Coventry, R.I. – For their media relations course this spring with Assistant Professor Hume Johnson, the students – Alissa McGeehan, Anderson James and Michelle Ryder – did not lead mock press events or create strategic plans for pretend crisis scenarios, but instead served a real client by partnering with the City of Coventry to launch a rebranding campaign for the town.
Through the Community Partnerships Center, town leaders of the “Celebrate Coventry!” committee began collaborating with the students in January. After conducting research, touring the Town and meeting with local community members, the students created a strategic media plan with ideas on how the town could promote tourism and community involvement by planning new events, increasing the committee’s use of social media and securing positive media coverage on the Town’s cultural history and thriving businesses.
FALL RIVER, MASS. – Set on the eastern bank of Mount Hope Bay and the mouth of the Taunton River, the City of Fall River owes much of its rich history to the water. For generations the mill city served as America’s leading textile manufacturer, powered by the Quequechan River.
That was more than a century ago. Fall River’s mighty manufacturing industry fell victim to the Great Depression and – despite valiant efforts to refashion itself with a garment industry that lasted into the 1990s – the city has struggled to reclaim its legacy as an economic beacon. But Fall River’s motto, “We’ll Try,” continues to buoy revitalization efforts and city officials are once again looking to the water to redevelop the City Pier, calling on their neighbors across the Bay – Roger Williams University architecture students – to provide plans for a potential ferry terminal on Davol Street.
CENTRALL FALLS, R.I. – It may be the smallest city in Rhode Island, but Central Falls – newly nicknamed the “Comeback City” for its recent success stabilizing its finances following Chapter 9 bankruptcy in 2011 – has big ideas for growing its economy, creating jobs and improving the city’s business climate.
To add to the city’s resurgence, officials in the Central Falls Office of Planning and Economic Development joined forces with graphic design students and faculty from Roger Williams University as part of a Community Partnerships Center project aimed at creating a new brand identity, including a city logo, that communicates the city’s prosperous and bright future.
BRISTOL, R.I. – In the case of the Longfield house, a circa-1850 home designed by the famous architect Russell Warren, the once-paragon of Gothic Revival now haunts its Hope Street post, gutted and in disrepair. By contrast, the Belvedere Hotel in central downtown has endured its share of knocks – from the 1938 Hurricane to a disastrous fire – yet reclaimed its grandeur at the turn of the century when it was restored into upscale residences.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A month after the public launch of Roger’s Revolution – a bold new initiative to make a significant difference in Rhode Island’s economic future while equipping students with the experiences and skills that today’s employers demand – Roger Williams University gathered with community partners in the heart of the Capital City to celebrate the collaborative work of students and faculty in local communities.
Held at the Providence Public Library – the University’s soon-to-be neighbor, with its expanded campus at One Empire Plaza set for occupancy late next spring – the Community Engagement Celebration illustrated the myriad ways the University is fulfilling its innovative new core purpose – To Strengthen Society through Engaged Teaching and Learning – and singular goal – To Build the University the World Needs Now – to enhance the education of its students and make a meaningful impact in Rhode Island.
Hundreds of participants – from elected officials and city planners to university administrators, student affairs professionals and college students – convened at George Washington University to learn how to create innovative university/community partnerships and strengthen town/gown relationships in college towns.
BRISTOL, R.I. – The Rhode Island chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) will award a group of 30 Roger Williams University students (some now recent alumni) and three faculty members for their success in creating a comprehensive redevelopment plan for an abandoned manufacturing property, the former site of The Conant Thread Company and Coats & Clark Mill Complex located on the border of Pawtucket and Central Falls. Through the Community Partnerships Center, business, architecture and historic preservation students worked together with Commerce RI, the Pawtucket Foundation and the two cities to produce a plan aimed at preserving and revitalizing the mill site, an area that has been vacant since 1964.
BRISTOL, R.I. – Murder, bankruptcies, 18th century interracial marriages – not the standard fare a group of RWU historic preservation students expected to uncover in their recent field research of Colonial Era buildings in Newport. Yet they were as enthused as they were stunned to discover such tales.
“These kinds of finds opened eyes in many ways to the lives of these buildings,” says School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation adjunct professor Catherine Zipf. “These are Colonial buildings – they predate the Revolution. We observe and think about how they are today, and how they began, but we don’t think about the almost 200 years in between.”
TIVERTON, R.I., May 6, 2014 – In a collaborative undertaking to launch this month, the Town of Tiverton will join forces with students and faculty from Roger Williams University to lead a community visioning and design process for the former gas station located in the historic Stone Bridge village.
A team of students taking part in a summer course titled Community Engaged Design will take on the project, which was identified through an application from the Town of Tiverton to the University’s Community Partnerships Center. With more than 100 projects in just three years since its launch, the CPC offers specialized expertise to assist nonprofits and municipalities in solving challenges, while allowing students to gain real-world experience.
The Town of Tiverton acquired the former gas station in February and asked the CPC to help create a community-wide discussion on the options for reusing the structure or demolishing it in order to replace with open space or other public facilities.
BRISTOL, R.I. – In celebration of the growing array of projects in which RWU students and faculty are partnering with civic and nonprofit organizations to improve quality of life in the State, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln D. Chafee will address the Roger Williams University class of 2014 and receive an honorary degree during Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 17.
“Because so many of our Class of 2014 graduates have participated in project-based learning experiences across Rhode Island’s cities and towns, Governor Chafee’s participation in Commencement will be particularly meaningful,” says RWU President Donald J. Farish. “For me, it is simply an honor and a privilege to invite someone I admire and respect to join us on the Commencement platform to celebrate our students’ crowning achievement – graduation.”