Women Against the Prison Industrial Complex : Book Presentation

Thursday, November 22, 2018 at 7 PM – 9 PM

Seven Shores Community Cafe

10 Regina St. N Unit 4, Waterloo, Ontario N2J 2Z8

Event Page

Join the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group for a free event with Ann Hansen, author of "Taking the Rap: Women Doing Time for Society's Crimes". Ann will be discussing her book which tells the story of her and her fellow women prisoners inside Canada's prison industrial complex. Ann will be joined by Sara Falconer, member of the Certain Days collective, a political prisoner support organization. 

About "Taking the Rap": 

When Ann Hansen was arrested in 1983 along with the four other members of the anarchist group known as the Squamish Five, her long-time commitment to prison abolition suddenly became much more personal. Now, she could see firsthand the brutal effects of imprisonment on real women’s lives.

During more than thirty years in prison and on parole, the bonds and experiences Hansen shared with other imprisoned women only strengthened her resolve to fight the prison industrial complex. In Taking the Rap, she shares gripping stories of women caught in a system that treats them as disposable-poor women, racialized women, and Indigenous women, whose stories are both heartbreaking and enraging. Often serving time for minor offences due to mental health issues, abuse, and poverty, women prisoners are offered up as scapegoats by a society keen to find someone to punish for the problems we all have created.

About the speakers:

Ann Hansen has spent many years in prison and on parole as a consequence of her participation in a radical anarchist group that carried out a series of bombings against Canadian government and corporate targets in the early 1980s. When Ann was arrested along with the four other members of what would be known as the Vancouver 5, her long-time commitment to prison abolition suddenly became much more personal. The bonds and experiences that she would share with other imprisoned women in the years to come only strengthened her resolve.

Sara Falconer is a member of the the Certain Days collective. The calendar is a joint fundraising and educational project between outside organizers in Montreal, Hamilton, New York and Baltimore, with political prisoners being held in maximum-security prisons. 

Books will be available to purchase at the event on a sliding scale for $20-$30. They can also be purchased online at Between The Lines: https://btlbooks.com/book/taking-the-rap. The 2019 Certain Days Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar will be available at the event.

KW Syria United Fundraiser

Sunday, March 4, 4-6:30pm 

Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute,

301 Charles Street East, Kitchener

WPIRG and the Grand River Union (GRU) supporters group are joining with KW Syria United men's soccer team to raise funds to cover the team's registration fees for the Grand River Soccer League for the upcoming season. 

Please Donate online https://www.gofundme.com/kwsyriaunited

The event will feature a friendly exhibition soccer tournament with players from KW Syria United, GRU and local Rohingya youth soccer players. 

Background info: https://communityedition.ca/say-hello-to-kw-syria-united/

Contact us at info@wpirg.org for more information or to volunteer. 

The organizers would like to acknowledge that our event is taking place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnawbe, and Haudenosaunee peoples.

"Why Don't The Poor Rise Up? Organizing the 21st Century Resistance"

Book Launch and Forum: 

Fresh Ground Cafe

256A King St. East, Kitchener 

Wednesday, September 27 | 6pm 

Join WPIRG, LSPIRG and the KW branch of the Industrial Workers of the World in hosting Ajamu Nangwaya, co-editor of the book Why Don’t the Poor Rise Up? Organizing the Twenty-First Century Resistance for a book launch and forum to discuss organizing strategies! 

The book brings together a collection of voices to examine “that explores the question of revolution, its objective and subjective prerequisites, and its increasing likelihood in our time”. The authors note that “[e]ven mainstream media like the New York Times and The Economist have recently posed the question: Why don't the poor rise up?, uneasily amazed that capitalism hasn't met with greater resistance. In the context of unparalleled global wealth disparity, ecological catastrophe, and myriad forms of structural oppression, this vibrant collection offers a reassessment of contemporary obstacles to mass mobilization, as well as examples from around the world of poor people overcoming those obstacles in inspiring and instructive new ways”.

Ajamu Nangwaya, Ph.D., is a lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. He has over 25 years of experience in community organizing and advocacy. He is a former provincial Vice-President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario, and was a member of the executive committee of CUPE Local 3907 for six years. He was an active member of the CUPE Local 3902 at the University of Toronto, and served as a Vice-President of CUPE Toronto District Council. He was an organizer with the Toronto-based organization Network for the Elimination of Police Violence. His writings have appeared in publications such as the Toronto Star, CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Huffington Post, Global Research, Rabble.ca, Pride newspaper, Briarpatch magazine, the Black Agenda Report, Truthout, NOW Magazine and Pambazuka News. He is a former columnist of the weekly Share newspaper that serves Toronto's African Canadian community.

The book is available for purchase from AK Press. 

Members Meeting

The WPIRG Board has called for a Members Meeting on Tuesday, March 7 at 2:30pm. As there are only two agenda items to be discussed (two funding applications), the meeting format has been modified to allow for a brief meeting. All WPIRG members in good standing are invited to attend. 

Location: 4209 Conrad Grebel University College


1. Approval of Agenda

2. Islam Awareness Week funding application

3. "Challenging Racism" Speaking Tour

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

Research for Peace: Revealing the Military-Industrial Complex on Campus and the Armed Conflicts Report

Join the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement as we explore peace research involving both our campus and our world. WPIRG will be highlighting connections between research at the University of Waterloo and military applications, and Project Ploughshares will be sharing findings from their most recent annual Armed Conflicts Report.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 | 4:30pm - 5:30pm

Free registration


Conrad Grebel University College, 

Community Education Room (room 2202)

140 Westmount Road North, Waterloo

Winter 2017 Refunds Schedule

UW Students!

The WPIRG fee ($4.75/academic term) is refundable for the first three weeks of every term. Students wishing to receive this refund for the Winter 2017 term may do so at the following location and on the following dates and times:

Room 4209*, Conrad Grebel University College (inside the KCU Centre for Peace Advancement):

January 3-6, 9-13, 16-20, 23 @ 10:30am-3:30pm.



*office is wheelchair accessible. 


Job Posting: Peace Advancement Researcher

WPIRG is seeking a dynamic, personable, and organized student with a demonstrated commitment to social and environmental justice to fill the full-time contract position of Peace Advancement Researcher.            

Submission Deadline: Friday, June 10, 2016, 12pm.  

The Organization

The Waterloo Public Interest Research Group (WPIRG) is a student funded and directed organization that provides support for students to research, educate and take action on environmental and social justice issues. WPIRG endeavours to foster a non-hierarchical working environment by following consensus decision-making processes. WPIRG strives to be an anti-oppressive working environment by proactively opposing all forms of oppression such as those based on gender, race, class, sexual preference, age, cultural heritage/ethnicity, religion, gender orientation, and ability.

The Position:

This is a full-time (35 hours per week @ $17/hour) 12-week position open to participants between the ages of 15 and 30 years old who have been registered as a full-time student in the previous academic year and intend to return to school on a full-time basis in the next academic year. The participant must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person to whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and be legally entitled to work in Canada.  

Full position and application details available here.

Spring 2016 Refunds Schedule

The WPIRG fee ($4.75/academic term) is refundable for the first three weeks of every term. Students wishing to receive this refund may do so at the following locations and on the following dates and times:

SLC Marketplace, May 2 - 6, 10:30 - 3:30pm.

4222 Conrad Grebel College, May 9 - 13, May 16 - 20, 10-4pm.


16th Annual Rainbow Reels Queer and Trans Film Festival Is Coming Up!

For it’s 16th year, Rainbow Reels Queer and Trans Film Festival is back with 4 days of film, art, comedy, workshops, parties and community. Queer and Trans community groups, artists, and individuals have collaborated for a diverse and engaging weekend. Workshops that examine the crossover of gender, sexuality, and art. Comedy shows guaranteed to bring really gay laughs. Discussion groups focused on the intersections of queerness and race. Films ranging from two-spirit love stories to lesbian dinner parties.

Festival Schedule | Locations & Accessibility | Social Media

The festival is a project of the Waterloo Public Interest Research group and has been since 2000. What started up as a small student-run event, screening films at the University of Waterloo, has since expanded and grown into an important community-wide event.



AGM Agenda and Board of Directors Candidate Profiles

Elections to our Board of Directors will take place at this year's Annual General Meeting, happening Thursday, March 31 from 5-7pm in room 2202 at Conrad Grebel University College. Please see our Board candidates' profiles below.

The AGM Agenda is available here.  A Volunteer Appreciation dinner will follow after the AGM at 7pm. 


Swetha Kulandaivelan (3B Mechanical Engineering)

My name is Swetha Kulandaivelan and I am in 3B mechanical engineering. I am a queer women of colour in STEM and played for 4 years on the UW Varsity Women’s Basketball team. I got involved with WPIRG mainly through the Women of Colour Discussion group. WPIRG means a lot to me because it has been the most active group on campus in fighting against oppression, especially for those who are at the intersection of many marginalized identities. I hope to bring to WPIRG a connection to engineering students and student athletes who often do not hear about social/environmental justice work on campus. I am looking forward to building relationships and engaging in dialogue with students and community members to better understand how to support and represent them.

Sidra Hasan (2nd year Speech Communication)

Hi there! My name is Sidra Hasan and I am currently finishing my second year in Speech Communication. My involvement with WPIRG includes active participation in Members Meetings, the Women of Colour Discussion Group, and the Rainbow Reels Queer and Trans Film Festival film committee. I am currently a volunteer at our Women’s Centre and Glow Centre and I hope to bring to WPIRG a stronger connection with these networks so we can collaborate towards social and environmental change on campus. WPIRG is unique in the PIRG network for having a strong presence of women of colour on their board and as a queer woman of colour, I hope to sustain this diversity. Fighting against oppression, making voices heard and taking action towards change are the very things I wish to accomplish as a board member. I am beyond excited to run for this position and continue working with WPIRG to create lasting impacts on our campus and in our community.

Saam Koukpari (4th year Social Development Studies)

I've been involved with WPIRG for about a year and a half now, and I really believe in the good work they do. Social and environmental justice, by nature, demands of us a critical and constructive approach when dealing with various issues. In my experience WPIRG has time and again provided safe spaces to engage in such discussions and to collaborate towards creating a better place for all students. I think every student, at some point throughout their undergraduate careers, should take advantage of the organization's status as a public interest research group and take part in the democratic opportunity afforded to them to initiate positive change on campus and the wider community.

Hayley Clin (2B Geography and Environmental Management)

I was lucky enough to grow up in a community that fostered social activism. This really shaped my values and gave me a broader understanding of the world. When I transferred to the University of Waterloo, WPIRG caught my attention immediately because they take on varying issues and address the intersectionality of all their causes. This allows me to participate in all the social justice areas I am passionate about and also broaden my thinking to encompass the many complexities of all our causes. WPIRG also offers the type of leadership opportunities that I haven’t been able to find elsewhere with their non-traditional and non-hierarchical roles. I have always enjoyed listening and helping others to create change and I love how WPIRG does this by being on the ground right alongside people with real action that immediately affects oppressed groups. I have never been a typical leader as I prefer to listen, mediate and actively engage alongside my peers and not above them. That is why I am seeking a position within WPIRG. I believe I could be a valuable member of the board because I am receptive, steady, and strive to foster active and positive communication and participation. This opportunity would be a chance for me to learn more about how to organize and create change more actively and continue to expand my understanding of other’s and their experiences.

Julie Yeung (2B Speech Communication)

My name is Julie Yeung and I am finishing my 2B term as a Speech Communication major. I used to play competitive soccer growing up until I tore my ACL twice and have always had a love for sports.. I got involved with WPIRG mainly through the Palestine Solidarity Action Group and was also on the Yes campaign for the Sever Ties Referendum. I have been to many members meetings since my first term at UW in Fall 2015 and have enjoyed meeting all the wonderful people that you can only find when going to those meetings. I would like to be on the WPIRG board because I am passionate in fighting for justice. Although my experience has mostly been in social justice work  I am working on learning about environmental justice. This is not only because I want to be on the board, but because I recognize its importance in society. Some issues that I am interested in are the Palestine/Israel conflict, the rights of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, women’s rights and fighting Islamophobia.  My main philosophy is to be honest and transparent as possible to others around me. This not only will hopefully build trust with others, but also allow me to work on myself as a person by constantly challenging if my actions and beliefs are ethical and true. In saying that, I am open to any open discussion with anyone so long as the discussion is respectful and we both attempt to approach the conversation as equals and with an open mind.


Office Closure

The WPIRG office is closed today (Thursday, March 24) due to the weather. Please email alex@wpirg.org if you need to get in touch. The All-Candidates Meeting (for those running for the WPIRG Board) has also been moved to next week. Candidates will be contacted with full details. 


WPIRG Board Coffee House

WPIRG members will be electing a new Board of Directors at our AGM on March 31 (save the date, more details coming shortly). If you're interested or just curious about serving on the Board, we'd like to invite you to break bread with current Board members and find out more about the responsibilities and benefits of serving on the WPIRG Board of Directors. 

Friday March 11, 1-2pm - UW Grad House

Food and refreshments will be provided. Facebook event page here.

Can't make it at this time? Please get in touch and we'll set up another time when we can meet. 

Please post any questions on here or email alex@wpirg.org

Some of the current 2015/2016 Board Members with former 2014/2015 Board members.

Some of the current 2015/2016 Board Members with former 2014/2015 Board members.

WPIRG AGM: Call for Agenda Items and Board Elections

The 2016 WPIRG Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday, March 31 at 5pm in the Schlegel Community Education Room 2202 at Conrad Grebel University College. Event page here.

Tentative Agenda:

Annual Report
Audited Financial Statements
Board of Director Elections
By-Law Changes: Motion to increase quorum at future AGMs from 40 to 50 members.
Presentation of the Winter 2016 WPIRG Community Builder Bursary
Presentation of the 2016 WPIRG Social Justice Award

Please submit agenda items by 4pm on March 17th. Members submitting motions are encouraged to consult the WPIRG By-Laws and/or contact alex@wpirg.org if you have any questions or require more information.

Boardof Director Elections:

This year we will be electing up to seven new Board members. The nomination period runs from Wednesday March 9th to Thursday, March 24th, 4pm.  Nomination packages and proxy forms are available here and in our office.

A Volunteer Appreciation dinner and show will follow the AGM starting at 7pm. More details to be announced shortly.

Individuals with accessibility concerns are asked to contact alex@wpirg.org to let us know how we may meet your needs. 

International Student Housing Survey

Calling all international students! The Laurier Students Public Interest Research Group and WPIRG have teamed up for a research project on housing issues faced by international students in KW.

The purpose of this survey is to 1) help identify problems students (particularly international students) at Laurier and University of Waterloo face as tenants; and 2) help us connect to students willing to further participate in the research process. Through this project, we aim to expose some critical gaps in the protection of students, raise awareness of them, and hopefully find some solutions.

Please help us in this work by filling out this brief survey:



Office Closure

Please note that the WPIRG office will be closed today (Tuesday, March 1). Sorry for any inconvenience.

-WPIRG Staff

WPIRG Announcements – Community Builder Bursary Open & A New Member of the WPIRG Staff Team

$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.

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