Tag Archives: Rowena Samuel

CKMS Community Connections for 17 April 2023: The CFUW Book Sale with Rowena Samuel and Alison Watson

Show Notes

(Rowena Samuel and Alison Watson sitting a the microphones in the CKMS-FM studio)
Rowena Samuel and Alison Watson

Bob Jonkman talks to Rowena Samuel and Alison Watson from CFUW (The Canadian Federation of University Women) about the upcoming giant used book sale. There’s info about CFUW, their programs, the scholarships, the advocacy work, and the social groups.

Some errors crept into our conversation. Mary Sehl writes:

There are more than 200 members in the Kitchener-Waterloo CFUW chapter alone. Across Canada there are more than more than 7,500 members.

The CFUW is now branding itself by its initials. It won’t drop the U for University but, as Alison and Rowena said, it is no longer exclusive to university graduates. Its legal name will remain the Canadian Federation of University Women but, not unlike many corporations these days, we will just use the initials.

Thanx, Mary!

The interview starts at 3m50s.

CFUW Online:

(illustration of an open book on a heart, with tulips above and below)

Upcoming Events

  • Book Donations
    • When: 9:00am to 9:00pm on Wednesday 19 April 2023 and 9:00am to 6:00pm on Thursday 20 April 2023
    • Where: First United Church
    • Location: 16 William Street, Waterloo Map
    • Website: https://www.cfuwkw.org/book-sale
  • Book Sale
    • When: 9:00am to 9:00pm on Friday 21 April 2023, and 9:00am to 1:00pm on Saturday, 22 April 2023.
    • Where: First United Church
    • Location: 16 William Street, Waterloo Map
    • Website: https://www.cfuwkw.org/book-sale


Download: ckms-community-connections-2023-04-17-episode121-CFUW-Book-Sale-with-Rowena-Samuel-and-Alison-Watson.mp3 (53 MB, 57m41s, episode 121)


Time Title Album Artist
0m00s Theme for CKMS Community Connections ccc CKMS Sunflower logo (yellow petals surrounding a black centre with white wavies all on a teal background)
CKMS Community Connections
Steve Todd
0m51s Hackerboy CxViolet | Hackerboy (silhouette of a person standing in front of a sunset, with purple and pink sky and purple ground. At the right, sideways, are three lines of binary digits, 10010110 &c)
3m05s Public Service Announcement: Mary Sehl announces the CFUW donation drive for books, audio books, CDs and sheet music.
3m50s Introducing Rowena Samual and Alison Watson of the CFUW. Alison tells us about the CFUW. There are 200 members across Canada, and it’s been around over 100 years. Rowena tells us about the different aspects of the CFUW — charities, social, dinner groups, book clubs, &c. It’s no longer just for university women, and the group has rebranded to drop “University” from their name, now they’re Canadian Federation of Women, but still known as CFUW
6m36s The book sale is in is 56th year, although they missed three years due to Covid. It has become the main fundraiser, and possibly the most successful fundraiser of any CFUW chapter. Alison gives us a rundown of what happens on Wednesday and Thursday, with the actual sale on Friday and Saturday. There are lots of shifts for people to help. Planning for this event started last year September. And then there’s a lot of cleanup afterwards.
11m37s The book sale nets about $30,000 a year, which gets invested over the years. In addition there are donations from members and friends. Alison is a trustee of the charitable fund for the CFUW charity. This fundraiser is going towards scholarships, there are fifteen different awards that go out. The education awards are the main focus, but there are other fundraisers, for example an evening with Lisa LaFlamme. Those funds went to organizations that Lisa is associated with. Tickets were sold out months in advance. Other CFUW chapters also raise funds for scholarships, since women’s education is at the forefront of CFUW. They have an advocacy committee, to select the causes to support. In the future they’re looking for other events, since book sales may not always be this popular. There is a clothing donation drive for women who need business attire for their job search.
16m22s There are things other than books in the book sale. The books need to be in good condition, if not they’re put into the skip bin. No magazines, no reference books, and no vinyl records, but they take CDs, DVDs, and sheet music. Volunteers arrive at 8:00am to begin the sale, doors open at 9:00am.
19m32s Are people still reading, or are they just going online and looking at their phones? There are still people buying books, and reading is good for child developement. Rowena is disappointed that she’s not reading as much as she used to. Alison has been worried about decline for years, but people are still buying books. Maybe someday books will become collectors’ items like vinyl is today, but books are still the best way to read and share. Rowena’s neighbourhood is full of book boxes, and they get good circulation.
22m02s IG iNJOY (album cover)
Kwazzi feat. Nathan Baya & Terence Penny
25m00s Public Service Announcement: Mary Sehl announces the CFUW-KW 56th Giant Used Book Sale.
25m45s Alison gives more information on Open Closet, collecting clothing donations and through social agencies in Waterloo Region making it available men, women, and children. There are Random Acts of Kindness, working with the homeless community, St. John’s Kitchen, and the Out Of The Cold program. CFUW does a December 6th vigil, working with the University of Waterloo. There is a strong affirmative action advocacy group; the Advocacy Committee is working on aging and long-term care; housing, environment — a lot of women in CFUW are working on making things better.
28m12s What are the criteria for people receiving the scholarships? There are fifteen awards, two for high school students, the top student in chemistry and the top female graduating student. There are bursaries for practical nursing students. There’s an award to the Kitchener Junior Symphony for a string player looking to continue their studies, which is in memory of one of the CFUW members’ sons. There are about 60 students in Waterloo Region who receive awards.
30m26s Back to the book sale: Rowena says that books and CDs sell for $2.00 or $3.00, but by Saturday they’re sold by the box — $15.00 for as many books as you can fit in a box. But you have to be able to carry the box out, no boxes on wheels! Sometimes staff will collect a box of related books and offer it as a “mystery box”. There are three rooms of books: the main gymnasium room with hardbacks, the cloak room with children’s books and non-fiction, and the chapel with more children’s books and paperbacks. There are too many books, maybe 50,000 books donated, to have them catalogued or sorted. They’re organized by category: Self-help, humour, classic literature. There used to a separate room for dealers, but now they have to sort through the all the books like everyone else. A sign of the times: There are not as many used book sellers as there used to be. A lot of people are buying books online, and books aren’t the quality they used to be and fall apart before they can be resold.
37m14s The social connections of the club gives people different reasons for joining. Alison joined because she was looking for a book club. There are bridge groups, food is a large part of the organization, there are hiking groups, cycling groups… Somebody recently start a sketching group. CFUW is a great way for women to meet others with similar interests and maybe improve their skills. Alison is also in a French Language group. Most groups meet once a month. And there are monthly speakers: Authors, hikers, people to talk about the environment, theatre events. It’s a wide range of interests. These meetings are for members only, and often held in people’s homes. The social activities are a big draw for new members. Duing the last three years of the pandemic people got very good at Zoom. The dining groups would order take-out and eat it on Zoom. But for speakers it’s difficult to engage the audience through a camera.
0m55s Saturday Night Natalia Valencia | Saturday Night (B&W line illustration of a bar with bottles on shelves in the background and barstools in the foreground)
Natalia Valencia
45m01s Recap of the book sale hours and collection times. Looking at the CFUW-KW Facebook page with pictures of the evening with Lisa LaFlamme, talking about the event.
48m00s Any other events? CFUW slows down during the summer, but looking for something in the fall and next year’s book sale. Talking about Mary Sehl’s public service announcement, and encouraging any Waterloo Region organizations to put their PSAs on the radio.
49m30s PSA: CFUW book sale donations
50m15s PSA: CFUW 56th Giant Used Book Sale
50m59s How the First United Church gets booked. It’s a busy venue, and they’ve expanded their programs so CFUW has slightly less space than in the past. Most volunteers have done this before, people who have been members for a long time. The book sale used to be cash-only, but this year they have the capability to take credit and debit cards. And they can give charitable receipts. There are volunteers staffing a bag check, so you don’t have to carry around bags of books as you shop.
53m39s How long has CFUW done the book sale at First United? All 56 years? The church has been there a very long time.
54m44s How to join CFUW? Look on the website, there’s information on how to become a member. The CFUW year is almost over, new people will probably join in September. There are a lot of new members interested the advocacy work. Alison gives a recap on the recipients of the funds raised at the book sale.
56m39s Bob gives the end credits.

CKMS Community Connections Hour One airs on CKMS-FM 102.7 on Monday from 11:00am to Noon, and Hour Two airs alternate Fridays from 3:00pm to 4:00pm.

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