Friday, April 27, 2007

  • Federation celebrates its 40th . . .
  • . . . with achievements over the years
  • Diverse drops in the daily drizzle
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

National Day of Mourning

When and where

Dance Odyssey competition in the Humanities Theatre all day Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Bookstore, UW Shop and TechWorx closed for inventory Friday and Saturday. Stores open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday next week.

Different Perspectives on Canadian Federalism: "Retrospective and Prospective." Conference Friday and Saturday, Arts Lecture Hall, details online.

Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience "Waterloo Brain Day" Friday with seminars by four visiting researchers: James McClelland, Stanford, "Semantic Cognition", 9:15; William Bechtel, U of California at San Diego, "The Return of the Mind-Brain Identity Theory", 10:45; Geoffrey Hinton, U of Toronto, "Learning Deep Generative Models in a Neural Network", 1:30; Anthony Movshon, New York University, "Cortical Analysis of Visual Motion" 3:00; reception 4:15, all in PAS room 2083, details online.

'Research Funding Opportunities for Engineers and Scientists' seminar sponsored by Ontario Centres of Excellence and Health Technology Exchange, 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1302.

Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry and Biochemistry: annual meeting 1:00; seminar by Janusz Pawliszyn, UW, "SPME and Other Adventures" 3:00; graduate student poster session 4:30; awards 5:30; wine and cheese party, all at University of Guelph New Science Complex.

Waterloo Potters' Workshop spring pottery sale today 1:00 to 9:30, Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday noon to 4, Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex, details online.

Spring barbecue for North Community, Columbia Lake Village, Saturday 12 noon, community centre.

Fiscal year 2006-07 ends April 30; requests for payment and accounting transactions should be submitted to finance office as soon as possible, last transactions must be received by May 11.

'Learning about Teaching' symposium, including Presidents' Colloquium on Teaching and Learning, speaker Ken Bain, "What Makes Great Teachers Great", Monday 2:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre; workshops and discussions May 1-2, details online.

First day of classes for spring term is Tuesday, May 1. Fee payments due today. "Drop, no penalty" period ends May 21.

Welcome reception for new students Tuesday 4:30 p.m., Student Life Centre multi-purpose room, information about UW services and a chance to meet other newcomers.

'E-Merging Learning Workshop' introduction to professional development for instructors in online learning, to be followed by online modules and face-to-face coaching, Wednesday 10:30 to 11:15, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library, details and registration online.

Perimeter Institute presents Marc Abraham, author and columnist, "What's the Big Idea?" Wednesday 7 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute, ticket information 519-883–4480.

Alternatives Journal presents the "Before the End of the World Tour" with "pop, rock and stories", Thursday, May 3, doors open 9 p.m., Princess Cinema, ticket information online.

UW Accounting Conference (second annual) May 4-6, details online.

You @ Waterloo Day open house for future students Saturday, May 26, details online.

[Multicoloured figure]

'Splendor in Cherry and Lime' is one of the paintings in Stéphanie Bush's Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition, on display in the Render gallery in UW's East Campus Hall. Her paintings "ask questions of femininity, identity and ritual", a flyer says. A few hours remain to see the week-long show: the gallery is open 12 to 4 today and 1 to 4 on Saturday.

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Report on future of post-secondary education in BC
Scholarship program for students with Crohn's and colitis
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[Clearly plaid shirts were the fashion]

The way it was: critics present a recall petition to a pensive Shane Roberts, president of the Federation of Students, in December 1976. Photo by Henry Jesionka of the Free Chevron.

Federation celebrates its 40th . . .

by Brandon Sweet

The Federation of Students will celebrate with a gala dinner at Federation Hall tonight, the 40th anniversary of its incorporation as the government for UW's undergraduates. Delivering a keynote address will be the Federation’s most famous alumnus, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo Andrew Telegdi, who served two terms as Fed president, 1973 to 1975.

The "Federation of Students, University of Waterloo", as it's legally called, represents the interests of full-time undergrads, operates six businesses including the Bombshelter Pub (made famous in Douglas Coupland’s 1995 novel Microserfs) and the Used Bookstore, and administers student services including GLOW, the Women’s Centre, and the Food Bank.

The Federation of Students is marking 40 years since its incorporation as a non-profit corporation, but traces its roots back even further, as a Students’ Council was organized in 1960 with representatives from Engineering, Arts, Science, and St. Jerome’s at the table. This Students’ Council, which was renamed the Federation of Students in 1965, spent its early years concerned with the social lives of students, the publishing of a campus newspaper (the Coryphaeus and later the Chevron), keeping the Common Room in decent shape and collecting a special levy that would be set aside to build the Campus Centre (now the Student Life Centre). But as the 1960s became “The 60s,” with all the shaggy-haired rebelliousness that implies, a different breed of student leader, more likely to hail from the Arts faculty than the previously dominant Engineering, emerged.

Waterloo was known for its radicals, certainly, but they were pragmatic radicals. The first Federation-initiated student demonstration, in November 1966, was a sit-in at the bookstore in protest over high prices. A later protest at the Dana Porter Library attempted to draw attention to the deficiencies in the library’s catalogue — not exactly the issues that stirred American and European university campuses into passionate maelstroms in the late 60s.

When the Federation attempted to be truly radical, as in 1967 when Students’ Council voted to make Waterloo a stop on the underground railroad for Vietnam War draft dodgers, students reined them in by reversing the decision in a referendum. When students protested the inadequacies of Habitat ’69 (now Ron Eydt Village), a motion at Students’ Council to blow up the residence’s foundations failed — by one vote.

The Federation’s incorporation in 1967 was opposed by more than a few university administrators, who were against the idea of a “closed shop” student union with mandatory membership. President Gerald Hagey complained that the Federation’s tactics were “communist-inspired.”

As the 1960s became the 1970s, the Federation won a few victories, like gaining control of the Campus Centre and making Waterloo the first institution in Ontario to include students as voting members on its Senate and Board of Governors, but its reputation as a radical student movement was all but exhausted. It ended the decade with an anti-communist witch-hunt at the Chevron, which resulted in the occupation of the paper’s offices by disgruntled staff, protests, counter-protests, a petition that saw the recall of president Shane Roberts, and ultimately the dissolution of the embattled paper and the birth of Imprint.

Feds president Andrew Telegdi found himself defending the rights of students to play, among other things, pinball in the Campus Centre when the city’s vice squad began enforcing an obscure law that classified the amusement machines as illegal gambling devices. Telegdi also organized a tent city outside the CC to protest the state of student housing.

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. . . with achievements over the years

Brandon Sweet, who works in UW's communications and public affairs office, was formerly executive researcher in the Federation of Students office. This sketch of Federation highs and lows is based on research for a book-length history of the Feds that is expected to appear later this year.

By the time the 1980s rolled around, "student life" had supplanted radical politics and the Federation of Students embarked on a mission to create the largest student-run nightclub in North America. Christened Federation Hall only because a better name couldn’t be found, the facility was originally proposed to be built on the Biology green. A location on the far side of the ring road was finally chosen, and in 1984 a legend was born. The student-funded, student-run nightclub got off to an unfortunate start when its grand opening was a closed-door, invite-only affair and disgruntled students ended up crashing the party.

[Feds 40th anniversary logo]The Federation may be the only body that joined the Canadian Federation of Students as part of the terms of an out-of-court settlement. For years in the mid-80s the Feds, the National Union of Students and the Canadian Federation of Students were locked in a protracted legal battle to resolve the shift from NUS to the CFS, and in an ironic twist, former Federation president Brian Iler (1968) was the National Union of Students’ legal counsel, pursuing litigation against an organization he used to lead.

The less-than-ideal conditions under which the Federation joined the CFS seemed to linger like a bad taste, and by 1993 the Feds had severed ties with both the provincial and federal wings of the CFS, while helping to found two decidedly more pragmatic lobbying organizations, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. The 1990s also saw the Federation administer a pair of student referenda that resulted in the CC’s transformation into the Student Life Centre.

As the 21st century beckoned, the Federation found itself embroiled in the resurging culture war, involving all the usual issues — the Middle East, the abortion debate, feminism, and the ideological divide over how student fees were collected. The Federation also weathered some perceived challenges to its autonomy when the Bombshelter and Fed Hall were shuttered in January 2003 for several months in a dispute over safety and legal operating concerns. Later that year it took a conflict between the Feds' board of directors and the larger Students' Council to make the decision that a money-losing Feds-operated restaurant would give way to a 24-hour Tim Hortons in the Student Life Centre.

The Federation scored some victories in recent years, including recognition for the student contribution to the Tatham Centre, a dental plan, and the survival of its long-running Fed Bus charter service that helps students get home for the weekend. It also recently administered a referendum on a universal bus pass, a long-running issue on campus that seems to have been resolved at last.

“The Federation of Students is at an exciting time in its history,” says president Michelle Zakrison, whose one-year term of office ends next Tuesday. She points to the newly renovated Bombshelter, streamlined delivery of a health and dental plan under the auspices of the Federation, and the universal bus pass that will be ready in the fall of 2007 as examples. “I regret having to say goodbye to the organization I’ve had the pleasure of working with for the past six years. Happy 40th, Feds!”

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[Leaning over balsa-wood model]Diverse drops in the daily drizzle

In the photo at left, architecture graduate student Spencer Rand takes a close look at one of the models currently on display at the Architecture building in Cambridge. The show, which opened in mid-April and runs into June in the building's "Design at Riverside" gallery, presents recent student work and projects from the architecture school.

Eric Helleiner of UW has been named the winner of this year’s Donner Prize, the award for best book on Canadian public policy. The honour came at an awards dinner in Toronto Wednesday night. The $35,000 prize recognizes Helleiner’s book Towards North American Monetary Union? The Politics and History of Canada's Exchange Rate Regime, published by McGill-Queen's University Press. Described by the Donner jury as "gracefully written and absorbing", it provides a historical and analytical account of Canada's exchange rate policies since 1850. Said jury chairman Grant Reuber: "Helleiner successfully combines a clear understanding of the issues with a strong analytical ability that illuminates the political and historical context of the time." While many people seem to believe that deepening economic integration with the United States and the worldwide trend towards currency blocs will lead to a North American monetary union, Helleiner challenges this view. He is chair of international public policy at the Centre for International Governance Innovation as well as a faculty member in the UW Department of Political Science, and the author of several books including States and the Re-emergence of Global Finance and The Making of National Money: Territorial Currencies in Historical Perspective.

The weekly departmental seminar in information systems and technology, being held this morning, deals with the "next generation" student e-mail project that's currently under way. "The six faculties at UW currently each have independent email systems for students," says IST executive Martin Timmerman, who speaks for the project, launched lat fall. "Discussion and planning is now underway to provide a common email system for the students of multiple faculties. This session will provide some background of project investigations and current discussions."

Well, there's been a major change to plans for the 50th anniversary dance that was to be held May 5 — that's a week from tomorrow — at Federation Hall. "We are cancelling the dance on Saturday," a message from the organizing committee tells me, "but combining it with a fundraiser dance being put on by Lutherwood Child and Family Foundation on Friday, May 4, at Federation Hall. The dance will now be called something like 'UW's 50th anniversary and Lutherwood fundraising dance'. There will be a live band, 'The Lost Faculties' with profs from UW's School of Optometry (two of the band members belong to Lutherwood Foundation). Admission is $10." There will be more details the first of the week, which I'll happily pass along.

Coming this Monday, April 30, is an "annual" event — well, there's always gotta be a first time. It's the President David Johnston Run for Health, involving one lap around the ring road, a distance of 2.65 kilometres (1.65 miles). "Feel free to run more," organizers say. "Come out and run in the beautiful spring weather! While you're at it, you can raise awareness of mental health issues and met some fellow UW runners." Participants should register in advance by getting in touch with Johan Reis at ext. 3-5418. The run itself is free, with T-shirts on sale for $20, and while the event seems largely aimed at staff and faculty, everybody is welcome, students, neighbours and hangers-on. The run also offers an opportunity to collect pledge of an unusual kind. Linda Brogden of health services explains: "Pledges are not financial but rather a personal pledge. This pledge will be made to increase personal Mental Health Awareness in keeping with the fact that the run is being done in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Week." The run will start at noon Monday in front of Needles Hall.

Monday is the revised deadline for nominations for the 2007-08 staff association executive. • The continuing education office will offer a two-day course next Tuesday and Wednesday on "Project Management Essentials". • About 150 young players from Ontario Hockey League teams will be spending this weekend in Ron Eydt Village attending the annual "Under 16 Program of Excellence", as the conference season begins in UW residences.

And . . . during this weekend between the end of winter term and the start of spring term, there won't be much happening on the rest of the campus. The Dana Porter and Davis Centre libraries will be open Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. only. The bookstore, UW Shop and TechWorx are closed today and tomorrow for year-end inventory. Food services outlets will be closed all weekend, apart from any services needed by those hockey players in REV; even the Tim Hortons in the Student Life Centre, usually a 24-hour operation, will close at 4:00 tonight and not reopen until Monday. (Expect demand for coffee to rise sharply at the turnkey desk, which never closes.) Athletics facilities at the PAC and the Icefield will be open from 9:00 to 5:30 both days.


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