Campus Digest: Rocket fizzles before launch

Killam Prize winners share ideas on ‘Ideas’

Western Economics professor John Whalley, second from right, joined his fellow 2012 Canada Council Killam Prize winners at the first Killam Prize Symposium held on Nov. 20 at Rideau Hall. The symposium, entitled How do we find things out? What are the ideal conditions for discovery?, was hosted by David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. Presented by CBC Radio in collaboration with the Killam Trusts and the Canada Council for the Arts, the discussion was broadcast on CBC’s Ideas with Paul Kennedy on Nov. 30 on CBC Radio 1. Kennedy moderated the event. Visit the CBC archives at to hear the show.

Rocket fizzles before launch

The London Rocket, a new student-run start-up originally set to operate a low-cost bus service to students travelling from Western to the Greater Toronto Area during the winter exam period, has been forced to shut down due to a legal dispute initiated by Greyhound Canada.

According to London Rocket representatives, the student team has been sent a cease-and-desist letter by Greyhound Canada, demanding a full stop to all operations, citing the start-up’s lack of license to operate a bus service from the Ministry of Transportation as the primary reason.

Students who have already purchased a ticket will be issued a full refund.

“We know this may be a major inconvenience for many of you, and we sincerely apologize; unfortunately, these circumstances have been entirely out of our control,” said a statement issued by the Rocket.

“We’re 19-year-old students. We don’t have money for lawyers and we don’t have the resources to defend ourselves.”

– By Adela Talbot


  • An international team of researchers, which includes Western Civil and Environmental Engineering professor Jason Gerhard, has received a major grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to continue work on designing for a waterless, hygienic toilet that is safe and affordable for people in the developing world.
    The Gates Foundation awarded the grant, worth $2.2 million for 15 months, to University of Toronto Engineering professor Yu-Ling Cheng, Centre for Global Engineering director in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, who leads the team. From that grant, $418,000 is earmarked for Western’s portion of the project. Some prototype testing will be conducted at Western’s Institute for Chemicals and Fuels from Alternative Resources (ICFAR) facility.
    Earlier this year, the team, which also includes researchers from the University of Queensland, placed third in the Foundation’s Reinventing the Toilet Challenge.
    The team’s solution uses a sand filter and UV disinfection to process liquid waste and a smolder chamber, similar to a charcoal barbeque, to incinerate solid waste that has been flattened and dried in a roller/belt assembly. Going forward, the team will work to further simplify the process, reduce mechanical complexity and minimize odor.
  • The University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) awarded 36 scholarships to students from 11 Western faculties. The awards, funded by the UWOFA membership, were handed out at an event on Wednesday, Dec. 5 in the Great Hall, Somerville House. The winners include:

Faculty of Arts and Humanities: Dawid Cieloszczyk, Laura Johnson and Jamie Rooney;
Faculty of Education:
Matthew Parsons and Kathleen VonEuw;
Faculty of Engineering:
Thomas Kujawa, Daniel Rozhko and Kevin Zhou;
Faculty of Health Sciences:
Petrina Barbas, Heidi Martin, Amanda McIntyre and Jason Vincent;
Faculty of Information and Media Studies:
Francine Navarro;
Faculty of Law:
Matthew Prager;
Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry:
Ammara Ghumman and Wendall Mascarenhas;
Don Wright Faculty of Music:
Bryce Lansdell;
Richard Ivey School of Business:
Michelle Briffett;
Faculty of Science:
Erin Duffy, Michael Che, Mitchell Gracie (Allan Heinicke Memorial Scholarship), Neruja Loganathan, Soad Shanta (Part-Time Student Scholarship), Qi Yao and Ariel Yeheskel;
Faculty of Social Science:
Lindsay Bontje, Sophie Chang, Rachel Devon, Christine Ingram (Part-time Student Scholarship), Andrew Nevin (G. Edward Ebanks Scholarship for Sociology), Alysha Sharma, Veronika Stefanski (W. Balderston Memorial Scholarship for History), Zi Jun Tan and Elizabeth Wrona;
Past President’s Award – James Compton (FIMS):
Gregory Brown;
Sarah J. Shorten UWOFA Scholarship (Philosophy):
Aidan Bell.

  • The Richard Ivey School of Business recently received the inaugural Education Excellence Award from the Canada China Business Council  (CCBC) for outstanding achievements in expanding Canada’s relationship with China through education, research, alumni relations and student/faculty exchanges. Ivey was unanimously chosen by independent judges to receive the Gold Award in the Education Category.
    The award was presented by His Excellency Zhang Junsai, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Canada, at a gala event Tuesday in Montreal. Paul Beamish, director of Ivey’s Asia Management Institute and Engaging Emerging Markets Centre, and Jan De Silva, Ivey Asia, associate dean, accepted the award on behalf of the school at the awards ceremony. The event was attended by David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, as well as other dignitaries.
  • In the midst of busy life on campus, we all experience those moments that make us truly appreciative, even if just for a second. It could be a stranger helping you pick up something you dropped, rushing to grab a coffee before class and discovering no line at The Spoke or getting the last seat on the bus.
    Inspired by the best-selling Book of Awesome, Western’s Health and Wellness Support Service wants you to share your Wonderful Western moments with us by tweeting them, with or without a twitpic, with the hashtag #WOWestern.
    These moments will then be uploaded to a dedicated tumblr,, for you to scroll through when you need that little reminder Western really is wonderful.
    For more information, email Sam Krishnapillai at
  • Dr. Warren T. Blume, Western Neurology professor emeritus, has been awarded the American Epilepsy Society (AES) 2012 J. Kiffin Penry Excellence in Epilepsy Care Award. The award recognizes Blume for his contributions as an early founder and organizer of specialized treatment and professional education programs in Canada.
  • Owners of Cherryhill Village Mall, Minto Properties, has invited Western students to use its food court area as a study hall as the semester winds down and pressure to do well on exams heats up. The mall food court, featuring free WiFi, is available for student use in the evenings until the mall closes at 9 p.m. “We want to support students at this crucial time,” said Blair Spencer, director of operations. “There’s a lot of pressure at the end of the semester, and, often, students are looking for quiet places to study if their dorm rooms or apartments are too crowded or if the library is too busy.  It’s part of our commitment to the community and our mandate to inspire life.”

Making history at Western


Jaimie Franks, pictured, gets a congratulatory hug from History professor Craig Simpson upon receiving the David H. Swankie Jr. Award in History, last week. Friends and family joined students, faculty and staff of Western’s Department of History at the first Undergraduate Awards Ceremony on Friday, Nov. 30., Among the honoured students were:

  • Baldwin Family Scholarship in Honors History: Surer Mohamed;
  • Baldwin Family Scholarship in Honors History: Daniel Taylor;
  • Department of History OSOTF Award: Riley Nowokowski;
  • Department of History OSOTF 2 Award and Hazel Marie Phillips Memorial Scholarship: Julie-Marie Forrester;
  • Department of History OSOTF 2 Award: Lateisha Ugwuegbula;
  • Edwin A. Goodman Award in History: Gianluca Mazzanti;
  • Pioneer Jamie Smibert Award and Richard Markell Scholarship: Blake Barkley;
  • David H. Swankie Jr. Award in History: Jaimie Franks;
  • Memorial Scholarship: Caitlin Harvey;
  • W. Donald R. Eldon Scholarship, William Wyatt Scholarship in History and Joseph Henry Marshall Prize: Gordon Vance.