University of Rochester

'Be the Change Day' Gives Rochester Children Taste of College Life

October 1, 2008

Rochester area children will come to the University of Rochester's River Campus to participate in national "Be the Change Day" activities on Saturday, Oct. 4, from noon to 4 p.m. The volunteer event is inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's famous words, "be the change you wish to see in the world," and this year's organizers were motivated to help children realize that their dreams of attending a university are within reach.

Hosted by the Association for the Development of Interest in the Indian Subcontinent (ADITI) and Sigma Beta Rho Fraternity Inc., the day's goals involve four dozen different student organizations in a project that they hope will have a lasting impact on the children of Rochester. "It's all about attracting children to college," said Divyah Nagendra, a Be the Change Day organizer and president of ADITI. "We're exposing them to more than academics; we're showing them all aspects of university life and how they have the potential to pursue that life."

Along with Nagendra, Debarshi Das and Mihir Buch, both members of Sigma Beta Rho, have tapped student groups such as the Creative Arts Club and the Robotics Club to create mini lesson plans. In addition to the learning stations, children can watch performances including the Strong Jugglers, Sihir Bellydancers, and the Soulwerkz Breakdancers. Be the Change Day organizers have recruited local agencies, schools, and recreation centers to bring the children. "By inviting the children to campus, we can plant the seed in a child's mind about college," said Nagendra.