Environment Live Chat – Environment, Resources and Sustainability

Hello everybody welcome to the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability Live Chat. I’m Dr. James Nugent.I am one of your lecturers here in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability and I’m really excited to have all of you here today. We are facing some of the most pressingissues that humanity has faced when we talkabout things like climate change, when we talk about things like speciesextinction. We’re facing the sixth mass extinction,you know, unprecedented levels of deforestation,the coral reefs are are bleaching and the the list seems to go on and on.And one of the things I tell students in this program is that we need to havethe brightest minds working on these problems.And these are very complexproblems. They’re interdisciplinary problems.And so I’m really excited that you’ve decided tojoin our our family here in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability where we have brought together a veryinterdisciplinary team of professors and students whoare all keen to solve some of the world’s most pressing problemsand I also want to add to that that, besides solving the problems what yousee and what you experience depends on whatyou know and I think what you’ll find goingthrough this program is that as you learn even more aboutecology about how the environment works, you’regoing to deepen your appreciation for just howawe-inspiring our world really is.So thank you forjoining us today and thank you for for joining the School ofEnvironment, Resources and Sustainability. I want to start with a bit ofhousekeeping and just remind you that we’re going to record this session.So a copy of the event will be shared in your WaterlooReady LEARN course within the next week. So if you miss something, you can alwaysgo back to the video. I also wantto just acknowledge that we are situated as a universityon lands that are deeply connected to indigenous peopleswho have historically lived and who are currently living in this territory.These groups include the Neutral, Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on what’s called the HaldimandTract and you’ll be hearing a lot more about thatthroughout your studies. Tt’s the land promised to the SixNations that includes ten kilometers on each sideof the Grand River.So, like I’ve said, I’m James Nugentand I am a lecturer here which means I’m a professor that specializes in teachingand we have a few of those. So, you’re lucky to have somefull-time lecturers here at the University of Waterloo and we’re goingto introduce you to other people that we have joining ustoday to do some panel presentations andwe’re gonna just turn to those introductions now.So, Jill, if you don’t mind.Actually if yeah we can take down — we probablytake down the PowerPoint for a sec, and we willallow our panelists to introduce us.So probably we will start with Patricia. Patti. Sorry, goes by Patti.Patti, are you here? Okay, we’re not hearing Patti,so, let’s come back to Patti maybe there’s a microphone issue there.Maybe we could start with Ishani and Carla who are your student repson your student association. So, hi, everyone, I am Ishani, I’m one ofthe co-presidents of ERSSA at this term andI’ll be talking with you about student life.Hi, I’m Carla.I’m also one of the co-presidents on ERSSA.Thanks for joining us. All right, thanks very much and we alsohave Benjamin. Ben, do you want to introduce yourself? Hi,I’m Ben. I’m a senior co-op student working with Professor Nugent in theFaculty of Environment working on student engagement. Great,thanks Ben. And Roaha? Hi everyone my name is Roaha and I’m a third year SERSstudent and I’m currently working with the department for my co-op termand I’ll be presenting the co-op placement profiles and talking about thepeer mentorship program. Great. Thank you very much, Roaha.Patti, are you able to try again? Okay, Jill’s gonna work with Pattito try to figure out what’s going on on her end,but we will introduce Patti later on. She’s yourundergraduate advisor and so she can help you with all sorts ofquestions you have about logistics around,you know, how do you register for courses, taking other majors,and minors, and diplomas and things like that so we will hear from Pattilater on.So, what we’re going to do today, we’re goingto first talk a little bit about, you know, why it’s important to studyenvironment, resources and sustainability andthen we’re going to — actually we’ll probably we might come back to thatat the end too, because I’m hoping that Maren might be able to join us,who is one of your professors, but we’ll do a little introduction to that.And then we’ll hear from Ben who’s going to talk about experiential learningopportunities of which there’s lots of. I think one of the most exciting thingsabout our program here is just how many experiential learningopportunities they are from field coursesto different things right here on campusand so we’re going to hear about that and what that means in an onlinesort of environment. Roaha is going to talk to us about co-op placements forthose of you who are enrolled in co-op and then we’re going to hear from Ishaniand Carla talking about student life and they’regoing to welcome you into the student body here.And Patti’s going to talk about important information aroundregistration and course selection.And then we’re going to end by talkingabout what’s a really exciting thing we’re getting going for this fall whichis a peer mentorship program. And so, if you have any questions, you’regoing to be able — that you haven’t had answered or that you forgot information –you’re going to be able to work with your peer mentor to answer thosequestions. Okay so, let’s start. I’m goingto maybe start. Yeah, right there. Professor Maren is not going to bewith us today but I’m just going to give you a little bit of a rundown aboutwhy I think it’s really important for us tostudy the environment, resources and sustainability.I think probably lots of you are already oriented towards wanting to solvesome of the key pressing problems that the world is facingand the pandemic has really surfaced for the entire worldjust how precarious we live on this planetand it has really, I think, shone a spotlighton a number of things, including how vulnerable weare as a species, reminding us as a species that we areanimals at the end of the day, and that we work and livein close proximity to to wildlife, which ultimately causes theseviruses.But also, that we have very complexgoverning systems and that there’s a relationship betweenhow we solve problems in almost every other aspect ofour everyday life. Our government, businesses, all aspects ofsociety, have to come together to address very pressing global problemssuch as a pandemic. But that could also be climate change,biodiversity loss, or deforestation, or any of the other problemsthat we face as a species. And so one of the great things about thisSchool of Environment, Resources and Sustainabilityis that it is a school. And what that means is thatwe have professors that actually come from different disciplines.So we have professors that come from biologicalconservation, we have professors like Maren who is a soil scientist, butwe also have professors that come from the socialsciences. And so we have professors that lookat governance of food and food systems. In my own work I look at social movements.And so we really also not only look at thephysical environment but also the the way that the physicalenvironment interacts with society and social systems.And thatbecomes very important when we think aboutpressing issues around environmental justice and environmental racism. And that basically means the distribution ofenvironmental goods and environmental bads we know thatthey’re not fairly distributed around the world. And so we try to understand –identify and understand that uneven distributionand think about how we can solve those problems.So I think one of the strengths of our schoolis again, is that very interdisciplinary team that we’ve assembled here andwe hold a lot of events within the school, and within the Faculty ofEnvironment, where you can hear from all differenttypes of perspectives on environmental problems,because again, you know, you’re bringing togethereven economics, right? So we have courses in ecological economics.I teach a course on war in the environment and sothere’s really so many different ways to understand because the environmenttouches us all in so many different ways.There are so many different perspectivesto shine light on the nature of the problem. Andagain, what the solution is. And the University of Waterloo, I think,even more than almost any other university is verygeared towards finding solutions. And so, althoughwe have to have a critical perspective, and we teach a criticalperspective on these problems there’s a lot of efforts underway at theUniversity of Waterloo to actually promote solving these problems andrising to the challenge.And so, you know, University of Waterloohas a lot of incubators, a lot of startup incubators,and a lot of different approaches if you’re interested in solving someproblems by starting your own business, you know,there’s support for that type of thing. Or using technology, there’s support forthat type of thing, and so there’s a lot ofopportunities to really get involved and becreative. And so I think it’s a really exciting placein that sense as well. So, what we’re going to do,I might have some more things to say about the the school in general,but I wanted you to first hear from some of the studentsand because, you know, they were in your shoesnot that many years ago, only a couple in some cases, one or two years ago theywere in your shoes.And so, they can tell you firsthand whatit’s like coming into the School of Environment,Resources and Sustainability. And I also want tojust say that if you have any questions, what you can dois you can type your questions into the chat, which is on theright side of your screen. So, we have peopleworking in the background who will be able to assemble all of your questionsand we’re going to try to answer those today.If you’ve already submitted yourquestions, we have some of those, and I’m going tomake sure that we leave some time at the endin case we don’t answer the questions you have because ultimately that’s whywe’re here today. So, please do type in yourquestions in the right hand side in the chat, and then we’re going to come back andanswer those as we go. Okay. So, what I’m going to do now is I’mgoing to turn over the presentation toto Ben who is going to talk about some of the experiential learningopportunities here at the University of Waterloo inthe School of Environment, Resources andSustainability. Thanks. Yeah, so I’ll be talking aboutthree different areas of experiential learning that are available to studentsand so I’ll kind of list each of them and I’ll go intomore detail. So one of these is the Ecology Lab and they’re incredible.They’re like a one-stop resource center and a learning space.They have lots of different learning opportunities, going on there fromsupporting your academics and also your extracurriculars.The nextis Living Lab for Sustainability, which is apartnership-based initiative that looks to solve sustainability issues andtest them on campus. And last is courses and so I’ll betalking about courses with an experiential learninglab section and also field courses. So now we’ll fill you in on more ofthose details. So here we have the Ecology Lab and theythey’re great, they do so many different things and are involved [inaudible].So, they can support your field activities, your courses, and yourprojects and they’re — they — the staff therehave a knowledge of lots of different areas that they would be happy toshare with you. You can rent equipment such as field guides or if youwant to borrow things like binoculars or some types of hardware you want to bringinto the field to either support your own practice or support yourcoursework, they’re happy to lend that out to you as well.And they also share their expertise and I’ve been in the Ecology Laband they’re very knowledgeable. And one of the ways they do this is throughworkshops and tutorials, which they have now started to offer onlineand one of these, for example, is the Get Back to Nature poster theyare sharing on Twitter.And also they also run some student-led workshopsout of the Ecology Lab as well for things like learning aboutdifferent like [inaudible] organisms for example, orpollinators and so there’s lots to learn. Here we have Living Lab forSustainability and so as I said before living lab is –it’s an initiative based on making connections between studentsfaculty and campus partners and the goal is to find a sustainability issueand test it out on campus almost as if it was ina living laboratory and so some opportunities here includestudent groups, clubs, there’s lots of different events whetherit’s a presenter or somewhere where you can build your knowledge on something.They have experiential learning programs that you can join as well and there’salso lots of hands-on courses and so I’ll be talking [inaudible]. So for thesecourses there’s two different kinds where you can get some experiential learninghappening so one of these is a course with a lab sectionand for example field ecology you would have a weekly lectureand then you would also have a weekly lab where you’d be getting outside youmight learn about some vegetative sampling techniques, water sampling,soil analysis, and that’s offered year-round so here wehave some students in the spring who are using quadrats to do somesampling on a square meter basis and here we have some students taking watersamples for analysis back at the ecology lab.And then we also have something like a field course.And so the outdoor fieldcourses are normally offered in the springtime andthey’re more immersive, they usually run as a block course anywhere between a weekto three weeks where you’ll be outside a lot getting lots of practice working inthe lab working with others and getting a chance to do some[inaudible] in the field. And so I’ll just show you some morepictures. So here are some more pictures wehave some students getting out into the fieldthis is — this picture is from Laurel Creek on campus the second picture thereand then we also have — we also take students to different natural areasas well, And if you’d like to find out morewe’ve just shared some resources here for theirother social media or web pages and yeah those are some — those arethree great ways to get some experiential learning on campus. Great, thank you so much, Ben. And as youcan, see there are really so many exciting opportunities to dosome hands-on learning here in your ERS program in the Facultyof Environment and as Ben mentioned we even have anentire ecology lab that is just focused — their main job is just tohelp you learn about ecology.There’s a woodworking shop on campus, sothere’s a lot of really great opportunitiesand a lot of these courses have actually shifteddespite the pandemic into an online version and so there’s some really neatexperimentation happening with students doing sort of a field ecologyof a local park that they might go to or even of your own backyardand that’s actually really important becauseyou know the more that we can understand even our own local environmentand how — and get a better richer understanding of those the more we canappreciate some of the bigger systems at play and I just wanted tojust remind you that if you do have any questionsplease type them in the box in the right hand side thereand you can just have them addressed to all the attendees and then everybody will see what your question is.If youonly want the panelists to see your question you couldselect it to only speak to the panelists but it’d be nice if everyonecan see the questions so that other peoplewill have the same question. There really is no stupid question here.If you have a question I guarantee you that ten other people will. Soplease just post it in the chat and we will try to answer thoseas we go and I also wanted to — I forgot to mention that for thoseparents and supporters that are joining us todaythank you very much and I know that you play a very important role in yourstudent’s transition so we encourage you to sign up for ourparent and supporter monthly newsletter and here you’re going to receive greattips and information on supporting your student throughout the first yearas a Waterloo Warrior so if you would like some more information Iposted a link there in the chat box but we can get you that aswell if you have any questions please get in touch with us.Sonext up we are going to hear from Roaha who has been compiling someexperiences that students have been having on co-op placementand so I will turn that over to Roaha. Hi everyone, I’m just going to talk aboutthe different examples of co-op placements that SERS students have had togive you an idea of the kinds of opportunities that areavailable. So starting off we have Jane who workedat at the University of Waterloo as a labassistant in the ecology lab and this role involved her assisting theecology lab with providing core support for the different courses they offerand through this role she was able to gain experience in lab safety,field research, ecology skills as well as social media management andproject management. Next we have Abraham who worked as anEnvironmental Management Co-op Student at Infrastructure Ontarioand this position involved him managing the client project proposals to ensurethat the due diligence accountability requirements were metand he also did report writing and site visits. Through his placement he gained abetter understanding of the due diligenceprocess and approvals process for infrastructure projects in Ontarioand he also developed time management skills, project managementskills, and communication skills, Next we have Alessia who worked as astudent at Environment and Climate Change Canada andshe was an Environmental Coordinator and thisposition involved data management, report writing,and document translations and editing.So some of the things shelearned during her term were more about what Environment andClimate Change Canada does and how policies are implemented throughthe federal government as well as how to rely on her co-workersfor help when she needs it and to learn from their experiences. Next I’m going to talk about one of myprevious co-op terms. I was working as a Northern and RemoteEnergy Student at Natural Resources Canada. So for thisposition I helped with the completion of programdocuments and I also did research and summarized my findings whichwas used to help inform policy decisions. So some of the things I learned duringthis term was a better understanding of the implementation process andchallenges associated with renewable energyand how decision making happens within the governmentand I also gained a better understanding of indigenous issues thatoccur in remote communities.So the last example we have is Juneeand she worked as a Biologist at Natural Resource Solutions.So this role involved conducting field work as well asanalyzing the data she collected during the field work and preparingreports based on her findings so some of the things she learned during herplacement were adaptability, open-mindedness and flexibility sincethe nature of fieldwork means that there might be unforeseen circumstances thatyou have to adjust to. And she also gains greater confidencewhen it comes to facing these kinds of unknown challenges. Okay thanks so much, Roaha, and that wasjust a brief taste of some of the many opportunities that students have hadthrough the co-op programs and I know some of you aren’t takingco-op and that’s okay too but I did want to make sure that we covered someof the different experiences that students have had onco-op so thanks very much, Roaha.And now we get to hear from yourstudent reps so Ishani and Carla. So hi everyone, welcome to WaterlooUniversity [sic]. So being an incoming student or afirst-year student can be really daunting. I remember my first yearas something that I was so nervous about because it was so entirely differentfrom high school, so entirely different from things I’dexperienced in life. But I learned that it actually wasa great new experience. You really got to meet a lot of new people you got tolearn things that really matter and really have a part in changingthings too.This picture of Carla and I is actuallyus in the fall as orientation leaders, believe it or notwe met in orientation and we’ve been friends eversince. So really go out and try towork through your online format to try to meet a bunch of first years becauseyou’ll make fast friends and now we even run our student association togetherso worked out for the best. Also right over there isEV3 that we have to give a quick shout out to becauseit is the best building, it is amazing i’m not taking that back, and no one’sgonna argue with me. So I guess we can move on to the nextslide. So what is ERSSA? So ERSSA is this yourstudent association for ERS students it literally means ERSstudent association. We work to improve the experience as ERAstudents, connect you to people, and sort of let you have a more working hand inthings you care about.Consider this: so you might be able tomake friends and have fun you can communicate with different SERSstudents, staff, the environment student societywhich is ESS, this means that you can have newsrelevant to you as environment students but you can also representyourself in front of other students. It’s ongoing workwith staff. Please join other student societies and clubsso go out to ESS things, go out to Campus Compost events, all theenvironment student societies are really dead set on making change on campus andit might really affect your work on later in life and once more you can make alot of friends. Additionally we talk about issuesrelating to your education and your — and the environment so how we can alteryour education for things that you want to learn aswell which brings us to the next point.So we’ve recently started this thingcalled the SERS Undergraduate Education Committee: it’s a new committee in ourERS student association dedicated to making changesin the ERS program to suit student needs and interests.We’re working on multiple projects right now, our current project focuses onbringing BIPOC perspective within our curriculum. We believe it’sreally important to diversify and also learn fromdifferent educational experiences and sort of expand our own. We meet withstaff about these curriculum changes and we try to examine local issues andput it in our own education. You don’t have to pay any student society fees tojoin so please consider joining the committeewe run through ERSSA as well.All right so the next thing we’ll talkabout is some of the events that ERSSA runs, so just a brief overviewof what we’ve done in the past and we continue to do. Social, academicas well as sustainability-themed events. So in the first pictureyou have a little example of a sustainability workshopwhere we sewed little cutlery holdersand we decorated cloth bags as well as in the second picture you seea coffeehouse event where different students were able toshowcase their musical talents this was a collaboration between ERSSA aswell as different program student societies sowe can all intermingle and meet people from different programs.And we continue to be hosting things online which we’ve started inspring term and it’s been pretty fun and it’slooking good.So some examples of things that we’vedone: we’ve had a pride workshop which is pictured there so this was a workshopthat Ishani and I actually ran. We just wanted to highlightthat environment is for everyone no matteryour gender, your orientation, your colour we’re allhere. There’s all sorts ofenvironmentalists. You’re all welcome. As well as we’ve hadother students host their own workshops they come to uswith their interests they’re sort of our student experts.Sowe’ve had plant ID workshops, wasp workshops,it’s really whatever the students feel that they’re interested inand that they want to highlight to other students.We also had a trivia event hosted by an alumni [sic]so that was a really fun experience to get to interact over this platform,I know it might seem weird but even through these online platforms wecan have a really fun time and it was just a greatcompetitive and fun energy to be able to see everyone again and dotrivia.And for the future we have onlineworkshops. Going forward we want to make thatmore relevant to the first years in the fall so you’re going to be seeingthings like a Meet the Professors event in October.That’s going to be a way for you all to meet professorsin a more casual environment so that you’re not intimidatedand so you can see that professors are people too.As well as we will have a first year event that we’re working onand the things that we’ve usually done in previous years have been co-opworkshops, academic sessions, and again socialswe’re keeping that all just through online platforms now.And again, whatever ideas you have they’re great to bring to usthis is a great way to get involved in planning — in events planning becausewe’re student-run so you’re going to be able to see anything thatyou’re interested in.And now I’ll talk a little bit about theatmosphere of ERSSA so it’s a pretty small tight-knit groupmost people in ERSSA would describe it to you as likea chill environment, feels laid back. So it would be a good idea, as Ishanimentioned, to meet other first yearsbecause it’s just an easy way to make friends and everybody’s looking to seewhat different groups are so at the beginning of the year we usually get alot of people checking out the group so that’s a greatthing to see what we’re all about as well as meeting other yearslike upper years because they’re able to you know have these sort of connectionsin a more — in a less intimidating space and thenyou know anything that you might have any school questions orco-op things or housing questions it’s great to be able to, you know, findother people in this network of students that havemore experience than you that can help you out with that.As well as we’ve got leadership positions available to first yearsso you can learn different organizational and leadershipskills, you can run our social media, work on our events,or you can just attend as a general member where you can take in any of thenews that we’re giving and you can vote on our issues and haveyour opinions heard.So I just want to add, as Ishani said,we really want to highlight even if ERSSA might not be your thingplease do check out other groups like Campus Compost,Sustainable Campus Initiative andwhatever else you’re interested, try to look on social media there’s still lotsof things going even though we’re distanced.And just to end off, we have a slide with our socialmedia on it so you can check out our Facebook and Instagram, as well youwill be invited to the first meeting of ERSSAthrough your UWaterloo email account so you’ll have all the information you needfor that.Otherwise we try to keep our meetingsavailable on Facebook so thank you for listeningand we’d love to see you in the fall. Okay thank you so much Ishani and Carlaand wow what a what an amazing amount of things thatgo on in terms of the social life at the school here and one of the things Iremember from my undergrad years was that honestly probably about60% at least of what I learned was actually outside the classroomand just as you’re coming into a you know a sizable but a smalleressentially program where you’ll be able to get to knowdifferent people and you’ll make friends a lot of what I learned was actuallyfrom those friends and from my peers and not onlyyou know reviewing and discussing what we’re learning in class but in takingpart in the clubs and activities that are going on and learning fromthose as well so thanks so much Ishaniand Carla for all the work you’re doing here at ERSSA and you know I reallyencourage all of you who are tuning in — who arecoming into the school to to join ERSSA to get involved whetherjust participating in meetings or helping or an activity to fundactivities or whether getting involved in aleadership role. So thank you very much. So now we’regoing to actually turn things over to Patti who is yourUndergraduate Program Advisor and I’ll let Patti introduce herselfand talk to you about what she does and some important information that you’llbe needing. Also before we do that, I’m going to be putting a link in thein the chat there for the ecology lab because I did mention the ecology labwhich is a fantastic hands-on ecology lab state-of-the-artthat can help you to learn about ecology someone mentionedplant IDing — that’s one of the courses you might takebut they also help us run our field courses so you can find out more aboutthe ecology lab at that link and perhaps after thethe presentations today. So I’m going to turn it over to Patti.Welcome, Patti.Thanks, James. Can everyone see me and hear me?Yep. Okay, okay, a little bit of technical difficulty earlier today but anywayI’d like to welcome all you new students to the School of Environment,Resources and Sustainability. I’m your school program advisorand you’ll be in touch with me a lot over your time in our school. BasicallyI help you with all things related to your recordincluding course enrolment, dropping courses, special circumstances that might affect your studies,graduation requirements and many other questions that you might have.If I don’t have the answer I can certainly point you in the rightdirection or the right resource to answer yourquestion. So welcome. Okay so just looking at your fall termschedule, most of you should have three courses onfor fall those are the three core courses. ERS 100ENVS 178 and ENVS 195. Normally students take five courses perterm and the plan is based on eight terms ofstudy with five courses per term for a totalof 40 courses to graduate.The electives that our students mostlychoose are geography, biology, earth science, or thewide array of arts courses, however you can chooseany elective that you meet the prerequisite for. Okay so important dates. There is a linkof important dates and I believe I sent that out to youalready in my welcome email but I canresend that for everyone next week. August 4th 5this when you can see your class schedule in QUEST and you should have anappointment then if you feel you want to make changes toyour record for fall. You can make changes to your fall termright up until September. Classes begin September 8th and endDecember 7th. And winter term you don’t need to worryabout that just yet. You’ll select your courses for winterterm in October. Some of our students like to add anadditional credential to their degree and that could be in the form ofa minor, which is normally ten term courses inanother discipline, a diploma, and there are several of theseas well but the common ones for ERS, students are the EnvironmentalAssessment Diploma, the Ecological Restoration Diploma andthe Sustainability Diploma.There are also options available andthat’s a different number of courses for eachone but it’s approximately five to eight coursesfor an option and the option and the minors bothactually appear on your your graduation diploma.The EA Diploma and the restoration diplomas are separate parchments so youwould receive that in addition to your graduation diploma. Anyway, all ofthese credentials are listed in the undergrad calendar at the link shownhere and again I’m happy to provide that linkfor anyone that’s interested. Credentials such as these studentsdon’t normally start until their second year of studyhowever some of them have courses that requirefirst-year courses so you might check into that if you think there’s somethingthere that might be of interest and you might sign up for an elective inthat area in first year.Anyways againwelcome everyone and you’ll be speaking and contacting me a lot over your timeand I’m happy to help so any questions you have just please direct them to me, Great thank you so much, Patti. And Pattireally will be your lifesaver in so many ways in terms oftrying to navigate all of the course calendarsand some of the bureaucracy at the university, every university hashas a bureaucracy, it’s just the nature of a university,and that can feel overwhelming at first as you’re trying to understand where doI find information about my courses how doI register or how do I combine courses anddifferent majors.I know somebody had a question about you know how do youcombine majors and that type of thing, so if you have any questions atall about that Patti is the person to ask and she is anabsolute wizard when it comes to understanding how this universityfunctions. So please do reach out to her if youhave any kind of questions or if you’re you’re not sure about how to combinedifferent things or say you want to take a course in another department oranother faculty you can do that. And one of the excitingthings about our program is that we really focus onwhat’s called transdisciplinary learning so it’s actually more thaninterdisciplinary learning, it seems like a small distinctionbut what the difference is is that you’re not just trying to –we’re not just trying to bring different perspectives on a problemfrom different disciplines we’re actually trying to say well you knowthese perspectives when they come togetherare greater than the sum of the parts so we we actuallycome up with a whole new kind of analysis when we bring differentperspective together so we try to synthesize new knowledgethrough that.So that’s really exciting,transdisciplinary learning. Our faculty and in particular our schoolis particularly good at doing that and particularly well situated to doingthat not too many faculties or departments actually do that kindof learning. So we do encourage you to if you have other interests –you know one of the things that I wish I knew when I was going through myundergrad or coming into my undergrad is that youknow if you have a couple different strong interests as a lot of ourERS students do because you’re such amazing studentsthat you have multiple interests well maybe talk with Patti aboutyou know how could you still pursue those interests in otherin other ways, right? So for example one of my studentsyou know is very — was very interested in theatre. She did a lot of communitytheatre and theatre and drama in her undergrad or in herhigh school and so she wanted to do some of that inher undergrad so there are many opportunities both curricularas well as extracurricular to get involved in drama and theatre forexample. So you know you don’t have to drop allof your interest because you’re taking some courses or you’re down acertain program if you have other intereststhere’s definitely ways to combine those so I wish I had learned that earlierin my undergrad career but please reach out to Patti and talk toother students about that.Okay so what we’re going to donow — thanks so much, Patti for that information. It’s a lotof information. So one of the things that we want to emphasize here today:obviously we have an incredible team of students, ofstaff, and faculty who are here to answer allof your questions. And I know how overwhelming all of thisinformation is and so don’t worry if you have questionslater on or if you forgot something you can always ask usand we are more than happy to help you navigateespecially with the virtual environment it is going to be a little bit moredifficult to try to navigate you know how things work andeverybody is very understanding of that.Soplease do ask us questions. The chat line is still open there today soyou can type in your questions there now or you can get in touch with us by emailor social media later on that’s fine too.But one of the great ways that you can have your future questions answered andto get a better sense in perhaps maybe a less high-pressuredenvironment here is through the peer mentorship programand so Roaha is helping to lead that initiative and so she’sgoing to talk to you about what that is.Hi everyone I’m just going to talk about the peer mentorship program which isbeing offered in the fall to incoming first years so the peer mentorship program is meantto provide an opportunity for first-years to connectwith upper-year students in their program in order to help guide theirtransition.So the structure of the program is thatfirst-years will be split into groups and each group will be assigned one peermentor from the same program as them so you all would be assigned a peermentor who is also in ERS and it will run for the first six weeksin the beginning of the fall semester and it’s meant to help provide a placefor incoming students to connect with eachother and the peer mentors will also receivethe necessary training for them to know how to serve your needs.So the different ways that your peer mentor will support youis by answering your question questions, holding weekly virtual officehours, hosting different virtual events whereyou can connect with your mentor and your peers,and helping you connect with the different personal support services atthe University of Waterloo, whether it’s for academic or personalsupport, and sharing their experiences withtransitioning to university to help guide your own transition and make itsmoother.Okay, yeah, thank you very much, Roaha. So Istrongly recommend that you do sign up to become a, you know, to be part of apeer mentorship group. I know probably a lot of you arewondering well how on earth do I make friends, you know,that’s usually one of the most important things about university is you get tomeet new people and exciting people and trust me, you know, these are some of the best students I’ve ever taughtand I have taught at different schools andsuch dynamic students in so many ways and sowe really do want to make sure and help you connect with other students and asyou heard from Carla and Ishani you know ERSSA is oneof the best ways to do that but we’re also setting up this peermentorship program and that’s to put you into small groups,you know, it’s very low pressure, it’s not a tutorial, you’re not asked todo any school work, in fact it’s a good place where you canask questions like you know what’s expected of mein university to do a university essay versusa high school essay, you know, they’re different things, or how much should I bestudying? Or you know you know what’s going on, I’mkind of not connected to any of the social things that’s happening, how do Iget more connected? Maybe within your peer mentorship groupa couple of you might want — a few of you might want to get together and do anonline board game or you know maybe you want to start up a study sessionand talk about certain things, maybe you want to organize a coffee house orsomething like that.So there’s a lot of things you can dothat’s very low pressure and just a good way to meet one another so I reallyencourage you to get involved in the peer mentorship program, it’s agreat opportunity there. Now the other things we haveis we have the — actually Jill, if you go back to the previous slide,you know, if you haven’t already got involved in Waterloo Ready,please do get involved in Waterloo Ready. We will post thethe link in this chat here to how you join theWaterloo Ready program it also is a great way to just sort ofprepare you for what’s expected in terms of online learning. I know some ofyou have some questions about how does online learning workand just how do you prepare for September. So if you haven’t alreadygotten involved in Waterloo Ready, our Ask Usrepresentative is going to post the link in the chat there for you so thanks forthat. And I also wanted to draw your attentionto two videos that we have that are reallyhighlighting some of the things that we do here in the School ofEnvironment, Resources and Sustainability.So we will also leave you with thoselinks before we wrap up today’s session. But I guess whatI wanted to do right now is I know some of you submitted questionsahead of time so I do want to go through some of those and I might put some ofour panelists on the spot to answer some of those questionsand so I’m just going to go through the list of questions that some of you haveand the first question we had was: I will be purchasing a new laptop foruniversity, are there any computer specifications itwill require? Well, I would probably say to that thatalmost any laptop you’re going to buy on the market right now is going to bemore than you need for this program.I don’t know,does anybody — any other students want to chime inabout that? Ben do you have any thoughts on that?Yeah, so when I got my laptop for universityit was helpful for me to have one that had not just like the keyboard but also the one that has like thenumber pad on the side and stuff because sometimes it can –like if you’re working with data sets or something, or if you’relike in stats, if you’re working with excel a lot, it can be really handy tolike not have all the numbers and stuff inthat row on the top but also having a keypad on the side would keep stufffaster.Okay great so there’s some advice from Ben.Ishani, any thoughts on computers? I would say that alsobe aware that they should be kind of smaller so they’re easierto transport and a lot of computers now, especially HP laptops, have like alarge terabyte memory space so consider doing that and gettinga backup USB to save your notes on a hard drive.That’s what I tend to do with my notes when I move todifferent classes or different years, I just keep my notes on a hard drive incase I need it so you don’t use up too much space at once.Good. And that’s also a good idea to back up your your work, isquite often you don’t want to lose one of your essays. Sothose are, you know, if you’re going to be — thinking you’re going to be doing a lotof sort of data analysis you might want one with anumber pad but you can also get an external keyboardfor when you’re doing data input so if you want to have a smaller one that’smore portable that’s always an option too.So,but honestly, so, you know, most, almost every laptop now has video capabilities,and so that’s, you know, it’s going to be fineprobably no matter what you get. Okay sowhat has online learning been like so far? So that’s actually a really goodquestion. I can tell you from a professor’s perspectivewhat it’s been like so far. Actually, Jill we can probably take thatdown because we’re just gonna have a chat now soif you can take down the powerpoint. From my perspectivewhat I have heard from students is that students havein some cases actually found that they have even more time than they usually dofor their studies so some students are actually doing some really deeplearning during this time partly because there hasn’t been as many other thingskind of distracting them or they don’t have to do a commute to campusand so for some students it’s actually been a really enriching experiencefrom an academic perspective and now obviously socially it’s probably beenmore difficult for students because, you know, you don’t get to hang out withyour friends as much, but there has been as you’ve heard, a lotof efforts like trivia nights, for example, to bring students together.Other students do find it more challenging if they have a busyhousehold and there’s lots going on in the backgroundand so one of the things that I have worked with with my students is totry to be a bit more reflective about, you know, whenis a good time to be doing your readings? When is a good time to be trying to doyour — what space in your your house workswell, what doesn’t? And I think so there has to be what we call more metalearning where you’re reflecting on how you’relearning and you’ll understand that in universitya lot of what we’re trying to do is not simply togive you knowledge and information, you know, you cankind of go and Google things if you want to learn facts.We’re trying to give you skills for learning in an interdisciplinary andtransdisciplinary way and for learning how to learn:how to become a learner.And so learning how to become a learner in aonline learning environment is more difficultbut maybe because it’s new but it’s actually going to be a skill that youhave that you can take forward. So I think in that sense it is alearning experience, a learning curve for all of us,but I know that our students are rising to the challenge,and I know that our professors are also trying to build in a bit moreflexibility into the into the courses, into the syllabus so that we can be moreunderstanding about what you might be experiencingas students. So yeah feel free — does anyone else whois anyone taking a course right now onlinewant to chime in? Yeah so Carla and Iare both doing online learning this term. It has been a really significantdifference from in-person learning. I personally don’t lovethe online format but there are a few benefitslike you can manage your time better you can definitely –getting an agenda is really important so you can figure out when todo things because like lectures are going to be recordedthey’re not going to be like things you have to show up to.I would encourage also going to online office hoursbecause a lot of important conversations happen there as welland just try to keep on top of things.Yeah to add on to that, I would just say it’s really important to try to beself-motivated and reach out to the professors and the TAs. Inin the classes I’ve been taking I haven’t had anyonline office hours so like every course is structured very differently that’swhat I’ve been finding like I’ve taken three coursesand the way they’ve been delivered has beenwidely different so just keep that in mind like there mightbe big differences and just reach out and make sure you’re askingquestions because it can be harder to keep that connection with the staffand I think it would be a good idea as well to make sure that you’rescheduling social time in as well you know catch up with your friendsfrom high school or with your new friends as well just because thisonline way like there’s less going to classwith your friends obviously and that kind of thing so I would add thatthat would probably make the learning experience a bit easierbecause you have some down time to just like balance it out.Yeah.Yeah what I like to do is if I spend all day on the computer just doing likelearning and things I schedule the time to go for a walk like with my dogor just like go outside and experience natureyeah it’s really important like to keep your mental health instate too. Thank you, thank you so much for thatso we — I forgot to mention that there was a question someone had aboutfor international students. If you’re an international studentand you are going to be taking online courses how does that work?So most of our courses will probably be done asynchronouslywhich means that there will be perhaps shorter videos of professorscovering a specific issue or a powerpoint but –and then some of our courses might be have the live component too,but what we ensure is that any student no matter which time zonethey’re in, they will be able to have the the course content that they need inorder to succeed and be able to participate in thethe discussions of the course whether it islive in person or through the online discussion forums.So most of our courses in the fall you’re going to be asynchronous whichmeans that you will basically betuning in on your own time to participate in a lecture or a discussionforum or a group project sowe have definitely had that at the forefront of our minds so if you arein a different time zone we will make sure that that works out for youand so if you do have any concerns about that please do get in touch with us andwe can can walk you through in more detail howthat will work but there’s really nothing you need to do.We are designing our courses assuming that we have studentsin different time zones so not to worryabout that.Okay so we had some questions that I’mgoing to turn over to Patti, one was a question about how do yougo about choosing a double major or a minor? Okay so if you’re interested in doing adouble major the common ones that our studentsnormally do are geography and biology but there are many many options.Basically a double major means that you are doingthe required courses in your second major so ERS would be your first majorand your second major could be another disciplineentirely. Quite often if there is a thesis componentwhich there is an ERS in your final year and a thesis component in the doublemajor you only would do one thesis and thatwould count for both. So our students do that.Well you cannot declare it actually until second year,you could speak definitely or contact the advisorin the double major plan that you’re interested inand I can also provide the list of advisors on campus if you want tocontact them via email just asking them aboutcourses that you could begin in to begin a double major if you areinterested in that.Also the undergraduate calendarlists all the plans at the University of Waterlooand that includes all the requirements fora second or double major so you can certainly look atthe undergrad calendar for all the requirementsregarding majors, minors, etcetera. What else? Oh transferring. If you wanted to transfer out of ERS to another plan ofstudy the minimum overall average so thatwould be the average of all courses on your recordwould have to be at least 70% but you would definitely check with thealternative plan that you’re thinking of transferring toas they might have a higher average required but70% which is our major average requirementwould be the minimum to transfer to a new plan.In terms of averages for our studentsto be in good standing you must have an overall average of 65%,and that includes all courses on record, and that must be65% every term to remain in good standingand your major average is comprised of your ERSprefix courses and your ENVS prefix courses, that’s your major averageand that must be 70% every term. Again your averages include all courseson records and they must be met every term toremain in good standing. Great thank you so much, Patti. You’re welcome. So there is — there was a question we had aboutsort of what are some of the academic pressures that ERS studentshave? Like all students, there are academic pressures, right?You’re going to have deadlines, you’re going to have to keep on top.There’s not going to be a teacher there telling you, you know, oh, you havesomething to do tomorrow. You’re going to have to keep on top ofwhen you have things due, you’re going to have to self-pace yourselfso that you’re doing your readings ahead of timeand studying for quizzes ahead of time and doing –starting up on your essays.You also have to try to learnwhere the resources are to help you, so your professors for exampleare not really there to help you with thewriting mechanics. They might help you to think of some ideasand they might help you in office hours to to kind of think through yourassignments but we have special resources oncampus called the writing centre who are specialists in writing and sowhen it comes to the actual writing mechanics you’ll have to know to go tothe to the writing centre which areavailable to you virtually. And the same goes for thelibrary. So your professor can help maybe point youin in the direction of maybe where you can get someinformation for your papers, and they will, but at the sametime the librarians are experts in trying tounderstand where where information is and to help you get that for your essay.So a lot of university, again, is learninghow to learn and learning how to use different resources.How to use your teaching assistant, right? How do you go to themas sort of the initial spot when you havequestions about the course in terms of the assignments and things like that? Sothere’s a lot of different people and and we do allhave online presence so there will be online office hours or you can alwaysmake an appointment with your professor virtuallysame goes with your teaching assistants, the librarians, or the writing center,the student success office, and online counselling, the peer mentorship, soyou’re starting to hear that there’s a whole entirenetwork of people here to help you succeedbut the the key in all of that is that you also have to take the initiative tofirst understand where these resources are, who they are,and to reach out to us.So that’s a little different than highschool where maybe you — it’s a bit more contained in terms of thethe people that are there to help you in terms of your teachers,and perhaps your guidance counsellor. So I do have a question here aboutlabs and how will labs be completed online? So there’sdifferent approaches to that, so there’s some some virtual approaches,there’s some do your own hands-on approachesin your own backyard or in a park or something like that.So the the labs will take place and not to worry we are –our professors and the ecology lab are working hard to make sure that you cando that safely, in terms of it being a a virtualexperience.Or, if and when the university isready to have students back on campus in some formor another then obviously we will transition into aa safe learning environment when thathappens. So I’m not sure in terms of — I mean theother thing I want to mention in terms of the academic pressuresis that your peers are there to support you and you knowI’m not sure about other programs but I really don’t find that ERS is acompetitive program in the sense that students arenot competing with each other to try to get a grade.That’s not actually howprofessors grade. I think there’s a misperception.There used to be something maybe — or maybe it’s in Hollywood where there’slike a bell curve and so you know but that doesn’t exist herereally what we do is we give you your grades based uponwhat your effort is or what your ideas areand so the more help you can get from one anotherit’s actually a positive sum game which means thatyou can — your helping each other is actually going to improve all of yourmarks. And so I’m always really excitedwhen I hear students trying to to challenge one another andto help one another and that’s really what it’s all about in terms of learning. Learning I think is a very socialexperience and so I just wanted to emphasize that itreally is a cooperative experience here and the more you can work with yourpeers and help each other the more the betteryou all will do.I do have another question here interms of the types of careers that you might getout of a program like this and I do have a very exhaustive list of allof the careers that our alumni have so I could send that to you, if you’reinterested get in touch with me, but it’s needless to say that wewe have people coming from our program going to all different fields. We havepeople going into very various government agencies and departmentsat the federal, provincial or regional governments or municipal governments,we have entrepreneurs who have started their own businessesworking to solve some of the problems that we have.We have people going into law, we have people going in to become teacherswe have people becoming consultants going intoall of the different types of environmental consulting firms thatthat do a number of different things both to meet regulatorystandards or impact environmental impact assessment or ecological restoration.And one thing I’ll say is that, you know, if you areconcerned about how do you get a career coming out of this program,I’d strongly recommend that you do some of the diplomas that we have, for examplethe ecological restoration diploma.We have experts, wehave world experts in fact, in ecologicalrestoration who can help you to understand like howdo we — the entire tar sands for example is by law has to be reverted back tosome sort of ecosystem and so that’s a lot of work andecological restoration is what’s involved in doing that orreclaiming mines that have terminated and things likethis. So there’s there’s a lot of work that can be doneand a lot of students also go into grad studiesand do further studies so I think that this programis critically important for our generation of students to reallytake because of the the problems that the world’s facing.Even if you don’t end up going into the environmental field,it’s going to make you a better community member, a better family memberand so that itself I think is is really important but there are really excitingcareers I think that come out of this programas well.So I do want to wrap up quickly or soon because we’vebeen with you now for over an hour so I justwant to make sure that we have captured in terms — there was a questionabout textbooks and do you have to — will there stillbe textbooks? Those types of things are course-dependent but we do keep in mind that students arelearning virtually so we try to adapt our courses to that. Forexample, in my case I was actually able to getthe online textbook free for all of my students this semester,other other professors might move to journalsand online articles if it’s too hard to get textbooksbut we also have the bookstore whois working as usual to get you your textbooks so you can order yourtextbooks to that if a hard copy is necessary.The other — and I think that probablycovered most of the questions if I somehow — There was a question aboutvolunteering in Waterloo. There are a lot of different opportunitiesto volunteer here in Kitchener-Waterlooprobably the best thing to do there is talk with your professorsand also the student success office and some of the other studentsthat you meet and find out what they’re getting involved in there’s all sorts ofdifferent things you could be doing here in terms of green volunteering. I wantto emphasize that there’s a lot happening on campus too.Ben mentioned the sustainability living labs that we haveand so there’s all sorts of great things going on in campus as well to dogreen volunteering so there’s no shortage of opportunities to getmore involved in clubs, activities and volunteering. Soif there’s any more questions please do post them in the chat or if I somehowmissed your question please do post that in the chat like I said, the numberone takeaway from the today’s session I hope is thatto know we have an entire team here willing and ready andable to to answer all of your questions and anysupport — give you any support you need as you make the transitionnot only from high school to university but a particular type of online learningenvironment that might be different than what we’vebeen used to in years past.So I do want to very muchwelcome you to the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainabilitycommunity and I also want to just finallyencourage you that if you have not yet enrolled in the WaterlooReady course that is on a platform that we callLEARN and we will send you a link here in the chatto help you connect to Waterloo Readyin case you have not yet already connected. That’s a great way to answerquestions such as how do you maintain focus and avoid distractions duringremote learning? How do you prepare for organizing yourclasses? What do you do before during after lectures? How do you engagein content? There’s a sample lecture there from yourfaculty and understanding sort of how much time isexpected of you for studying, how to manage your time, howto have a work-life balance and how to get the support that you needas you need it.So please do log in to your LEARN and ifyou’re having any trouble sort of accessing any of these resourcesplease get in touch. Email Patti, myself or anybody and we willdirect your question to the right personto make sure that you can get your questions answered. So that does bring usto the end of our time. Again for those parents and supportersthere are some live chats coming up on August 5thand 11th and so we’ll send you a link here just remind you of that link forthe parents and supporters to tune in, we have some monthlynewsletters coming your way. And I just wanted to ask the panelistsif there’s anything I might have missed before we wrap things up?Try to get your textbooks used if you can,that’s my only other thing.Yeah, be sustainable about it.It’s a good idea. I bought most of my textbooks usedyou can oftentimes wait until the the course begins until you get thesyllabus you can find out what you’ll need but if you want toget a jump on your reading then you can probably get in touch with — the bookstore might already tell youwhat you need or you could even get in touch with the professor for thesyllabus if you want to get a jump on your readings butif you do have a textbook yeah get it used it helps save treesand it’s a little bit cheaper, so why not? Great.I just had one thing to addthe course outlines for our courses are online. The fall term ones aren’tthere yet, we’re in the process of postingthose. However you can look at ones from years pastand you can get an idea about for instance how ERS 100runs during the term if you wanted to have a look at that now. Great so yeah so you can get a sense ofpast years and what was done there, might be some changesthere probably will be to future syllabi but it’sa good opportunity to see sort of what’s expected of you andto start preparing yourself that way.And again WaterlooReady is a great way to to get a better understanding of what’s expected of you.So I will stay on for about another five minutes in case any of you havequestions I’ll be here just to answer yourquestions more than happy to talk with you and/or your parentsand supporters but this formally brings us to an end of our live chat session.It’s been really exciting to to talk with all of you and thank youagain to all of our panelists for tuning in today and sharing yourexpertise and experiences in the School of Environment, Resourcesand Sustainability.I really look forward tomeeting you all both virtually and eventually in personin the future so thanks very much and have a great day.Thank you. Bye everyone..


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