How many people does it take to teach a newcomer about a city? The answer from the College at the University of Rochester is, "It takes a city!"
When 1,095 students arrive next week, they will participate in an orientation that teaches them about a new campus and about Rochester in a variety of ways. These newcomers will meet their new president, Joel Seligman, faculty advisors, and talk to upper-class students, but they also will be out in the city. In fact, they will be everywhere!
More than 1,000 students, staff, and faculty will be participating at 62 different sites for the annual Wilson Day of service on Aug. 27. When it started 17 years ago, Wilson Day was the first day of service required for new students at orientation in the country. Then, six years ago, sports found a place on the orientation schedule with a trip to a Red Wings ballgame. This year, other area colleges will join in for a college night on Sept. 3. A cappella groups will be singing and student bands playing.
"Our message to our students is UR HERE," says Jody Asbury, College Dean of Students. "We mean it to communicate to students: you are here, this is your community, get involved now. Our commitment is to create multiple opportunities and connections for our students in the community through social and cultural events, through jobs and internships, and in community-based service activity." With multiple points of engagement, there is a better chance to attract more students.
Students will be traveling around the city by bike, bus, and on foot. A student-run bike recycling program called City Cycles will lead tours of popular places such as George Eastman House and the Memorial Art Gallery as well as exploring local parks. The members of the Class of 2009 can watch films at the Little Theatre or order coffee and dessert at Spot Café.
There will be RED Day on Aug. 28 for students taking buses that operate from the River Campus to the South Wedge, Park Avenue, and Monroe Avenue. RED (Rochester Every Day) makes available to all undergraduates discounts and special offers at nearly 200 local businesses.
The College at the University of Rochester introduced the Rochester Center for Community Leadership in January 2005 with the sole purpose of developing, coordinating, and promoting student involvement in the community. "The center encourages students to give where they live and to get involved wherever their interest lies," notes Asbury. "The College has been creating a variety of opportunities in the city for students from new internships at City Hall to developing discounts to cultural and social events such as Garth Fagan Dance."
From their first day in Rochester, new students will be encouraged to participate in the life of the city in many ways. Like this year's Wilson Day theme—"Bridging University and Community one person at a time"—students will experience the rich and diverse life of the city.
"It takes a whole city to teach new students, and it is our intention to connect them in as many ways as possible to the resources here," says Asbury.