Thursday, February 1, 2007

  • 'First innovation centre' opens
  • It's a stage they're going to
  • Sad news and current events
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Candidates for student senate seats

Here's the final list, as provided by the university secretariat:

Applied health sciences: Shahnawaz Ali (health studies), Jenna van Draanen (health studies)
Arts: Steve Hayle (sociology), Lu Jiang (accountancy and financial management), Steve Ryder (drama and speech communication)
Engineering: Spencer McEwan (electrical), acclaimed
Mathematics: Eric Diep (mathematical science), Morgan Grainger (computer science), Aly Sivji (computational mathematics)
Science: Neelmoy Biswas (environmental science), acclaimed
At large: Renjie Butalid (economics and political science), Keith Chan (mathematics chartered accountancy), Mohamed Farid (systems design engineering)

Voting will be held February 13-15 in conjunction with the Federation of Students election.

Link of the day

Louis St. Laurent, 125 years

When and where

Asia-Pacific studies seminar: Geoffrey Wall, geography, "The Creative Destruction of Chinese Water Towns", 12 noon, Renison College chapel lounge.

Surplus sale of UW furniture and equipment 12:30 to 2:00, Central Stores, East Campus Hall (off Phillip Street).

Career workshop: "Interview Skills, Selling Your Skills" 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

'STEPS' group (healthy eating, healthy weight) 4 p.m., Student Life Centre room 2134, information from Health Services at ext. 3-5599.

Federation of Students election forum 4 p.m., third floor, Math and Computer building.

Warrior men's hockey at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.

Blood donor clinic Friday 10:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre, one day only (make appointments now at turnkey desk); next clinic February 14-15.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: "E-mail Projects", Friday 9 a.m., IST seminar room.

Graduate Student Research Conference deadline for abstracts is Friday; conference takes place April 23-26, details online.

Distinguished Teacher Awards for 2007, nomination deadline Friday, February 2, details online.

Treat-a-grams for delivery on Valentine's Day, in support of Keystone Campaign, $3, order deadline Friday, details online.

History Society MacKinnon Dinner for students and faculty; guest speaker, historian and biographer John English; Friday 6 p.m., Caesar Martini's restaurant, tickets from History Society office, Humanities room 122.

Perimeter Institute presents a Black Hole Session: Sundance Bilson-Thompson, "The Quest for Quantum Gravity", Saturday 10 a.m. to noon, 31 Caroline Street North, all welcome.

FASS Theatre Company 45th anniversary dinner Saturday 5 p.m., Graduate House, immediately before final performance of FASS 2007; tickets $5 at Humanities box office.

UW board of governors Tuesday 2:30 p.m., Fireplace Lounge, Sweeney Hall, St. Jerome's University.

2007 Job Fair co-sponsored by UW and other institutions, Wednesday, February 7, 10:00 to 3:30, RIM Park, Waterloo, details online.

David Suzuki's "If You Were Prime Minister" Tour, February 13, 11:30 a.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets $5 from Humanities box office or Waterloo Public Interest Research Group.

[Nine people in a tight space]

Peer leaders, pictured, are a key part of the experimental "living-learning community" that was created in Village I this year to serve 111 first-year students in various accountancy programs. "Each peer leader," says a report in the accountancy school's newsletter, is an upper-year student who "provides role modeling, helps conduct events, and looks after a cluster of students. . . . Professors Bob Sproule and Grant Russell are acting as mentors to the community."

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'First innovation centre' opens

A new node was created yesterday in the growing network of agencies, programs and centres around UW aimed at encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship.

This one is “Canada’s first entrepreneur-focused Innovation Centre”, according to its joint sponsors: Infusion Angels, a Toronto-based investment firm, and Microsoft Canada. The Infusion Angels Innovation Centre “aims to foster economic growth in Canada by providing students and entrepreneurs with the critical resources needed to take their ideas, concepts and solutions to market”.

It’ll be housed in the Accelerator Centre building in UW’s Research & Technology Park. The Accelerator Centre, which itself was created as “a bricks and mortar home for ideas and innovation”, is operated by a not-for-profit corporation whose board of directors includes UW representation. It “provides facilities and support services to technology entrepreneurs looking to accelerate the commercialization of their innovative product or service”, said a news release announcing yesterday’s new step.

Other occupants of the Accelerator Centre include the existing Canadian Innovation Centre, the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and other agencies as well as several start-up firms. UW’s own Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology is expected to move to the building from its present space in Needles Hall.

The newly created IAIC “will offer an advanced learning environment, providing students and local entrepreneurs with a variety of resources including open access to the latest technologies from sponsors Microsoft, Dell and Intel, and a comprehensive training curriculum on topics relating to technology, business and entrepreneurship,” the release said.

It quotes Alim Somani of Infusion Angels, “truly a complete, full-service incubator”, whose presence in the Accelerator Centre was announced last year: “As a University of Waterloo graduate and someone who founded a company made up predominantly of UW Alumni, I know that UW produces many of Canada’s brightest, most innovative and entrepreneurial minds. Through the IAIC we want to support those people and enable them to turn their ideas into prototypes and their prototypes into thriving Canadian businesses.”

The IAIC promises “the opportunity to experiment first hand with next-generation Microsoft technologies running on top of the line Dell hardware with Intel quad-core processors. Entrepreneurs may book time through the center’s on-line reservation system or simply walk in to the Centre for a three hour exploration session. Visitors may work under the guidance of an onsite technical director or by leveraging official Microsoft training materials as their guide.”

Adds Mark Relph, vice-president of the Developer and Platform Evangelism Group for Microsoft Canada. “What sets IAIC apart is that we’re combining the idea of technical innovation with the reality of launching new businesses.”

The centre will offer “regular on-site training sessions spanning a number of different topics relating to technology and entrepreneurship”. That includes “high-level” briefings by technology experts, hands-on labs, business sessions on “soft skills which are essential to succeeding as an entrepreneur”, and webcasts. All the sessions will be free of charge.

Infusion Angels, says the news release, “will provide funding and incubation services for select entrepreneurs who have developed a sound concept and wish to take their businesses to the next level. This will be done in concert with mentorship programs already managed by the Accelerator Centre. In this way the IAIC hopes to help further position Canada as a global leader in the area of technical innovation and entrepreneurship.”

In advance of last night’s opening ceremonies, UW president David Johnston had a comment: “I can’t think of a more appropriate place to locate Canada’s first entrepreneur-focused innovation centre than the Region of Waterloo and our own research and technology park. This centre will play a crucial role in further developing the region as a model of economic success, as one of the world’s top seven intelligent communities and, quite possibly, as the knowledge capital of Canada.”

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[Two ladies, and the only man, ja]It's a stage they're going to

Two productions open on UW stages tonight — a few yards apart, in fact — and here's hoping that nobody who was trying for the drama department's "fringe-style festival of innovative theatre" ends up at FASS 2007 instead, or vice versa.

The festival offers its first two plays (out of seven) at 7:00 tonight in the tiny, free-form Studio 180 in the Humanities building. At 8:00, the curtain in the nearby Humanities Theatre, capacity 15 times as large, rises on the first performance of FASS's "The Seven Silly Sins".

The one thing the two shows have in common is the services of the Humanities box office (phone 519-888-4908) for ticket sales.

It's hard to know what to say about FASS, except that the initials stand for Faculty, Alumni, Students and Staff, and for 45 years organizers have prided themselves on finding a part for anybody from those constituencies who wants to sing, dance, act, tell bad jokes and otherwise add to the glamour. The writers have laboured for months turning sloth, lust, gluttony and rest of the deadly seven into sins that are, well, silly. It'll be interesting to see what director Rob LeGood makes of it all. Performances are tonight and Saturday at 8, Friday at 7 and 10 p.m.

As for UpStart, it's the result of a screening process in which drama students and alumni were invited to submit original plays. Performances run Thursday through Saturday this week and again next week at 7 p.m., plus both Saturdays at 2 p.m.

On stage in the studio tonight will be "The Cave", described as "an iambic dramatization of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave as a first-time playwright is being artistically snobbish and academically pretentious", and "Ascenseur": "What happens when four strangers get stuck in an elevator? They run the conversational gamut from art and sex to bodily functions and politics."

Offerings later in the week include "The Wrong Play": "In an attempt to rid himself of writer’s block, a young playwright finds himself at Shakespeare camp… and at the centre of an elaborate plot to assassinate a rival writer. However, he learns that sometimes the motivation to write can go beyond murder."

And then there's "Interviewing Stu" (pictured, with cast Kandice Seymour, Mikey Klein and Emma Dines), which "follows a vampiress as she methodically seeks her ideal mate in a dark comedy that explores the modern, metaphorical purpose of vampires."

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Sad news and current events

[Patla]Word has just arrived that Aftab Patla (left), a faculty member in UW's department of kinesiology, died earlier this week after an extended illness. A memorial service will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Ratz-Bechtel Funeral Home. A full obituary will appear in tomorrow's Daily Bulletin.

After a long winter hiatus, the UW BookClub is back in business today. Kathryn King of the retail services department explains: "The BookStore and UW Recreation Committee have launched a book club that invites readers to meet monthly. Guided by a volunteer, readers are encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions, exploring each novel through the perspective of other BookClub members over the course of the lunch hour. All members of the University of Waterloo community are welcome. Not only do attendees enjoy time away from a computer, desk, or homework assignment while they eat lunch, but their minds are also enriched with stimulating discussion about a multi-genre of novels. Complimentary refreshments, such as coffee, juice and water, complete the lunch hour break." Today's meeting starts at 12 noon inside the bookstore, South Campus Hall. "The novel of discussion," says King, "will be Michael Gruber’s Valley of Bones, an 'exhilarating thriller that simultaneously offers a profound, deeply provocative exploration of the nature of faith itself,' as described by HarperCollins. Bring your lunch, your thoughts, and an open mind!" More information: ext. 3-5680.

Emphasizing UW's presence in places well beyond the main campus and the city of Waterloo, a memo this week from Marita Williams, manager of space information and resource planning, announces three-letter building codes for a number of university outposts. For the record: AAR is the School of Architecture annex in Rome; AAC is the Architecture annex near the main building in Cambridge, Ontario; AGK is the Artery Gallery in downtown Kitchener; BNY is UW's facility at 55 Broad Street in New York; ACW is the Accelerator Centre building on the north campus; and MRS is the Medical and Related Sciences building in downtown Toronto, where UW has a presence.

A group from the UW Recreation Committee is heading out tonight to hear David Chilton, author of The Wealthy Barber, who's speaking at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse. • March 1 is the official application deadline for the tiny number of students who are hoping to enter first year at UW starting in the spring term. • The Launchpad $50K Venture Creation Competition is looking for a UW student to serve as "lead organizer", working a few hours a week to promote the contest.

And . . . as announced, today's the last day of normal business operations before the finance office shuts down the Oracle Financials system for an upgrade that could take as long as two weeks. "Although the system is unavailable," a memo advises UW departments, "please continue to submit transactions so they may be processed as soon as the system is available." The FORE online financial reporting system will stay in operation through most of the Oracle shutdown.


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Yesterday's Daily Bulletin