Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Waterloo increases access to inclusive washrooms on campus

A washroom with urinals and stalls.

In close cooperation with the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association and the Glow Centre, the University of Waterloo is making campus more inclusive for Two-Spirit, Trans, Non-Binary and gender non-conforming members of the campus community by increasing access to all-gender washrooms.

By early May, almost every building on campus will have an all-gender washroom available for anyone to use. 

“All-gender washrooms are an important way for the University of Waterloo to make our campus safer and more inclusive,” said Dr. Christopher Taylor, Associate Vice-President of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Anti-Racism, whose office is leading the work. “We are very proud to have worked so closely with our students and the broader trans community here at Waterloo on this project. We thank our partners for their hard work in making this happen.” 

Research has shown that gender-specific washrooms are often sites of harassment and discrimination for Two-Spirit, Trans, Non-Binary, and gender non-conforming people. According to a 2018 study conducted by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, up to 70 per cent of trans people have experienced some sort of negative reaction when accessing a public bathroom. The same study indicates that 57 per cent of trans Ontarians have avoided using public washrooms for fear of harassment.  

The conversion of some gendered washrooms on campus to all-gender washrooms is the first of three phases of work with the goal of a more inclusive experience for the Waterloo community. Phases two and three will involve assessing  washrooms for minor accessibility and infrastructure improvements and where possible, exploring possibilities for ablution and the addition of other amenities to enhance washroom inclusivity for everyone. The construction of new, all-gender, single stall washrooms in strategic locations across campus  will also be a focus of the later phases of this work. 

"The Glow centre has pushed for decades for the university to install all gender washrooms across campus for Two-Spirit, Queer, Trans students and employees," said a spokesperson for GLOW.  "We are very happy that this project is reaching its first stage of completion and that Two-Spirit, Queer, and Trans individuals across campus will have a safe place to use the washroom wherever needed."

Every newly converted all-gender washroom will include a sign indicating that it is a multi-stall washroom, and noting the fixtures  inside (for example toilets, urinals) to allow people to select a washroom with the fixtures they’d like to use.  Each washroom will also include menstrual waste disposals, sharps disposals and privacy strips on individual stall doors where needed. All-gender washrooms include options with urinals, and options without.  

To learn more about this project, please visit EDIR-O’s website.

Campus remembers Ian Taylor

A message from Central Stores, Faculty of Engineering - Management Sciences, and Athletics and Recreation

With a heavy heart, we write to inform you that Ian Taylor, current Central Stores staff member and former colleague in Management Sciences and Athletics passed away suddenly in a tragic accident on Saturday, March 11.

Ian worked at the University of Waterloo for over 20 years. He spent 15 Years in Athletics and 10 years in the Faculty of Engineering, before moving to a new role with Central Stores in September 2022.

Ian had a great passion for music. He was an exceptionally talented guitarist and spent much of his free time performing in a local blues band as its lead guitarist and vocalist.

We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time. Ian’s family will hold a memorial service for him at 3:00 pm, Sunday, March 26, 2023 at the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home Chapel, 171 King Street South in Waterloo.

We understand this news will be distressing to many. I encourage you to take care of yourselves and one another. Please know that counselling services are available to help you deal with this sad news and can be arranged through Waterloo’s employee assistance plan, employee extended health benefits and occupational health.

The University of Waterloo flag will be lowered on Sunday, March 26 to mark Ian's funeral.

Water Institute welcomes climate scientist Giulio Boccaletti for fireside chat March 22

 A biography

The Water Institute will welcome author, water expert and climate scientist Giulio Boccaletti for a fireside chat on Wednesday, March 22 as part of World Water Day.

Giulio Boc­caletti, author, water expert and climate scientist.For the past two decades, author, water expert and climate scientist Giulio Boc­caletti has been fascinated by the nexus between science and politics, and the central role water has played in civilizations and political institutions.

Boc­caletti spent his early career as a scientist, working on climate dynamics and physical oceanography at Bologna University, Princeton University, as a NASA Earth Systems Science Fellow and MIT.

In search of impact, he left academia and went into business, working for the global consultancy McKinsey & Company, where he became a partner, one of the leaders of its Sustainability and Resource Productivity practice, and co-founder of its Water practice. ​

He has produced several reports on key sustainability issues, including carbon and water security strategies for countries, the role of the ICT sector in climate transition, the economics of climate adaptation, and the economics of water security. In 2013 he joined the Nature Conservancy, one of the largest conservation organisations in the world, as Global Managing Director for Water, then as its Chief Strategy Officer. 

 A Biography."In 2021 Boc­caletti authored the book Water: A Biography, a historical journey spanning continents and millennia illustrating how humanity’s reliance on and relationship to moving water has shaped civilization, transformed political institutions, and defined people’s lives.

Beginning with the earliest civilizations of sedentary farmers on the banks of the Nile, the Euphrates, and the Yangtze, he describes how these societies developed institutions that responded to changes in climate and sea level, following the last glacial melt.

He illustrates how irrigation and flood control interacted with society to influence political systems: how, in Ancient Greece, the distribution of power mapped onto the distribution of water; how Roman water security was inextricably linked to the tax system of the empire. And he makes clear how the modern world as we know it began from that legacy: from a legal system that made possible the systematic development of water infrastructure, and political systems that succeeded in harnessing its power.

The book offers important lessons on how the rise of the modern republic is linked to the central role water had in society, and shows how, behind the illusions of technological modernity, humanity’s long, difficult relationship with moving water still shapes today’s politics and economics.

Boc­caletti will be speaking in Waterloo on March 22, for the World Water Day fireside chat entitled WATER: Life, History, Art, where he will explore our intricate relationship with water; how it has shaped civilizations, reconfigured landscapes, formed political institutions and inspired culture and art. He says: “Interdisciplinarity inspired my book and is at the heart of exploring our relationship with water. I very much look forward to this conversation!”

The fireside chat will feature Boccaletti, Ulrike Al-Khamis, Director and CEO, Aga Khan Museum and Dustin Garrick, Professor and University Research Chair in Water and Development Policy, School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability, University of Waterloo.

Learn more and register on the event website.

Eight teams will compete at the Velocity 5K finals

The audience at the Velocity Finals event

A message from Velocity.

Narrowed down from a record number of applicants since in-person events resumed, after two nights of 28 student teams pitching live to a packed room, eight teams will advance.

The finalists, comprised of undergraduate and graduate students from Faculty of Science and Faculty of Engineering, will pitch once more during the finalist event on March 30 in the Black and Gold room at SLC from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Doors open at 10:30 a.m.

Finalists include:

  • Foodage Inc.;
  • MetaCycler BioInnovations;
  • Pharmabox;
  • TrashTalk;
  • Med Melanin;
  • MemoryHaven; and
  • Whale Safe Fishing Gear.

Ideas sprung from research to personal experience

From telemedicine provider for women of colour to digital legacy solutions, the innovative businesses presented during the semi-finals were wide-ranging and sprung for different sources, including personal experience, capstone projects, and other research.

Osose Itua, founder of Foodage Inc., said the idea to work on food sustainability and reduction of food waste in particular was in response to differences she saw between her home country of Nigera and Canada.

“In Nigeria, we are taught not to waste food — we do everything possible to preserve it,” she said. “Here, restaurants face complications to giving away food but back home if someone needs food, we try to give it to them.”

Osose, who is an undergrad in mechatronics engineering, spoke to 70 restaurant owners to research what customers needed. Her solution reduces food waste by predicting food demand, so restaurants don’t purchase more food than they need.

By exploring entrepreneurship options at the University of Waterloo, including taking Velocity’s Cornerstone program, Osose realized she didn’t need permission to follow her passion for innovation.

“I realized I didn’t have to be older to be an entrepreneur, which is one of the reasons I decided to participate in the Velocity $5K,” she said.

Finalist team Whale Safe Fishing Gear, which is developing fishing equipment for lobster and crab fishers, has worked on their project for eight months.

“This is actually our Capstone project but our first time working with Velocity,” said Collin Bolt, mechanical engineering undergrad who pitched on behalf of the team. “We have been working together for four years and we thought pitching Whale Safe was a great opportunity.”

After another round of live pitching during the March 30 finals, Velocity will grant over $20,000 in funding to help the sprouting businesses.

Read the full article

April Anti-Racism Reads tackles The Equity Myth

A message from the Library and Print + Retail Solutions 

The front cover of the book The Equity Myth.We are pleased to announce that Kwasi Sarfo, Associate Director, Anti-Racism Response, will facilitate the April edition of Anti-Racism Reads. He will be facilitating a discussion of The Equity Myth with Carl E. James, Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora in the Faculty of Education at York University. Challenging the myth of equity in higher education, The Equity Myth brings together leading scholars who scrutinize what universities have done and question the effectiveness of their equity programs. 

This event is scheduled for Thursday, April 6 from 3:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. and will be held virtually. To register for this event, please visit the Library’s website

Copies of The Equity Myth are available through the Library's reserve system or for purchase at the W Store. Please note: We are working towards removing barriers to participation, providing easy access to the selected text. We have limited copies available free of cost for those who sign up for the event and indicate they'd like a copy on the registration form. 

Link of the day

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

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).

Faculty, staff, post-doc and graduate student instructors can find upcoming teaching and learning workshops, self-directed modules and recordings of previous events on Centre for Teaching Excellence Workshops and Events page.

Instructors can access the EdTech Hub to find support on Waterloo’s centrally supported EdTech tools. The Hub is supported by members of IST’s Instructional Technologies and Media ServicesCentre for Teaching ExcellenceCentre for Extended Learning and subject matter experts from other campus areas.

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.

Did you know that the Writing and Communication Centre offers many in-person and virtual services to support you with any writing or communication project? This term we've added The Write Spot: a new student space in South Campus hall, complete with bookable workspaces, drop-ins with our peer tutors, and free coffee and tea. We also have one-to-one appointments with our writing and communication advisors and peer tutors, email tutoring for grads and undergrads, drop-ins at Dana Porter Libraryonline workshopswriting groupsEnglish conversation practice, and even custom in-class workshops. For any communication project, the Writing and Communication Centre is here to support you.

Research Ethics: Find yourself with an ethical question, unsure if your work requires an ethics review, or need advice about putting together a research ethics application? Reach out to one of our friendly staff by booking a consultation or email us with your questions.

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 spaces, computers/printers, and the IST Help Desk. For in-depth support, meet one-to-one with Librarians, Special Collections & Archives and Geospatial Centre staff. Visit the Library’s home page to access our online resources for anywhere, anytime learning and research.

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 Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Anti-Racism (EDI-R) works with students, faculty and staff across campus to advance equity and Anti-racism through evidence-based policies, practices and programs. If you have a concern related to Anti-racism and/or equity, please complete our intake form.

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 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 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 

Fitness and Personal Training - Registrations opened January 5 this winter with Personal Training and Small Group Training as well as a Free Warrior Workout Program.

Student Health Pharmacy in the basement of the Student Life Centre is now offering Covid booster shots (Pfizer and Moderna) and flu shots. Call 519-746-4500 or extension 33784 for an appointment. Walk-ins always welcome.

Portia's Julius Caesar, Wednesday, March 22 to March 25, Theatre of the Arts.

World Water Day 2023, Wednesday, March 22, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Using AI to advance health care in Canada, Wednesday, March 22, 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., online.

GreenHouse’s Social Impact Showcase, Wednesday, March 22, 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., UTD 201 – Alumni Hall.

Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) Information Session, Wednesday, March 22, 5:00 p.m.

La Héroïque et La Pathétique: Orchestra@UWaterloo, Wednesday, March 22,, 7:30 p.m., Knox Presbyterian Church, 50 Erb St. West Waterloo. Free admission.

Equitable Recruitment and Selection, Friday, March 24, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon, online.

Knowledge Integration Senior Honours Projects Symposium, Friday, March 24, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., EV3-1408.

NEW - Gloria: Chamber Choir, Saturday, March 25, 7:30 p.m., St. John the Evangelist Church, 22 Water Street, Kitchener. Tickets $5 students/$10 general, available at the door.

University Senate meeting, Monday, March 27, 3:30 p.m., NH 3407.

Research Talks – “Sustainable Urban Environments,” Tuesday, March 28, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Four Fathers Brewing Co., Cambridge. Please register as seating is limited.