University of Rochester

Freshmen Befriend Nonprofit Agencies on Wilson Day

August 31, 2007

The University of Rochester's Wilson Day is a tradition that multiplies this one special day of volunteering during Freshman Orientation into four years of concern for the Rochester community.

On Saturday, Sept. 1, more than 700 undergraduates will assist organizations that need painting, landscaping, and other jobs accomplished at 30 sites in the city and suburbs. Organizer Danchi Nguyen, a senior from Murray, Utah, chose "with a little help from my friends" as this year's theme.

"There's an integrated network of care that students can learn about and be a part of," she said. "We want students to recognize all the different ways to support the community and help one another."

New figures show that University of Rochester students devote about 30,000 hours to community service each year. The College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering works throughout the year with agencies to connect students to direct service and to sustained efforts that develop partnerships.

Nguyen, a double major in neuroscience and social psychology, has been involved in Jumpstart, a federal program that emphasizes early childhood education by attracting college students as mentors, and the campus Community Service Network.

The 19th annual Wilson Day kicks off at 9:30 a.m. with a rally before students from the College board buses to assigned areas until about 2:30 p.m. Because of the Labor Day weekend, fewer agencies were open to volunteers this year.

Wilson Day is named for the Joseph C. Wilson family, whose members have been benefactors of the University of Rochester and the Rochester community. Wilson, former president and chairman of Xerox Corp., was an alumnus and a philanthropist.