WPIRG Announcements – Feb. 10, 2016

1. Reading Week Office Closure

The WPIRG office will be closed during Reading Week (Feb. 15-19). However staff are available by appointment. Email alex@wpirg.org or jessica@wpirg.org to set up a meeting. Have a good winter break!

2. $500 Community Builder Bursary applications now open! Apply by February 28

Each Fall and Winter semester WPIRG offers a $500 bursary for full-time undergraduate students at the University of Waterloo. You can find the application form linked on this page below. If you have any questions regarding the bursary or the application process, please contact info@ wpirg.org.

Download the bursary application form here.

3. A warm welcome to Jessica Bonilla-Damptey, our new Coordinator of Volunteering and Programming

Join us in welcoming Jessica Bonilla-Damptey to the WPIRG community. Jessica will coordinate the work of our volunteers and action groups as well as organize WPIRG’s events, workshops and other programming. We are excited to have her working with us!

Jessica’s bio: Mujer Latina/Indigena (Latina/Indigenous woman); Amante de la justicia social (Passionate about social justice). Committed to growing familia y comunidad (family and community). Dancer, volunteer, player of checkers and word searches. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies and Health Studies, and a Bachelor of Social Work from McMaster University

WPIRG Board of Directors Statement Re: Sever Ties Referendum

Dear WPIRG members and fellow students,

vote yes pic

Based on a vote taken at our Members Meeting on January 22, 2015, the WPIRG membership believes an academic boycott is an effective and just tactic to stand in solidarity with Palestinian students and oppose the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Israeli state through apartheid and colonialist policies.

We know this is a complex issue and we appreciate that so many took the time to thoughtfully consider the referendum question. Based on the countless conversations had during the campaign, we believe that the vast majority of those who voted “no” do not support the human rights abuses; rather we believe many of you voted “no” because you were unsure if the academic boycott tactic was the correct or best course of action, and you were concerned that it might have a potential negative impact on fellow students, faculty and researchers here and elsewhere. Thus the issue of how to handle UW’s ties with institutions complicit in the violation of the human rights of Palestinians remains open. We are committed to supporting a campus community where these discussions can continue with the hope that as students we can develop a shared approach to the pursuit of a more ethical and just role for UW in its external institutional relationships.

The WPIRG Board of Directors would like to congratulate the “Vote Yes” committee for running a principled, eloquent and passionate campaign. While the final results were not what we had hoped, there is much to be proud of. Over 1,800 undergraduate students voted to boycott Israeli universities complicit in the violation of human rights, the largest expression of student solidarity with the struggle of Palestinians ever seen at UW. Over 1,800 students have shown support for an ethical collaboration policy at UW. And many more thousands of students have participated in a reasoned and in-depth conversation on the role of our university in the world. This is how it should be on a campus with a vibrant, engaged and diverse student body.

Everyone involved with this effort should be proud of themselves, from the members of the Palestine Solidarity Action Group, who worked on this campaign for nearly two years, to the Vote Yes committee and campaign volunteers, to everyone who took the time to consider the referendum question and vote. We encourage you to see that you have build a strong foundation for further campus organizing and to take the next few months to think about how you will use this foundation to make change at UW in your remaining years here. You’re just getting started and of this we have no doubt!

With solidarity and much appreciation,

The WPIRG Board of Directors

Vote Yes! “Sever Ties” Referendum Voting Open

FEDS is currently holding a referendum on UW severing ties with 5 Israeli institutions complicit in human rights violations. This referendum has been brought about by two years of hard work on the part of a lot (A LOT) of people. And that it is taking place on our campus is a victory in and of itself.

But as of 10 a.m. TODAY, you can officially go on vote.feds.ca and VOTE YES. WPIRG encourage you to vote yes, because it is an opportunity to use our collective voice to stand up for justice, to join a global movement and to give a voice to those who have been silenced.

Welcome back! Here’s what WPIRG has been up to so far this academic year and what’s coming up in Winter 2016

Welcome back! We hope Fall 2015 ended well and that you’re off to a great start in Winter 2016, be it in class or coop. As it’s the start of a new term and close to the midway point in another academic year, we wanted to let you know what WPIRG’s volunteers were up to last term and what we’re working on this term and into the rest of the academic year.

An important step for fossil fuel divestment at UW 

Last November, after months of work, our Fossil Free UW action group mobilized Environment students to pass a motion at the Waterloo Environment Students Endowment Fund (WESEF) AGM committing WESEF to divest from the fossil fuel industry – a first at UW! As WESEF prepares to divest, Fossil Free UW is looking to expand the divestment movement to other parts of campus this term. They need new volunteers so get in touch if you’re interested in climate justice organizing.

EthicalCollabUW question goes to referendum! 

palestine rachel

Our Palestine Solidarity Action Group (PSAG) members worked hard all Fall term and gathered more than 4000 undergraduate student signatures on a petition calling for FEDS to hold a referendum asking the student body if they support UW ending ties with Israeli universities complicit in human rights violations and the occupation of Palestine. After the petition was processed by FEDS late last term, a referendum will be held this month with voting taking place between January 25-27. EthicalCollabUW is part of the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that is putting important pressure on the Israeli state to end the occupation of Palestine and respect Palestinian human rights. PSAG is looking for volunteers right now to help with the referendum campaign so if you’re passionate about international human rights and peace, there isn’t a better opportunity to make a difference than this campaign.

Continue reading

Winter 2016 Refunds

WPIRG is funded by our undergraduate student members who pay a fee of $4.75 per term. The fee allows WPIRG to implement our mandate of supporting UW students and community members to research, educate, and take action on environmental and social justice issues. In any academic year, the WPIRG fee funds several action groups, campaigns and dozens of public events as well as the day to day operations of the WPIRG staff and Board of Directors. 

However members who require or wish to have their fee refunded for any reason may do so in the first three weeks of the term by visiting us in person (Watcard required) at the following location and during the following times:


WPIRG office – room 4222, inside the MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement, Conrad Grebel

Dates and Times: Jan 4-8, Jan. 11-15 and Jan. 18-22, 11-4pm.

For more information, please email us at info@wpirg.org