Meet the members – 5 questions with Murray Tong

Welcome to “Meet the members” a new monthly feature from the WLUSA Communications and Political Action Committee. With around 587 union members it’s a safe bet to say that we sure don’t all know one another, and each member certainly doesn’t know what all of the members of WLUSA do here at Laurier. This feature aims to alleviate that. Each month we’ll shine the spotlight on one of our wonderful members to give everyone a chance to get to know them and to give them a chance to talk about the role that they play in the university. Without further ado allow me to introduce you to our first “Meet the members” interviewee, Murray Tong of the Laurier Library and the WLU Press. I had 5 questions (and a few follow-ups) that he was game to answer for us all.

Photo credit: Darin White, Laurier Library

So what exactly does the role of Digital Projects Coordinator entail?

The role is two-fold, with responsibilities to both the Laurier Library and the WLU Press. At the Laurier Library, I work with faculty members, the Faculty of Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies, and our numerous journals to publish articles; journal issues; and theses and dissertations on Scholars Commons, WLU’s online institutional repository. Meanwhile, for the WLU Press, I distribute our e-books and book data to libraries, bookstores, and all of our partners in the supply chain.

And what’s one thing you really want everyone at Laurier to know about what you do in your job?

I want them to know that here at Laurier we’re producing some top-flight scholarship and that a lot of people are reading it. My job is to make sure that anyone who wants to read it, can.

Now, I know you’re relatively new to the Laurier community, so tell us what you think of it so far?

After nine years of living and working in Vancouver, it’s a breath of fresh air! The Waterloo campus is compact and walkable, and I love how integrated into the community it is. It doesn’t feel like the ivory tower, just a cool neighbourhood.

And what’s your favourite thing about it so far?

Hopping over to the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall for noon-hour concerts, which take place on Tuesday and Thursdays.

So what led you choose to work at Laurier specifically?

Many reasons: proximity to family, the chance to live in a great community, the excitement of the university press-library model, and working at a university that is on the rise.

Then we moved on to a few fun questions that aren’t directly about work. These questions are designed to help us get to know our fellow members on a bit more of a personal level.

If you were left to your own devices for 24 hours, what would you spend that time doing?

My partner and I have a three-year-old and a one-year-old, and every minute we spend together we learn something from each other. Buuuuuut. I would certainly take a few hours to myself to read a novel or go for a hike. I’d make time for an old movie, like The Big Sleep or Yojimbo. As a (very) amateur woodworker, I’d also try to hone my woodworking skills in the garage.

Photo credit: Darin White, Laurier Library

And just for fun, what’s the coolest thing you’ve got in your workspace (and what makes it cool to you)?

I lived in Waterloo about 30 years ago, when HiWay Market was still around. When we moved here in 2016, my dad dug out a toy HiWay Market transport truck he’d bought for me in 1987, when the store closed.

One last question then, what’s been your most interesting experience at Laurier so far? Why did you find it interesting?

Every day I see a slice of students, staff, and faculty at the library for their myriad reasons. There’s a fascinating rhythm that goes from almost empty to bustling to empty again. All of that set against the chime of the Seminary’s bells, which, unfortunately, have gone quiet during construction.

That brings us to the end of the first “Meet the members” profile. I want to thank Murray for being willing to be the first union member profiled, and I also want to thank Darin White, a new member of WLUSA who works in the Laurier Library for kindly agreeing to be my photographer for this article. Please let us know if you have any feedback about this feature, or if you have a particular member that you would like to see profiled!

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