April 17, 2020

The Short List

Your Guide to (Virtual) UCalgary Alumni Events and Programs

Editor’s Note: The Short List is a monthly column that showcases events around Calgary and UCalgary. Due to physical distancing, we have moved many of our popular events online but that didn’t stop UCAA Board member Sue Shaw, BSc’89, from quickly diving into her vault of virtual tools and tricks to keep us entertained during these times of COVID-19.

OK, I admit it — I am computer nerd who is used to working from home so adjusting to self-isolation and other sensible precautions has likely been a little easier for me than with many others. That said, I just want you to know that we’re thinking of you and hoping that the resources on UCalgary’s COVID-19 Community Support page, are of help. From webinars and podcasts to helpful articles — the site is loaded with up-to-date tips and advice from UCalgary academic, alumni and community thought-leaders on topics such as how to keep kids busy during school closure to how to stay well when you're feeling disconnected and alone.

For those of you who don’t know me — I have been working in Information Technology since I graduated with a Computer Science degree, for a variety of companies.  My education at UCalgary provided the right grounding to enable me to succeed in my area of expertise, which is implementing and managing enterprise applications.

As so many of us get caught up in our careers, raising a family or living abroad — it’s easy to understand how we can lose contact with our alma mater. I certainly did. In fact, it was only a few years ago due to a persuasive friend, that I reengaged with UCalgary and I have to admit that I was quite surprised at how much is offered to us alumni. I encourage you to take a second look.

Since realizing that there truly is something for everyone, I have attended great lectures and events with a standout being last September’s Alumni Weekend where I found I needed a map to navigate the ever-evolving campus.  Who knew there were so many stunning new buildings, from the TFDL and EEEL to the new 15-storey MacKimmie Tower? It now seems like so long ago, but back on March 6, I also really enjoyed hearing alumna Dr. Kelly-Marie Murphy’s commissioned orchestral piece at the Calgary Philharmonic concert. Little did I realize that it would be the last outing for a while in our new world of ‘physical distancing’.

Those of you who missed that last CPO concert can still enjoy them with this virtual concert that includes 22 players from the CPO as well as the Edmonton Philharmonic Orchestra.

I admit it’s a little tricky to recommend events to you right now, other than to offer advice on keeping a positive outlook.  Thank goodness for the technology that we have these days so that we do not have be ‘socially distant’ while being ‘physically distant’. If you are not doing so already, I encourage you to learn how to use online tools to keep in touch with friends and family.  Enterprising gyms are offering online classes to keep us all fit and perhaps now is the time to learn that new instrument or language that you have been thinking about?  The UCalgary Library resources may be able to help you learn something new.

Many institutions are offering online tours, I plan to check out the Glenbow Online Exhibitions.  Another option is to have a look at what the Esker Foundation is offering on their ‘Watch and Listen’ page, currently featuring the work of artist Katie Ohe, including the famous Zipper.  Side note:  CBC’s recent series Fortunate Son set in the late ‘60s amidst the turmoil of the Vietnam War was filmed at UCalgary, among other locations.  For those of us who spent a lot of time in the Science Theatres, the Zipper was instantly recognizable even if it was masquerading as office-building art in the TV series. Although the Zipper is still at the Esker, it is scheduled to return to campus, as well as three other Ohe pieces, by the autumn.

And for those with children at home, check out TELUS Spark where entertaining videos can be found on their youtube channel named ‘Spark Science from Home’. And the National Film Board of Canada has just released free online learning resources for Canadian families and teachers. Every day, mini-lessons and activities are being provided that are built around NFB films. For more details, visit NFB.ca/education.

Lastly, I would like to remind you about UCalgary’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, a one-time fundraising drive designed to focus on student needs and research. Every contribution, no matter the size, counts — and like never before! Please give what you can.

Thank you and I hope to see you, virtually, at an upcoming Dig In! or Career Coaching session soon.


Sue Shaw