WATERLOO, Ont. (Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2011) - An endowment fund started by engineering students at the University of Waterloo in 1990 has just passed the $10 million plateau. It is believed to be the first and largest student-run endowment fund in Canada.

A celebration of the Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund's $10 million milestone will be held Thursday, Nov. 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the foyer of the Carl Pollock Hall building at the University of Waterloo.

The fund, better known by its acronym WEEF, was created in 1990 by engineering students John Vellinga and Avi Belinsky. WEEF was started to help fund student projects and support student teams above and beyond what was provided by the university.

"Reaching the $10 million mark in just 21 years is a huge accomplishment and a real tribute to engineering’s undergraduate students," said WEEF director Laurin Benson, a third-year chemical engineering student. "The fund has provided students with a sense of ownership and pride in Waterloo Engineering."

WEEF has resulted in the purchase of equipment for teams such as the university's Midnight Sun Solar Race Car Team, Formula SAE Race Car Team, Waterloo Rocketry Team and Clean Snowmobile Team, computers and monitors for undergraduate labs, a distillation column for chemical engineering, 3D printers for the Waterloo School of Architecture in Cambridge and circuit hardware for electrical and computer engineering.

WEEF donated $1 million to the Engineering 5 building's unique state-of-the-art student design centre, which opened in October 2010.

The largest source of donations to WEEF is a voluntary, tax-deductible $75 fee engineering students pay each term. Interest from the fund is spent on special projects submitted by engineering students and voted on by elected representatives from each undergraduate engineering class. That amount will total $180,000 for the 2011/2012 academic year.

For more information about WEEF, visit www.weef.uwaterloo.ca/.

About Waterloo Engineering

The faculty of engineering at the University of Waterloo is a multi-faceted engineering school with eight academic units, home to about 270 faculty members, more than 1,840 graduate students and 6,340 undergraduate students. More than 33,000 alumni have made their mark in industry, academe and the public sector, in Canada and around the world. For further information, go to www.engineering.uwaterloo.ca.

About the University of Waterloo

In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle, has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with close to 30,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For more information about Waterloo, visit www.uwaterloo.ca.

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