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Steve Maurano
Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs & Community Relations​
(401) 865-2413

Chrissy Centazzo
Public Affairs and Community Relations Coordinator
(401) 865-2413​

Archive: 2011 Commencement Press Kit​ -​ Providence College Students: Transforming Society

Community service initiatives are a vital part of the Providence College experience.

More than 2,140 students annually volunteer over 47,551 hours at more than 200 community agencies, schools, and other non-profit sites in Greater Providence. Volunteer service is provided through the Office of the Chaplain/Campus Ministry, the Feinstein Institute for Public Service, the Student Athlete Advisory Board, and scores of student clubs, organizations, and service learning classes.


Among the notable service projects are the following programs that included direct collaboration with the City of Providence:

  • Since its founding in 1991, the Urban Action program has encouraged more than 3,000 first-year students to donate thousands of hours of volunteer services, with many returning as leaders. Led by 25 upperclassmen, 150 freshmen spent three days in August/September working on service projects within the Providence community.
  • Building Bridges, founded in 2009, engages first-year students, faculty, staff, and community partners in day-long service projects as part of the College's New Student Orientation Program. Students and campus leaders perform volunteer work in a variety of capacities and locations that benefits community organizations.
  • For the fifth consecutive year, PC students and alumni continued to help refurbish the historic Esek Hopkins Homestead, as part of the College's FUSION (Friars United for Service In Our Neighborhood) efforts. FUSION is a partnership between the College and City Parks Department officials that was developed by the College's Providence President's Council. This year, some 90 alumni and student-volunteers built and stained cedar picket fencing, installed cedar clapboards, and completed landscaping improvements to the property. Providence Parks Department officials estimate that nearly $100,000 of labor has been donated to this project by PC students, alumni, and city employees.
  • Started in 2008, Smith Hill Rec Night brings more than 80 youth from the Smith Hill and Chad Brown neighborhoods together each week at local parks and recreation centers for sports, break dancing, conversation, and pizza. Fifteen PC volunteers help run the activities, initiate conversations and healthy relationships with the youth, and create a dependable, safe space. The youth learn the skills they need to take a nonviolent approach to problem solving. Since the program began, the incidences of violence and vandalism in the neighborhood are down significantly, emerging conflicts are more easily identified and mediated, and the youth have a greater number of positive adults consistently in their lives.
  • Service learning students of Teaching English Language Learners teach English workshops in collaboration with nonprofits and the Providence Housing Authority. At Dextor Manor and Carroll Tower, both homes to 200 elderly and disabled residents, volunteers provide tailored lessons on vocabulary and grammar for residents who are mostly refugees or immigrants.

Examples of other service initiatives this academic year included:

  • Providence College partners with The San Miguel School -- a non-sectarian, private middle school for boys from challenging circumstances -- through several mentoring and tutoring programs. As part of a service-learning initiative, PC students tutor middle school students in math, literacy, science and social studies. The President's Council Mentor Program matched 25 PC students and San Miguel boys to provide positive role models.
  • The Feinstein Institute for Public Service, the Department of Education, and the Balfour Center for Multicultural Activities at Providence College partnered with four local high schools in EXPLORE!, a college exploration and immersion program. The program exposes students to the college experience, including information about how to prepare for college early in their high school careers. PC students gain educational experience through their involvement in program planning/implementation, and by working with youth from diverse social, ethnic and economic backgrounds.

2011 Spring Break service initiatives:

  • One hundred thirty PC students spent their Spring Break working on behalf of Habitat for Humanity's Collegiate Challenge Program at 9 destinations across the country. Students helped build homes in Buffalo, N.Y.; Cleveland, Ohio; Cookeville, Tenn.; Franklin, W.Va.; Lenoir, N.C.; New Rochelle, N.Y.; Newland, N.C.; Portland, Maine; Springfield, Mass.; Washington, Pa.; Wilmington, Del.; and Winston-Salem, N.C.
  • Twenty-two PC students served at the Orphanage Outreach program in the Dominican Republic. They assisted in the Teach Corps group project, which taught basic English vocabulary, and the Health Corps, which taught good habits in dental health, nutrition, and general hygiene.
  • Nine PC students participated in the Crossing Borders service trip in Tijuana, Mexico. Students helped build a home for a family in need and volunteered at an orphanage and health center.
  • Eight PC students participated in a cultural immersion trip to the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona. The students took part in daily Apache life and provided service in schools, a daycare center, an older adult center, and a Boys & Girls Club.
  • Twelve PC students participated in the Women and Health service trip in Lima, Peru. Participants worked with a non-governmental organization that serves impoverished women, children, and the elderly. Students taught health education classes, worked with women and infants, and helped children with their classes.

The Providence College community also supported numerous charitable organizations:

  • The School of Continuing Education and the Eta Lambda chapter of the Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society for Adults in Continuing Education sponsored a Thanksgiving Food Drive, and collected canned and boxed food, frozen turkeys, and monetary donations/ grocery store gift cards for 20 families identified through D.A.R.E. (Direct Action for Rights and Equality).
  • The Providence College Student Athletic Advisory Council held the Mary House Benefit Shower, a baby item drive to benefit Mary House, which operates an emergency food pantry and offers daily meals, health fairs, mentoring, and clothing to Providence residents.
  • More than 1,300 PC students, faculty, and staff members donated hundreds of toys, clothing items, bicycles, grocery store gift cards, and money to the 12 local families, including 48 children, through the Adopt-A-Family holiday giving program sponsored annually by the College's Office of Residence Life. 
  • The Office of the Chaplain/Campus Ministry held a "Giving Tree" outreach and collected close to 100 toys and clothing items. The goods were donated to the Joslin Community Center and the Smith Hill Early Childhood Learning Center, both in Providence.
  • The 5th annual April Showers collection, sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs, in collaboration with Campus Ministry and the Feinstein Institute, collected monetary donations, as well as numerous personal care items for Mary House. Mary House, the Social Services Ministry of St. Patrick Church, provides nutritious food, personal care items and small household goods to those in need.
  • More than 850 members of the Providence College community raised more than $97,000 for the American Cancer Society at the 2011 PC Relay for Life. The College has hosted the event for the last nine years.
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