The University of Waterloo community is home to countless students, faculty, staff and alumni who consistently go above and beyond. Staff are providing exceptional customer service, students are volunteering their time to help others, faculty members are showing genuine care and mentorship for their students, and these positive actions are all happening every day. The President’s Accolades aims to celebrate these stories of dedication, passion and contribution. If you know of a member or group making our University proud, be sure to submit their story today!
Finance department holiday fundraising for Food Bank of Waterloo Region
The Finance department's new social committee took initiative to raise funds for a good cause this holiday season. Some Finance team members visited Food Bank of Waterloo Region to make our donation in person. Through personal donations, a silent auction of baked goods and other events, over $1,500 was raised to share with the Food Bank that can provide more than 4,500 healthy meals to those in need this holiday season. Thank you to the Finance social committee for their time and extra effort on arranging this fun fundraising and thank you all who participated as well.
Creating a unique holiday video one frame at a time
For the past several years the University of Waterloo President's annual holiday video message was produced to share good wishes for the season and New Year. Multimedia Design Manager, Matt Regehr took it once step further this year through a creatively nostalgic stop-motion animated video. The project was planned more than a year in advance and took more than a 100 hours to create. Matt has won awards for his video production and web design work, and was recognized by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for his work with the university.
PhD student introduces open piano program
Faculty of Science PhD student Max Salman, with the support of Tony Bairos and his team at Central Stores, and Dennis Huber, Vice-President of Administration & Finance, helped introduce the open piano program at the University of Waterloo. The program was started in the Fall of 2018 with two pianos, one at Dana Porter Library and the Peter Russell Rock Garden and aims to inspire and encourage students, faculty and staff to express themselves through music with open access to the pianos. The outpouring of support on campus has been extraordinary with hundreds of students expressing their musical skills and passion for their enjoyment and those passing by throughout the day.
Waterloo post-doctoral fellow recognized for keeping traditional art form alive
Veronika Irvine teaches artisans new lace making patterns she creates through mathematical models. Veronika is a computer science post-doctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo and uses computer algorithms to create lace patterns. She was recently recognized in the Waterloo Region Record for her efforts to keep this traditional form of art alive and vibrant through the use of her knowledge to bring together art and science in a meaningful way.
A little extra encouragement during exam time
For those walking through E6 during exam time you would have notices a number of tea, fruit and cookie stations set up in the student study spaces in E6 along with signs saying "Complimentary for undergraduate students. Best wishes on your final exams!" This wonderful initiative was spearheaded by Denise Mueller, the Undergraduate Advisor for Chemical Engineering. This little gesture goes far beyond what is expected of our exceptional staff for the betterment of our students during a time of stress.
Arts student founds social entrepreneurship venture PickWaste
Pollution warrior, Dillon Mendes, is a second year student majoring in accounting and finance and minoring in environmental studies. Dillon is co-founder of social entrepreneurship venture, PickWaste saying, “One day I was driving home and saw my friend picking up litter. He explained to me this theory that if you commit to a small consistent action, it will lead to a massive global change. He applied it to picking up trash! I loved it and suggested that we host weekly clean ups to see who comes out and that was the day that PickWaste was born.” Dillon is a public speaker with a passion for innovation and sustainability.
Technology education for older adults
Colin Whaley is a graduate student at the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy. During his undergrad (BSc '18), he co-founded the enTECH Computer Club in 2015. In the three years since its founding, enTECH has had had over 100 volunteers spend countless hours helping older adults living in local retirement homes learn how to use technology to keep in contact with their families, and for recreation. To support enTECH chapters starting at other institutions, members have also written a curriculum in hopes that other organizations will facilitate older adult technology education.
University IST Developer Volunteers to Lead Cadet Military Band Training
University of Waterloo IST Developer Eric Bremner took time out of his busy schedule this summer to volunteer as leader of the Military Band (Juliet) Company at the Blackdown Cadet Training Centre inside Canadian Forces Base Borden helping guide and instruct 150 cadets (ages 12 – 19). This is a tremendous act of volunteerism that will impact the lives of these young cadets as they grow up.
Waterloo Professor, Doug Brown Wins 2018 Ig Nobel Prize
Doug Brown and colleagues won a 2018 Ig Nobel Prize for research that “makes people laugh, and then think.” In their winning paper Righting a wrong: Retaliation on a voodoo doll symbolizing an abusive supervisor restores justice, Professor Brown and co-authors found that unhappy employees felt a sense of justice restored after abusing a virtual voodoo doll representing their unfair boss. This is the second Ig Nobel Prize awarded to Waterloo Psychology researchers in two years
Waterloo Alum Named CEO of Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region
After eight yeas as a Waterloo city councillor, University of Waterloo alum Karen Coveillo BSc ‘89 (formerly Scian) stepped into the role of CEO of Habitat for Humanity as of August 2018. She will be leading the non-profit organization as it helps families achieve affordable home ownership in Waterloo Region with the help of volunteers, donors and community partners.
Making Co-op better
Connor Plante has been serving over the last 8 months as the Feds Co-op Affairs Commissioner, meaning that he has been Feds’ point person on all things Co-op. He has been involved with the Co-op Fee Comprehensive Review, making recommendations around transparency of the Co-op Fee and how it is spent. He also serves on the Federation of Students Board of Directors. This fall, Connor attended his fourth OUSA General Assembly, representing University of Waterloo students in making the policy that student leaders lobby on at Queen’s Park. Connor’s quiet professionalism and behind the scenes work has had an amazing impact on the way students will experience co-op, and the UWaterloo community is better off for it.
Waterloo First Year Students Design Local Playground
Three First Year Engineering students, Adam Rywak, Rodrigo Santalla and Daniel Qi, helped to open the original playground structure at Keatsway Public School in Waterloo that they designed. The designers really took to the time to get to know what the young students wanted out of a new playground and after the success of the jungle-themed structure, the students' work has inspired other local public schools to engage with the University of Waterloo to design their own unique playground structures.
Dana Decent Recognized by Canada Clean50 as an Emerging Leader in Sustainability
One of the largest climate risks to Canada right now is flooding. And the damage isn’t just to property. Dana Decent, Manager of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo, was recognized nationally as an emerging leader in sustainability for leading innovative research uncovering the long-term mental health impacts of flooding in Canada and the economic costs (e.g. days off work), a gap only superficially explored until now. was recognized by Canada’s Clean50 on its annual list of Emerging Leaders in sustainability.
WatVision wins national James Dyson Award
University of Waterloo-based WatVision has won the national James Dyson Award and will move on to the international competition. Founded by University of Waterloo mechatronics engineering graduates Craig Loewen and Lior Lustgarten, WatVision is working to make touchscreen phones more accessible to the visually impaired.
Trapeze artist Xander Taylor (BSc ’09) joins Cirque du Soleil's show TOTEM
Trapeze artist Xander Taylor (BSc ’09) recently joined Cirque du Soleil's show TOTEM, performing his duo trapeze act with partner Mélanie Dupuis for their European tour. After receiving training in classical theatre from Sheridan College, Xander went on to complete his undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo, then later graduated from Montreal’s National Circus School.