dinsdag 24 juni 2014

Friday: a more relax and easy day

13 June 2014, by Leonie de Mulder (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences)

This day started with a good breakfast and a speaker from Warren’s Waterless printing. This guest speaker told us the difference between a normal printer and a waterless printer. And also a little bit about business marketing. After the breakfast speaker we had about one and a half hour to work on the cases and after lunch we went to another campus tour. This time the tour was hold in Digital Media Zone. We got a few presentations about the marketing of businesses and starters. The tour was about the Digital Media Zone and what the relations were.
After the tour we were already late to search for an orange bar so we stayed in the shopping center and watched the game at the sports bar there. The soccer game Netherlands-Spain was a real surprise to watch. We were in less number of people cheering for Holland but we were the loudest there. Some people left before the game but most people were there and we had a lot of fun and a great time.
After the game we had free time to get some food or relax before we’re going to celebrate the victory. Karen, Kim and I went shopping in the big Toronto Eaton Center. We searched for souvenirs but all we found was clothes and shoes, not that it was a big problem. When we went back to the illc nobody had dinner neither had we, we went out real fast and found a pizza place on the way.

Around 7 pm we went to the Royal Ontario Museum, because there was a big party. In the museum was the opportunity to walk around the whole museum and dance a bit between the dinosaurs and meteorites. We were there for 4 hours and around 11 pm we went to a student party nearby. This was a row of four houses al put together, with some bars and a club. Everybody had an amazing time. This day was a more relax and easy day.

zondag 15 juni 2014

Friday June 13th and the state of my water utilities

13 June 2014, by Brian Hanna (Ryerson University)
What a coincidence that while taking part of the wetskills event I come home to find a 1 sqft hole in my bathroom:


Quite an impressive hole, isn't it? I figured that since it's caused me so much trouble today I might as well make some use of it by using it to underscore the importance of maintaining water utilities in a building.
Unfortunately due to this massive hole, I was unable to watch the soccer match where Holland was able to score five goals. While not a huge sports fan it would have still been fun to get swept  up in the victory with my friends from the Netherlands (and the americans too). Everyone has been extremely friendly, and I especially enjoy the time I spend with my specific group.

Aside from that part of my day, I did quite enjoy the tour through Ryersons DMZ. It's very reassuring to see that my school provides such services to new business, especially in a time where employment for young professionals is hard to come by in Toronto.

Anyways, I really would have liked to go the Royal Ontario Museum as well with the others, but I could not thanks to the giant hole that's currently invading my life. I'm actually quite a bit sad about that, as I was telling the group all week how much fun it really is on friday nights. There's still more time to enjoy with them though, I'll try my best to take advantage of it.

An ordinary working day

12 June 2014, by Arun Raj (University of Waterloo)

It has been three days since the Wetskills participants in Toronto were assigned their respective case studies. Needless to say, every group has been hard at work. Although, each group is focusing on a different water related problem; they all have something in common - a unique perspective by which they view the problem itself. With advancement in the field of sustainability a more sustain-centric worldview is evolving  globally. Particularly young people see no reason why we cannot achieve this paradigm shift. Topics such as waste management and toxic effluents are not perceived as problems anymore but as potential recoverable resources.

This is evident particularly amongst all the Dutch participants at Wetskills, many of whom are working on similar topics. The Kingdom of Netherlands being a pioneer in the field of water management have been working extensively on technologies to reclaim waste water, metals, and other precious resources to eliminate the concept of waste. 

This morning we also had a stimulating talk by Nick Reed from Ontario Clean water agency (OCWA) who echoed the same vision. Amongst other things he highlighted how OCWA strives to minimize waste 
production within their areas of operation. He highlighted the efforts of the Canadian government such as Ontario Centre of excellence (OCE) and Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (MaRS) aimed at helping students realize their revolutionary ideas in the field of water management.

Wetskills has definitely been an amazing platform to bring young people from different disciplines together to help make the world more sustainable!

Pitch & Poster

11 June 2014, by Stacey Kondrakiewicz (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater)

We woke up to a rainy Toronto. After breakfast at the hotel, we made our way to the Engineering building where we met with guest speaker Wayne Galliher from the city of Guelph. He talked to us about Guelph’s Water Conservation and Efficiency Program. He spoke about all the projects they are implementing in Guelph to reach their goal of “using less water and energy per capita than any comparable Canadian city.”

After Wayne’s presentation, there was a brief break before we “dove” into our pitch and poster presentation training, where we learned about the rules for our 2 minute pitch and our poster which will be created in Microsoft Power Point. After looking at 9 previous posters, we got a good idea for what to do and what not to do. We also watched 3 different pitches and commented on what we liked about them and what we didn’t like. As we watched the pitch presentations, we realized how fast 2 minutes goes.
For the rest of the day, it was group work time where we continued to work on our case studies. Once work seized for the day, around 6:30, we all were excited for the free night ahead. This was the first night since we had been here that we didn’t have anything planned. So we had the whole evening to ourselves to grab dinner, and relax. I grabbed dinner with my American counterpart, Chesten, from the Metro Market that is less than a 30 second walk from the hotel (ILLC). We grabbed dinner to bring back to hotel, as well as buying groceries for the next couple of days. Luckily, there is a fridge in the lounge on our floor. The fridge is getting pretty full now but there’s still room for more! I spent the rest of the night, curled up with a book and my computer.

From Working to Barbecuing

10 June 2014, by Saalih Shamead (Ryerson University)

I usually try to abide by the old proverb that "Early to bed makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." However, due to the brain hurricane or "brain tsunami" as others have coined it I awoke slightly later than my usual time. My group, Team 3, were the first to begin work on their case in room KHE 323A and I was rather glad that we were the first to our Plan of Action (POA) before the 11 am deadline.

Once the POA was submitted we each began working on our individual sections, I chose to work on exploring the different decentralized WWTP technology options that existed, how dual or separated flow systems would work and cost and help Rik on checking how rough the terrain was using GIS for our pipe options as that is my area of expertise. However, finding information on the removal rates of decentralized WWTP technology options was not as easy as I had hoped and so I think I'll have to visit the library and hopefully I'll have better luck there. Overall I think we did pretty well at the discussion on our POA with Johan, and two of my old professors Darko and Vadim.
While I had planned to use the time to catch up on my other work commitments as I am also simultaneously working on revisions to my thesis which are due by June 19 and my work for the City of Toronto I am glad I went to the Toronto Island BBQ. Each team was in charge of buying food for themselves and the supervisors who provided the charcoal and cutlery. While I have lived in Toronto for almost 9 years now, this was only my second time boarding the ferry and so it was still a new experience for me and the City's skyline looks quite beautiful from the water.

At the BBQ everyone was so hungry that many decided to eat salad as we waited for the charcoal grill to heat up. I had always thought charcoal was very slow but thanks to the special lighter fuel Pim got at the store he got the grill going in no time. As all seafood is halal I had put the two salmon burgers that I bought on the grill and that was more than enough for me. I must say we had quite a lot of veggies that were also roasted on the grill and so I also ate some corn and asparagus as well. My friends from Netherlands also had their first experience for what a smore was once all the major cooking was done.
While I have lived in Toronto for 9 years I had also never been on the Islands that late. The sky was pitch black but the City looked quite beautiful and at the moment I realized that Wetskills would be one of those experiences that I would remember for the rest of my life. 

vrijdag 13 juni 2014

Words from main partners Wetskills-Canada 2014

9 June 2014, by Jeanine de Vos (Deputy Consul General Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) and Angela Murphy (Projects Manager Ryerson Urban Water &, Ryerson University)
It is a real pleasure for the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to be part of such an exciting program as Wetskills and to bring it to Toronto together with Ryerson University and the Ryerson Urban Water Centre. Wetskills Canada 2014 promises to be a wonderful opportunity to bring water experts from leading Canadian and Dutch companies, government and knowledge institutes (the case owners) together to find innovative, out-of-the-box solutions to pressing water issues with the new generation of bright water professionals from the Netherlands, Canada and the US.
After a couple of days team building, Wetskills started the formal part of the program on Monday  June 9th with the “Brain Hurricane.” Industry and governments from The Netherlands and Canada collaborated and developed 5 challenging cases for the Wetskills teams to resolve. Teams then met with experts from water sector, both industry and government, to pose questions and receive guidance. 
Everyone is looking forward to seeing the case solutions of these 20 international water professionals of the future. Come and support them at the Ryerson Urban Water Day on June 17th from 1-4pm (245 Church Street, ENG 103)!


donderdag 12 juni 2014

BrainHurricane (part 2)

9 June 2014, by Karen Scheffers (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences)
The day started with an early breakfast around 8:30 p.m. After everybody finished the breakfast, we went to the Cara Commons at the Ted Rogers School of Management. This was de location for the brain hurricane, where all students, case owners, and experts gathered for the start of the first working day (with enthusiasm).

I am in Team 1 and our case is about the storm water management in the City of Toronto. We have to design green streets for the entertainment district in Toronto. The day started with the introduction of the cases, after that we had the opportunity to speak with our case owner (Mr. Patrick Cheung).  And it was a very interesting conversation about the case. We also had some conversations with experts with different backgrounds, including biologists, engineers, economists, business managers, etc. These conversations helped us a lot because all the experts had a different point of view on our case. Not every one of them was convinced that a green street actually has green on it. With all the new information we had from the experts, we again went to talk to our case owner during lunch. With him we came to new outcomes and actually more and more questions. But first we had to make a start with our case, because when we would investigate we probably come up with new questions.

After we had our first group brainstorm session, it was time to wrap it up for the day. And because yesterday, June 9, was also my birthday we went out for dinner with a whole group.

It was a busy, tiring, but also interesting, nice, and great day. I learned a lot and I am looking forward to see the results of every group. Good luck every one!


9 June 2014, by Jeffrey Ip (University of Toronto)

Case owners introduced us to our case studies today. I arrived at Cara Commons not knowing what to expect, and was met by friendly people in business attire. I sat down at the table with my group members, and speakers approached the podium soon after. Important people like the Dean of Ryerson University's Science department, the Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Wetskills Program Manager introduces the Wetskills background and the programme in Canada. Among other things, I learned that Netherlands is a Kingdom. Case Owners were next to take the stage, and I jotted notes as they spoke, learning much about the water industry, and some of the latest projects industry professionals are focused on.

The most interesting part of the morning's events for me, however, were the short speeches made by the Expert panel. Successful people with a variety of talents, each with their own area of expertise introduced themselves. Some had specialized technical knowledge and experience with municipal stormwater management projects. Others were entrepreneurs. The variety of perspectives represented by the Expert panel opened my eyes to the many paths that people can take to career success. When it came time for each group to ask questions to the Experts, I mostly sat and listened attentively.
By the time the Q&A sessions were over, I was quite tired. Luckily, the rest of the day was an open work period. My team made a good start. They seem mature, intelligent, and friendly, and I expect to learn much with them and from them in the remaining time.

-Jeffrey Ip

Sunday: Campus tour and Free time

8 June 2014, by Heleen de Fooij (University of Twente)

Since most of us went out Sunday night, it was nice that we could all sleep in a bit today. After having breakfast, we met in front of the International Living and Learning Centre (ILLC), where we are staying. Two girls from Ryerson University showed us the campus. The buildings on campus are all very close together. Most buildings we need to be at are within a 5 minute walk from the ILLC.
The first stop was the Engineering Building. Here we will present our cases in only ten days time. The past days felt like a field trip or vacation, but during our tour around campus we were reminded of the task at hand. Most of the time, we will be working in Kerr Hall, a circular building where it is very easy to get lost.

In the afternoon we could decide for ourselves what we wanted to do. Five of us decided to make use of the Toronto City Pass and went to the Royal Ontario Museum. The Canadian and First Peoples sections of the museum were very interesting and we saw some more art and objects from the War of 1812 (if no one mentioned it before: nearly everything Dave told us on our bus tour on Friday was somehow related to the War of 1812). I was especially fascinated by the huge canoe that could seat more than ten in the gallery of the First Peoples.
The ROM is very large and we couldn’t see every gallery and exhibition, but we did make sure we saw the national treasures. This section with gems and stones fed our appetite for nice and shiny things as it contained a large selection of jewels.
When we got back from the museum some people had gathered in the common room on the eighth floor. We decided to get some dinner at the supermarket, catch up with family and get to bed early to be ready for the first day of working on the case studies.


Toronto Tour

7 June 2014, by Marvin van Wijnen  (Utrecht University)

A sightseeing tour with the streetcar brought us to the impressive RC Harris treatment plant. Normally it’s unusual to get a tour around the RC Harris treatment plant but for Wetskills they made an exception. The tour brought us along all the treatment steps. Inside the treatment plant it looks like an old train station or museum more than a drinking water treatment plant.

After our tour we walked along the beach were we had a great view of Lake Ontario on the left and the skyline of Toronto in front of us. Standing next to the CN Tower in downtown Toronto was already impressive but standing on the top of it was really amazing. The weather was great so the view was wonderful and we couldn’t only look around but also beneath us. Standing on the glass floor was a special experience that not everyone liked that much.

At dinner the case studies were presented and we knew that a new chapter of Wetskills had started/begun. Everyone marked the top three cases that they want to do and the supervisors divided the cases over the groups with the same preferences. At the end of the dinner everyone wasn’t satisfied after an overwhelming day of experiences so we decided to go for some rounds of pool.

Teambuilding starts

6 June 2014, by Eduardo Cejudo (University of Waterloo)

We got together for the first time. A quick glance at everybody's face gaves you a mixture of excitement and uncertainty. You introduce yourself for the first time' but, sadly, you barely paid attention to the other person's name, or it is hard to repeat the name, or just to many faces at once; anyway, you end up asking their names perhaps, more than two times. Nevertheless, just seating at the same table eases all doubts and took us into an amazing journey.

We started our eye-oppener trip to the Niagara  scarpment, a geological formation that, together with glaciations, have modelled the Canadian landscape: a series of layers of sedimentary rocks and shales that have been carved by water, so we can now admire its breath-taking landscapes, such as Niagara falls.  Some of the questions or comments possed during the trip  where perfect clues to start figuring out each other ideas, tendencies and background, great surprises are just one question ahead of us. This great trip became true with a very diligent and knowledgeable guide, professor Dave Atkinson, who lead us through countryside and roads that not all witnesed, for Morpheous was also a passenger.

Our voyage could not be complete without  seeing some water-related technology:a lifting bridge at Hamilton's bay (in the west end of Lake Ontario), and old grist mill constructed by a creek right upstream of a beautiful waterfall, and a lock at Welland canal, the linking waterway from lake Ontario to Lake Erie. A pleasant afternoon at Niagara-on-the-lake provided relief to all of us, either having lunch, chating, walking or shooting pictures by the lake's waterfront.

All in all, a fructiferous day when everybody got to know better at least one other participant, in addition to the the much appreciated  nap time.

My first time out of Europe

5 June 2014, by Kim Dieleman (Wageningen University)

Thursday morning the 5th of June my Wetskills adventure started. For the readers that do not know, Wetskills is a series of events where Dutch water-related students meet foreign students, this time in Canada and work on innovative solutions for existing water cases.

05.30 I heard the sound of my alarm clock, it was time to wake up. A shower and a breakfast later I said goodbye to Wageningen, the small university city I live in and where one out of three people is a student. 06.48 I was arriving at the train station, after loading my travel card (in Dutch OV-chipkaart) my train left at 06.56 to Schiphol. I was enjoying the window view until the conductor came along, I realized I forgot to check in my travel card after loading. He planned to give me a penalty, which includes the price of the train ticket and on top 35 euro, which is around 50 Canadian dollar for our Canadian reader. He asked where I was going, after telling that I was on my way to Schiphol he asked how long my journey would take. He said that normally you should pay the penalty within one week, but as there was nobody at home to pay my bill he decided to neglect that I didn’t check in, as the bill would rise if you do not pay immediately and it than would be really expensive. After promising I would go out at the next stop to check in he wished me a good trip, what  a luck! After running back and forth at Utrecht to check in, my journey to Schiphol went flexible and

I arrived at 08.00. After checking in, dropping my baggage and a lot of waiting I met Heleen at the gate. For the readers that do not know, Heleen is a student that also is joining the Wetskills challenge and before going we had some email conversations as we both had the idea to extend the journey after the Wetskills program. We left at 11.15 in Amsterdam and after a stop in Washington DC and some delay we arrived in Toronto. After taking the bus we arrived at the metro station, I think we must have looked like tourists as immediately two people were so friendly to point us the way. At 19.00 (01.00 Dutch time), we arrived at the International Learning and Living Centre in Toronto, where we are staying for the two weeks to come. It is located in the central business district, called downtown Toronto. After I met part of the group we went out for a dinner. At midnight, after being awake for almost 24 hours I went to sleep.

The group consists of 9 Dutch, 9 Canadian and 2 American students. I am looking forward to meet all of them and have a nice time in which we challenge our self,  each other and meet inspiring people in the water field. Tomorrow the teambuilding event starts, we will have our first breakfast together and after that we will go to the Niagara Falls to have fun, learn the place, get to know each other and become a team!  



zondag 8 juni 2014

Wetskills to the western hemisphere

4 June 2014, start by Johan Oost

For the first time in North America

It took thirteen editions, but Wetskills entered North America for the first time! After being in Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe, it was time to go to the west. The Canadian Water Summit was a great opportunity to organise a Wetskills event. Thanks to the Dutch Consulate in Toronto that we are here! And of course thanks to Ryerson University, our host for this Wetskills event.

The first contacts with Canada (actually the Embassy) was made in spring last year. Because of the visit of a huge delegation from Canada to the International Water Week in Amsterdam (November 2013), the contacts were intensified. We found a point on the horizon: Canadian Water Summit. Ryerson University (as main sponsor of the summit) was pleased to join the organisation of the Wetskills event in Canada. The organisation of Wetskills actually led to an extension of the summit programme. The day before we will have the Wetskills finals and the day after the summit there is a workshop about phosphorus. All these elements to tighten the relations between the Dutch and Canadian water sectors (or should I say: North American or Great Lakes area, because of the participation of Wisconsin USA?).
Toronto is a very multicultural city. In the plane from Amsterdam to Toronto you all the faces from over the world: Asia, India, Middle East, Africa, Europe, Latin America. And that only in the plane! Looking at the participants you see this back: The students from the Canadian universities (Ryerson University, University of Toronto, Waterloo University) are mostly from other countries. This leads to a mixture of many internationalities (Iran, India, Columbia, Jamaica, Mexico, China, Austria, Canada and The Netherlands) in this Wetskills event as well. I think that we have some interesting and diverse study cases: from urban water management in Toronto to decentralized wastewater systems and life cycle costs in wastewater treatment plant investment, from phosphorus removal to monitoring of pollutions by mining.

I am proud to be in North America for the first time with the Wetskills programme. It was a short stay in The Netherlands after our successful event in South Africa (see: http://wetskillssouthafrica2014.blogspot.nl/), which we finalised less than a week ago. Together with all the help from the Dutch Consulate, Ryerson University and Imko, Nora and Pim, I hope (actually am sure) that we will have a next boost in our over Wetskills programme!!

Johan Oost
Programme manager Wetskills and event leader Wetskills-Canada 2014