuesday, August 24, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

NEW - Engineering Alumni Office Hour: "Alumni Training: How to Make the Most of Ten Thousand Coffees", Tuesday, August 24, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

QPR Mental Health Training for Faculty and Staff, Thursday, August 26, 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Fall Orientation, Monday, August 30 to Friday, September 3.

Labour Day holiday, most University operations closed, Monday, September 6.

Fall co-operative work term begins, Tuesday, September 7.

Classes and lectures begin, Wednesday, September 8.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department, viewable on the UWaterloo Talent Acquisition System (iCIMS):


  • ID# 2021-7005 - Computing Consultant, Learning Environment Specialist - Information Systems and Technology, USG 10
  • Job ID# 2021-7026 - Graduate Studies Coordinator - Physics & Astronomy, USG 6
  • Job ID# 2021-6782 - Treasury & Investment Analyst - Finance, USG 10


  • Job ID# 2021-7066 - Administrative Assistant, Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics - Physics & Astronomy, USG 6

Secondments/Internal temporary opportunities

  • Job ID# 2021-7038 - Director, Student Engagement - WUSA, USG 10
  • Job ID# 2021-6954 - Events Coordinator - Dean of Math Office, USG 6
  • Job ID# 2021-6658 - Project Manager, Indigenous Initiatives - Office of Research, USG 8 - 10
  • Job ID# 2021-7062 - Science Writer - TQT-CFREF, USG 9

Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo opportunities