Supporting students on Giving Tuesday

Donors and champions help Waterloo Engineering students prepare for a complex world  

By Charlotte Danby Faculty of Engineering

The community at Waterloo Engineering came together for Giving Tuesday on Nov. 29 to generously support two funds that provide our students with a dynamic and diverse learning environment that prepares them for successful careers in a complex world.   

More than 80 donors supported the Engineering Student Teams Fund with over $22,000 in donations.

More than 90 donors supported The Equity Fund with a total of $27,000 in donations.

The impact of these donations was amplified by a special pledge on the day. By securing over 50 donors per fund on Giving Tuesday, each fund received a bonus donation of $5,000 from our challenge champions: Mary Wells , dean of Waterloo Engineering, and alumnus Ajay Batish (BASc ’96, electrical engineering, MA ’98, economics) and his wife Sonali Batish.

Please enjoy this video that highlights the impact our Giving Tuesday supporters will have on our students. 

Enabling innovation with the Engineering Student Teams Fund

The 30-plus student design teams will put the donations towards purchasing necessary equipment and materials, and paying registration fees that will allow them to compete on the global stage. These teams provide students with unique learning opportunities that enhance their studies with experiences like retrofitting buildings to help create accessible housing and designing and blasting off rockets from the desert of Utah.

"One of the most exciting things about Giving Tuesday this year is seeing the support for the future of the team," says Zachariah Mears, a mechanical and mechatronics engineering student and Rocketry Student Design team member. "It means a lot to me right now to know that all the design teams get to keep going in the future, that we get to keep learning and trying out new things."

"The student design teams give students a fantastic and exciting opportunity to advance their engineering studies in challenging real-world situations," says Ajay Batish.

"By supporting these independently run teams, many of which are leading advancements in social impact, Sonali and I are contributing to the development of our future leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs," he adds.

Dr. Peter Teertstra, director of the University of Waterloo’s Sedra Student Design Centre and a mechanical and mechatronics engineering faculty member, is pleased that the teams will continue to grow and give students the best possible experiential education.

"For decades, our student design teams have brought together students from all engineering disciplines - as well as other faculties - to ideate, create, collaborate and compete," says Teertstra.

"Thanks to generous donations and student enthusiasm we’ve been able to increase the number of teams by 50 per cent in the past three years, with about 1,000 students taking part in student team projects each term," he adds.

Promoting diversity with the Engineering Equity Fund

The Engineering Equity Fund supports scholarships, outreach programs and other initiatives designed to increase the representation, participation and inclusion of Indigenous and Black engineering students. The fund has awarded nine scholarships to date.

"The scholarship has really helped me reach my goals and allowed me to excel during my first year," says Tessa Baker, a systems design engineering student and Black and Indigenous students entrance award recipient.

"I think the Equity Fund is extremely important in showing Black and Indigenous people that they are able to study at the University of Waterloo and are able to enter the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields," she adds.  

"Canada has a strong demand for engineers now and into the future and we need to ensure that all students have equal opportunity to be part of our Waterloo Engineering community," says Dean Mary Wells.

"By attracting and supporting more Black and Indigenous students, we will create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive learning experience which will benefit all our students."

If you’re a Waterloo Engineering supporter and missed Giving Tuesday , donations are always gratefully received at any time of the year.