UR was recently named one of 25 colleges that positively impact its metropolitan areas. That UR earned its spot as the 13th ‘best neighbor” school is evident the University is the largest employer in the city, currently provides scholarships to local high school students and supports local businesses and research companies. But what this survey also recognizes are the broader conversations the University has with its neighbors to bring communities closer. While this connection may be less tangible than financial help, the benefits it yields for both the city and the University community are just as real.
Thanks to a new UR presence across the river and the strategy for the Brooks Landing Project, UR and the 19th Ward are merging into a integrated entity that is working toward a common goal an improved city, both economically and socially.
With the addition of Riverview Apartments and new offices soon to be added in the 19th Ward, the University has the opportunity to expand on already existing programs. In the last year, community dinners have brought UR students and 19th Ward residents together. Furthermore, UR Dining has worked with neighborhood organizers to expand the Westside Farmer’s Market.
For the University, the current task at hand is to focus on publicizing current collaborative initiatives to the entire student body, not just Riverview students.
Administrators may understand the long-term benefits of reaching outward, but offices such as the Rochester Center for Community Leadership will need to enable students to engage the city. Certainly, the appeal of living in a community with a rich culture is a strong selling point.
As the University continues to strengthen its relationship with the 19th Ward, the best action it can take is to call attention to what UR is already doing. The University’s larger commitment is already there. Now all it needs to do is to share these existing values with the final piece of the puzzle the students.