The following entry is adapted from remarks given to new students of the University by Glenn Cerosaletti, as the students prepared to embark upon Wilson Day, a day of service, on Thursday, August 27, 2015.
I greet you as citizens today not with a capital “C,” but with a lowercase “c”: citizens meaning active members in a community. For regardless of whether you are a citizen of China or of Russia; whether you are a citizen of Spain or of South Africa; whether you’re a citizen of Brazil or of New Zealand; whether you are a citizen of the United States of America, or whether you are an undocumented student; whether you are from Palo Alto, California, or from Pittsford, New York: regardless of how you got here, we’re all in the same boat now. We are all citizens of Rochester today, and for the days, weeks, months and years to come.
This community needs you to be an active contributor. It needs your energy; it needs your enthusiasm; it needs your intellect and your entrepreneurial spirit; it welcomes your spending money–yes–but also your compassion. It needs your attention and your respect; your curiosity and your inquisitiveness. It needs you to listen to the stories it has to share. Today, it will call upon your effort in all of these ways.
Just as importantly, the converse is also true: whether you know it or not, you need this community. You need its utilities and infrastructure, its businesses and services, its natural resources, such as its magnificent river and its amazing parks; you need its significant cultural resources (its museums, galleries, theaters, and yes, food trucks); its historical legacies (Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, George Eastman); its wonderful cultural diversity, its people. Without these assets of the community, your education will not be complete; it would not even be possible! So this place matters.
- Bond with hallmates/classmates;
- Learn about the community of Rochester;
- Contribute valuable service to the community and learn about service as a guiding principle of your undergraduate education at the University.
I hope that, with the help of our community partners as well as your resident advisors, D’Lions and Freshman Fellows, you will reflect on and learn from your experience in the community today. When you return to campus this evening, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about additional opportunities to engage with the community at a community service fair, sponsored by the Community Service Network, and our various student organizations that focus on engaging with the community throughout the year.
Wilson day wouldn’t be possible without the considerable efforts and support of many people and community partners, both on campus and off. These include the UR Urban Exploring Club; our 72 community partners organizations that are hosting today’s projects; UR Dining Services, which is donating water, snacks and ice cream; and the City of Rochester, which is contributing toward supplies that many of you will use in the projects that you undertake today. Thank you to all of these collaborators! And now please welcome the student leader who is coordinating Wilson Day 2015, Rochester’s own Vivica Smith.