Wilson Day: A Tradition Of Service To The Rochester Community

Aug 30, 2016

Credit Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

About 1,300 University of Rochester new and incoming students  were all around the Rochester Monday as part of the annual Wilson Day activities.

That’s an event that’s been going on for more than 25 years, where the students go out to help a number of community agencies with everything from gardening to interacting with seniors.

U of R president Joel Seligman notes that Wilson Day was named after a founder of  Xerox, Joseph Wilson.

“…who was awe-inspiring in terms of his commitment to diversity, those who were disabled...trying to help with poverty in our country. This is our way of saying we’re part of one community, we’re proud to be an urban university and we believe in service.”

Seligman made a stop Monday at East High school to join with students who were helping getting some classrooms ready for the upcoming school year.

Seligman says even though Wilson Day is on a single day, it sets an important precedent.

“This is the beginning of our school year, this is the first thing we do, and for so many of our students, it’s not just one day, it’s the beginning of a lifetime of service and it’s the beginning of other commitments to the community.”

Jason Taylor helped organize the tasks at East High School; he works at the school as part of the AmeriCorps VISTA program. He says U of R students helped get classrooms ready for the school year. 

“There’s not a lot of turnaround time between the summer in school and the start of the school year, so the students today will be helping to organize classrooms, to put up bulletin boards, to clean out some storage rooms.” 

The U of R has been overseeing administration of East High School for the last couple of years.