Asiah Sadiq spoons green onions atop a bowl of chilFirst-year law student Asiah Sadiq enjoys a balanced lunch — balanced with her textbook, that is — as she spoons green onions atop a bowl of chili during Thursday’s midday meal hosted by the Campus Campaign for United Way.

Chili warms chilly day for charity supporters

Diners who showed up for a lunch hosted by the Campus Campaign for United Way outside the student centre Thursday were surprised to be served by UWindsor president Robert Gordon, who joined campaign co-chair Vincent Georgie, associate vice-president, external, in donning an apron to dole out chili.

Hundreds of students, staff, and faculty partook of the event, held in honour of the late professor emeritus Datta Pillay, who spearheaded campus support of the charity for some 40 years.

“This is amazing,” said first-year law student Asiah Sadiq. “It’s so kind and thoughtful.”

She was one of the many moved to make a donation to United Way and its programs to support children and families who are experiencing poverty from cradle to career.

A reception to wrap up the fundraising campaign is set for the CAW Student Centre Commons at 10 a.m. Friday, March 31. Coffee, tea, and doughnuts will be served. Faculty and staff in attendance can enter a draw for an extra vacation day, and draws will determine winners of raffle prizes, including one more vacation day for all employee donors.

Learn more on the Campus Campaign for United Way website.

team from Human Resources A team from Human Resources was among more than 100 volunteers for Wednesday’s Community Clean-up.

Volunteers clean up neighborhoods surrounding campus

High winds and frigid temperatures didn’t stop students, staff, and faculty from taking part in the semi-annual community cleanup day Wednesday, March 29.

More than 100 volunteers braved the cold to clean up neighborhoods surrounding the University of Windsor, collecting over 70 bags of litter.

The event was a great opportunity to so something good for the community, said Oliga Tserakhava, talent retention co-ordinator in Human Resources: “We had wonderful time and really appreciate the chance to participate in this initiative.”

Her colleague Ann Elliot, executive assistant to the associate vice-president, was also excited to participate.

“It’s a fun way to connect with our team and community and contribute to maintaining a beautiful neighbourhood,” she said.

Clean-up teams were sent out every 30 minutes and committed to a 45-minute clean-up route, but most groups went above and beyond the time allotted to make sure the job was completed, said Sarah Hébert, event organizer.

“It is always amazing to see our campus come together for this event. As much as it is an opportunity for our campus to show our community we care, I also saw new connections and friendship being made which is just another element to this event that I love.”

Those unable to attend will have another opportunity to take part when the event returns this fall.

award winners and Cherie GagnonAccessibility manager Cherie Gagnon (right) congratulates winners in the Innovative Designs for enhancing Accessibility (IDeA) student competition.

Ideas to enhance accessibility earn recognition for students

Positive change can start with a simple idea.

Students took their ideas to solve accessibility-related barriers and competed in the 2023 Innovative Designs for enhancing Accessibility (IDeA) student competition, in February. The winners were formally awarded at UWindsor’s Accessibility Awareness Day Events on March 28.

First prize went to Masters of Applied Computing (MAC) students Medha Muppala and Kiran Prasad Puthan for their idea called, AccessEase which describes an artificial intelligence (AI) assisted document accessibility software.

“The software would use natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to automatically scan and analyze documents for accessibility issues, such as poor colour contrast or font size, and then make the necessary adjustments to improve the document’s accessibility for users with disabilities,” says Puthan.

The software would boast a read-aloud feature that uses text-to-speech technology to read documents aloud for users with visual impairments. A document summarization feature that uses natural language processing would summarize long documents into shorter versions for users with reading or learning disabilities.

“By using AI-assisted document accessibility software, the University of Windsor can ensure that all students, employees, and visitors with disabilities have access to information and communications that are formatted in a way that is easier for them to read, understand, and engage with, which would be a significant step towards making University of Windsor the most accessible university in just a few years,” says Muppala.

Second place went to a UWindsor research team with plans to make Google, Bing, and other search engines more accessible. Print Accessible Web Search was presented by Farinam Hemmatizadeh, master’s student with the School of Computer Science in Hossein Fani’s Lab. Hemmatizadeh is working on this idea with her supervisor Dr. Fani, a computer science professor.

“A huge proportion of our society are experiencing a form of disability or will experience it at some point in the future through aging,” says Hemmatizadeh.

“It is really important that search engines like Google make whatever they provide for people, accessible.”

Hemmatizadeh says a search engine will not recognize someone who is experiencing difficulty.

“It is important that all the ways that are helping making search engines better, are actually useful for all, we should provide information that is relevant whether you are experiencing disabilities or not.”

She says there are better ways to accommodate people with dyslexia, short-term memory loss or low vision. For example, Hemmatizadeh points out the feature that when someone starts typing in a question to a search engine, options pop up for the type of question they may want to ask. This is not helpful for someone with limited vision.

“The options are not readable for people who are using screen reading software, so they cannot read these examples correctly,” she says.

“We are working on different formats, different ways that will help that intersection, that universality that is helpful for all the people.”

The fourth place idea, called Shelter Everywhere, was presented by Dhwani Krunal Patel, a graduate student in mechanical engineering.

IDeA is inspired by the goal of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) to make Ontario the most accessible province by 2025. The annual student competition is put on by the Office of Human Rights, Equity, and Accessibility (OHREA).

—Sara Elliott

Elder Bryan Loucks (Wassayshikung)Elder Bryan Loucks (Wassayshikung) of the Marten Dodem, Hiawatha First Nation, Bkejwanong Territories, speaks during a March 10 workshop on Indigenization of business education.

Workshop intended to advance Indigenization of business education

A workshop on Indigenization of Business Education, held March 10 at the Odette School of Business, included opening and closing prayers by Myrna Kicknosway, elder-in-residence in the Faculty of Law, panel discussions on Indigenizing the curriculum and the student experience at Odette, and a session about the University of Windsor’s Indigenous neighbours.

“We wanted to organize an event that could be a first in what I hope will be a series of events to advance our collective knowledge of Indigeneity and how we can decolonize our teaching and students’ experience,” said management and human resources professor Rachel Aleks, an event co-organizer and chair of the Odette EDII Committee.

It was also an opportunity to award the business school’s first endowed Indigenous undergraduate scholarship, the Tony Howard Indigenous Peoples Student Award in Entrepreneurship, which was established in October 2021.

Scholarship recipient Paige Wyatt said she was grateful to win the award: “I am honoured to be the very first person to receive it.”

Russell Evans, event co-organizer and accounting professor, said the transformation of Odette into a space that is welcoming for Indigenous staff, faculty, and students is something that needs to continue.

“I feel that the first steps of this journey have been taken and that we can become a space that is welcoming for all,” he said. “I was impressed with the level of support we saw from our faculty, staff, and students, which to me, is a clear indication that we are ready for some substantial positive changes.”

Find a list of speakers on the event website.

—Sienna Ducharme

Gold eggsRegistration opens today for the second annual Campus Golden Egg Hunt, April 5.

Egg hunt promises gold rush

An egg hunt hosted by the student centre on Wednesday, April 5, promises plenty of eggscitement, says organizer Sandra Riccio-Muglia.

“It’s a real eggstravaganza as we shell out over $2,000 in prizes,” she says, continuing in this punny vein for some time.

The event is run in five sessions of 100 students each between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the lawn outside Chrysler Hall North. Participants must register in advance through the student centre’s Instagram account.

Kaden Hill as Sebastian tussles with Alexa Dimoulas as Sir Toby Belch.University Players presents Twelfth Night through Sunday at Essex Hall Theatre. Above, Kaden Hill as Sebastian tussles with Alexa Dimoulas as Sir Toby Belch.

Contest winner headed to Elizabethan comedy

Engineering student Brahmjot Singh won Thursday’s DailyNews contest and two tickets to see the University Players production of Twelfth Night this weekend at Essex Hall Theatre.

Singh’s entry was drawn from all those which correctly identified Cesario as Viola’s alter ego, Christmas as the Twelfth Night holiday referenced in the play’s title, and a shipwreck as the cause of the separation of the twins Viola and Sebastian.

Twelfth Night runs until Sunday, April 2, at Essex Hall Theatre. Tickets can be bought at UWindsor student tickets are just $10, and regular price tickets start at $20.

UWinsite Student update July 21 to 24An update to UWinsite Student from July 21 to 24 will improve its security and functionality.

Update to UWinsite Student coming in July

An update to UWinsite Student from July 21 to 24 will incorporate the latest fixes and improve security and functionality to ensure the system is agile to meet the needs of the campus community.

The implementation team comprises of members from Student Accounts, Student Awards and Financial Aid, Information Technology Services, and the Office of the Registrar. They have been working on the project in the background for several weeks and have initiated a code freeze prohibiting any further changes to UWinsite Student until the update is completed.

The UWinsite Student update timing was established to minimize the impact on users, ensuring to avoid key registration dates, add/drop or voluntary withdrawal dates, and grade submissions, says acting registrar Lorraine Chandler.

“With courses taking place year-round, finding the right dates for a temporary disruption to UWinsite Student needs careful consideration,” she says. “Students in summer programming may rely more on the system’s availability. The weekend timing is a good opportunity for a pause.”

The campus community can expect to learn more about the changes to UWinsite Student and their impact on downstream systems as the implementation progresses. Regular project implementation updates will be provided through DailyNews, emails, and the UWinsite Systems website.

President’s MedalFaculty and staff may nominate a graduating student for the President’s Medal by April 6.

Deadline looming for President’s Medal nominations

Nominations for the 2023 President’s Medal are due by Thursday, April 6.

One medal and a $1,000 scholarship sponsored by the Office of Student Experience will be awarded to a graduating student who has made an outstanding contribution to campus activities while maintaining a superior academic record.

The Student Awards and Financial Aid office encourages faculty and staff to recognize a deserving graduand by completing the President’s Medal nomination form.