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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Wednesday, December 16, 1998

  • Season for giving reaches 98 kids
  • Accounting grads score high
  • College bonhomie on the menu
  • These other notes, briefly
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Season for giving reaches 98 kids

It seemed a pity, 10 years ago, for co-op education and career services to spend money on a big Christmas bash that not all of its far-flung staff could attend. In an effort to find another way of celebrating the season and promoting department cohesion, the idea of pulling together to aid a charity arose.

Departments donating food

"There are a number of departments on campus who are collecting food for the Christmas Food Drive," says Nancy Heide in UW's community relations office, mentioning the optometry school and the registrar's office, among others. "The SAA has food left over too from their exam survival kits," she adds. "I'd like to co-ordinate this effort somewhat so UW can make one large donation instead of many small ones."

She and Sharon Dahmer of optometry are trying to get UW givers to be part of the "stuff-a-bus" campaign organized by the Food Bank. "This Friday morning, December 18, Central Stores will pick up food from all departments participating and deliver everything to the bus at Highland Hills Mall." Departments that have food to be picked up should give Heide a call at ext. 3276. "If they want their donation weighed separately, they just need to let me know and they should put their department name on the boxes."

UW departments are doing other Christmas things too, she notes. "I know Graphics has a mitten tree, ODAA is collecting toys, Central Stores has adopted two families." She'd like to hear from all departments who are doing anything this season to help needy people in the community.

Through a local social worker, engineering co-op advisor Janet Metz arranged to assist the family of a Cambridge woman who had been killed in an auto accident just before Christmas. Over the years the project has grown, with 98 children from 41 families receiving Christmas gifts this year, courtesy of the co-op department, with support from several other departments across campus.

Co-op elves Metz and Edith Hohendorn, an administrative assistant for the department, begin work every year by mid-November, Hohendorn handling administrative details and Metz doing the shopping. They receive a list of first names of children, along with ages and sizes, from Waterloo Region Social Services.

The families assisted by the project are not welfare recipients, explains Metz, but the working poor, "out there trying, doing the best they can, but barely making ends meet." The families can request items they need, and the wish list this year contains more pleas for food than ever before, Hohendorn notes. "You know they're not doing well."

In the co-op department, staff make contributions and hold dress-down days for the fund, and Metz and her neighbour do the shopping for nearly half the families on the list. Co-op staff pitch in to wrap gifts in their spare time. Other departments -- distance education, counselling, registrar's, research, human resources/payroll, finance, secretariat, president's office, and cashiers -- each choose a family from the list to shop for.

"This year has been the best year ever," says Metz. Although there were more children on the list, more money was raised -- nearly $1,000 -- and more departments have signed on to help. "It just amazes me what we've accomplished."

Why do they do it? "It makes 98 children happy," explains Hohendorn. "It may be a drop in the bucket, but you've got to start somewhere. We've all struggled, and we all know there's grief out there." Metz confesses she has a soft spot for the teens. "I know how hard it is to fit in, to deal with peer pressures." And unlike many other appeals, this one has no overhead, no middleman, and "you know," she adds, "it's addressing a bona fide need."

The hardest part? "Reading the list brings tears to your eyes," they both admit, especially when a 12-year old asks only for a pair of boots. When other kids are clamoring for computer games, "it's heart-wrenching to think so many children just need the basics."

Accounting graduates score high

Nine UW accounting graduates were among the top 20 Ontario writers in the recent Uniform Final Examination in chartered accountancy.

"The UFE is the final hurdle in the process of becoming a professional chartered accountant," said Dave Carter of the school of accountancy. He added that there were a total of 1,053 UFE writers in Ontario and that 730 were successful.

The nine UW writers, all Master of Accounting graduates:

The UFE is a national exam held over a four-day period that tests core knowledge, professional judgment, ethics and communication skills. Passing the exam is a requirement for chartered accountants. UW's accountancy school offers a master of accounting degree and a "direct route" to complete the UFE, held by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.

For students working on a bachelor's degree in business or accounting, the master's degree takes only one more year consisting of two or three academic terms. Students graduating with a degree in a non-business field can obtain a master of accounting in two years with four or five terms. UW's master's degree program provides the only accredited direct route to the final examinations without the need to take the admission exams or summer programs that are usually required.

College bonhomie on the menu

St. Jerome's University is holding its annual pre-Christmas dinner tonight, and while invitations to VIPs and academic figures from UW and the other church-related colleges described the event as "informal", that doesn't mean anything but the best will do. The entree tonight: "medallions of muskox".

The event each year is the occasion not just for fine dining and perhaps a sip of something, but for informal remarks, jokes and teasing, and a general spirit of goodwill between St. Jerome's and what it naturally regards as its junior partners. After all, the University of Waterloo is less than a third the age of St. Jerome's (born, like Lincoln, in a log cabin), and the Anglican, Mennonite and United Church colleges are younger still.

The unique qualities the church colleges bring to this campus are highlighted in an article by Mary-Lou Schagena that was released by the UW news bureau the other day. An excerpt:

Big universities are intimidating for some people, conjuring up childhood notions of a monstrous creature that might gobble you up, while the church-related colleges offer a warm and welcoming entrance point to the university. Their liberal arts program, with unique areas of specialization, complement UW's Faculty of Arts courses. Moreover, they offer a balanced education.

Their theological, philosophical and cultural ideas underscore their instructional system and attitude toward students. They take care to ensure students are well-informed and well-rounded with emotional fulfilment within a supportive community.

Students have access to all the courses, facilities and services of UW and fellow colleges. They also enjoy the benefits of an intimate setting, small classes, faculty who know them by name, unique programs and a nurturing environment.

The colleges encourage their students to live "responsibly and respectfully with each other," be active in the local community, respond to current social justice issues and foster a global awareness -- in short, to live fully.

At a time when government funding appears to favour technology and science as job training, the colleges prepare students for life-long learning and give education a lively human face.

Robert John Renison, former Archbishop of Moosonee and Metropolitan of Ontario, once said: "It is the feeling of the college authorities that all students should recognize that they are pursuing a course of higher learning not only to enable them to earn a living but to learn how to live as well."

"I would like to see Conrad Grebel College advertise education for education's sake and the job secondary -- the job incidental," are the words of Dr. J. Winfield Fretz, the founding principal of the college.

Conrad Grebel is the Mennonite college; Renison gave his name to the Anglican college; and the United Church operates St. Paul's United College.

These other notes, briefly

The joint health and safety committee will meet at 10:00 today in General Services Complex room 203. On the agenda: smoking areas, as usual; inline skates; injury and fire reports; noise; and a progress report on the big ergonomics project in the residences.

The Employee Assistance Program presentation on "the holidays and family dynamics" will take place at 12 noon in Davis Centre room 1302. The speaker: John Theis, formerly of St. Jerome's University and now in private practice as a psychologist.

All graphics retail centres that would normally stay open for the evening -- in the Davis Centre and Environmental Studies, and Graphics Express in South Campus Hall -- will close at 4:25 this afternoon. Christmas party season, you know.

A brochure has gone across campus listing the Skills for the Electronic Workplace courses for faculty and staff that will be offered in January and February. Among them: "basic computer literacy" and various aspects of Word, WordPerfect, database management, spreadsheets and the Web.

Mike Jack and his colleagues in the graphics department found a cat near the General Services Complex yesterday. "The cat was hanging around our front door this morning and followed somebody in. He just doesn't want to leave," Jack writes. Your pet? Jack can be reached at ext. 6172.


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