Monday, April 15, 2024

Volunteers build new opportunities, community and Waterloo's future

A National Volunteer Week banner featuring a collage of images of Waterloo volunteers.

A message from Nenone Donaldson, Vice-President, Advancement. 

Today marks the beginning of National Volunteer Week! In the Office of Advancement, we are excited to recognize the many volunteers who propel UWaterloo forward in our mission to create a better future. Each individual contributes in their own way — mentoring students and new grads, building global connections, or offering expertise to leadership — and they all make a difference in our work. This week, teams across Advancement will publicly recognize the thousands of volunteers who give their time to Waterloo. I hope you will join the celebrations on social media and thank them for the role they play in building our thriving global community. 

Spring cohort now open for Mental Health Literacy Program

A mental health counsellor works with a patient.

A message from Campus Wellness, Health Promotion.

Maintaining positive mental health is important to us all. Perhaps you’ve noticed signs of distress or increased levels of anxiety in a student and you’re not sure how to help them. Understanding the signs and symptoms of distress and the steps you can take to ensure they get the support they need involves having mental health literacy.

The Mental Health Literacy (MHL) Certificate was developed for faculty and staff to understand and practice approaches for compassionately responding to students. Participants will also walk away with strategies for incorporating self-care when supporting others​. The certificate program uses a cohort model, which encourages discussion and reflection on mental health through an equity-focused lens. Additionally, it empowers participants to build a supportive community of care and compassion. Over the course of five modules, participants will enhance their understanding of barriers to mental health and competency in responding to a person in distress.

Employees that have completed the program find it addresses gaps in their knowledge and is directly applicable to their work. Participants also shared that the cohorts fostered important connections and relationships with their colleagues. It provides a safe space for mental health conversations while prompting critical thinking about institutional culture and systems. We all contribute to the culture and environment of our Waterloo community, not matter what our role is. Please join us to learn how you can contribute to a community of care at Waterloo.

For faculty and staff not able to complete the entire MHL certificate program, they can complete Recognizing and Responding to a Person in Distress. This is a 2.5-hour standalone offering from the MHL program focused on building the skills and confidence to support others who may be in distress.

If you’re interested in signing up for any of the mental health trainings, please visit Campus Wellness’ training page.

The Library welcomes new head of Special Collections and Archives

A message from the Library.

Rebecka Taves Sheffield.The Library recently welcomed Rebecka Taves Sheffield as our new head of Special Collections & Archives (SCA). Rebecka is an award-winning author, educator and archivist with more than fifteen years’ experience working in the field. She recently served two consecutive appointments as vice president of the Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA), from 2017 to 2021, and now holds the position of Managing Editor for the ACA’s highly respected journal, Archivaria. 

Rebecka has a background in gender studies, social movement theory and 2SLGBTQ+ histories, which aligns well with SCA’s current collecting strengths. She spent nearly a decade working with the ArQuives: Canada’s LGBTQ+ Archives, an experience that has informed her research and writing. She holds a PhD in Information Studies from the University of Toronto, with a concentration in sexual diversity studies, and completed a MIST degree with a specialization in archives and records management. She’s looking forward to continuing the work of diversifying our collection, working with the Library’s associate directors of equity, diversity, inclusion and access (EDIA) and Indigenous initiatives. 

Rebecka has a keen interest in applying her archival skills to the digital world. Before joining Waterloo, she was a Senior Policy Advisor for Ontario’s Digital Service, leading digital and data policy development in the areas of data sharing, generative artificial intelligence and digital recordkeeping practices. Harnessing the innovative scholarship happening at Waterloo and connecting it to the work of SCA is top priority for Rebecka as she embarks on her newest professional endeavour. 

Fifteen years of Knowledge Integration at Waterloo

Three people hold up Knowledge Integration hooded sweatshirts.

This is an excerpt of an article that originally appeared on the Faculty of Environment's website.

Classifying the problems facing the world as 'complex' may seem like a simplification. Issues such as climate change, access to healthcare, inequity, and cybersecurity are not only individually challenging but also interconnected. Solving these interdisciplinary problems needs knowledge and expertise from fields like science, arts, technology, philosophy, and design-thinking. This requires experts who can engage in meaningful dialogue, analyze information, work collaboratively, and excel at integrating knowledge. These skills form the foundation of the University of Waterloo’s Knowledge Integration (KI) program, which recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. 

The Knowledge Integration Exhibition (KIX) showcases capstone projects of Bachelor of Knowledge Integration (BKI) students, part of the three-course museum sequence. As part of this course students visit a major European museum city to immerse themselves in the culture and museums to study exhibit design. This year’s KIX exhibition cohort traveled to Barcelona, Spain. Students then spent last fall developing their themes, learning objectives, and experiences which turned into a 30-page storyboard that ultimately transformed into a five complete museum exhibits, centered on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 

Four images showing different Knowledge Integration exhibition displays.

Amy Laughlin, a fourth-year KI student and teaching assistant for the museum course, reminisced about choosing her university degree. “Thinking back to when I was in high school, KI felt so appealing because of the museum course,” she said. Students in KI also learned that Brett Purcell, president of Nevada Learning Series, made a generous donation, announced at the reception, that would support KIX exhibits and events for the next five years. 

The BKI is the only Bachelor of Knowledge Integration in the world, and the skills students develop are transferable to any industry, with KI alumni going on to complete graduate degrees in fields like humanities, science, engineering, and medical school, and graduates working in a variety of sectors, from consulting to teaching. 

Read the full story on the Faculty of Environment's website.

Upcoming office closure

Waterloo International in EC5 will be closed on Tuesday, April 16 for the day for staff to attend Professional Development. Email responses to Waterloo International will be delayed. will be checking this email periodically. We are prioritizing responses and only urgent messages will be responded to. If you have a travel-related emergency, please contact the local authorities at your destination and University of Waterloo Special Constable Service +1-519-888-4911. Access is available 24 hours/day, 365 days/year. If you require medical assistance, contact your medical insurance provider. Other emergency contact points are detailed on the Waterloo Safety Abroad website.

Link of the day

45 years ago: Mad Max does the post-apocalypse in style

When and Where

The Student Health Pharmacy (located in the lower level of the Student Life Centre) is offering flu shots with no appointments needed daily from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call 519-746-4500 or extension 33784 for more info. COVID shots will be available on appointment basis only. You can register online at

Warriors Youth Summer Camps. Basketball, Baseball, Football, Hockey, Multi-Sport and Volleyball. Register today!

Final examination period, Thursday, April 11 to Thursday, April 25.

Board of Governors meeting, Tuesday, April 16, 1:30 p.m., NH 3407 and Zoom.

Post-covid freedom discourses and their influence on the politics of climate intervention, Wednesday, April 17, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., DC 1304.

IQC Public Lecture featuring Dr. Rajibul Islam, “Open Quantum Computing, One Atom at a Time,” Wednesday, April 17, 7:00 p.m., QNC 0101.

The Foundation: Building Inclusive Research Teams, Thursday, April 18, 10:00 a.m. to 11: 00 a.m. Register here.

Games Institute (GI) research symposium, “Disrupting Disciplinary Divides for Digital Futures”, Friday April 19, East Campus 1.

NEW - DaCapo Chamber Choir, conducted by Leonard Enns, Professor Emeritus at Conrad Grebel University College, concludes their 25th season with Dualities, Saturday, April 20, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April April 21, 3:00 p.m., Trillium Lutheran Church, Waterloo. See for tickets and details.

Green Labs Earth Week Challenge, Monday, April 22 to Friday, April 26.

Earth Day Campus Clean-up, Monday, April 22, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., supplies available at DC Green.

WISE Public Lecture,Virtual Power Plants: Navigating through Foundational Concepts, Technologies Involved, Strategic Impacts, and Development Challenges” by Amir Miragha, (PhD, SMIEEE, Global Senior Principal Architect, Schneider Electric.), Monday, April 22, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., CPH Fourth floor 4335., in-person and on Zoom. Register today!

Operating Budget Town Hall, Tuesday, April 23, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., NH 3407.

Deadline to get "Fees Arranged," Wednesday, April 24.

An Evening with Astrophysicist Dr. Avery Broderick, Wednesday, April 24, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

Waterloo Innovation Summit, Thursday, April 25, McKinsey & Company, Toronto.

NEW - Spiritus Ensemble, conducted by Kenneth Hull, Professor Emeritus at Conrad Grebel University College, concludes their 15th season with Bach Vespers After Easter, on Sunday April 28, 4:00 p.m., St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Kitchener. Admission by donation. See for details.

Safeguarding Science workshop and more, throughout May and June. Public Safety Canada invites faculty, staff and students to attend a series of virtual event via MS Teams. Register to receive a link.

NEW - Quantum Connections 2024: Quantum Perspectives, Wednesday, May 1 to Thursday, May 2, QNC.

Spring Tree Planting, Thursday, May 2, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., main campus.

Master of Taxation virtual information sessionSaturday, May 4, 9:00 a.m.

BioBlitz, Monday, May 6 to Sunday, May 12.

Equitable Recruitment and Selection, Monday, May 6, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Spring Tree Planting, Wednesday, May 8 and Thursday, May 9, 12 noon to 2:00 p.m., main campus.

NEW - Bridging Black: Building Black Connections for Black Flourishing, the 2024 Inter-Institutional Forum of the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education, Thursday, May 9 and Friday, May 10, University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University campuses.

GOODHack24, Saturday, May 11, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 151 Charles Street, Kitchener.