Before they even step foot into a classroom this fall, more than 800 University of Rochester freshmen will venture into the city and suburbs to volunteer at 42 of Rochester's nonprofit organizations during the 21st annual Wilson Day on Monday, Aug. 31, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The day's theme is "You know where you will study…Where will you engage?" and this year's organizers hope that Wilson Day provides Rochester's newest students with an answer. Wearing T-shirts with the city's 175th Anniversary logo, the incoming class will volunteer with faculty and staff at locations that include local schools, churches, community agencies, and neighborhoods. While some freshmen will get a glimpse of the many community service opportunities available in Rochester, others will learn about Rochester's rich history during the Urban Explorers' Wild Goose Scavenger Hunt as well as through walking tours in the area immediately surrounding campus.
"I hope that through Wilson Day, students will begin to understand that college is education, but not just about what they learn in class," said Tamara Slater '10, the student organizer for Wilson Day. "We are encouraging students to see college as an opportunity to actively engage with the needs of the broader Rochester community."
University President Joel Seligman and dean of students Matthew Burns, will start the day's activities during the kick-off breakfast at the Goergen Athletic Center. Joining them will be members of the Joseph C. Wilson Family, for whom the day is named.
"This project provides students not just with an introduction to service in Rochester, but the opportunity to develop relationships with agencies that will last long after Wilson Day," said Burns. "From the start of their college experience, we encourage students to be involved in the local community."
Organized through the Rochester Center for Community Leadership,Wilson Day is a service-focused Freshman Orientation program for students from the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. Wilson Day creates connections between students and introduces them to the city of Rochester through volunteer and exploration opportunities.