Meet Kevin George, Indigenous Special Projects coordinator
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.
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
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
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.
- A Truth and Reconciliation in Higher Learning Institutions webinar held on Zoom at 4:00 p.m. featuring keynote speaker Kevin Lamoureux
The Office of Indigenous Relations has a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation website that lists a number of on- and off-campus events.
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.
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:
- UWaterloo’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office @ 519-888-4567 ext. 40025
- The Sexual Assault Support Centre of Kitchener/Waterloo’s 24 Hour Support Line @ 519-741-8633
- UWaterloo’s Counselling Services for students @ 519-888-4096 ext. 32655
- Homewood Health (UW’s EAP) @ 1.800.663.1142
- Coalition of Muslim Women Kitchener-Waterloo @ 226-499-2269
and for medical care: