The principal method for delivering services to the community and providing valuable learning experiences to RWU students are through unique projects that are defined by a community partner organization, then implemented by a team of RWU students and faculty, working closely with other individuals and organizations to achieve the goal.
RI Main Street Revitalization: In collaboration with the RI Economic Development Corporation RWU is providing support for Main Street revitalization in the Broad Street neighborhood in Providence and on Main Street in Downtown Woonsocket. RWU programs in Business, Community Development, Justice Studies and Historic Preservation are currently working in these communities and other programs such as Public Administration, Architecture and Law may soon join the effort.
Walley School Reuse: Working with the Town of Bristol, a CPC team composed of students from the Architecture, Business, Construction Management and Historic Preservation programs prepared a feasibility study for the reuse of the school as a community arts education center, while engaging the public and arts stakeholders in a sustained community dialogue and visioning process. Now the CPC is supporting the Town’s efforts to fund the next phases of the project, including business planning, grant-writing and professional design.
Colt Barn Reuse Legal Feasibility Study: In 2011 and 2012 RWU students studied the feasibility of rehabilitating the historic Colt Barn. Owned by the State of RI, the building has been unused for many years and is deteriorating rapidly. The CPC has researched how agencies across the US have successfully facilitated reuse of similar government-owned structures. The RWU School of Law will identify potential impediments and recommend a legally appropriate course of action to preserve this important building.
Meeting Street Needs Assessment and Space Planning: Meeting Street is a successful and respected provider of education for students with special needs, and is considering expansion into an existing building in Providence. The CPC is assisting by uniting a RWU Education class focusing on Urban Education and a graduate-level Architecture studio focusing on community and learning spaces. The result will be a series of design proposals informed by the collaborative thinking of two disciplines to create an architecturally unique space for education.
Children’s Room Design - Adams Memorial Library: This community library in Central Falls, RI was closed when the City went into bankruptcy, but opened again as a locally-managed non-profit organization. One of the most important audiences for the building are the community’s children, and the basement Children’s Room was in need of improvement. To plan for this upgrade, a graduate course in Literacy from RWU’s School of Education class is joining forces with a graduate-level Architecture studio focusing on community and learning spaces. The Education students bring best practices and experiences to the process, and the Architecture students can create a design that incorporates these findings and allows the Library to seek funding for realization of the project.
East Bay Coalition for the Homeless: The Coalition provides many important services for families and individuals in need or housing, but needed assistance in order to understand how they are perceived by the community as well as existing and potential donors. Several programs from RWU are collaborating to assist the Coalition, including a Marketing Research course obtaining real data about community perceptions, the Honors Program which is researching national issues and best practices, as well as students from the Gabelli School of Business who will help with marketing implementation.