From The Iron Archives

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.

Spring Issue # 4 – June 22, 1990

Gerry Keay, a 2B Mechanical student wrote about the option preceding the introduction of environmental engineering as a program. Chemical engineering was a key department behind environmental engineering. Environmental was to be introduced as an option to engineering students starting Fall 1990. According to Professor Scharer of chemical engineering, the motive behind investigating environmental engineering was “the satisfaction many senior engineering students felt with the scope of present pollution control options in fourth year courses.”

Due to lack of funding from the provincial government environmental could not be offered as a separate discipline that year. However, the Faculty decided to admit forty extra students with the intention of enrolling them into environmental engineering when it becomes a degree program. Of these, 10 would go to Civil, 10 to Systems Design and 20 to Mechanical. These programs were chosen because their core courses closely resemble the proposed curriculum for environmental engineering program. An obvious question that Gerry asked was how was the Faculty so confident that these forty people would willingly switch programs. The answer was, “During this year’s Campus Day, which was held in March, the attending high-school students were asked if they were interested in such a program. Their very positive response has made the Undergraduate Office confident that they will have no problem finding enough students to fill a class of forty.”

Gerry clarifies that the proposed Environmental Engineering programs would not have any direct connection with the Faculty of Science which was going to start an Environmental Science program in Fall 1990.

Gerry said that an estimated two calendar years will have to pass before Environmental engineering will be made a program. The introduction of the option was justified by the Environmental Engineering Option Committee as “In the first two years, there is only a three course difference between the proposed Environmental Engineering program and most of the other present disciplines. Because of this similarity, if this option made into a degree program within the next two years, students taking the Environmental Engineering option will be able to switch into the degree program with no loss of time.”

The proposed option required three required courses – two Environment and Resource Studies and one Organic Chemistry course, and additional four courses chosen from a grouping which reflect one of four themes with the option. The four themes resembled the options in third and fourth year of the proposed degree program.  These options include Waste Management, Thermal Process, and Decision Modeling and Environmental Systems Modeling.

In the end, Gerry discusses the role of environmental engineers in society and says, “…the role of environmental engineering will be to fill the present gap between the professionals on the ecological and technical sides of the environmental debate…they will provide both the technical expertise in modeling and design and a thorough understanding of the environmental impact of modern technology”.

Spring Issue # 3 – July 4, 1995

Recently a new position with the title CFO – Chief Feedback Officer was established at the EngSoc council meeting. The CFO will be responsible for drafting an anonymous survey asking about the performance of the executives.

In this issue of IW, Erin Dunphy, member of an Internal Relations Committee within EngSoc wrote about Engineering Internal Relations Survey Results. It seems like EngSoc used to have a directorship only identified as ‘Internal’ in the meeting minutes from Spring 1995. This particular survey conducted by the respective directors asked students for feedback on EngSoc services, events, Orifice and approachability of class reps, directors and executives. The article also called for further suggestions in response to the results of the survey.

The most commonly used service was CnD followed by exam bank, photocopying and Iron Warrior. The list of services that students would have liked to see is pretty interesting. It includes binding capabilities (now offered by EngSoc), more old exams, copies of old labs (oddly enough no requests to ignore Policy 71 we’re included for that one), faxing services, hot food in the C&D, alumni contacts, picnic tables in the quad, music at lunch, more community related activities, 24 hour study room, and a housing board.

The survey results for EngSoc activities showed that the largest number of students participated in Frosh Week events, followed by SCUNT, Pubs, and Athletic events.

When asked why students don’t participate in events it stated, “ “NO TIME or NO MONEY”. In addition to this, people seem to feel that events are uncoordinated and not well advertised. Not enough notice is given and events are planned for awkward times. Several people commented that they feel that the events are too cliquey and that they do not feel a part of things.”

Improvement suggestions to events included less alcohol, better organization and advertising, fix timing around midterms, less cliquey atmosphere, more positive engineering attitude, more academic and charity-related events. Event suggestions included Say ‘hi’ to Betty day, road trips to theatres, concerts, events, seminars on new technologies, athletics with other faculties and writing workshops.

88% students said they felt comfortable approaching directors, class reps and executives. The main reasons for being uncomfortable approaching the people included intimidation and not knowing the people.

Another interesting opinionated question was related to budget allocated for alcohol. The comments against this notion said that EngSoc needed to be more professional and not use alcohol for rewarding someone, there is too much emphasis on beer in general and the money should be spent for the good of everyone. The comments for this notion said that there is no problem with adults celebrating their hard work by having alcohol; it’s a matter of personal choice.

Some general comments included a general appreciation of EngSoc services, POETS and the fact that people meet new people through EngSoc events, but that EngSoc should be more productive and inclusive of everybody.

Even today while EngSoc provides many services to students and organizes a wide range of events there is concern that not everyone feels a part of it. Maybe there should be a mechanism in place to get continual feedback from students regarding EngSoc.

Spring Issue # 3 – June 30, 2000

Being a multicultural country questions are often raised about Canadian identity and what Canadian culture means. This topic was also discussed by Stephanie Purnell, 1B Chemical and Peter Cresswell, 3A Systems in the form of a PCP: Does Canada need to be more nationalistic. Stephanie taking on the point side argued that in the multicultural Canadian society “solidarity is hard to come by”. She presents the example of Quebec which continually threats the federal government and the provinces of separating and forming an individual country and further states, “While living in Canada is an enormous opportunity to experience different lifestyles, often there is no common bond to help facilitate these experiences.” Stephanie pinpoints the problem by saying that “while Canada’s diversity is wide-ranged, each culture is isolated”.

But she doesn’t stop here and takes a huge leap to hold this isolation of cultures a factor to racism and intolerance. And to prevent these traits from developing, “there must be a common bond to connect all Canadians – pride in our country. Our country is ultimately the thing that is common to all of us.”

Stephanie talks about a beer commercial that caused a lot of excitement among people and was the first example of the feeling that said “We are NOT American” (the only thing that seemed to be common among Canadians previously). Some people think that being Canadian means living up to the stereotypes such as “dog-sled-owning-ice-fishers”. She ended her article beautifully by saying, “The choice is not to revel in these stereotypes but to celebrate the diversity that is Canada…It is a land with great mountains and plain, and beautiful lakes and rivers. We can take pride in the compassion of our government – welfare, the abolishment of capital punishment, subsidized healthcare…by focusing on the good of Canada we are celebrating our nationality. This type of nationalism cannot be wrong, and should be encouraged.”

Peter takes on a completely different stand by saying that “nationalism has lead humanity down a path of pain and suffering”. He demonizes nationalism in general and defines the problem by saying, “Nationalism is an exclusive property…Because nations are exclusive parties – individuals on one side or the other – they immediately assemble the groundwork needed for competition.” Peter presents the example of the Cold War. He says, “…it had dramatic consequences…The arms race, arguably was enough to bankrupt the former USSR and drive it into the chaos in which it now stumbles.”

Shifting gears to our society he poses the question, “Do Canadians need to be more nationalistic? Perhaps more like the United States? Or can we as Canadians attempt to get beyond the limiting and harmful nature of nationalism?” He cites the Canadian poet F.R. Scott who said, “The world is my country”. Expanding on this feeling he says, “Indeed, if we as a country were able to escape the gravity of nationalistic pride and focus our concern less on ourselves and more so on the welfair of the human race as a whole, it would seem we would all be much better off.”

Being an immigrant and immensely proud of my cultural roots, I deem Canadian nationalism as being proud of the societal values and opportunities – something that people living in this society can relate with and be proud of regardless of their background.

Spring Issue # 3 – June 24, 2005

On June 24, 2005 in IW issue # 3, there was an article by Bill O’Keefe, a chemical engineering PhD student about Bill 124 – The Building Code State Law Amendment Act. This legislation was filed in 2003 and “established new mandatory qualification standards for building officials and designers including engineers. Civil and mechanical engineers are most affected by this legislation. When this legislation takes effect, engineers will have to pass written examinations that will test their knowledge of the Ontario Building Code (OBC).” PEO – Professional Engineers Ontario objected to this bill on grounds of invasion into PEO’s mandate under the Professional Engineers Act. As Bill puts it, “it is PEO that has the mandate to set technical standards and to regulate the practice of professional engineering. Requiring engineers to write exams to test their knowledge of the OBC is a particular slap in the face since engineers are already required by law to know the relevant codes and are considered incompetent if they do not.” The PE Act 941 72(2)(d) covers professional misconduct for engineers.

Bill further discusses how architects agreed to implement a parallel system since they too would have been affected by Bill 124. He futher says, “the majority of architects now believe this move to be a mistake citing increased controls and bureaucracy created at the expense of architects, the end result being only to tarnish the reputation of their profession”. Like architects PEO also originally considered developing a parallel system but in June 2004 took the stand that the parallel system will only lead to duplication and increased costs would not demonstrate competency and hence will not be implemented.

PEO applied pressure on the provincial government establishing a “Government Communications Program” involving the MPPS at the local level which resulted in the delay of the implementation of Bill 124. Furthermore, this communications program will be maintained indefinitely in order to raise the profile of engineering in Ontario and to increase the role of Engineers in the development of government policy.

Bill addresses the audience advising them of the ways to get involved with engineering profession such as registering PEO as an Engineering Intern Training (EIT) program to get involved with local engineering chapters, become a member of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE). Finally he advises the civil and mechanical engineering students to read up on Bill 124 and write to the MPP to express their opinions.

Bill 124 was indeed incorporated in the Ontario Building Code Act dated January 1, 2006.

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