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Volunteers load large stuffed teddy bear into truckVolunteers load gifts for delivery to families in need during a pre-pandemic charity drive.

Campus celebrating record-breaking participation in Sponsor-a-Family charity

UWindsor president Robert Gordon will be joined by representatives of the Windsor-Essex County Children’s Aid Society to thank participants in the University’s annual Sponsor-a-Family campaign Monday, Dec. 5, as they drop off gifts headed to 76 area families and single-youth homes.

Sabina Howell, co-ordinator of the UWindsor effort long known on campus as Adopt-a-Family, says this year’s results are record-breaking both in number of families sponsored and the 62 groups and individuals who took up the cause.

“I’m thrilled and amazed at the commitment of our employees and students to Sponsor-a-Family,” Howell said.

“We were initially concerned that after a two-year pandemic hiatus and the impact of inflation we may not be able to meet our goals, but as usual, the University of Windsor community has met this challenge with open hearts and generosity to make sure every child and youth has a gift to celebrate the holiday season.”

Cheryl Sprague, president of the Windsor-Essex County Children’s Aid Foundation board of directors, says the need in the community is greater than ever.

“This is a difficult year. The rising cost of living coupled with the many challenges that WECAS families and youth that live independently face presents many challenges,” she says. “We are so appreciative of the great generosity of the UWindsor community. This will bring smiles to many this holiday season.”

Hot chocolate, cookies, and holiday cheer will be available from 11 a.m. to noon Monday as the CAS truck is loaded on the west side of the Stephen and Vicki Adams Welcome Centre. The full loading process will take place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Natalie Delia DeckardNatalie Delia Deckard is the founding director of the Black Studies Institute, which will formally launch next year.

Black Studies Institute affirms University’s commitment to addressing anti-Black racism and organizational change

In 2023, the University of Windsor will have a new academic home that spotlights Black excellence, scholarship, research and community. The inaugural Black Studies Institute (BSI), which will be formally launched next year, is currently overseeing the recruitment of 12 new faculty and librarian positions that will enhance teaching and learning in a variety of disciplines across the institution.

Clinton Beckford, UWindsor vice-president of equity, diversity, and inclusion, envisions that the BSI will be the institutional home for Blackness at the University.

“The establishment of a Black Studies Institute at the University of Windsor is ground-breaking and transformative,” he says. “It positions the University of Windsor as a post-secondary leader in intellectual thought and practice around Blackness and makes real our commitments to Black flourishing and thriving at and beyond the institution.”

The BSI will work closely with UWindsor’s Interdisciplinary and Critical Studies Department within the Faculty of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Building a Black Studies academic program represents an innovative plan of action intended to meaningfully understand the University’s approach to Black ways of knowing in Canadian universities. The expected output will enhance the University’s research profile in Black Studies and feature scholarly work, special events, speakers’ series, mentorship, and more.

Natalie Delia Deckard, the institute’s founding director, is responsible for steering the strategic direction for the growth of the institute.

“We now have a space to centre the research of those working to lessen health disparities, increase educational opportunities, reduce employment discrimination, and increase the living standards in Black communities throughout Canada and the world,” says Dr. Deckard, an associate professor of criminology. “Windsor’s position as a hub of global communities and histories demands not only an attention to the mitigation of anti-Black racism, but a mandate to Black excellence.”

The BSI’s work will enhance and integrate into the University of Windsor’s mission by focusing on the following areas:

  • Student experience
  • Innovation in teaching and learning excellence
  • Research excellence and impact
  • Innovation, economic development, and community engagement
  • Viable, healthy, and safe communities

“The landscape of Canadian Higher Education is shifting,” says interim provost Patricia Weir. “The Black Studies Institute, and the exciting hiring of Black scholars across disciplines, completely reimagines what teaching and learning will look like. As provost, I’m so proud to have worked with administrators, faculty, staff and students to bring this to fruition.”

The establishment of a Black Studies Institute was identified as a strategic priority in the University’s Anti-Black Racism and Task Force Plan. It also aligns with UWindsor’s commitment to the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education, a national initiative that aims to redress anti-Black racism and foster Black inclusion in post-secondary institutions.

“The University of Windsor is committed to implementing the recommendations in the Anti-Black Racism Task Force Report, including purposeful hiring initiatives and the promotion of Black studies on campus and beyond,” says president Robert Gordon. “I commend the thoughtful leadership, collaboration, and determination that went into founding the Black Studies Institute.”

The BSI will be launched in the fall of 2023. More information and updates on the UWindsor’s Black Studies Institute are available here. Applications for the new positions close on Jan. 10, 2023.

laser-engraved ornamentsCreate your own laser-engraved ornament at the MakerSpace in the Centre for Engineering Innovation.

Workshops to create laser-engraved holiday ornaments

Looking for a fun, holiday-themed team-building activity? The MakerSpace is hosting workshops to create personalized laser-engraved ornaments.

Half-hour time slots are available for up to five people on Dec. 6, 8, and 13 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ornaments are $4 or 3 for $10 per design, with half of all proceeds benefiting the accessible housing organization Windsor Family Homes & Community Partnerships.

Get all the details and book a spot for your team through the Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre.

Aya El-HashemiAya El-Hashemi of the BIDE Initiative speaks to engineering students, faculty, and staff at a Nov. 29 event on preventing gender-based violence.

Engineering hosts discussion on preventing gender-based violence

A discussion on preventing gender-based violence, Nov. 29 in the Centre for Engineering Innovation, was well attended by faculty, staff, and students.

Dean of engineering Bill Van Heyst called the turnout encouraging.

“Events like these help to open the doors for more difficult conversations that are needed to change the culture and narrative within engineering,” he said.

Speakers introduced campus services that support victims and provide education about sexual misconduct. Among the presenters were representatives of the Office of Sexual Violence Prevention, Resistance, and Support; the Bystander Initiative; Women in Engineering; the BIDE Initiative; and Student Health, Counselling, and Wellness Services; as well as organizer Alex Pershai, advisor to the Faculty of Engineering on equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Dr. Pershai said Tuesday’s event is the first of many which will integrate an equity, diversity, and inclusion lens into the discipline.

Pershai said the 1989 massacre of 14 female engineering students at Montreal’s École Polytechnique was not an isolated event but reflects a larger socio-cultural context.

“Gender-based violence happens every day and is deeply rooted in our perceptions of women and men, traditional expectations of gender roles, and the gender-biased power division and status quo. It needs to be addressed and prevented, especially in male-dominated industries such as engineering.”

Pershai encourages everyone to attend a vigil marking the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the Memorial of Hope, located between Essex and Dillon halls.

—Naomi Pelkey

Kaelyn Batten confronts defenderKaelyn Batten and her Lancer women’s basketball teammates will play their final conference game of 2022 on Saturday at the Toldo Lancer Centre.

Cagers take to Lancer Centre court

Lancer basketball will close out the fall campaign with a doubleheader against the Lakehead Thunderwolves on Saturday, Dec. 3, in the Toldo Lancer Centre. The women will tip off at 6 p.m. and the men at 8 p.m.

Men’s hockey will host a squad from Toronto Metropolitan University on two different rinks this weekend: Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the arena at the Adie Knox Herman Recreation Complex, and Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Capri Pizzeria Recreation Complex.

Women’s hockey is on the road, heading to Toronto for games against the Varsity Blues on Friday and the York Lions on Saturday.

Women’s volleyball will also play away from home, heading to Thunder Bay to take on the Lakehead Thunderwolves on Friday and Saturday.

Track and field will open its season with the inter-squad Blue and Gold Meet, in the Dennis Fairall Fieldhouse on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 5 and 6.