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Thursday, June 5, 2003

  • Only a minority come by car
  • Library welcomes Schneider papers
  • Volunteers wanted for e-learning
  • Palestine Week; other events
Chris Redmond

The 'e-mail tax' hoax seems to be back



Are you trying the Commuter Challenge this week?

You bet! -- 65

No, not interested -- 21

No, I would if I could, but it's not practical -- 79

I already walk, bike or bus, so there's nothing for me to change -- 168

Only a minority come by car

This week's Commuter Challenge isn't just about outdoing Wilfrid Laurier University. It's got a nobler purpose.

[Cook with recycling] "It is hoped that events like the Commuter Challenge will make Clean Air as second nature as recycling," says Patti Cook (left), UW's waste management coordinator and the person who's trying to get staff, faculty and students to try a combustion-free way of getting to campus at least once this week.

Hundreds of them have been doing it, even though, as Cook admits, the Commuter Challenge Canada web site is "extremely slow" and cumbersome. If you just can't make it work, an alternative is to e-mail Cook (plcook@uwaterloo.ca) and register that way.

She says: "The Commuter Challenge is a way to get people out of their cars and trying something new. It is healthier personally through exercise and for everyone through reduction in car emissions."

All it takes is one day of getting to work or study without the customary car -- if, in fact, the car is customary for you. A Daily Bulletin poll yesterday (with the usual, unreliable self-selected sample) found that a majority of people on campus already claim to get here by bike, on foot, on the bus or in some similar carless way, so they don't have much to give up.

The Commuter Challenge includes a side bet between the presidents of UW and Wilfrid Laurier University. The president of whichever institution has a lower participation rate in the challenge has agreed to wear the winning institution's colours at a Hawks-Warriors football game.

[WLU hat] And that led to an e-mail message to Cook from a co-op student working this term in Princeton, New Jersey, who writes that "I am biking every day, going car free. I just don't want David Johnston wearing hideous purple Laurier attire!"

Johnston commented last night: "I wouldn't want to criticize Laurier's purple, but I also don't want to wear it. And I'll take extra pride in winning the bet with WLU because it means more people at Waterloo walking, biking, and car-pooling for the sake of the environment."

Library welcomes Schneider papers

Today brings the official opening of the Schneider family collection of documents that was donated last year to UW's library.

At a reception at 4:30 p.m. in the Doris Lewis Rare Book Room in the Dana Porter Library, history professor Ken McLaughlin will discuss the research value of the new collection and similar collections at the library.

[Sausage Mnfr. and Packer]

A 1909 photo of the J.M. Schneider plant taken by Norman Schneider.

The archival material on display at the opening ranges from an 1852 travel document, belonging to one of the first Schneider relatives to come to Canada, to an extensive series of photographs depicting life in Kitchener in the last two centuries as well as family events.

The papers and records of the Schneider family "will enrich the library's collections on a variety of fronts", a news release explains: urban and local history of the Kitchener and Waterloo area; industrial and business history on the founding of the J. M. Schneider Inc. meat processing plant; documentary materials about a family's history, complementing the library's holdings of archives of several prominent local families; visual resources relating to the local area.

The papers include correspondence, scrapbooks, more than 2,400 photographic images, ephemeral materials and personal memoirs. The photos document family life, company picnics and other events such as the 1939 Royal Tour and the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Also found are photographs of local "flying machines" from the 1920s, company construction and plant photos, as well as military training photos from the First and Second World Wars.

Chronicling the life of the Schneider family since the arrival in Canada of the parents of company founder John Metz Schneider in the 19th century, the papers include documentation on the life of "J. M." and his wife Helena (Ahrens) Schneider, together with succeeding generations.

The collection was donated by family members, who have also donated funds to assist in the preservation and conservation needs of the rare and fragile materials. One of the first projects of this nature was the transfer of a selection of Norman Schneider's 16mm films to video format. Several of these unique films from the 1920s and 1930s will be available for viewing at the opening.

In making the gift, Herb Schneider commented on several factors prompting the family to both save their archives and choose UW as a suitable home. High among them was the acknowledged "importance of saving the past."

At UW, says the news release, "the family admires the library's dedicated commitment and management of an archival program combined with the presence of several noted historians who exemplify Waterloo's reputation for high academic standards."

Volunteers wanted for e-learning

"We want to embark on an e-learning pilot project," Katrina Di Gravio writes from UW's human resources department, "and we need some volunteers." Today's the day to apply, in advance of a launch meeting that's set for Monday afternoon.

She gives some details: "The Leadership for Results program has been very successful to date and we would like to be able to make it more available to the campus community.

"Sometimes long waiting lists or missed sessions can be discouraging to staff, so we are investigating the possibility of some e-learning modules being available. In order to do this we are looking for a cross-section of volunteers across campus -- faculty, staff and union members.

"Volunteers can be either those who have never taken Leadership for Results or those who want to review their skills. We intend to use the Leadership for Results e-learning modules as a method of make-up for those who have missed a session or as an alternative means of learning for individuals who can't seem to fit classes into their demanding schedules.

"By involving yourself in three sixty-minute modules, not only will you be able to learn or review your Leadership for Results skills, but you have a chance to make an impact on how UW staff will develop and learn."

Correction! Activity runs for a month, and the wrap-up meeting is July 16, not June 16
To take part, she says, "you need access to a PC (sorry, no Macs) and you must be able to attended two brief meetings." The beginning meeting will be this Monday, June 9, at 1:30; the wrap-up meeting is a week later, June 16, from 9 a.m. to noon.

"If you can attend these mandatory meetings and you are interested in contributing your input, please contact Melissa Ireland by email at msirelan@uwaterloo.ca or at ext. 2078."

Palestine Week; other events

Several UW groups are co-sponsoring a Palestine Week that begins today "to mark the passing of the 36th year of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory". A web site lists several events between now and starting off with information displays and Palestinian music today in the Student life Centre, together with a showing of the film "Tragedy in the Holy Land". The climax of the week is to be a talk next Tuesday (7 p.m.) by Norman Finkelstein of DePaul University. "The event," writes organizer Alroy Fonseca, "will be covered by the CBC for a documentary to air on the national newsmagazine 'CBC Sunday'."

Three more students who have completed the Certificate in University Teaching program will be presenting their research findings this morning, starting at 9:30 in Math and Computer room 5158. Today's speakers are James Brisbane ("The New Professor: Providing Effective Teaching During a Busy Schedule"); Ryan McNally ("Peer Evaluation in Group Work: Methods to Use and Cautions to Heed"); and Jenny Zeng ("The Study of Problems in Group Discussion and Their Solutions").

Students in the teaching option who are looking for fall term co-op jobs will get news today, as the list of matches will be posted by 11:00 in the Tatham Centre.

Well-spoken engineers will strut their stuff this morning, as the faculty-wide competition in the Sandford Fleming Foundation technical speaker series begins at 10:00 in Doug Wright Engineering building room 2534. These are the winners of departmental competitions that went on during May; speakers will be basing their talks on their work term experiences, and stand to win cash prizes. Everyone is welcome to listen.

The Interdisciplinary Coffee Talk Society will hold its almost-monthly get-together today, starting at 5:00 at the Graduate House. The speaker this time is Ming Li of the school of computer science, telling another audience about his research on chain letters and other things (such as genomes) that have a pedigree. Talks for the ICTS are supposed to be "in terms understandable to non-experts, and yet on a high level", and everyone is welcome.

The Computer Health and Information Place will be closed from noon to 1:00 today and also tomorrow. . . . Children and staff from UW's various child care centres will be getting together tomorrow morning at 9:45 for games and music (by Eric Traplin) on the field beside the Student Life Centre. . . . A retirement party for psychology professor Pat Bowers will be held tomorrow from 4 to 6 p.m. at the University Club. . . .


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