Rochester, NY is the third-largest city in New York State, situated on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, with a population of 210,565. Rochester is also the third largest city—after Buffalo and Syracuse—in terms of refugee resettlement. In 2016, US government resettlement and secondary migration brought 850 new refugees here. In 2017, that number is expected to pass 1,000., When refugees are resettled in the United States, the first three months of casework and assistance are provided by a federally-funded resettlement organization. After these months, however, refugees are removed from the resettlement service’s caseload. In Rochester, it is at this point that a number of critical actors and organizations step in. The author has investigated one group of people who help: sponsors. Sponsors are average citizens who, on their own accord, reach out to refugee services in the area and agree to help one or more refugee families. Sponsors are guides. Currently, sponsors receive no formal training and are recruited by word-of-mouth. The author proposes a design intervention to formalize the recruitment and training of sponsors. The intervention will first raise awareness of refugees living in Rochester in hopes of attracting new sponsors. Second, the intervention will provide information on what needs to be done, how to do it, and where to find resources in Rochester.
Industrial Design (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Design (CIAS)
Kelly, Michael, "Welcome Home Rochester: Guiding Refugees through Life in America" (2017). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus