Thursday, April 1, 2010

  • Campus leaders face a colourful finish
  • Football player investigated for steroids
  • Environment students making a $100K plan
  • Other notes, absolutely no fooling
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Suits shake hands]

The pleasure is mutual: Justin Williams, vice-president (education) of the Federation of Students, meets prime minister Stephen Harper. The handshake took place the other day during a visit to Ottawa by leaders of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, to raise such issues as education funding and student loans. Williams is secretary of the national student organization.

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Campus leaders face a colourful finish

Some campus celebrities, including president David Johnston and other top administrators, are going to have an up-close-and-personal encounter with a gallon of paint on Monday.

In a charity event organized by the Federation of Students, volunteers from some of the university’s top jobs, as well as the Feds’ own executives, will find out what it feels to have students, staff and faculty members douse them with paint — in, presumably, their recently adopted faculty colours.

And no, there’s no April fooling involved in this promotion, which has been building since January. It’s part of the Colour Me Educated campaign, which supports Pathways to Education, a charitable organization that attempts to reduce poverty by lowering the high school dropout rate and increasing access to post-secondary education. A Kitchener-based office was opened by the national organization in 2007.

“Programs like this one are important,” Pathways says, “because they create opportunities for individuals and societies. What they need now is support from us so that they can continue to provide the resources youth need to succeed and grow.”

For weeks, Feds advertising has urged students: “Donate at the office of your student union for a chance at the first splash!” Donation cans — literally, paint cans — have also been displayed in staff offices. And it all reaches a messy climax on Monday, the last day of classes for the winter term. Things will start at 2:00 or a little afterwards, in the Student Life Centre.

A thousand dollars in donations will earn a department the right to dump half a gallon of paint (that’s 2.3 messy latex litres) on the administrator of their choice. More than $2,500, and it’s a full gallon.

Increasing the stakes — or at least the benefit to Pathways — is the fact that Bob Harding, chair of the university’s board of governors, has agreed to match the total amount raised up to $10,000.

Besides Johnston, participating administrators include provost Feridun Hamdullahpur; athletics director Bob Copeland; associate provost Bruce Mitchell; and Bud Walker, whose double portfolio in top administration makes him responsible for housing, food services, and student relations, among other activities. The four full-time executives of the Federation also have their coiffures on the line.

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Football player investigated for steroids

The athletics department announced yesterday that it “is working closely” with Canadian Interuniversity Sport regarding “an investigation involving” a Warrior football player.

Said the statement: “The university initiated the call to CIS, which in turn enlisted the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport to help with the situation. CCES is the body that oversees doping control and testing of varsity athletes involved in CIS governed sports, including varsity football.

“The university took steps last Friday after receiving information that one of its athletes is the subject of an investigation related to banned substances (steroids and growth hormone). He has been banned from the university property pending the disposition of legal proceedings.

“The university remains deeply concerned about these developments and has requested testing of its varsity football team. That process started early today and will test for any use of a banned substance.

“Playing varsity sports for Waterloo is considered a privilege enjoyed by more than 560 student-athletes. This has been communicated to all Waterloo varsity players who are expected to follow CIS protocols that set out regulations governing eligibility, drug education and substance control. This also means they can be tested for banned substances at any time. The university remains fully supportive of the Canadian Anti-Doping Program.”

A statement from CIS said the national group “is very concerned about this situation and is monitoring it closely and working in cooperation with the University of Waterloo and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport to conduct additional testing on student-athletes. This supplemental testing will serve to signal that CIS and CCES are unequivocally opposed to the use of banned substances, to identify student-athletes who may be cheating, and to protect the rights and reputation of student-athletes who have chosen to compete drug-free.

“CIS began its doping control program in 1990. Since that time there have been 56 doping infractions out of over 5,800 tests conducted. CIS and its member institutions require that all student-athletes participate annually in a student-athlete drug education program.” CIS says that of the 56 “doping infractions by student-athletes” over the past 20 years, 24 have involved steroids and 45 involved football players.

A statement from Ontario University Athletics said that the league “is aware of the ongoing investigation. . . . OUA and its member schools are strictly opposed to the use by its student-athletes of any prohibited substances and are in full support of the efforts of CIS and CCES in this serious matter.”

The affair has brought Waterloo into the national headlines this morning, in the Toronto Star, the Montreal Gazette and the Record, among other media.

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Environment students making a $100K plan

There’s $100,000 up for grabs in a student contest that’s being announced in the Faculty of Environment — and no, this news isn’t an April Fool joke either.

The money comes from the Waterloo Environment Student Endowment Foundation, which is sponsoring the "$100,000 in Change" competition as the result of a decision at its recent annual general meeting.

More than 50 students turned out for the meeting, says WESEF chair Amber Cantell, a graduate student in the school of planning. They voted to launch a proposal competition using some of the funds WESEF has collected since 1997 from the $30-a-term fee that environment students pay.

Says Cantell: “Unlike its regular competitions, in which the WESEF Board reviews student proposals and determines which will receive funding, this time it will be the Foundation’s members – the students themselves – who will decide on the winning proposal.

“The competition, which officially begins on April 1 and will end on January 14, 2011, is being run over multiple terms in order to give students enough time to put together a major proposal. The hope is to find a proposal that will make a substantial, lasting difference to our faculty, and enable us, as students, to fund a much bigger project than we normally could.”

She said that ideas already suggested include everything from major renovations to the Environment I courtyard, upgrades to the university’s Map Library and solar panels for the new EV3 building to a small plane for the Faculty’s Geography and Aviation program. “However, ideas will need to be developed into proposals and championed by students if they are going to make it as finalists in the competition.”

Says Marc LeBlanc, a fellow WESEF board member: “It’s a tremendous opportunity for students in our faculty. Not only does having come up with a $100,000 winning proposal look pretty impressive on a resumé, but students will have the chance to see their vision for our faculty made into reality, to do something that will really improve the quality of student life in Environment.”

In order to submit a proposal, the applicant (or at least one of the applicants, in the case of a proposal put in by a team or organization) must be a student in the Faculty of Environment who has paid into WESEF. Students wishing to enter a proposal into the competition can visit the WESEF website for details.

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Other notes, absolutely no fooling

We interrupt this last week of winter term lectures to mark a long weekend. Tomorrow is Good Friday, a public holiday; UW classes will not be held, and offices and most services will be closed. The Physical Activities Complex will be closed all weekend; the Columbia Icefield, closed Friday, but open for the usual hours Saturday and Sunday. Mudie's cafeteria in Village I will be open this weekend, but REVelation in Ron Eydt Village will be closed.

The libraries are a special case. They're in the midst of pre-exam extended hours, and that won't change for Good Friday: the Davis Centre library is open 24 hours a day (except Sundays 2 to 8 a.m.) and the Dana Porter Library is open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. "There will be attendants present to monitor the library environment and for security purposes," a notice promises, "and they will also monitor for noise, cell phone use, and hot foods that are not permitted in the library environment." There have been quite a number of comments about library etiquette on the OMG blog site lately, including this note: "I just did pushups in the municipal record section of DP. While I only got to three, I'm none the less happy with my commitment to personal fitness." And I'm afraid that's not an April Fool joke either.

As always, and even on Good Friday, the University Police (519-888-4911; on campus, ext. 22222) will be at work, the Student Life Centre (519–888-4434) will be open, and central plant staff will monitor the university's buildings (maintenance emergencies, ext. 33793).

So it's back to work and back to class on Easter Monday, which may be a holiday for the public schools and the post office, but for the University of Waterloo is a regular working day and the last class day of the winter term. As far as class schedules go, Monday will be a Friday, and this too is not an April jest, it's a matter of making up for the Friday holiday by holding Friday classes on a Monday . . . give your head a shake and just go with it. Students will then enjoy, if that's the word, a couple of study days. And then come final exams, running April 9 through 23 (distance and online courses, April 9-10). The registrar's office reminds everybody that if an exam day is lost to bad weather or general disaster, exams will be rescheduled for same time, same place, on the next free day, which usually means the following Sunday. However, this year there's a wrinkle, because on Sunday, April 25, power and other utilities will be shut down on most of the campus, for unrelated reasons. Accordingly, "the next free day" would be Monday the 26th.

As the long weekend begins, Orchestra @ UWaterloo will give its customary end-of-term concert, tonight starting at 8:00 in the Humanities Theatre. Admission is free, with donations accepted from those in a position to make them. The ensemble, made up of students with a sprinkling of other university people, will begin the evening with a relatively modern (that is, twentieth-century) piece, Samuel Barber's "Second Essay for Orchestra", and continue with Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor. At the keyboard will be Taylor Cao, a second-year student (biotechnology and chartered accountancy) the winner of the orchestra's third concerto competition; his background includes being a winner at the Beijing Piano Competition in 1999 and 2000. After an intermission, the concert continues with Johannes Brahms's "Symphony No. 4".

And one other note: unless things go wildly awry, somebody should win the weather station's annual contest today, the game in which people predict the date and time when the temperature will first hit 20 Celsius. Forecasters expect to see the thermometer go well above that level by later today. And this, too, is not an April Fool joke . . . or maybe it is.


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Link of the day

The spaghetti harvest

When and where

‘Relative Proximity’ exhibition of work by fourth-year fine arts students runs until April 11, East Campus Hall gallery.

‘Rethink Modern Leadership and Innovation’ presentations by corporate executives, sponsored by Waterloo chapter of IEEE, final day. Details.

WatRISQ presents Stan Uryasev, University of Florida, “Value-at-Risk vs. Conditional Value-at-Risk in Risk Management and Optimization” Thursday 1:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Campus Crusade for Cheese final meeting of the term 4:30, Math and Computer room 4020. Details.

Muslim Student Association end-of-term dinner 6:30, lower atrium, Student Life Centre, tickets $15 at door, $12 in advance. Details.

Maundy Thursday religious services: Anglican 7 p.m., Renison UC chapel; Grace Mennonite Brethren, 7:30, Conrad Grebel UC chapel; Roman Catholic 8:00, Notre Dame Chapel, St. Jerome’s University.

Good Friday religious services: Anglican 11 a.m., Renison UC chapel; Roman Catholic 12:00 and 3:00, Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome’s.

Saturday Easter Vigil (Roman Catholic) 8 p.m., Siegfried Hall.

Easter Sunday religious services: Roman Catholic 9:30 and 11:30, Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome’s; Anglican 10:30 a.m., Renison UC chapel; Grace Mennonite Brethren 10:30, Conrad Grebel UC great hall.

Open Text chairman Tom Jenkins speaks on “Canada 3.0: Advancing Canada’s Digital Future” Monday 12:00, Wilfrid Laurier University board and senate chamber.

Senate executive committee Monday 3:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Author reading at St. Jerome’s University: Poet Patricia Young, Monday 4:30 p.m., StJ room 3014.

Ken Dryden, MP, gives Waterloo’s Last Lecture: “It’s Time for Canada”, Monday 4:30, Theatre of the Arts. Details.

Athletics Awards Reception (50th annual) Monday, St. George’s Hall, Waterloo: graduating senior reception 5:00, all athletes reception 6:30, dinner 7:00, video presentation 7:50, awards 8:15. Details.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group annual general meeting and social, Monday 5:30 p.m., Math and Computer room 5158. Details.

Embassy Church Monday 7:00, Humanities Theatre.

Instrumental Chamber Ensembles spring concert Monday 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC chapel, admission free.

UW staff conference annual event; keynote speakers will discuss work-life balance, emotional intelligence, “Sparking Innovation and Change”, other sessions, Tuesday-Wednesday. Details.

Digital Media to Market Showcase sponsored by Stratford campus, panels on medical imaging, consumer products, and business applications, Tuesday 10:00 to 2:00, Arden Park Hotel, Stratford. Details.

Faculty association annual general meeting Tuesday 2:00, Math and Computer room 4020.

UW board of governors Tuesday 2:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Health sciences campus: grand opening of second building, 10B Victoria Street South, with officials of UW and McMaster University, Wednesday 1:00, by invitation.

Town hall meeting with UW executives for faculty and staff, Thursday 3:00, Theatre of the Arts. Submit questions to townhall@

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