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Wednesday, May 14, 2003

  • Jobless students still getting help
  • Firm helps write 'best practices' for co-op
  • On the road and here at home
Chris Redmond

56th annual Cannes Film Festival

[Six on a couch]

Today's students look like this, as portrayed in the "online residence brochure" on the web site for future UW students. But what will those future students -- the "millennial generation" -- be like, and what will they expect from university? Chris McGrath, a UW graduate who works in the student affairs business, will speak at 2:00 today in the Arts Lecture Hall, in a talk sponsored by the student affairs office (RSVPs, ext. 6876).

Jobless students still getting help

More than 600 co-op students were still without jobs for the spring term as of May 7, says a memo from the co-op and career services department.

The cycle starts again: the first posting of fall term co-op jobs goes up today. Interviews start June 2.
With enrolment rising, there are actually slightly more students with jobs this term than there were a year ago -- 3,366 compared to 3,361 in spring 2002. But there are also more students jobless -- 647 now, 605 a year ago. The result: the percentage employed, out of those who were scheduled to work, is down from last year's 84.75 per cent to 83.88 per cent now.

"Although the employment numbers are similar to last year, the overall numbers of students without employment is quite high," writes CECS director Bruce Lumsden. "We are dealing with these students both in groups and on an individual basis.

"These numbers will reduce in the next few weeks but the issue of higher than usual unemployment will be with us for the next few terms as the economy continues to find a stable platform for growth."

Most of the unemployed students for this term are from engineering (272) and mathematics (265). Also jobless are 50 students from arts, 26 from science, 22 from applied health sciences, 5 from architecture, 5 from the rest of environmental studies, and 2 from accounting. The largest number of unemployed students, 399 out of the 647, are in first year.

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  • Firm helps write 'best practices' for co-op -- by Karalee Clerk, from the UW Recruiter newsletter for co-op employers

    There's hardly a bigger buzzword in today's business world than ROI -- return on investment. Everyone understands the concept: as ROI increases, so too does company prosperity. This is precisely the case at Quarry Integrated Communications, with the exception of one small difference: ROI stands for Return on Involvement. It's a small nuance that makes a world of difference.

    [Arm around younger man's shoulder]

    Co-op student Darryl Ballantyne with company head Alan Quarry

    In delivering ideas that build businesses, Quarry understands that a strong investment in people is essential to its success and the success of its clients. It was out of this need that Quarry's involvement in the co-op program began in 1996. Quarry has not looked back, and co-op now serves as a vital part of the company's inner dynamics. According to Quarry president and chief executive officer Alan Quarry, the arrival of every new group of students "turns the energy level up a notch" within the workplace.

    Quarry also sees benefit to his existing employees, as full-time staff experience a "sharpening of skills" when they train new students. "He who teaches learns twice," he quotes.

    With clients in information technology, agribusiness, financial services, healthcare and life sciences fields, Quarry requires a tremendous diversity of talents and backgrounds to fully service all of these sectors -- diversity they can only find though UW co-op. With a full cross section of disciplines and concentrated areas of study, UW students bring the latest methods and practices to the Quarry environment, as well as an open outlook that often leads to creative solutions.

    Each new group of students "brings fresh perspective and an untainted view of the business world," says Quarry senior advisor Kent Dunbar. Alan Quarry agrees, "Quarry learns from UW students. We couldn't be a learning organization without co-op".

    Quarry's workforce also boasts many full-time employees who came up through the Waterloo ranks. Dunbar sees this as yet another plus of the program, calling it "a great pipeline for recruiting."

    Quarry is one of the largest communications firms of its kind in Canada. Alan Quarry himself views the company's involvement in co-op as an integral part of that success. He says the ongoing learning process, which is central to co-op involvement, is "the only way for the company to maintain a sustainable advantage" in the communications industry.

    In addition to benefiting immensely from their co-op employees, Quarry has now adopted an even more active employer's role with UW. Quarry and the co-op department are currently collaborating to produce a "Co-op Best Practices" document through the exchange of the critical values and beliefs put into practice that enable Quarry to get the most from the program.

    On the road and here at home

    [Team lined up around the car] Students who designed and built UW's new Formula SAE car, pictured at left, are racing this week -- today through Sunday -- at the Formula SAE competition at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. The 2003 car features "an award winning carbon fibre monocoque and a dry-sump engine. These enhancements will reduce weight, improve drivability, and increase engine performance," according to a description on the team's Web site. The competition is the largest event in the Society of Automotive Engineers Collegiate Design Series competitions. It challenges students from some 140 campuses in North and South America, Europe and Asia to design, make and race small formula race-style cars. It features six events to determine the best car in the areas of design, cost, marketing and dynamic performance. (The competition is from places like Pittsburgh and Michigan State.)

    Registration for instructional programs in campus recreation will be held today. People wanting to register for instructional programs should come to the Physical Activities Complex between 8:15 and 11:00 to pick up a time-card, which sets an appointment to come back and register later. Late registration will take place tomorrow. For more details, check out the campus rec webpage.

    The last of UW's high school math competitions for this year, the Gauss Contest for grade 7 and 8 students, is being written today in scores of schools. . . . The computer store is holding a "Back to School Tech Sale" today in the multipurpose room of the Student Life Centre. . . . Would-be actuaries are writing the Society of Actuaries exams today and tomorrow in the Ron Eydt Village conference centre. . . .

    From swing dance to Sai Baba, members of dozens of student clubs will be showing off what they do -- and inviting newcomers to join them -- today and tomorrow. It's the once-a-term Clubs Days, being held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days in the Student Life Centre. The Federation of Students club list includes Arabs, Buffy Watchers, Circle K, Drummers, Entrepreneurs, and the alphabet goes on. I'm not sure which category is more numerous, ethnic clubs or subgroups of Christians; there are also multiple Muslim groups, four clubs called "Chinese", and the European Football Supporters Club.

    And the biggest, or second-biggest anyway, is the Computer Science Club, which will hold its elections today to pick the spring term executive. "The Computer Science Club is a great club for anyone with an interest in CS," is the not-too-startling explanation from participant Stefanus Du Toit. "We run lots of events every term, have an office with an extensive library and lots of helpful people, and also run our own machines, which any members can access if they have an account. Memberships may be obtained at the elections for $2." The meeting and voting will start at 4:30 today in the "comfy lounge" of the Math and Computer building.

    Coming tomorrow is a talk on "Personality and Spirituality in the Workplace", by Christopher Ross of Wilfrid Laurier University. "As human beings," says Ross, "we approach life in quite different ways based on four natural preferences. Work and spirituality will have different meanings because of our different preferences." Ross will talk about his research and his perspectives on "these important facets of life", starting at 12 noon tomorrow in Davis Centre room 1302. The event is sponsored by UW's Employee Assistance Program, and first claim on seats goes to those who preregister by getting in touch with Johan Reis in health services.

    Finally, this note from Ted Harms of the UW bike centre: "The Bike Centre would like to thank everybody that came out and bid on a bike at Friday's auction -- the event netted just under $800. Also, the Bike Centre is now open for the term; our hours are Monday and Wednesday 1:30 to 7 p.m., Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m."


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