In a perfect world, organizations like MEF would be unnecessary; your education would be the best it could possibly be, the University would provide resources to everyone and student life on campus would be a waking dream of loveliness. Unfortunately, in the real world (or at least the University of Waterloo world), resources are frustratingly finite, the quality of our education is capped by budget constraints, and student life is often, well, student life. This is where MEF comes in.
What is MEF? The Math Endowment Fund (MEF) is a voluntary student endowment, created in 1994 via student referendum. The fund was set up with the goal of improving the quality of undergraduate mathematics education at the University of Waterloo. Each term, more than 75% of students contribute $31.42 (yes, that is about 10π) towards our ever growing endowment. The interest from the Fund is used to fund projects, both student and faculty initiated, which aim to improve the Waterloo Math experience.
Why does MEF rock? First and foremost, MEF has been involved in a wide variety of projects which have delivered real improvements to the student body. MEF has helped professors buy course materials for many of your classes, helped MFCF purchase the lab computers on which you do you assignments and is currently helping to save you money by supporting the creation of course notes for classes with expensive textbooks. Moreover, the Math Endowment Fund is a way for we, the students, to help make meaningful improvements to the Waterloo Math program not just for ourselves, but for generations to come.
What If I'm still not convinced? The level of funding our University receives from the government has declined significantly compared to five years ago, while the number of students in our faculty has risen over 10 per cent. The University has tried valiantly to maintain the quality of the product it offers during these years of budget decline, but it can't continue to do so without our help. If you have any doubt about the quality of the projects that MEF funds, drop by our office (MC4046) and check out a list of all of the ways you have profited from MEF's existence over the years.
Still not convinced? Your Math Endowment Fund contribution is voluntary, it can be refunded by visiting the MEF office during our posted hours (bring your student card and fee receipt). If you feel unable to support the fund financially, you can still get involved with operating the fund, stop by our office for a chat and we'll tell you how you can help out.
From all of us here at MEF, have a pleasant and productive term. Keep your eye on mathNEWS to hear what fantastic projects we have in store for the next couple of terms.
Thanks a bundle
MEF Co-Directors Robin Stewart and Jen Cote