Thursday, October 6, 2022

Statement on Iran

Hands holding a sign "Spread the word"

A message from President Vivek Goel, originally featured on the President's Blog.

Last week, I wrote to the University community to express my sadness and anger at the murder of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Tehran’s Guidance Patrol.  Since Ms. Amini’s death, protesters in Iran, across the world, and right here on our campus have been bravely demanding change. Those protesters have often been students, and a few days ago, they were specifically targeted by Iranian police at several institutions, including Sharif University.

The University of Waterloo unequivocally denounces violence and intimidation within and around universities and calls for the re-establishment of environments that allow for the free, open and safe expression of dissent. Universities are by their very nature, places that promote and facilitate free inquiry and expression.  Absent these freedoms, universities cannot fulfill their missions of teaching, learning, creating and disseminating new knowledge to the betterment of humanity.

Today I had the opportunity to hear from a group of Iranian students who shared their very personal accounts of how these events have influenced them, their friends, their families and colleagues. I thank them for sharing their stories with me. To these students and all Iranian members of our community, please know that the University stands in solidarity with you.

There will be a show of support with senior University leaders this evening at five o-clock in the central area outside of Dana Porter Library.  Our students will hold another event tomorrow (October 6) at 6 pm in M3, room 1006 to come together, share and support each other during this time of upheaval.

As always, if you need support, please reach out. There are resources on campus for you.

Women. Life. Freedom.

United Way Charity Spotlight: Argus

Argus Logo banner images

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

Argus, The Watchful Guardian

Argus, meaning “watchful guardian” in Greek mythology, is an organization that lives up to its name. Executive Director, Eva Vlasov, shares that Argus, a residence for youth and adults achieves this feat by offering three main services: coordinated homelessness prevention, youth employment, and care homes for young victims of domestic violence and neglect.

Homelessness Prevention and Housing Help

Argus provides homelessness prevention and shelter diversion with their 24-7 support line to individuals aged 18 years and older who are seeking emergency shelter in the Waterloo region. The objective is to prevent or end one’s homelessness experience by finding alternative options for emergency shelter, which includes family reunification. Vlasov’s team can help with reunification by making the initial call to family or, in some extremes, by flying people across Canada and around the world. Vlasov shares that, “From January 2021 to September 2022, First Connect received nearly 10,000 calls for service, where 68 per cent of callers had their homelessness experience prevented or ended by finding an alternative to emergency shelter.

An exterior shot of the Uptown Thrift store with a marquee thanking Argus

Youth Employment

Argus supports youth seeking employment through two pathways. The first being a self-sustaining social enterprise called Uptown Thrift, where 100 per cent of sales are used to create employment opportunities for young people in need. Additionally, Argus has been working with the Government of Canada since 2011 to provide employability skills training to young people with self-identified employment barriers, and has seen more than 80 per cent of participants either return to school or secure employment in the community.

Care Home

An Argus poster showing a single room living space.Argus operates a care home for young victims of domestic violence and neglect where they are currently in a three-year training implementation and evaluation agreement with Cornell University to implement the “CARE Practice Model.” Care provided is through a principle-based approach which is applied across all of Argus’s services. These six principles are relationship based, family involved, ecologically oriented, competence centered, developmentally focused, and trauma informed. Vlasov shares that working alongside the faculty at Cornell has provided opportunities for better youth outcomes.

Jumping over new hurdles

Like many charitable organizations within our community, Argus faced new challenges from COVID-19. There was a growing demand for shelter beds due to fewer informal supports like friends and family, as many people were less willing to house guests due to concerns with quarantining. Housing options were further reduced as a lot of individuals lost their own homes because of economic issues caused by the pandemic. Many local businesses who had previously supported Argus closed during the pandemic. Argus also experienced what countless charities faced: an unprecedented barrier to fundraising that included cancelling their largest fundraising event which involves auctioning 500-600 items.

United Way Impact

Support from the United Way Community General Operating Support allows Argus to operate its care home by funding staffing costs, clothing, child and youth recreation, and transportation expenses. Without this United Way funding, the young victims relying on these care homes would lose the support and opportunities they desperately need.

To learn more about Argus and the variety of services they offer, visit their website.

Stay tuned for content about our campus United Way Campaign happening in October. To support Argus and other important organizations in our community, donate today

Survey launched to collect feedback on LEARN

A message from Information Systems & Technology (IST).

Learning Management System (LMS) Review underway

The University’s current contract with the learning management system (LMS) provider D2L Brightspace (LEARN) is set to expire October 31, 2023. As per Policy 17 – Quotations and Tenders, a renewal of the D2L Brightspace contract, or the signing of a new contract with an alternate LMS provider, requires the University to initiate a publicly advertised competitive bidding process. This legal requirement ensures fair market competition for all potential vendors.  

The approaching end of the current LMS contract also provides an opportune time to conduct a review of the LEARN environment to help us better understand how the system may or may not be meeting the needs and expectations of our campus community.

Give us your feedback

All employees and students are invited to contribute to this initiative by providing their feedback regarding the LEARN environment and experience using the platform via the LMS Review survey. The survey results, in addition to other project consultations and review activities, will inform a recommendation for moving forward with Waterloo’s LMS environment, including an approach to licensing and resources to support a transition, should the University change LMS vendors.

Hosted in Qualtrics, the survey is available from Wednesday, October 5 to Friday, October 21, 2022, and will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Participation is voluntary and confidential. Any reports will include only summarized data, ensuring no individual can be identified.Please follow this link to access and complete the survey.

Learn more about this project

Visit the LMS Review project web page to learn more about this work and view a recording of the LMS Review project information session held September 22, 2022.

Questions about this work can be submitted to Natasha Jennings,

Thrive week is October 13 - 22, 2022

Smiling students holding a Thrive banner

Celebrate Thrive week from October 13 to 22nd as we continue to build a culture of wellbeing and normalize mental health struggles for Waterloo students, faculty and staff. Thrive week aims to increase mental health literacy, build healthy habits and self-care skills, and create an inclusive and supportive campus environment. We encourage everyone to share responsibility for promoting mental wellbeing on campus and have open conversations about mental health challenges. 

“Although we focus on supporting our community to Thrive year-round, Thrive week is set aside to reset and remind the UWaterloo community that we all share a responsibility for promoting mental wellbeing and having open conversations about mental health challenges.” says Jennifer McCorriston, associate director, health promotion with Campus Wellness.

How can you get involved throughout the week?

October 13th 9:00am

Take part in the annual Keeping Well at Work (KW@W) conference - a day for employee connection and learning with exposure to fresh perspectives and innovative tools to support and bolster employee health.

October 17th – 11:30am

Join the Thrive Walk together with your UWaterloo community to help foster an inclusive community of well-being in support, promotion, and solidarity of mental health. Don’t forget to wear your Thrive t-shirt and post a photo with #UWThriveWalk. If you need a t-shirt, arrive early for first dibs as quantities are limited. Healthy snacks will be provided. 

October 19th – 9:00am

Register for the virtual Student Mental Health Research Conference, which will bring together members of the UWaterloo community to share knowledge, connect researchers, and promote mental wellness. The agenda will feature presentations by graduate students, postdocs, and community members on best practices, programs, services, or research related to student and emerging adult mental health.

October 22nd – 2:30pm

Head to the Columbia Ice Fields Arena to cheer on your Warriors Women’s Hockey team in action against Toronto in their THRIVE game. Free tickets are available for UWaterloo Students.

Visit the Thrive events page for more activities happening throughout the week, such as a lunch-hour yoga class or mental health training workshops.

This is always a busy time of year, but make time to check in with yourself, with students and with your colleagues and friends. Staff and faculty can reach out to Occupational Health or the Employee & family assistance program for support. Through Thrive, we encourage everyone to share responsibility for promoting mental wellbeing on campus and have open conversations about mental health challenges. Let’s Thrive together!

Campus Housing's winter 2023 application now open

Two residents sitting on a bed in Claudette Millar Hall.

A message from Campus Housing.

Campus Housing’s winter 2023 application is now open. Full-time students and co-op students who have a work term in the Waterloo region can now apply to live on-campus for the 4-month term.  Contracts are available for undergraduate students with move-in beginning January 3, 2023.  Limited spaces are also available for graduate students. 

When applying, students will have the opportunity to indicate their building and room preference.    Spaces are available in different room styles and buildings, including Claudette Miller Hall which offers the eatery, gym, music room, multi-faith room and 24/7 front desk services.   

Offers will be  sent based on date and time of application received, and on available space.         

Students that are searching for a place to live for winter term should apply as soon as possible.   

Undergraduate students that still need a place to live for fall term are also encouraged to reach out to  Campus Housing as spaces continue to become available.   

Visit the Campus Housing website for more details. 

Test of emergency notification system today; other notes

A smartphone showing the WatSAFE app.A test of the University’s emergency communication system is scheduled for today at 11:00 a.m. Test activation and deactivation messages will be sent using a number of communications channels including Twitter, the WatSAFE mobile app, Portal alerts and push notifications. 

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. 

The Iranian Student’s Association of Waterloo, along with GLOW, RAISE and WUSA, are hosting an event for Waterloo students in honour of Mahsa Amini today, October 6 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. in M3, room 1006. Please join if you are interested in the conversation about the situation in Iran and learning more from the community.

Keeping Well at Work banner

Here's today's Keeping Well at Work Daily Inspiration:

Prevent burnout from workplace relationship management. 

Check out these Workplace Strategies for Mental Health or sign up for OHD's Managing Compassion: Staying Well While Helping Others workshop on November 29. 

Link of the day

Where everybody knows your name: Cheers at 40

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.

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

Introduction to Equity, Thursday, October 6, 9:00 a.m.

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.

Warrior Football vs LaurierThursday, October 6, 6:00 p.m., Warrior Field, Battle of Waterloo, Senior Day, Think Pink. Purchase Tickets. 

Fall Reading Break, Saturday, October 8 to Sunday, October 16.

Thanksgiving holiday, Monday, October 10, most University operations closed.

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.

Geological Society of America (GSA) Conference Reception, Monday, October 10, 7:00 p.m., Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention. 

Thank You Day, Tuesday, October 11, most University operations closed.

OHD presents the sixth annual Keeping Well at Work conference for UWaterloo employees, Thursday, October 13.

Conrad School 20th Anniversary Celebration. Saturday, October 15, full day, in-person at Engineering 7, second floor. Events are scheduled throughout the entire day, and you can join for some or all. Registration required.