Monday, May 29, 2023

Waterloo celebrates National AccessAbility Week

A woman walks next to a woman in a wheelchair outside the Tatham Centre.

By Dr. Christine Zaza, Disability Inclusion Team

In 2023, National AccessAbility Week (NAAW) is May 28 to June 3. The Government of Canada established NAAW to celebrate the contributions of disabled people, promote accessibility and recognize efforts to remove barriers.  

“Inclusion is a core value at the University of Waterloo,” says Dr. James Rush, vice-president, academic & provost. “We value diversity and recognize that everyone has strengths and challenges, regardless of their abilities. Our goal is to build a culture of inclusion where all members of our diverse community feel like they belong.”   

Inclusion is a primary goal of Ontario’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Enacted in 2005, the AODA aims to make Ontario more accessible and inclusive for disabled people by 2025. 

To promote accessibility in post-secondary education, AODA’s Post-Secondary Education Standards Final Recommendations Report 2022 was released. The 185 recommendations in this report were developed with extensive input from individuals with lived experience with disability. 

Joyce Barlow.Joyce Barlow, associate director, disability inclusion, is tasked with planning how Waterloo will implement the recommendations.  

Barlow recognizes the importance of seeking consultation and feedback on accessibility initiatives in the University community. As she points out, there are many parallels with other equity-deserving groups on campus. 

“The common quote is ‘nothing about us without us.’ It would be rather patronizing to suggest that something is more inclusive for disabled people when you haven’t asked them whether it is. We do that for many equity-seeking groups on campus, for our racialized community, our queer community and women-identifying community. And so disabled people are no different,” Barlow explains.    

Accessibility tip: Provide advance notification of expectations. Let others know what to expect so they have time to plan for their own needs and determine whether they require accommodations. Knowing what to expect in advance benefits everyone, not just disabled people. 

Waterloo’s commitment to accessibility is evident in the variety of initiatives throughout the community. For example, the visitor centre has increased the accessibility of campus tours for guests with disabilities, co-operative education has developed a resource to support employers in providing accessible co-op experiences for students with disabilities and the wayfinding project has been cataloguing power door operators on external entrances. 

These and other initiatives are reported in the Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

Collectively, Waterloo has a wealth of expertise in accessibility and universal design. For example, University Relations developed the University of Waterloo Inclusive Communications Guide, the Library developed an online module on universal design for learning and the Centre for Teaching Excellence created Accessibility in Teaching for instructors.  

For a list of the many accessibility resources created by our community, see University of Waterloo’s resources on accessibility and Universal Design. 

Waterloo launches menstrual equity pilot

A message from the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-racism Office (EDI-RO).

A sticker with a pink droplet and the phrase "protect all people who menstruate."The University of Waterloo is taking a significant step towards achieving menstrual equity with the launch of a pilot project aimed at increasing access to menstrual products across the University. Starting May 30, dispensers located within various washroom locations across campus will be stocked with free menstrual products. There will be stickers near the dispensers with a QR code that links to the Menstrual Equity webpage for a list of all washroom locations that have menstrual products, as well as more information about the initiative.  

The Menstrual Equity pilot, a collaborative effort between the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-racism Office (EDI-RO) and Plant Operations builds on the existing advocacy and ongoing work of the Women's Centre, which has been proactive in addressing the needs of University community members who menstruate. 

The project has also received support from many individual campus community members, as well as key groups across campus, including the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA), the Graduate Student Association (GSA), the Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Health, the Faculty of Math, the School of Pharmacy, Health Promotion, Athletics and the Office of Advancement. 

Recognizing that menstruation is not exclusive to any one gender identity, the pilot project will include women's, all-gender and men's washrooms to support access to free products for those who need them.  

“The importance of menstrual equity cannot be overstated,” said Gina Hickman, Director, Equity, EDI-RO. “Ensuring that all people who menstruate have easy access to safe menstrual products is vital for removing barriers to participation in school, work and community. People who menstruate should not have to choose between showing up to school or work because they either cannot afford these essential products or are worried they will not have them available when needed,” she said. 

The Menstrual Equity project, which is being piloted in the Spring term also seeks to provide comprehensive education on menstrual health to break down social stigmas about menstruation and foster a more inclusive, supportive and equitable environment for all people who menstruate.  

As part of the communications campaign the Equity Unit will be sharing a booth with Health Promotion on May 30 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the SLC to build awareness about menstrual equity and this pilot project.  

“Promoting education about menstrual health is a crucial element of gender equity work – as we aim to make our campus safer and more inclusive for all gender identities,” said Hickman. “We are exploring options for sustainable or reusable products and are looking forward to partnering with key campus stakeholders in the Fall for a larger launch event to celebrate the pilot.” 

By prioritizing menstrual equity, the University acknowledges the diverse needs of individuals who have periods and is taking concrete steps to address them. As the pilot project unfolds, it is hoped that the University fosters an environment where menstruation is normalized and all who menstruate can thrive.

Register to see Colin Linden Live on June 2

Colin Linden with his guitar.

A message from the School of Optometry & Vision Science.

All Waterloo staff, faculty, retirees and alumni are invited to a live concert featuring Colin Linden hosted by the Optometry Class of 1985 in support of the Waterloo Eye Institute.

Juno and Grammy award winning Canadian singer and guitarist Colin Linden will be performing a one-night only show at the Theatre of the Arts (ML – Modern Languages) on Friday June 2 and all are invited to participate. Colin is a member of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, and has worked with many artists including Bruce Cockburn, Emmylou Harris and Bob Dylan.

Buy your tickets today to save your seats to this exclusive and intimate concert on Friday June 2 from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Link of the day

International Day of UN Peacekeepers

When and Where 

Warrior Recreation Registration for the spring term is now open.

Waterloo Warriors Youth Camps. Spring and Summer camps available for Boys and Girls ages 5-18. Baseball, Basketball, Football, Volleyball, Hockey and Multi-Sport and Games. Register today.

Fitness and Personal Training - Registrations now open for Personal Training and Small Group Training, as well as a Free Warrior Workout Program.

Warrior Rec FREE Club Try-It Sessions: Karate, Judo, Chinese Martial Arts, Triathlon, Women's Football, Lacrosse, Quidditch, Running, Artistic Swimming, Lifesaving, SERVE, Table Tennis and more), Monday, May 8 to Wednesday, May 31. Find out more. 

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.

NEW - GreenHouse Mental Health Design Sprint, Monday, May 29 and Monday, June 5, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., United College 164 (GreenHouse).

Live with legendary Prof. Larry Smith, Monday, May 29, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., AL 113.

Land Skills for Wellness and Sustainability Project: Connecting to the LandMonday, May 29, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Anti-Racism Reads Book club event, Tuesday, May 30, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m., Dana Porter Learning lab, third floor.

Land Skills for Wellness and Sustainability Project: Introduction to Spoon carving (Green Woodworking), Tuesday, May 30, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Waterloo Womxn + Nonbinary Wednesdays Year-end Picnic: Mapping Community and Care at UWaterloo, Wednesday, May 31, 12 noon, St. Jerome’s courtyard.

Alumni Weekend, Friday, June 2 and Saturday, June 3.

CrySP Speaker Series on Privacy, "CVE-2022-23491, or Why PO boxes can't be root certificate authorities anymore,"featuring Joel Reardon, University of Calgary, Friday, June 2, 2:00 p.m., DC 3317 and Zoom.

Colin Linden Live: WEI Fundraiser, Friday, June 2, 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, ML – Modern Languages.

2023 Summer School: Water and Energy Security in a Changing Climate, Monday, June 5, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., onlne.

Spring 2023 PhD graduates dinner reception, Monday, June 5, 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Fed Hall. 

Inclusive Research Team presents First Nations Principles of OCAP® Virtual Presentation, Tuesday, June 6, 10:00 a.m. Register today.

Quantum for Environment Design Challenge Launch Event, Tuesday, June 6, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., QNC 0101.

Together/Ensemble 2023, Wednesday, June 7 to Friday, June 9.

Dr. John Hirdes, School of Public Health Sciences, presents Back to the future of gerontology: Opportunities, Challenges, and Uncertainties in the Next 40 Years of an Aging World for the University's Network for Aging Research's fourth annual William F. Forbes lecture, Wednesday, June 7, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., LHS 1621 (Sunlife Auditorium) and online. Please register in advance.

Continuous Improvement, Change Management, Project & Portfolio Management Community of Practice Showcase, Thursday, June 8, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., DC 1301.

Decoding happiness: Understanding the science behind..., Thursday June 8, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., United College Alumni Hall 201.

Speed Hack, Thursday, June 8, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., South Campus Hall 228.

Indigenous Movie Night: Night Raiders, Thursday, June 8, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., LHI 1621. Doors open at 5:00 p.m.

When and Where to get support 

Check out the support listings for faculty, staff and students.