TLDR: This week on campus


Jan. 16

UW profs call to reinstate mask mandate

A memo sent to the UW president’s office and dean of arts expressed concern over lax masking requirements at the university and asked for the policy to be reinstated. The memo, signed by at least a dozen faculty, states, “The university owes a legal and moral duty to enact reasonable measures to protect the health and safety of community members, and to make the university accessible, including to those with underlying conditions,disabilities, or who have close contact to immunocompromised friends and family members.”

Creation of the memo was led by Anna Drake, assistant professor in the department of political science, who said she was unable to gain the unanimous support of her department. UW has encouraged staff and students to continue wearing masks in crowded spaces.

— CityNews Kitchener  

Jan. 16

UW will test its emergency communication system Jan. 23

UW will be testing the campus-wide emergency communication system on Monday, January 23 at 1:15 p.m. The test will involve tweets to @UWaterloo and @WatSAFEapp, the WatSAFE mobile app, WatSAFE desktop application, along with portal alerts and push notifications. The message will read, “TEST of the UW Emergency Notification System. During an actual emergency or threat you would receive instructions. No action is required.” Approximately 15 minutes later, a deactivation message will say, “The test of the UW Emergency Notification System is complete.”

— UW WATsafe

Jan. 16

UW student organizes Mecha Mayhem event in Calgary, Alta.

Jonathan Zhou, an undergraduate engineering student, has organized an international robotics contest called Mecha Mayhem that will be held at the BMO Centre in Calgary Feb. 3 to 5. Over 120 teams from high schools and middle schools around the world will participate in the event. Robotics kits used during the competition will be donated following the event with the goal of promoting STEM education.

Zhou organized the event with his brother, Justin, who is also an engineering student at UW in the Masters program and Engineering Excellence Fellowship. Zhou also operates a nonprofit, Western Mechatronics, that he started to encourage young people to get involved in robotics competitions and education. 

— India Education Diary

Jan. 16

UW team advances to Deep Space Food Challenge semi-finals

A team from the University of Waterloo will compete in Phase 2 of the Deep Space Food Challenge, a competition to develop technologies to produce food for future space missions. The technologies could be used to feed astronauts on missions to the moon and Mars, along with harsh environments on Earth. Four teams will advance to Phase 3, which involves construction of full-scale food production technology. The competition is part of a partnership between the Canadian Space Agency and NASA to develop methods of nutritious food production that use minimal materials, energy, and water.

— Yahoo! News

Jan. 17

UW Prof to co-chair National Quantum Strategy (NQS) advisory council

UW’s Dr. Raymond Laflamme has been asked to serve as the co-chair of Canada’s NQS advisory council and will guide the country’s development of quantum technologies. The NQS is transforming the development and design of everything from drugs to batteries and working to create a workforce that is prepared to use and implement new science and technology across various fields. Laflamme is the founding director of the Institute for Quantum Computing at UW.

— UW Daily Bulletin