Thursday, September 22, 2022

Indigenous Commitment Ceremony today

Indigenous art depicting a ceremony.

Today, the Indigenous peoples of the University of Waterloo will ask Vivek Goel, President and Vice-Chancellor, for a full commitment to reconciliation, Indigenization and decolonization at the institution.

Today's proceedings commenced with a Sunrise Ceremony at 7:00 a.m. this morning at the Ceremonial Fire Grounds at United College.

Indigenous Knowledge Keeper Myeengun Henry speaks at the Sunrise ceremony.

Indigenous Knowledge Keeper Myeengun Henry speaks at the Sunrise Ceremony this morning.

The University's senior leadership will join Indigenous Knowledge Keeper Elder Myeengun Henry and Elder Willam Woodworth to affirm Waterloo’s commitment to decolonization at the commitment ceremony this morning. A Cedar Circle is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. at B.C. Matthews Hall (BMH) green, which will be immediately followed by a Pipe Ceremony and a traditional feast. The entire University community is welcome to attend and observe all of the ceremonies.

Register for the Indigenous Commitment Ceremony

What is the significance of September 22?

"September 22, 2022 is the date of the fall equinox, when the hours of sunlight and darkness are roughly the same, and the sun is beginning a new phase in its annual cycle," says a Waterloo News explainer. "The equinox signifies the changing of seasons, the harvest and the abundance of Mother Earth’s gifts to us. Prior to colonization, equinox was a time when migrating people prepared to move to winter quarters. Indigenous peoples recognize the equinoxes as spiritually significant times to express gratitude and appreciate our relationship to creation and our relatives on the earth."

What is the significance of a Sunrise Ceremony?

The Sunrise Ceremony is a deeply spiritual and sacred ceremony conducted to welcome a new day. It is a celebration of the sun and an occasion to give thanks to Father Sun for all creation. The Sunrise Ceremony also represents new beginnings. Participants might smudge with sage or burn other sacred medicines like sweetgrass and cedar.

What is the significance of the Cedar Circle?

"Cedar plays an integral role in the spiritual beliefs of some Indigenous peoples and is used for a variety of ceremonial purposes. Cedar is a powerful symbol of strength and revitalization. The Cedar Circle represents safety, healing and protection and is used in many different ceremonies for that purpose."

What is the significance of a Pipe Ceremony?

"The Pipe Ceremony is sacred to Indigenous peoples. Historically, it was used to open negotiations between different peoples as a way to facilitate meaningful talks. The Pipe ceremony is regarded as a way by which participants would be truthful, respectful and accept the decisions and agreements being made. This Pipe Ceremony will not be photographed or recorded."

Help map the future of Waterloo

an illustration of students walking through campus.

A message from the Office of the President.

Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to participate in Waterloo at 100 consultations taking place in September and October. Waterloo at 100 is visioning exercise to develop a longer-term vision for the University that will address: What do we as an institution aspire to become by our 100th anniversary in 2057?

The first draft paper of Waterloo at 100 was released earlier this month. During the first part of 2022, more than 1,000 people participated in preliminary consultations to develop initial ideas for Waterloo at 100.

Virtual meeting dates:

  • Tuesday, September 27 – 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. - staff
  • Thursday, September 29 – 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. - staff
  • Friday, October 14 – 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. - faculty

In-person meeting dates:

  • Monday, September 26 – 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. - staff
  • Tuesday, October 4 – 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. - students
  • Monday, October 24 – 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. - faculty

Click here to register

United Way Charity Spotlight - March of Dimes Canada

March of Dimes Canada logo

By Emily Shim. This is the first article in a three-part series on the charities that the United Way supports.

March of Dimes Canada (MODC) is committed to “championing equity, empowering ability, and creating real change” says Barbara Moore, Regional Manager at the March of Dimes Canada.

Disability can happen to anyone at any time. As a leading national charity committed to helping all forms of disability, MODC stands strong on a foundation of service and the voices of those they serve. Over the last 70 years they have provided a variety of necessary services and programs for their clients, to name a few; Assisted Device Program, Employment Services, Connect & Share program, and the After-Stroke program. These services are widely needed by people living with disabilities, strengthening the individual's capacity for independence, and meeting the needs of those living with low incomes.

The MODC achieves this incredible feat by collaborating with other organizations. “We build relationships with community partners to identify gaps in services,” Moore explains. “For example, we receive a call from someone who has lost their peripheral vision due to stroke.” We would connect with our partners to support this individual, and while they support this family, we continue to provide services, connections to ensure clients and their families participate fully in life and on their terms.

Looking towards a brighter future

The needs of the disabled community are shifting and MODC is working to keep up with this shift.

Looking ahead, March of Dimes Canada is focusing on four areas - children, youth and families, independence at home and in the community, active and connected lives, and financial security. “We’re all about active, healthy, and connected lives, particularly coming out of the pandemic.” Moore continues, “We want to make sure that those living in poverty and those with disabilities are living well and not facing barriers to be able to live life, connect with people, volunteer, or find employment.”

One of the new initiatives, The Changemakers Awards, aims to celebrate extraordinary individuals and organizations in the community, bringing awareness to the importance of MODC and showing appreciation for those who contribute to its ongoing 70-year history of success. There are four types of awards planned for a gala next month - disability change maker, community change maker, corporate change maker, and volunteer change maker. Moore explains, “There are a number of organizations, people with lived experience - that demonstrate exceptional innovation, openness, and collaboration.”

How can we help?

The University of Waterloo’s community can support MODC and the work they do by volunteering and donating to our local programs. Moore shared, “Many of our programs across the nation are supported by volunteers.” University of Waterloo students have supported the Connect and Share program by socializing with clients experiencing feelings of isolation. Moore also shared an example of a University of Waterloo Engineering student who designed and built an apparatus that allowed a client with motor challenges to hold his guitar.

Our campus members can support March of Dimes Canada by donating to the United Way campaign. Supporting this year’s campaign is even more important than years past because, as Moore shared, donor funded organizations such as MODC were greatly impacted by the pandemic. Many of our programs and services rely on the generosity of donors, sponsors, and other partners.  Your support makes our work possible and has a direct positive impact on the lives of Waterloo Region residents living with disabilities in a variety of ways.

United Way Waterloo Region Communities is a gracious funder of March of Dimes Canada's Assistive Devices Program. The program serves adults and seniors with physical disabilities and who are in financial need to obtain their desperately needed mobility or home safety equipment to remain safe and functionally independent.

To learn more about the March of Dimes Canada and the variety of programs they offer, visit their website.

To donate to the United Way Campaign, and support MODC and other charities, visit the campaign website.

CFI funding awarded to Waterloo researchers

This article was originally published on the Office of Research website.

Twenty-three University of Waterloo based infrastructure projects have been awarded more than $3.8-million to tackle national and global challenges, according to an announcement this morning from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI). CFI has committed $64 million in research infrastructure funding through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) program, across 40 Canadian universities. With JELF funding,"universities across the country will be able to attract and support promising, world-class researchers who will use their expertise and creativity to bring novel ideas to solve concrete problems that impact society," said Roseann O'Reilly Runte, President and CEO of CFI.

This year's funding will support projects in areas ranging from wastewater treatment to DNA approaches for cancer therapy, permitting brilliant minds to kick start or move their careers forward.

Check out the full list of funding recipients

IST provides update on configuration of e-classroom spaces

A message from Information Systems & Technology 

ITMS has received feedback that, for the current Fall 2022 term, some instructors had expected e-classrooms would be configured as they were pre-pandemic; with multiple screens and projectors available in the larger classrooms. A decision was made during the first week of class to proceed with the reconfiguration. Consultations and classroom evaluations to determine the logistics and timing required to return these learning spaces to their pre-pandemic configurations have begun. A classroom will need to be down for 2-5 days for the reconfiguration; the team will plan how to most effectively use weekend and reading week opportunities so that classes are not disrupted. This plan will be posted to the Featured Projects section of the Teaching & Learning Spaces site once confirmed. We apologize for the inconvenience our delay in beginning this work has caused. 

Changes to e-classroom configurations during the pandemic

In preparation for the Fall 2021 term, the Registrar (RO) and some Faculties asked for upgrades to e-classrooms to allow instructors to host remote participants attending “held-with classes” via an online collaboration platform. Assessments of the learning spaces were conducted to determine how to best support this request given internal capacity constraints and pandemic restrictions. Premium or full systems, which included adjustable camera and microphone systems operated by a Touch panel, were installed in multiple rooms, permitting instructors to share the camera image, projector image (content), or display a split screen of both to the remote participants. Pre-set camera positions could also focus on any of the white/blackboards or podium (close-up or wide angle). During the pandemic, rooms with multiple screens and/or projectors were altered to have only one screen and/or projector so that the remote experience would match the in-class experience.  

About this work

The reconfiguration of the classrooms to enable the functionality of all screens and projectors entails reprogramming and testing the rooms’ entire AV system, which will require the classroom to be down for a minimum of 1-2 days. Rooms that require the installation of scaffolding for staff to safely reach installed equipment will require approximately 5 days of down time, to allow for the installation of the scaffolding, the reprogramming and testing of the AV system, and the removal of the scaffolding.

In the classrooms where premium collaborative systems have been installed, training material for instructors will be developed for the reprogrammed systems. The equipment will have additional options compared to the pre-pandemic systems.

Contact ITMS

Faculty and staff who may have concerns regarding this work should contact ITMS, Marcel David, or Pam Fluttert,

Thursday's notes

Here's today's Postdoc Appreciation Week fun fact of the day: the University of Waterloo is home to nearly 350 postdoctoral fellows. We have representatives from every discipline, but with a particular focus on Engineering (41 per cent), Science (25 per cent), and Mathematics (20 per cent). Over half (58 per cent) of all our postdocs are also international, coming to UWaterloo from all around the world. We are proud to welcome such an incredibly diverse group of exceptional scholars to our community.

UW Farm Market logo.The Farm Market Arts Quad Toonie Picnic will be held today from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the Arts quad. The Toonie Picnic is part of the weekly UW Farm Market series of events happening in September and October.

Stephen SennThe David Sprott Distinguished Lecture featuring Stephen Senn, takes place today at 4:00 p.m. on Zoom. Stephen Senn's lecture is entitled "Whatever Happened to Design-Based Inference?" 

The University of Waterloo IT Professional Development Advisory Group (PDAG) is hosting a Chair Yoga for office workers seminar on Friday, September 23 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.

"If you spend several hours a day at your desk, this yoga practice is for you," says the note from PDAG. "Stretch and strengthen your body while using your chair as a prop. Chair yoga is a great way to practice yoga, connect to your breath, and stretch and strengthen your body. You can experience the many benefits of yoga with this gentle practice."

The seminar speaker is Sandra Gibson, who has has been part of the health and wellness industry for 30 years. As the Manager, Health Education and Promotion at UWaterloo, her focus on promoting positive health behaviours to students has been extensive. In her spare time, Sandra teaches yoga and Pilates in Waterloo region. Sandra embraces the vitality approach to achieve a healthier, balanced lifestyle: “Enjoy eating well, being active, and feeling good about yourself.” 

This session will be presented on Microsoft Teams, but will not be recorded.

Upcoming office closure

The Student Success Office will be closed on Friday, September 23 from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. for the Welcome Back Lunch.

Link of the day

We've been asking "Where's Waldo?" for 35 years

When and Where to get support

Students can visit the Student Success Office online for supports including academic development, international student resources, immigration consulting, leadership development, exchange and study abroad, and opportunities to get involved.

Instructors looking for targeted support for developing online components for blended learning courses, transitioning remote to fully online courses, revising current online courses, and more please visit Agile Development | Centre for Extended Learning | University of Waterloo (

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 KL team (CTE, CEL, ITMS, LIB) offers workshops, webinars and events.

Supports are available for employees returning to campus. Visit IST’s Hybrid Work and Technology guidelines and workplace protocols to assist with the transition.

Students with permanent, temporary and suspected disabilities and disabling conditions (medical conditions, injuries, or trauma from discrimination, violence, or oppression) can register with AccessAbility Services for academic accommodations (classroom accommodations, testing accommodations, milestone accommodations).

Instructors can visit AccessAbility Services' Faculty and Staff web page for information about the Instructor/Faculty role in the accommodation process. Instructors/ Faculty members are legally required to accommodate students with disabilities. AccessAbility Services (AAS) is here to help you understand your obligations, and to offer services and resources to help you facilitate accommodations.

The Writing and Communication Centre has in-person and virtual services to support grad and undergrad students, postdocs and faculty with any writing or communication project. Services include one-to-one appointmentsdrop-ins at Dana Porter Libraryonline workshopswriting groupsEnglish conversation practice, and custom in-class workshops.  

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 (CCA) has services and programs to support undergrads, grad students, postdocs, alumni, and employees in figuring out what they value, what they’re good at, and how to access meaningful work, co-op, volunteer, or graduate/professional school opportunities. Questions about CCA's services? Live chat, call 519-888-4047, or stop by our front desk in the Tatham Centre 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Drop-in to in-person Warrior Study Halls on Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in DC and DP. Join a Peer Success Coach to set goals and work independently or in groups each week.

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

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 is here to help, both in person and online. Our spaces are open for access to book stacks, study space, computers and printers, and the IST Help Desk. For in-depth support, meet one-to-one with Librarians, Special Collections & Archives and Geospatial Centre staff. Access our resources online for anywhere, anytime learning and research. Full details on current services and hours are available on the Library’s COVID-19 Update webpage.

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 Office of Indigenous Relations is a central hub that provides guidance, support, and resources to all Indigenous and non-Indigenous campus community members and oversees the University's 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 - MATESGlow CentreRAISEWomen’s Centre - Click on one of the links to book an appointment either in person or online for the term.

Food Support Service food hampers are currently available from the Turnkey Desk 24/7 in the Student Life Centre. Drop-off locations are also open again in SLC, DC, DP, SCH, and all residences.

Co-op Connection all available online. 

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

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.

GSA-UW supports for graduate students: 

The Graduate Student Association (GSA-UW) supports students’ academic and social experience and promotes their well-being.

Advising and Support - The GSA advises graduate students experiencing challenges and can help with navigating university policies & filing a grievance, appeal, or petition.

Mental Health covered by the Health Plan - The GSA Health Plan now has an 80 per cent coverage rate (up to $800/year) for Mental Health Practitioners. Your plan includes coverage for psychologists, registered social workers, psychotherapists, and clinical counselors.

Dental Care - The GSA Dental Plan covers 60 to 70 per cent of your dental costs and by visiting dental professionals who are members of the Studentcare Networks, you can receive an additional 20 to 30 per cent coverage.

Student Legal Protection Program - Your GSA fees give you access to unlimited legal advice, accessible via a toll-free helpline: +1-833-202-4571. This advice covers topics including housing disputes, employment disputes, and disputes with an academic institution.

The Graduate House: Open Monday to Tuesday 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Wednesday to Friday 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. We’re open to all students, faculty, staff, and community members. The Graduate House is a community space run by the GSA-UW. We’re adding new items to the menu. Graduate students who paid their fees can get discounts and free coffee.

When and Where (but mostly when)

Warriors vs. Laurier Blood Donation Battle. Join our “Waterloo Warriors” team on the website or app. #ItsInYouToGive

Warriors Game Day Tickets and Season Passes, on sale now. Cheer on your Warriors W/M Basketball, Football W/M Hockey and W/M Volleyball teams at home during the 2022-23 season. Purchase today.

The Next 100 Symposium, Wednesday, September 21 to Friday, September 23. Find out more.

Indigenous Commitment Sunrise Ceremony, Thursday, September 22, 7:30 a.m., United College ceremonial grounds.

Unlearning the Binary: Fostering a Truly Trans-Inclusive Campus, Thursday, September, 22, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon, online.

Farm Market Arts Quad Toonie Picnic, Thursday, September 22, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Arts quad.

Indigenous Commitment Ceremony and feast, Thursday, September 22, 10:30 a.m., BMH Green.

David Sprott Distinguished Lecture featuring Stephen Senn, Thursday, September 22, 4:00 p.m.

Douglas Wright Celebration of Life event, Friday, September 23, 11:00 a.m., livestreamed on YouTube.

Welcome Back Lunch Friday, Friday, September 23, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the BMH Green. Free for the campus community. RSVP not required but let us know if you plan to attend.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know Part I, Friday, September 23, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW) event, Friday, September 23, 2:30 p.m., Grad House.

Pathways for addressing (with care) Disclosures of Racism, Monday, September, 26, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

Water Institute Research Conference 2022Water as a foundation for healthy communities and sustainable livelihoods, Monday,  September 26 to Wednesday, September 28, 7:00 to 10:00 a.m., online.

Waterloo at 100 staff consultation, Monday September 26, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., in-person meeting (registration required)

Waterloo at 100 staff consultation, Tuesday September 27, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., virtual meeting (registration required)

NEW - Noon Hour Concert: To our Great Joy, Wednesday, September 28, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel chapel

Waterloo at 100 student consultation, Thursday September 29, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., virtual meeting (registration required)

University of Graz x University of Waterloo Erasmus+ Staff Mobilities 2022 application deadline, Friday, September 30.