The College Town project has been a work in progress for five years now, with its main goal to connect the UR student body with the larger Rochester community. RED, however, a less well-known program is still struggling to gain momentum as it works to bring people a bit further from the collegiate bubble that can so easily keep us closed in.

A facet of the Rochester Center for Community Leadership (RCCL), Rochester Every Day (RED) provides students with discounts to participating businesses in the area. Examples include Boulder Coffee on Genesee Street, several restaurants featuring various ethnic foods, Lakeshore Record Exchange on Park Avenue, and Greenwood Books in downtown.

Founded in 2003 by a group of undergraduates, RED aims to encourage students to stray from their comfort zone and experience the local businesses unique to the city of Rochester.

“Instead of just seeing UR, we can see the whole city of Rochester,” Christopher Camacho, a graduate assistant for RED, said. “It’s paying it forward to local business [and] having students experience more of Rochester.”

He explained that many students who come to UR their freshman year are not Rochester natives and therefore are less aware of local shops and restaurants.

RED aims to motivate students to explore options available only to the city with the goal that this will not only enrich students’ experience during their time in college, but also support local businesses. This is in line with the goals of the RCCL as the UR is a large contributor to the local economy and community.

Whether aware or not, every UR undergraduate is already a RED member. In order to use the program, however, students need to obtain a RED sticker, free of charge, at the ID Card Office.

At any of the 140 plus off-campus establishments, students can present their sticker on their ID cards and receive anywhere from a 5 to 20 percent discount, depending on the business. By visiting the RED website, or looking for the matching red sticker on the door of the establishment, signifying its participation, students can find out which local business are a part of the program, the exact locations, and discounts that are offered.

The fact that so many popular restaurants and stores are a part of RED seems to go unnoticed. In fact, most students only know RED exists at all by the sticker they see on ID cards, not by the actual title or even what the sticker does.

“I don’t think a lot of students know [about RED] right now,” Camacho said. To address this lack of student awareness, Camacho discussed some of the efforts to expand student involvement.

“We’re updating our Facebook page,” he said. “We also created a new Twitter feed account.”

He also mentioned the website being updated to include a flatter, more minimalist user interface, photos of the participating establishments, and a rating system similar to that on Yelp.

McAdams is a member of

the class of 2017.    

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