Friday, September 30, 2022

Meet Kevin George, Indigenous Special Projects coordinator

Kevin George holds a framed version of the artwork he created for the Commitment Ceremony.

This article originally appeared in The Catalyst e-newsletter. Sign up to receive The Catalyst today.

Kevin George (spirit name, Thunder Coming In The Distance) is the new Indigenous Special Projects coordinator in the Office of Indigenous Relations. He Anishinaabe, Nehiyaw, Cree and Potawatomi with European heritage, who belongs to the Fish Clan. His home community is Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, located on the beautiful shores of Lake Huron. He also maintains close connections with his family on Fort McMurray 468 First Nation in northern Alberta.  

As an urban Indigenous person, who has lived experience of the struggles and obstacles faced by Indigenous folks and other marginalized groups, Kevin George has a deep understanding of supporting folks to overcome barriers, while promoting family, community and culture. He has worked with youth and adults, who are at risk of difficult and dangerous life outcomes, and also has extensive volunteer experience in coaching youth basketball and organizing community events.  

In this new role, Kevin George is pleased to be able to utilize his talents and expertise to support the Office of Indigenous Relations in implementing strategic initiatives to help support decolonization and indigeneity at the University of Waterloo.  

“I have been given the opportunity to continue my path of helping and building in such a meaningful way,” he said. “The goals of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, decolonization and Indigenization are immensely complex and require the right people, commitment and work. I feel the University of Waterloo is demonstrating the intent, actions and support needed to create lasting and meaningful impact.” 

George is also a creative spirit, who uses various artforms, such as carving, painting, drawing and music as mechanisms for self-care and self-expression. One of his designs was used as a logo for the recent Indigenous Commitment Ceremony at the University of Waterloo.  

“In creating the design for the University of Waterloo Indigenous Commitment Ceremony, my aim was to capture the moment and portray the meaning of the ceremony,” he said. “This piece depicts the people, the sacred fire, the offering of tobacco and the dawning of a new day. It represents the spoken commitment and how those words become engraved into spirit.”    

Asked his hopes for the renewed relationship between Indigenous peoples and the University of Waterloo, George said he looks forward to a space and place where Indigenous folks can feel safe, welcomed, valued and appreciated - a place where they feel like they belong. This vision includes a thriving Indigenous community, recognition of Indigenous knowledge and worldview, and walking a path of mutual and reciprocal respect. 

Celebrating the chemistry behind Inuit traditional knowledge

A message from the Chem 13 News team.

The cover of an issue of Chem 13 News featuring the northern lights.This month, the Department of Chemistry and Chem 13 News Magazine announced the publication of a Special Edition entitled, “Chemistry and Inuit Life and Culture.”

What makes the quarry at Ramah Bay so special? How are pollutants making their way to the Arctic? What are the properties of snow and ice that help the Inuit live in such a harsh climate? Ever wonder about the chemistry (and Inuit legends) of the Northern Lights? Over the years we featured articles on topics such as these showing the links between Inuit life and chemical concepts. The Fall 2022 Special Edition brings together this important work into a single publication, as well as some new articles, creating an issue that is both very compelling and visually stunning.

There has been a great team in charge of this project, including the previous chair of Chemistry, Professor Bill Power. We also acknowledge the guidance of our former editor, Jean Hein, who helped edit and publish the original set of articles. Of course, the greatest tribute should go to the authors, Geoff Rayner-Canham, Chaim Christiana Andersen and Rosalina Naqitarvik, whose excellent work we hope this issue properly reflects and supports.

For more than 50 years, Chem 13 News has supported chemical education in high schools across Ontario, Canada, and internationally. Chem 13 News articles not only touch on chemistry education, but expand into history, art, puzzles and even humor. Anyone who has visited campus, has likely seen examples of our outreach: the Periodic Table Project mural located in EIT, and the Timeline of the Elements mural and display in the basement of STC.

Below is a link to the digital version featuring this issue on our Chem 13 News magazine website, which is free and available to all.

Canadian high schools in addition received a complimentary physical copy of the Fall 2022 Special Edition in advance of the next Truth and Reconciliation Day, September 30, with hopes that it can spark some conversations and lessons around that important date. We thank the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Science and NSERC’s Promo Science fund for their generous financial support.

This issue has been some years in the making. Chem 13 News thanks the Department of Chemistry, the Faculty of Science, and its readers for their continued support and hope you enjoy reading (and sharing) this very special issue with everyone you know.

A reminder that Tuesday, October 11 is a Thank You Day

A message from Human Resources.  

Earlier this year, we announced two Thank You Days away from work to give you a break to show our appreciation for everything you have done, and continue to do, as we seek to provide the best experience we can for everyone who comes to learn, live and work here. The first occurred on February 22 to extend the Family Day long weekend.  

Our next Thank You Day is on Tuesday, October 11, 2022. This day coincides with the exisiting closure day of Thanksgiving on October 10 to again provide our employees with a four-day weekend. We hope you can enjoy this extra time off knowing your colleagues will also be off work during that time.  

For employees who must work on these days to keep essential campus services running, we will work with you to make sure you also get the benefit from additional time off. We recognize the incredible hard work you have contributed to keep our campuses safe throughout the pandemic, and we are extremely grateful for your contributions.  

Once again, we are extremely grateful for everything that our employees did to support our students and your colleagues during the repeated challenges and changes over the last couple of years. Your commitment and amazing work continue to make the University of Waterloo a beacon for the brightest.  

Not pursuing your goals during the pandemic is good for your mental health

A piece of paper and a pen with a list that says "Plan, Long term, medium term, short term" with checkboxes.

People who shelved their long-term goals during the pandemic were better able to avoid anxiety and depression, according to a new study. 

Researchers at the University of Waterloo aimed to investigate the relationship between what they call COVID-frozen goals – goals for which progress has been disrupted due to COVID-19 – and psychological well-being.

“Typically, when we think about how to increase goal success and well-being, we focus on how to be more committed and more engaged with our goals,” said Abigail Scholer, a professor in Waterloo’s Department of Psychology and Canada Research Chair in Motivated Social Cognition. “Our research highlights that being able to let go of goals, particularly during COVID, is actually a critical part of staying mentally healthy.”

Candice Hubley, lead author and a PhD candidate in psychology at Waterloo, and Scholer surveyed 226 participants to examine the relationship between psychological well-being and goal pursuit. Participants reported on their psychological distress and life satisfaction and were asked questions about normally progressing goals as well as COVID-frozen goals.

The researchers found that COVID-frozen goals were associated with poor well-being: the greater number of them people had, the greater psychological distress they experienced, such as suffering from stress, depressive symptoms and anxiety. 

The researchers also highlighted that the way in which people engage with their goals drastically impacts their well-being.

“Goal rumination is compulsive and can aggravate worries and frustrations while also taking away mental resources from other goals,” said Hubley. “We hope people can apply these findings to their own life by taking the time to assess their goals and engagement with them.” 

Hubley adds that disengagement is not an all-or-nothing situation, and sometimes we relinquish one type of engagement but not others. By quitting unattainable goals and redirecting efforts to alternative goals, individuals are setting themselves up for a healthier relationship with their goals and better psychological well-being.

The researchers plan to build on these findings and hope their work will aid in future interventions aimed at helping individuals become more flexible in their goal pursuit to improve well-being. 

The paper, Melting COVID-frozen goals: How goal disengagement supports well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, appears in the journal Motivation and Emotion.

Test of the campus emergency communication system October 6

A message from Information Systems & Technology.

A test of the University’s emergency communication system is scheduled for Thursday, October 6, at 11:00 a.m. Test activation and deactivation messages will be sent using the below channels:

  • Tweets to @UWaterloo and @WatSAFEapp;
  • WatSAFE mobile app;
  • The ‘WatSAFE Desktop Notification’ on-screen pop-up for desktops and laptops; and
  • Portal alerts and push notifications.

In the event of a real emergency during this test, please contact Special Constable Services at 519-888-4911, or ext. 22222.

Be sure to install the WatSAFE app on your device and WatSAFE Desktop Notification tool on your desktop/laptop to receive this test message, and more importantly, to stay informed of campus emergency situations. Visit the WatSAFE website for more details.

Notes on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

People at the United College ceremonial fire grounds wearing orange shirts.

The University of Waterloo will observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation today. Among the activities:

  • A Sunrise Ceremony held at 7:00 a.m. hosted by Elder Myeengun Henry, Indigenous Knowledge Keeper, Faculty of Health.
  • A walk around Ring Road at 11:00 a.m.
  • A feast, drumming and round dance at 11:45 a.m.

The sunrise ceremony, opening ceremony and remarks and feast will take place on the B.C Matthews Hall (BMH) Green.

The Office of Indigenous Relations has a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation website that lists a number of on- and off-campus events.

Two men in University of Waterloo branded jackets cheer at a sporting event surrounded by a montage of Waterloo images.

Alumni Black and Gold Day activities continue into the weekend. Check out the Alumni Black and Gold Day website for more details, including the Warriors football game against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on Saturday.

Protestors holding signs and umbrellas on the Arts Quad.

Members of the University community held a silent vigil on campus for the second time in two weeks since the brutal murder of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Tehran’s Guidance Patrol sparked protests in Iran and around the world. The vigil took place on Tuesday, September 27 at 5:30 p.m. in front of Dana Porter Library in an effort 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.

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: 

Beyond the Bulletin Episode 140

Beyond the Bulletin banner image featuring two vintage microphones

The latest episode of the Beyond the Bulletin podcast is now live. Anwar Jaber, an AMTD postdoctoral fellow in the School of Architecture, discusses the effect politics and conflicts have on the built environment and vice versa. The University observes the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.  The Canadian Foundation for Innovation awards more than $3.8 million to 23 projects based at the University. And Alumni Black and Gold Day returns to campus.

Link of the day

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

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 United 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.

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

Alumni Black and Gold Day, Thursday, September 29 to Saturday, October 1.

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

Warriors Football vs. TorontoSaturday, October 1, 1:00 p.m., Alumni Black and Gold DayPurchase Tickets.

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

NEW - Research Horizons: Dialogue with Leaders, Wednesday, October 5, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m., please register to attend in person (Enterprise Theatre in EC5) or virtually.

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

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

NEW - Canadian Graduate Engineering Consortium - Virtual Grad Studies Fair, Thursday, October 6, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m, Online.

Department of Chemical Engineering and Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology joint event, “Sustainable Future Perspectives Series: Recycling Electronic Components: Reducing Global Waste,” Thursday, October 6, 3:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., E7  2nd , Floor Conrad Hub.

NEW - METU x UW Erasmus+ Mobility 2022-2023 application deadline, Monday, October 10. Visit Waterloo International’s opportunities page for staff, students, and faculty international mobility opportunities.