Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Gender-based violence is never okay

A number of candles lit in darkness.

A message from Vivek Goel, President and Vice-Chancellor.

I was deeply saddened to wake up yesterday morning to news of the death in Pakistan of a former University of Waterloo student, Sara Inam. Sara was killed as a result of intimate partner violence. A talented economist and kind friend by all accounts, Sara is gone far too soon.

The continued prevalence of gender-based violence here in Canada and around the world weighs heavily on us all. Ms. Inam’s death comes on the heels of the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Tehran’s Guidance Patrol – an act that has sparked massive protests in Iran and also here on our own campus.

I am proud of the students who are standing up against gender-based violence. Last week’s silent protest in honour of Ms. Amini was a testament to those who organized and attended it. Ensuring that we use our voices to speak out against this abuse is crucial.

There will be another silent vigil held today at 5:30 p.m. in front of Dana Porter Library to continue to raise awareness about Ms. Amini’s case and to continue to stand against gender-based violence in Iran and here at home. I encourage all those who are able, to attend. 

We as an institution will be participating in the UN Women’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign. The campaign kicks off on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and runs to December 10, Human Rights Day. For more information on what the University has planned, please visit Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office’s website.

If you, or anyone you know has been impacted by gender-based violence, please consider accessing the following resources for support:

and for medical care: 

Welcome back lunch a big success

People line up outside a large tent for the Welcome Back lunch

By Megan McGarry.

Two women in headscarves sit at a picnic table.Fall was in the air as many students and employees gathered on the BMH green for a free welcome back BBQ lunch this past Friday. The event was the first of its kind since 2019.  

Arsalan, who is completing his MSc in Physics, said, “it’s good to be back. It’s easier to form new friendships in person.” 

Abby, an employee from Campus Housing, echoed the same. “The transition was a bit tough, but it’s really good now. The questions and concerns we can work through when making decisions… those colleague connections that happen from the casual chats in person… it’s just a different vibe when we’re all in one place.” 

The lunch marked a historic event for Waterloo, with all four campuses celebrating together. Cambridge hosted 275 people; Kitchener, 350; Stratford, 240; and Waterloo close to 3,500. 

A big thanks to everyone who joined us.  

Kicking off the United Way Campaign with a lunch for volunteers and donors

The kick-off dessert – a delicious cake with the event’s design on top.

The kick-off dessert – a delicious cake with the event’s design on top.

A message from the University of Waterloo United Way Campaign.

As we get ready for the University of Waterloo’s United Way Campaign launch on October 3, we were excited to have some of our key campaign supporters come together on Thursday, September 22 in Fed Hall for the 2022 United Way Kick-Off Lunch. This included our incredible ambassador volunteers from our campus departments, our campaign committee members, and United Way delegates, as well as representatives from the charities the United Way supports.

An impactful message

United Way Campaign co-chairs Alice Raynard and Gordon Savage helped to welcome our volunteers and introduced our first speaker, Amanda Melnik, Senior Director of Impact and Stewardship at the United Way. Amanda is also an alumnus of the University of Waterloo.

“This campaign at Waterloo is one of the largest in Kitchener-Waterloo, raising close to $250,000 every year. It’s a commendable amount, and the impact this has on an individual in need is enormous. This is why we do what we do – for that real person that you’re helping in our community.” Amanda put into perspective what this campaign is all about – making a positive impact on those in our community that rely on the charities that the United Way funds.

“We get it – we’re tired, needs continue to be unprecedented. Thus, it’s important to know where your dollars are going and the impact they have.” The United Way reviews requests for funds every three months. The standard funding requested by charities in those three months is about two million dollars – and the United Way can only fund 30 per cent of that need. Wait lists for services are longer than ever. “But we can do something to help those organizations and reduce those wait times. It’s through this campaign – through your donations. Every dollar matters.”

So, who are we helping?

Wayne Paddick from the Cambridge Shelter offered some insight into how your donations impact his work. “We provide shelter for anyone who needs it. Right now, a big need is for seniors who are on a fixed income but rent continues to rise and they find themselves evicted and unable to find affordable alternatives.” He reminded us that homelessness can happen to anyone – people who are not typically part of the homeless community. “My job is not just to help shelter them, but to get them out of the shelter and back into housing.”

“We also help those who have addictions or mental health challenges. We hire peer workers – people who know the issues and problems faced by our clients because they’ve lived it themselves. Your donations fund such peer workers.”

Our volunteers take the stage

Susan Grant, from Alumni Relations, spoke directly on the experience of being a United Way Campaign ambassador. “I wanted to start by saying thanks to the United Way. We are one community, and we all know why we’re here. Why we volunteer.”

She’s not alone – the dozens of volunteers across campus demonstrate our capacity for giving back to the community during each of our annual campaigns. Their events help to raise thousands of dollars, “and helping that one person in need is worth it.”

However, what did she reveal to be her real motivation behind volunteering? “It’s a reward to meet new people. To see them show off their baking skills. And for me to show off my eating of those baking skills.”

Impact speakers Wayne Paddick, Amanda Melnick, and Susan Grant with a zap banner

Impact speakers Wayne Paddick, Amanda Melnick, and Susan Grant.

Aligned with Waterloo’s values

The United Way Campaign is supported by the University senior administration and the campaign is a meaningful way to connect with and belong to our community.  We all benefit as an institution from our community, and it is very important we also give back through volunteering, encouraging others to participate, and donating.  Those connections are a driving force behind what makes this region and its people so unique and special.

Don’t forget to mark Monday, October 3 in your calendar for the campus-wide campaign launch. Help us turn the campus red by dressing up or decorating your office. Don’t forget to share photos with #UWUnitedWay. 

If you want to get involved with the campaign, volunteer to be a United Way Ambassador! And you don’t have to wait until October to donate to the campaign. In the words of Amanda Melnick, every dollar matters.

Participants needed for macular degeneration study

a participant undergoing brain stimulation while reading words on a computer screen

A study participant undergoing brain stimulation while reading words on a computer screen.

A message from the School of Optometry & Vision Science.

Researchers at the School of Optometry & Vision Science are currently seeking adults 18 years and over diagnosed with macular degeneration who use their side vision to see for a study which examines whether reading can be improved through a combination of practice and the use of a safe, well-established technique for modulating brain function called non-invasive brain stimulation. Recently published results from the group suggest that a single session of non-invasive brain stimulation may have a short-term effect on reading in adults with macular degeneration (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brs.2022.08.016). The current study is exploring the possibility of longer lasting effects.

Participants will be asked to read words on a computer screen for 9 study sessions (each 2 hours per visit) spaced out over a period of 2 to 3 months. Participants should not be undergoing eye-based injections and must be eligible for non-invasive brain stimulation (researchers will screen for this). Eligible participants will receive $20 per session in appreciation for their time and regional transportation costs will be covered. If you, your family members, or acquaintances might be eligible and interested, please contact Melanie Mungalsingh for more information at mamungal@uwaterloo.ca.This study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through a University of Waterloo Research Ethics Committee.

President's Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability seeks undergraduate representative

An aerial view of the University's main campus.

A message from the Sustainability Office.

The President’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability (PACES) is recruiting an undergraduate representative to join the committee for a two-year term, beginning in fall 2022. The committee represents a cross-section of Waterloo stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, and administration, who provide advice to the president on campus sustainability programs and policies.

The position is open to any undergraduate student enrolled at the University of Waterloo through Winter 2024. Applications are due by Friday, September 30. Visit the PACES webpage for more information and to submit an application.

Link of the day

An image from the opening credits of the Knight Rider television show - the car KITT races on a desert playa with the sun over the mountains behind it.

40 years ago: Knight Rider

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 (uwaterloo.ca).

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: svpro@uwaterloo.ca 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 caps@wusa.ca.

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 Blood.ca 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.

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, Tuesday September 27, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., virtual meeting (registration required)

Open house for Sustainable Land Care Standard (AHS), Tuesday, September 27, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., AHS expansion.

NEW - Velocity presents HealthTech Talk, Thursday, September 29, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. SCH Cafeteria.

Blackness in Academia from Multiple Perspectives (Waterloo Womxn + Nonbinary Wednesdays), Wednesday, September 28, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m., Microsoft Teams.

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)

Farm Market, Thursday, September 29, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Lower Atrium.

What's Your Problem with Larry Smith, Thursday, September 29, 5:00 p.m., SCH Cafeteria.

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

NEW - National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Friday, September 30.

President’s Forum: Waterloo at 100, Monday October 3, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., in-person and online.

NEW - Games Institute Open House, Wednesday, October 5, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Games Institute, EC1.

NEW - Farm Market, Thursday, October 6, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Lower Atrium SLC.