Monday, August 30, 2021

Fall Orientation begins today

A number of Orientation volunteers in a group video call

Waterloo Orientation will be offered virtually for new undergraduate students beginning today and running until Friday September 3, 2021.

New students will join a network of current students, alumni, professors, and staff, with virtual activities planned to help newcomers feel right at home. During Orientation, new students will have the opportunity to connect with their future classmates, experience the unique traditions of UWaterloo and their specific faculty, become immersed in the University and community culture, and hear more about what Waterloo has to offer both on and off-campus.

As a faculty or staff member, you have the opportunity to help incoming students feel a sense of belonging. Creating a strong sense of community for our new students makes their transition easier and sets them up for success throughout their academic experience at Waterloo. The Here to Help program is available to help you help support new student transition. From Tuesday, September 7 to Friday, September 10, faculty, staff, and student volunteers are encouraged to wear a Here to Help sticker. Wearing a sticker symbolizes your knowledge of campus amenities, awareness of student resources, and your willingness to help a student if they need assistance. You can pick up your sticker from a number of wayfinding booths across campus.

Fall Orientation is a shared partnership between the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA), the Student Success Office (SSO), and the University's six faculties.

Check out an article on the WUSA website about Orientation.

Your UWaterloo life, one click away

People sit on couches in a library lounge area.

By Jennifer Halcrow.

Whether you’re new to campus or returning after some time away, we want to ensure you have access to what you need for a successful Fall Term.  

As a new undergraduate student, you can participate in virtual Orientation from August 30 to September 3. Take advantage — this is your chance to connect with other first-year students with events like speed friending or our virtual scavenger hunt, plus so much more. Our Orientation leaders are eager to show you our unique traditions and make you feel at home in our Warrior community. Registration for Orientation remains open throughout the week. 

Are you a new incoming graduate student? Continue to connect with your peers through Waterloo Grad Ready until November. Log in to your LEARN account to access live sessions, message boards and review important content that will set you up for success.  

“Making the most of your time at university really means developing relationships and growing who you are as a person — these are the things that lead to success in life and what a great university experience is all about,” says Chris Read, associate provost, students. “Find your community, ask questions and enjoy the experience.” 

Some of you may be joining us in person this fall, while others may continue their studies virtually. No matter where you are, your UWaterloo community is here to support your every step. A variety of resources have been compiled into one convenient space — start exploring. 

Academic Success 

  • Develop the strategies you need to study smarter, not harder. Discover the Student Success Office’s learning resources

  • For some extra support, book a Peer Success Coaching appointment to develop a plan for academic success. 

  • Writing a paper? Designing a portfolio? Giving a presentation? The Writing and Communication Centre can help you work through all stages of the communication process. 

  • Review the guide for graduate research and supervision to understand the roles and responsibilities of those who contribute to a graduate education. 

  • Explore the Library’s resources for undergraduate and graduate students. 

  • Order your course materials and stock up on school supplies with the W Store

Physical and Mental Health 

Student Experience 

  • Join a student club or association and participate in a variety of events across campus. There are lots of opportunities for both our undergraduate and graduate students to find your community. 

  • Grab a bite to eat on campus. Choose from a wide variety of flavours to satisfy any craving. 

  • It’s never too early to embrace your leadership potential. Student Leadership Program workshops will be offered online for the fall 2021 term.  

  • Enhance your degree with the Global Experience Certificate (GEC). Position yourself as a future leader with a competitive advantage. 

  • Build your entrepreneurial skills and get advice from experienced coaches. Explore all of our campus innovation partners

Co-op and Career 

  • Develop skills and gain experience to prepare for the future workforce. Review WaterlooWorks job boards or identify your skills through EDGE

  • Graduate students can register to participate in the Professional Skills Foundations program to develop skills in career preparation, communications, leadership and personal effectiveness. 

Important dates and documents 

These are just the tip of the iceberg Warriors, keep exploring your UWaterloo life student resources, just one click away. 

Fighting fire with seaweed

Anneke van Heuven (BASc ’21) and Elias Trouyet (BASc ’21)

By Brian Caldwell. This article originally appeared on Waterloo News.

Two recent Waterloo Engineering graduates were named national finalists in a prestigious design contest this week for an idea that began taking shape in a first-year class.

Anneke van Heuven (BASc ’21) and Elias Trouyet (BASc ’21) were just starting the nanotechnology engineering program when they learned that the chemicals in most existing flame retardant materials can cause long-term health effects including cancer.

Five years later, the safe, non-toxic alternative they went on to develop with classmates Tessah Costello and Abby Bull as their Capstone Design project earned them one of two runner-up spots for Canada in the 2021 James Dyson Award competition.

Cotton coated with a flame-retardant formulation (left) is intact after exposure to fire, while untreated fabric is destroyed.

Cotton coated with a flame-retardant formulation (left) is intact after exposure to fire, while untreated fabric is destroyed.

Their startup company, AlgoBio, now moves on to the international stage of the annual showcase for student inventors, with 20 global finalists for be announced in mid-October from an initial pool of more than 2,000 entries from 28 countries.

Extensive research on the health and environmental impacts of chemicals used to prevent consumer and industrial products from burning led van Heuven and Trouyet to seaweed, which has natural flame-retardant qualities.

They combined a biopolymer made from seaweed with embedded nanoparticles to develop two non-toxic, environmentally friendly coating formulations that easily exceed industry requirements.

With a basic prototype and testing to prove it works, van Heuven, the chief executive officer, and Trouyet, the chief technology officer, are now consulting potential customers and considering modifications to make an additive, in addition to a coating, for the plastic and rubber industries.

"I always liked the idea of starting my own company because I enjoyed creative and innovative projects," van Heuven said. "Part of the reason I chose nanotechnology engineering was because of the entrepreneurship opportunity, but I wanted to be realistic and I only chose to pursue this path once I knew that our technology worked and there was market opportunity."

Teams from Waterloo Engineering have a long track record of success in the Dyson competition, which was launched by the well-known inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner to challenge university students to develop innovative products that solve tangible problems.

Last year, five 2020 nanotechnology engineering graduates – Holden Beggs, Alisha Bhanji, Ishan Mishra, Fernando Pena and Zhenle Cao – finished in the top four internationally with startup Scope Photonics and its smartphone camera zoom technology.

Link of the day

Ed Asner, 1929-2021

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.

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.