About Society of the Water Institute Graduate Students

world water day volunteers
Why get involved?

Networking: An expanded professional network, with new contacts from across water sectors

Collaboration: An opportunity to collaborate with brilliant minds on campus and the Water Institute

Training: SWIGS members have the opportunity to participate in professional development events throughout the year

SWIGS is supported by the Water Institute at the University of Waterloo

What does the SWIGS executive committee do?

  • Organizes networking and educational events
  • Hosts guest speakers at different events to share their expertise in the water sector
  • Organizes an participates in outreach activities in the Waterloo Region
  • Shares information about the Water Institute and its activities 
  • Act as Water Institute ambassadors for the University of Waterloo. See below for details of specific roles and responsibilities of committee members 
    swigs booth water awareness

All executive positions are on a volunteer basis and are elected by students in April each year.  

Meet the 2022-23 Executives:

The Chair (Kevin B. White):

  • Lead the overall operations of SWIGS and support the duties of all executives 

  • Act as a liaison between SWIGS and the Water Institute, and as the official SWIGS spokesperson to contacts outside of the University of Waterloo 

  • Provide student perspectives in the WI Strategic Planning Committee meetings, Collaborative Water Program Committee Meeting, External Review Board Meetings.  

  • Organize the Annual General Assembly meeting in the summer term to update the SWIGS membership of the committee’s activities in the past year.  

  • Organize and oversee the annual election for the next executive committee.  

  • Prepare the annual report to the Water Institute and the incoming executive team 

Vice-Chair Operations (Emma Blackburn):

  • Maintains all communications with membership, including emails, the SWIGS website, membership lists, social media, blog posts, etc.
  • Work with the Water Institute team to publicize the seminars, guest lectures, career opportunities   
  • Supports the advertisement and logistics of events organized by other executives
  • Maintains the annual budget for SWIGS

Co-Vice-Chairs Academic (Arisha Imran & Jake Ferguson):

  • Organize academic events such as lunchtime sessions, academic workshops, panel discussions, etc. 

  • Organize workshops for relevant developing skills by popular demand such as Programing in R, Data Visualization, Data Management, GIS, N-Vivo, etc. 

  • Organize Blue Drinks events with invited guest speakers who are water professionals from diverse backgrounds such as Federal, provincial, and municipal government, private sector, and NGOs and conservation authorities. 

Vice-Chair Outreach(Julie DePauw):

  • Organize the annual Water And You art contest for students grades 4-7 in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge area. 

  • Organize outreach events outside of UWaterloo campus, including at other Universities such as Water Matters: Student Panel Discussion.  

  • Coordinate social and political efforts related to water that are supported by SWIGS. Past examples: water bar event with the Region of Waterloo, Healthy Kids Community Challenge, reaching out to Elmira over the Nestle concerns, etc. 

Vice-Chair Conference (Isabel Jorgensen):

  • Support the Water Institute with the annual World Water Day celebrations, and other Water Institute conferences 

  • Participate in the conference organizing committee meetings and contribute towards the conference programming.  

  • Recruit and manage the volunteers needed for various activities on the day of the conference.

Vice-Chair Social (Navya Nair):

  • Organize social events for SWIGS members. Past events include: Mocktail workshops, Water Trivia, Bird Watching, Holiday cookie exchange, lake shore clean up.  

  • Assist Vice Chair Academics, to organize Blue Drinks events. 

  • Organize the social event for the World Water Day Conference.

Collaborative Water Program (CWP) Liaisons for Cohorts 9 & 10 (Kalani De Silva & Sarah Kowalczyk):

  • Connect CWP students with SWIGS events and programs 

  • Update the SWIGS committee with concerns and challenges of students in the CWP. 

  • Support other committee members in planning events 

Note that executives tend to work collaboratively, and the roles tend to blend as all members work together as a team.