28 Nov 2019   |   Network Updates   |   Update from Polytechnique Montréal
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

Commemorative events at Polytechnique Montréal - Virtual white roses help young women from underprivileged backgrounds get acquainted with science and engineering

With the approach of December 6,  a solemn day of remembrance of the fact that 30 years ago, anti-woman attack occurred, Polytechnique Montréal invites the general public to participate in symbolic and meaningful  events that will take place during the Week of the White Rose.

With the creation of the Week of the White Rose in 2014, Polytechnique Montréal sought to encourage and foster scientific, technological, and engineering talent in girls who may not have otherwise been introduced to such fields. This fundraising initiative owes its name to the fact that white roses have become a symbol of Polytechnique’s commemorative events. 

During the Week of the White Rose, virtual white roses can be sent to anyone you wish, via the roseblanche.org/en transactional site. Every rose purchased becomes a donation to Polytechnique Montréal’s science camp Folie Technique, whose mission is to offer young women and girls from underprivileged communities the chance to get involved and interested in science-based activities.

Send a white rose and help the future bloom

Polytechnique Montréal invites community members as well as general public and interested companies, to send virtual white roses to their friends, families and clients. This seemingly small gesture makes a significant impact throughout the rest of the year.

  • 1 rose ($10): Pays for transportation for a girl to attend science day camp.
  • 14 roses ($50): Pays for science experiment equipment for a “100% girls” group.
  • 25 roses ($200): Pays for a girl to attend science summer day camp for one week.

Since its establishment, the Week of the White Rose has raised over $65,000 – a sum that translates into enabling close to 8,850 girls to attend in-class science workshops, or to participate in Folie Technique science summer camp. Currently, demand outweighs this non-profit organization’s ability to deliver, and the highly popular “100% girls” camps are barely able to register all interested campers. Thanks to support received, Folie Technique expects to be able to offer seven “100% girls” summer science and engineering camps in the summer of 2020.

“I’m so grateful for Folie Technique – my girls were able to go to summer science day camp for free. Not only were they able to discover how great the sciences are, but they were also able to widen their social circle, and become close with positive and motivated camp counsellors whose enthusiasm for science was infectious. Being a girl does not dictate your interests, and Folie Technique camp really reinforces the notion that everyone and anyone can be interested and do well in science.”

- Annie Savoie, Education Student, mother of two young girls who attended Folie Technique Science summer camp

Women and Engineering

Even though they represent half of the Canadian population, women are still underrepresented when it comes to undertaking a career in engineering – despite an abundance of unique careers and well-paid jobs. According to Engineers Canada, a mere 13% of licensed engineers are women. In 1989, the year of the attack, women were fewer than 17% of Polytechnique’s student body. As of Autumn 2019, women make up just over 28% of the current student body, and have reached parity or surpassed men’s participation in certain engineering specialities, such as biomedical and chemical engineering.

To view statistics regarding the evolution of the number of female students at Polytechnique, or to learn more about implemented initiatives, please visit the website: Women and Engineering.  

While events reach their peak each year during the week preceding December 6, the Week of the White Rose transactional website remains functional all year long; virtual white roses can be purchased at any time, for any occasion. 

During the Week of the White Rose, Polytechnique demonstrates that it will never forget this tragedy, but also that it is firmly focused on the future.  


Other commemoratives activities

Order of the White Rose

Thursday December 5, 2019 at 11 a.m., Polytechnique Montréal will celebrate its fifth awarding of the prestigious Order of the White Rose. This $30,000 bursary honours and encourages a Canadian female engineering student who intends to pursue graduate studies anywhere across the globe. An official media invitation will follow shortly.

Laying of Rose Wreaths on Polytechnique’s Commemorative Plaque

Friday December 6th at 8:15 a.m., rose wreaths will be laid on the commemorative plaque, placed by Polytechnique students and staff. All members of the Polytechnique community (students, staff, alumni) and the general public are invited to pass by the memorial for a moment of contemplation at any point during the day. The commemorative plaque is located on the south-west wall of the Main Building, outside.

Light Beam Ceremony on Mount Royal

To honour the memory of the young women whose lives were cut short, the Comité Mémoire, in collaboration with the City of Montréal, invites the public to gather at 5:00 pm on December 6, at the Mount Royal chalet, Belvedere Kondiaronk. At 5:10, the exact time that the first shots were fired, 14 light beams will shine over the Montréal skyline (designed by Moment Factory). As the names of each of the 14 women who were killed is said aloud, a beam of light is lit in their honour. For the 30th anniversary, 14 engineering universities across Canada, from Vancouver to Halifax, will each shine a light beam in homage. After a minute of silence, a 150-person choir will sing two musical pieces to conclude the ceremony.

Book Launch:  « Ce jour-là – Parce qu’elles étaient des femmes »

Friday December 6th at 9:00 am, Polytechnique will host the official launch of the book « Ce jour là – Parce qu’elles étaient des femmes. » An initiative of the Comité Mémoire (an organization of volunteers), and supported by Polytechnique. A timely work that calls upon us to remember, written by former Devoir journalist Josée Boileau and published by Éditions La Presse, the book will be first available in French (English-language publication launching early 2020). The book contains archival photos, a factual description of the events that unfolded, an analysis of the 1980s as an historical period, and eye-witness accounts of those who experienced the trauma themselves. An official media invitation from the Comité Mémoire will follow shortly.

About Polytechnique Montréal

Founded in 1873, Polytechnique Montréal, a technological university, is one of Canada's largest engineering education and research institutions, and ranks first in Québec in terms of the scope of its engineering research activities. It is located on the Université de Montreal campus, the largest French-language university campus in the Americas. With over 50,000 graduates to this day, Polytechnique Montréal has educated 22% of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec’s current membership. Polytechnique offers more than 120 programs, taught by 280 professors and welcomes 9,000 students yearly, and has an annual operating budget of $260 million, including a research budget of $100 million.

À propos de Folie Technique

Established in 1991, Folie Technique is a non-profit organization that was the brainchild of  Polytechnique Montréal engineering students. It gives youth the chance to explore the amazing worlds of science, math, engineering, and technology, all while enjoying creative activities that are both interactive and accessible. Each year, Folie Technique reaches over 20,000 youth between 7 and 17 years of age. 

This communication was first published on 27 November 2019 by Polytechnique Montréal.

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