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University of Waterloo -- Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Friday, September 5, 1997

Modern Languages hits 35

The party starts at 12:15 in front of UW's original arts building, which never got a grand opening bash when it was erected in 1962. The "birthday celebration and belated grand opening" today celebrates the Modern Languages building and offers a chance to look back on arts, Waterloo and life over 35 years.

"I was at the rehearsal last night and was really impressed," an informant tells me. "The show promises to be very entertaining -- lots of laughs -- the director had to ask us to quiet down so she could do her job. Chairs, profs and staff will parade through the decades of UW's existence."

The "retro fashion show" (what they were wearing in 1962 and on various dates since) is the highlight of the day, unless you're the kind of history buff who will prefer the reminiscences by Paul Beam and Ken McLaughlin, both students in 1962 and both professors now. Also appearing will be the Varsity Briefcase Drill Team, a ribbon-cutting is planned, and cupcakes will be served. Everybody's welcome. Again: 12:15 in the arts quadrangle, right in front of ML.

Test on the written word

Most new first-year students will be sharpening their pencils today for the English Language Proficiency Exam, a 50-minute essay on an assigned topic written in the main gym of the Physical Activities Complex. The exam, administered by the Writing Clinic, weeds out incoming students who need remedial help with basic writing skills.

ELPE requirements differ from faculty to faculty, but aside from some students exempted on the basis of high school marks, most are required to take the exam. Tutors from the Writing Clinic mark the essays, and depending on the faculty, the score required to pass ranges from 50 per cent to 70 per cent.

Last September, of the 2,171 students who wrote the ELPE, 49 scored below 50 per cent, 274 fell between 50 and 59 per cent, and 1,005 received marks between 60 and 69 per cent. The rest drew a pass on anybody's scale. Of the total, 462 were English-as-a-second-language students; of those, 39 achieved less than 50 per cent.

Remedial strategies for students who don't pass the exam vary according to faculty, including rewriting the exam, spending a term or more at the Writing Clinic where tutors help bring English skills up to snuff, or taking (and passing) an English writing course.

Start of the Warrior season

The football Warriors begin their season tomorrow with a 2 p.m. game against Wilfrid Laurier University at University Stadium (that's Seagram Stadium to some of us old-timers). It's a WLU home game, which means UW fans will have to buy tickets at the gate, but that shouldn't stop a considerable crowd from turning out to cheer coach Tuffy Knight's squad.

The Warriors were 7-1 in the regular season last year and won their first playoff game before falling to Guelph in the Yates Cup, the Ontario championship. This year, the goal is even bigger: first a Yates Cup and then a Vanier Cup, representing the Canadian championship, something a Waterloo football team has never achieved. "It's a fantasy," Knight told the Star this week, "but we'll work our butts off to make it a reality."

The team is rich with veterans, including four all-Canadians. One player who's back from the successful 1996 season is linebacker Kevin Pressburger, who told the K-W Record the other day that the players are "optimistic".

A little more about Polaris

In yesterday's Bulletin I mentioned the new computing environment, tentatively dubbed Polaris, that's being introduced in place of Watstar, now almost a decade old. There's a bit more to tell, says Beth Jewkes, associate dean (computing) in the engineering faculty:
On campus, "Watstar" refers to a computing environment which has been developed by Engineering Computing over the past decade with the needs of an academic institution in mind. It is based on the Watstar(TM) networking software, and also encompasses a variety of applications which run on top of the networking services: email, printing, accounting and auditing software, login/off interfaces and a host of application software.

For the past 8 years, the Watstar system has been using Windows 3.11 and a variety of DOS and Windows 3.11 application software. Last fall, after an analysis of other networks, Engineering Computing began the task of enhancing Watstar to bring Windows 95 and other 32-bit application software to our computing environment. Another key feature added to the system during the development was the ability to access both Windows NT and UNIX servers. The working name for the new computing environment is Polaris.

Although Watstar began in engineering, it has "propagated", Jewkes points out, so that it's now used in arts, in science, and in various other parts of the university. And as Watstar was developed by people in engineering, Polaris (or whatever its final official name may be) was written there too; she says special credit is due to Bruce Campbell, Erick Engelke and Ray Wight.

The rest of what's happening

Today is "Admin/Down Day" in the orientation program for first-year students -- because of the English Language Proficiency Exam, as mentioned, and because students do need to sleep in, call their parents and take a walk now and then. The library is giving tours between 10:30 and 3:30, and free food is promised from 1:00 to 3:00 at health services. This evening there will be various parties, needless to say.

Tomorrow, orientation gets lively again with an attempt to consume what is billed as the world's largest pizza, expected to measure between 48 metres and 60 metres long. The pizza binge begins at 11:30 a.m. outside Gino's Pizza at the University Plaza with a concert featuring Wide Mouth Mason. After the feast, students will head for University Stadium for the football game. And in the evening: "Toga at the Yoga!"

Meanwhile, registration continues in the Physical Activities Complex, and today's the last day to register without having to pay late fees. Looking ahead: classes start Monday, and September 26 is the last day to drop out of UW this term and get a full refund of fees.

The libraries will be closed Saturday and Sunday; they reopen Monday with regular fall hours.

UW now has a full team for the Corporate Challenge sports-and-fun event, being held Sunday from 8:30 to 2:30 at the Kinsmen Sports Centre in Cambridge. People are encouraged to come out and cheer for the Waterloo team as it competes against teams from other local employers, says Nancy Elash of the community relations office, who organized the team and is one of its members. Also giving their all for Waterloo will be Denise Kettle (payroll), Judi Silvestri (cashiers), Cathy Hale (research office), Lisa English (civil engineering), Bill Power (chemistry), Ted Malamoutsis (central stores), Karl Kliewer (research office), Ben Robins (science student), and Ben Thomson (science student). Helping as volunteers are Pat MacDonald and June Richardson, both of the cashiers' office.


September 5, 1984: Kitchener Transit introduces its route 12 bus to connect the campus to the south end of Kitchener.

September 6, 1977: The library's new Geac computerized circulation system becomes fully operational. September 6, 1979: Rev. C. L. Siegfried, president of St. Jerome's College, is taken to hospital in Toronto; within a few weeks he announces that he will officially leave office.

Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@watserv1.uwaterloo.ca -- (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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