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Who We Serve

The Roger Williams University (RWU) Community Partnerships Center (CPC) provides project-based assistance to nonprofit organizations, municipalities, government agencies and low and moderate income communities in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. Our mission is to undertake and complete projects that will benefit the local community, while providing RWU students with experience in real-world projects that deepen their academic experiences.

To discuss an idea for a project, please contact Stephany Hessler at shessler@rwu.edu or 401.254.5211.

Geographic Area of Service

The CPC has established a geographic area of service that includes all of Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. Decisions regarding project selection are made based on factors that determine if the community partner organization and the proposed scope of work can be effectively serviced by project teams. The CPC aims to limit travel time to allow faculty and students to spend maximum time on site. When possible, CPC staff and teams will arrange virtual meetings with community partners, using Go To Meeting, Skype and other platforms.

Participating RWU Programs

RWU offers a variety of valuable academic programs that can enhance CPC projects and have a meaningful impact on the project and the students in those programs. These programs bring a wide range of skilled faculty and students together where they can work collaboratively for the benefit of the community partner and to enhance their own learning and academic goals. CPC projects draw upon the skills and experience of students, faculty and staff from RWU in programs such as:

CPC projects draw upon the skills and experiences of students and faculty from RWU programs in areas such as:

CPC Services

The primary method for meeting the goals of community partners, students and faculty is through the integration into a course(s) at RWU. These projects create a collaborative, interactive working environment where experts, citizens, faculty and students from diverse backgrounds can routinely work together. Many CPC projects are trans-disciplinary and include the involvement of academic programs/courses, paid student workers, interns, volunteer organizations, and any other appropriate groups or individuals that can contribute their expertise and talent to the predetermined scope of work for the community partner.

Methods typically used to deliver work to community partners may include:

  1. Large trans-disciplinary teams of RWU faculty and students, including;
    a. Students enrolled in a semester-long course or workshop
    b. Graduate assistants in Architecture and Historic Preservation
    c.  Work Study students from any RWU discipline
    d. Student interns from any RWU discipline
  2. Small teams of RWU students working under the direction of a staff or faculty mentor. These students can be working as:
    a. Thesis candidates
    b. Independent study students from any RWU discipline
    c. Graduate Assistants
    d. Work Study students from any RWU discipline
    e. Student interns from any RWU discipline
  3. Students and faculty from a single course focusing on a particular community issue as a class project.
  4. Intensive one-day design charrettes, workshops, or focus groups staffed by integrated teams from various RWU programs.

All CPC projects are defined by a Memorandum of Agreement with the Community Partner. This agreement: defines the project scope and the process to be followed; identifies the participating RWU faculty, staff and students and the community representatives; identifies primary and secondary goals; establishes the project timeline; outlines the final work products that will be delivered and presented. All potential Community Partners should review the sample Memorandum of Agreement for a typical CPC project.

CPC Products

Students and faculty from RWU will work together to complete deliverables for each Community Partner that participates in a CPC project. Deliverables are agreed upon by the CPC, the Community Partner and the faculty member before the project begins. Typically, final work from the team is compiled in to a book – available to the Community Partner in hard copy and as a PDF. 

CPC project services are performed by students in support of their educational experience. Any deliverables generated through an accepted project is intended to provide conceptual information only to assist design and planning and is not intended, nor should they be used for, construction or other project implementation.  Professional and/or other services may be needed to ultimately implement a sponsor’s desired goals.

Final products for Community Partners have included:

  • Marketing plans
  • Surveys and results from participants
  • Historical research documents
  • Architectural designs, drawings and renderings
  • Historical rehabilitation plans
  • Websites
  • Logo creation
  • Preservation plans
  • Design manuals
  • Interviews
  • Archival research documents
  • Engineering plans