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woman holding tablet computer displaying classroomUWindsor Live: Future Student Edition will engage guests seeking to know what school will look like this fall.

Online event Saturday to engage future students

Students who will begin their UWindsor careers this fall will get a better idea of what that experience will be like, thanks to an online event Saturday, June 27, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Guests at UWindsor Live: Future Student Edition will attend information sessions; chat with faculty, staff, and students; visit exhibit booths; take an online campus tour; and participate in a variety of engagement activities — all virtually.

“Normally, we would be sending teams across the province to host applicant receptions, but current public health restrictions make that impossible,” says Beth Natale, director of student recruitment. “We’re using this new online format to help students who have earned admission get excited about their decision to choose Windsor.”

Natale says the experience will also inform the enrolment team and the broader campus community about communications tools as they enter a “digital-first” recruitment cycle in the coming term.

“We’re going to use this as an opportunity to get our feet wet in the new reality,” she says. “That will pay off as we plan for virtual open houses and other future online engagement.”

Besides the chance to get answers to questions about awards, financial aid, student support, academic advising, guests will be able to meet fellow students and professors in the virtual networking lounge, and earn prize points by joining activities and games.

“We want to provide our new students and their families with meaningful one-on-one conversations to help them understand what the learning and student experience will be like come September,” says Chris Busch, associate vice-president for enrolment management.

He expects attendees to be excited to learn about Head Start and other transition activities planned by the Office of Student Experience.

Find more information, including a program agenda and registration form, on the event website.

An infographic describes the increase in bird biodiversity as forests regrow in northwestern Costa Rica.An infographic describes the increase in bird biodiversity as forests regrow in northwestern Costa Rica.

UWindsor biologists show bird diversity grows when tropical forests grow

If birds sing in a tropical forest, and no one is around to hear them, do they make a sound? Yes they do, according to a new bioacoustic study from a University of Windsor biology team.

Working in one of Earth’s most imperiled ecosystems, the dry forests of Central America, researchers Kiirsti Owen and Dan Mennill used automated recorders to sample the sound of biodiversity.

“It’s really quite impressive what they’ve done in Costa Rica,” says Owen, a Master’s student in the Department of Integrative Biology and the lead author of the new study. “Through an ambitious effort to protect this forest, they managed to save some of the last remaining patches of these unique forests. Not only that, but they’re regrowing forests that were cleared.

“We wanted to know how birds are using those regrowing forests, and we collected recordings of their sounds to answer this question.”

Using the tools in Dr. Mennill’s bioacoustic lab, Owen deployed devices in forest patches of different ages, recording the distinctive sounds of almost 5,000 birds from more than 80 species. She combined the acoustic data with vegetation measurements collected by a team of collaborators.

“Our data show that older patches of re-growing forest provide homes to an increasingly diverse community of birds, including some birds that will only use old-growth forests,” said Owen.

Tropical dry forests are special ecosystems that harbor plants and animals not found elsewhere. However, these forests have been greatly reduced because they are easily converted to pastureland.

“This unique ecosystem experiences two seasons each year,” explained Mennill, who has been working with his students and collaborators in the Guanacaste Conservation Area in northwestern Costa Rica every year since 2003.

“There is not a drop of rain from November to April, but between May and October the forest receives torrential rainfall. We found that bird diversity increases in these recovering dry forests both during the dry season and the wet season.:

The article “Bioacoustic analyses reveal that bird communities recover with forest succession in tropical dry forests” appeared online this week in the open-access Canadian journal Avian Conservation and Ecology.

“This is really great news for birds and tropical dry forests,” concluded Owen, who will defend her Master’s degree this summer before beginning doctoral studies at the University of New Brunswick in the fall. “We have been able to show that conservation and restoration are working. It’s very rewarding to listen to bird communities and hear evidence of birds returning to these forests as they regrow.”

Renu PersaudSetting deep roots of compassion is the only way for the global family to grow, writes sociology professor Renu Persaud.

Prof compares coronavirus pandemic to the epidemic of hate and racism

Curing the epidemic of hate and racism is our greatest challenge, says sociology professor Renu Persaud.

She uses the COVID-19 pandemic as a metaphor to explore the issue in an opinion piece published June 3 by Thrive Global.

“Unlike the biological virus that attacks the respiratory system, the infection of hate mangles the mind. It is steeped in suffocation,” Dr. Persaud writes. “Both diseases attack the sensation to simply inhale and exhale blocking air flow. Physically, ventilators enable the ill to artificially breathe and manage damage to the lungs, prolonging lives.

“But there is no artificial management for the breathlessness of hatred.”

She notes that nations banded together to fight COVID-19, combining efforts to search for preventative measures and treatments.

“Just imagine if all the stipulations we’ve put in place to be safe and remain healthy from the COVID-19 pandemic were directed to fight the hate epidemic all around us,” Persaud says. “What would the world look like in such a fight?”

Read the entire feature.

film reels silhouetted against Windsor skylineTune in Thursday to the 46th annual University of Windsor film festival.

Streamed screening to feature student films

The show must go on. The Communication Student Association will hold its annual film festival in a new venue this year — cyberspace.

Featuring a collection of works by students of the UWindsor communication, media, and film program, it is set to screen at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 25, with an awards ceremony to follow.

The public is invited to watch through Facebook:

It’s the event’s 46th year; find more information on the association’s Facebook site.

Dhrumil Patel, Richa Singh MadnawatDhrumil Patel and Richa Singh Madnawat are the founders of EdSay.ai, one of seven businesses gaining expertise this summer through EPICentre.

Entrepreneurs hoping to empower students

By the end of their time in the RBC EPIC Founders program, Dhrumil Patel and Richa Singh Madnawat hope to be ready to launch their service, EdSay.ai.

“The guidance that we are receiving from our mentors and leaders is helping us figure out the loopholes in the business model and how to eradicate them in order to build a product that is efficient,” says Madnawat, an M.Eng student in electrical and computer engineering. “Various workshops held by the EPICentre are helping us understand real-world challenges and how to face them.”

Their company aims to apply artificial intelligence to automate responses to inquiries from international students for educational institutions.

“We feel a company like ours does help the community in terms of how international students can be helped to study and live here in a way they can blend into the culture seamlessly,” Patel says. “The problems they face shall be solved efficiently and contribute to the diverse culture that Canada intends to be.”

The Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre (EPICentre) hosts the founders program, a 12-week startup accelerator for students and recent graduates who want to turn their ideas into businesses. Participants receive a stipend of up to $6,000 that can be used as seed funding, attend workshops and seminars, and receive one-on-one mentorship.

Learn more on the EPICentre website.

Assumption UniversityAssumption University called for permanent solutions to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for migrant workers in Canada.

Assumption University calls for safe working environment for migrant workers

In an official statement released this week, the board of governors of Assumption University called for permanent solutions to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for migrant workers in Canada.

The document notes the role these workers have in supplying fresh food in Windsor-Essex, but that their living conditions have resulted in the spread of COVID-19 among them.

“We call upon the employers of migrant workers to provide their employees with a complete set of personal protective equipment. We further call upon employers to ensure that living conditions are significantly improved in order to eliminate the spread of COVID-19,” the statement reads in part.

Assumption University is the Roman Catholic institution federated with the University of Windsor. Read the entire statement.