First-year students fan across community

First-year students fan across community

First-year students fan across community on Wilson Day

“We’re an urban school, and we’re proud of it,” said University of Rochester President and CEO Joel Seligman last Monday morning in a ceremony kicking off Wilson Day 2017.

It was part of a broader message delivered to incoming undergraduates that the University isn’t a city on a hill, but rather, an integral part of the city in which it lives. Wilson Day—a day of community service that has introduced new students to volunteerism in the Greater Rochester community for more than a quarter century—underscores that message.

Sam Syed ’21 sorts books at Mt. Hope Family Center, one of more than 90 organizations first-year students volunteered their time with during the annual Wilson Day of community service. (University photo / J. Adam Fenster)

More than 1,400 first-year students fanned out to 94 sites—schools, churches, libraries, museums, senior centers and more—to perform afternoon tasks such as landscaping, painting, decorating, and classroom preparation. Seligman visited three sites—Mt. Hope Family Center, Enrico Fermi School #17, and Jewish Family Service of Rochester—with Dean of the College Jeffrey Runner and Dean of Students Matthew Burns.

This year’s theme, Welcome Home, emphasized the importance of first-year students—from 42 states and 105 nations—becoming active citizens of the local community. Students appeared to take it to heart.

Johvanny Rodriguez, who came to Rochester from Jersey City, New Jersey, to study biology, plucked weeds outside Enrico Fermi School #17. “This is home,” he said. “You keep up with your weeding at home.”

“I plan to stay active,” said Kennedy Martin, who came to Rochester from the Bronx to study computer science. She was part of a group charged with beautifying Wilson Magnet High School. “Eventually, we’re all going to graduate, and we should want to make sure we’ve made an impact on the community we’ve lived in for four years.”

Glenn Cerosaletti, assistant dean of students and director of the Rochester Center for Community Leadership, which sponsors Wilson Day, will facilitate the efforts of students like Martin to make good on that promise.

“This is just the beginning,” he said. “We have an array of opportunities for them to connect with and strengthen the community.”

 In Photos
Members of the Class of 2021 mark their first days in Rochester with a day of community service.
(University photo / J. Adam Fenster)

First-year students fan out into the community, in this case to the Strong Museum of Play, to learn more about their new city and to volunteer their time are more than 90 local organizations.

Emily Hurwitz helps teachers prepare their classrooms for their new students at Enrico Fermi School #17.

Mt. Hope Family Center provides intervention and prevention services to more than 900 at-risk children and families each year, and Rochester students were on hand to learn more about their work and help with some needed clean-up and organization tasks.

Dean of Students Matthew Burns (left) and President Joel Seligman greet first-year students on Wilson Day at Mt. Hope Family Center.

Johvanny Rodriguez (left) and Hao Chen weed the grounds at School 17.

Jim Mandelaro, August 2017

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