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Civic Engagement

Wilson Days of Engagement

At the University of Rochester, Wilson Day has been a day of service for first-year students during orientation for more than 30 years. In the past, new students have visited sites around the greater Rochester area to carry out projects with dozens of community organizations on a single day during orientation.

This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve created an expanded array of activities making up Wilson Days of Engagement throughout the 2020–21 academic year. This format gives you multiple in-person and online opportunities to connect with the community. 

Participating in Wilson Days of Engagement allows you to:

  • Get to know the Rochester community through meaningful, personal interaction 
  • Learn about Rochester's strengths and challenges, and make connections to the city's rich history 
  • Discover the value of community engagement as part of your undergraduate experience

Wilson Day Activities

You will have a range of activities to choose from, which lets you take part in the ones that interest you most. There will be a variety of in-person and online options that address topics like:

  • Rochester’s history and current context
  • Anti-racism
  • Food access
  • Economic opportunity
  • Education
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Civic engagement  

Wilson Days of Engagement comprises different community engagement activities. Community engagement differs from volunteering or community service because you work with—rather than for—the community, empowering those most impacted by issues to take the lead. These programs help build authentic relationships and mutual respect between the campus and the Rochester community.

Activities will include:

  • Virtual panel discussions and speakers
  • Service opportunities
  • Online workshops
  • Civic engagement activities, like registering students to vote
  • In-person or virtual events held by clubs, departments, and our off-campus partners

Engagement opportunities can be found on our checklist page, which will go live on September 4. All activities involve a brief reflection on what you did. 


We expect all first-year students to participate in at least two of our highlighted events per semester. Engagement opportunities can be found on our checklist page, which will go live on September 4 and will be updated on an ongoing basis.

Students who meet or exceed these expectations will receive a Wilson Days t-shirt and will have opportunities for other prizes. We’ll use the checklist in CCC to track participation, so don’t forget to check off activities after you’ve completed them!