Letter from the Editor

Note: This article is hosted here for archival purposes only. It does not necessarily represent the values of the Iron Warrior or Waterloo Engineering Society in the present day.

Welcome back B-Soc! I hope everyone’s work term went well this past winter and to another spring term on campus. Spring is definitely my favourite term to be on campus. The lack of snow, people, and consequently, line-ups really make time here more enjoyable than other terms.

To start, I’d like to thank the Spring 2010 Iron Warrior staff for their excellent help putting together this issue. Without their writing skills, editing skills, and their drive to put together a newspaper, this issue wouldn’t have been possible!

As with most previous EICs many talk about how they became editor in their first editorial. My story begins back in Spring 2008 when I discovered EngSoc had a darkroom.

For those who don’t know me, photography has been a huge hobby of mine since I can even remember, and also had taken some courses in high school which involved a dark room. I still had all my old negatives on campus so I looked at possibly of developing some photographs again. I got a hold of the darkroom director which turned out to be the Iron Warrior photo editor, Sylvia Wu. Mike Seliske shared the position with Sylvia for the Spring term.

I discovered Mike, Sylvia and I somewhat share the same level of passion for photography and then somehow I convinced myself that I would begin taking photos for the Iron Warrior just like them for the Winter 2009 term. In Winter 2009 during Kevin’s term as EIC, I really enjoyed working with the paper and hoped one day I would become an editor. Now it really isn’t that hard to become an editor. Really. The person taking the editor position each term generally is one who actually wants the job. During the fall 2009 time, Trevor approached me and asked if I wanted the job, and I accepted – of course on the condition that I actually passed my 2B term. This job is a lot of work, but I figure it’ll be rewarding.

If you haven’t kept up with the Iron Warrior on your co-op term you might notice some very small changes to the paper. First off, this is the Newspaper’s 30th anniversary this year. To mark this occasion, we have decided to make The Iron Archives a regular piece in the newspaper.

In this issue, you’ll find it on page 5. The Iron Archives delves into the mysterious boxes of old yellowed newspapers in our office which contains almost every issue of the Iron Warrior that has been produced. Because we want to make this a year long feature, we try to go back 5, 10, 20, and 25 years into the past around the same time frame of the year.

Also you’ll notice I have re-printed one of the old logos from the past, well you probably didn’t know it was an old logo, but now you do! The one shown on page 5 is the first ever Iron Warrior logo used from 1980 to around the mid-eighties. I took some time during time during the last co-op term to scan in and re-master some of the old logos, so you’ll likely see a couple during the term pop up in the issues granted we have the space.

For this issue, PDEng once again has become a major topic of conversation from the release of the PDEng Renewal Task Force Report. Our goal for this issue was to bring you as much information from the report, the Town Hall Meeting held last week, as well as from the perspective of someone who was involved with the generation of the report.

Going back to the Town Hall Meeting, I am very surprised of the amount of students who actually came out to the meeting. Given the amount of student resistance to the PDEng program, as well as the amount of students giving feedback to the Task Force, I definitely expected more than those who showed up.

Now, the audio of the meeting was webcast, and the system actually became overloaded and crashed, so it’s likely many people didn’t bother showing up to ask questions, but just listened instead. Those who did show up, presented excellent questions to the Dean and I’m sure more questions could have been posed to the Dean given more people were present.

Next, I’d like to talk about Northdale. I’m sure some people reading this will ask themselves – what’s Northdale? This is exactly why I want to talk about this issue – students are unaware of what’s going on.

Northdale is a neighbourhood predominately populated by students bounded by Lester, Columbia, King and University. This is the same place where those new, large, boxy, and in my opinion ugly, apartment buildings are going up as I type this. The city is voting on the future of the neighbourhood on June 7th, and I feel students need to pay attention to what is happening with this issue as it could affect them, and more importantly future generations of students in the near future.

One of my particular issues deals with these apartment buildings where I’ve noticed rent is generally above $500 a room. To me, this is about the upper bound of what students pay for rent in the city. Now, if the City of Waterloo votes to continue allowing these large student buildings to be built in Northdale, it’ll be interesting to see what affects if any, it has on the cost of room rentals near the University.

By the time City Council votes on this issue and change begins to happen (granted change is allowed), it’ll likely be several years down the road so it may not affect many (if any at all) who are reading this today, but I feel students should still pay attention and ensure students’ needs/wants are being looked after.

If students who saw the need of having an Engineering Endowment fund, even though they would not benefit from it didn’t act on putting one together, would there be one today helping enrich our educations?
If student representatives a few years ago did not lobby the Faculty for a student design center in Engineering 5, would student teams be moving to E5 in the coming months?

If those who saw an issue with PDEng didn’t fight for an independent review or change to the program even though they knew they’d have graduated by the time change was implemented, would we have gotten the same result from the PDEng Renewal Task Force last week?

Now I ask, if current students do not take an interest in this issue, what will be the outcome for future students?

On the topic of work reports, it was announced upon the release of the PDEng Task Force Report that the number of required work term reports would be reduced from 4 to 3 for new students. Some students actually opposed this change during the Town Hall Meeting based on their experiences with others’ writing quality during PDEng 45 which includes a submission of team project.

At this point, I also oppose this change as I feel writing skills are extremely important and the more practice, the better one will likely get at producing coherent text.  During the Town Hall Meeting, Dr. Stubley did mention the core courses of WatPD would make students practice their writing more thus taking the place of a work term report but my question is – will it be enough? What is enough?

Everyone is different, and for me, I’m still learning to be a better writer. Looking at my earlier compilations, particularly my first work term report, I know I’ve greatly improved, but why did I improve?
I improved because I began writing about topics that I liked and was passionate about. When I wanted to write about something, the ideas came much clearer to my head and I could compose an entire idea of several sentences in my head and then place them onto a screen. When writing became this easy for me, I learned where I was making my grammatical mistakes and where I had flow issues.

After writing several pieces, I realized what we’re taught in high school English isn’t a template for everything, but merely a guide. Write what sounds right, not what fits perfectly into the form you’re taught.

I hope I’ve kept you interested enough in what I had to say to get you to this paragraph. One of my classmates told me he actually reads each editorial so he warned me to do a decent job.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this issue  of the Iron Warrior particularly because it’s in colour. I also hope this has reached your hands on Wednesday and not late on Thursday as we’ve switched publishers and I’m hoping all goes well with timely delivery to us on campus.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know at  iwarrior@engmail.uwaterloo.ca

Until then.

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