For Community Partners

RWU provides our students with the best educational experiences: acquiring knowledge through classroom learning, and then applying their new skills and learning on and off-campus through research, project-based work, clinical practice, apprenticeships and internships, and creative endeavors that connect with our communities and our environment. 

RWU is committed to closing the widening gap between academia and industry through unique collaborations with our expansive network of industry, nonprofit and governmental advisors and partners. Working with external partners provides an excellent opportunity for RWU alumni to become engaged citizens and thrive in their work and life. And in this way, we are building a lasting and engaging relationship between RWU and the world around us. 

When we extend our expertise beyond our campus borders, we strengthen the local, national and global communities around us, while that work also serves to enrich the educational experiences we provide our students. We envision a future where RWU is known for creating resilient communities that can bounce back from disruptions, innovate to meet new needs and thrive. Prioritizing active scholarship provides our community and organization partners with rigorous and relevant insights and research, and the tools to ensure long-term sustainable and equitable practices for their systems and the people they serve. Making a meaningful difference in our society and our planet is the essence of our engaged teaching, learning and scholarship. 

Students acquire the intellectual habits, practices and passion they will need in order to be lifelong learners, ready and able to pursue any new personal and professional challenge that they will face, embracing the spirit of continually acquiring new skills and expertise. 

Who We Serve 

Community Engagement 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.

Participating RWU Programs

RWU offers a variety of valuable academic programs that can enhance 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. These projects draw upon the skills and experience of students, faculty and staff from all RWU programs.

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 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.

All Community Engaged 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 course-engaged project.

Students who receive federal work study funds are encouraged to earn them by serving with non-profits. This must be a long-term experience (at least one semester). Student income is provided by the federal government and there is no cost-share to partners.

Students can help with (almost) everything your organization might need – social media presence, program facilitation, data crunching, grant app reviews, outreach, accounting, ect. When you look around your organization, do you see a place where a free, regularly scheduled set of hands could be of assistance?

Submit proposed community service work study position descriptions to

CSWS Resources

Off Campus Work Study Agreement

Community Service Work Study Standards and Procedures

In September 2007, when Roger Williams University and the Town of Bristol reached agreement on the landmark PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) pact, a group comprising key representatives from both the town and the University was established to jointly consider items of mutual interest or concern.

In the years since, the Town of Bristol / Roger Williams University Cooperative Committee has provided an open venue for discussion and decision-making and has assisted in building upon a truly symbiotic relationship between both parties.

Through the Fund for Civic Activities – one of its most visible initiatives - the fund has distributed $350,000 since 2009 to support local services and projects that enhanced the civic experience in Bristol.

The Fund for Civic Activities (FCA) is a grant program created to support and recognize the relationship between RWU and the town of Bristol.  Grant requests are accepted twice a year and may be submitted by individuals or non-profit organizations. Individual awards do not exceed $2,500.

In support and recognition of the important relationship that exists between Roger Williams University and the Town of Bristol, the Town of Bristol/Roger Williams University Cooperative Committee created the Fund for Civic Activities (FCA). The FCA accepts grant requests twice a year to fund a broad range of projects and services proposed by individuals or non-profit organizations that work toward enhancing the civic experience in the Town of Bristol. Further detail regarding this fund, the application process and other project related criteria may be found in the FCA Application.

Click here for complete instructions and a printable application.

Click here for online application form. 

Click here for the online grant report form. 

Committee Members 

Town of Bristol Representatives

Michael DeMello
Fire Chief

Sara Hassell
Interim Town Treasurer

Kevin Lynch
Chief of Police

Warren Rensehausen
Director of Parks & Recreation

Dr. Ana C. Riley
Superintendent, Bristol Warren Regional School District

Diane M. Williamson
Director of Community Development

Roger Williams University Representatives

Dr. John J. King
Vice President for Student Affairs, Committee Chair 

K.C. Ferrara
Director, Feinstein Center for Service Learning & Community Engagement

Dr. Jeffrey Merriweather 
Dean, School of Humanities, Arts and Education 

Mackenzie Morgenweck '25
Student Representative  

Mark Porter
Director, Public Safety

Jill Pais
Assistant Vice President, Communications and Media Relations  

Community Partnerships

Our new community engagement portal, GivePulse is available to all non-profit and community based organizations that would like to engage with our students, faculty and staff.  GivePulse will allow you, our community partners, to list service opportunities and provide direct access to a pool of thousands of potential RWU volunteers. 

GivePulse is a platform that provides community partners with the opportunity to list their volunteer needs. YOU post your needs on a searchable database available to our entire undergraduate population. You can also use GivePulse to manage your non-RWU volunteers.


Beyond RWU, GivePulse is a single platform for organizations to list and manage volunteer events and fundraisers. Communicate with your members, donors and registrants. Collect and analyze data, hours, donations, reviews, ratings and feedback.  Also, when you list opportunities, they are viewable by anyone logged into GivePulse, meaning that you can recruit non-RWU community volunteers as well.  

We are in the process of sending invitations to our community partners to become part of the GivePulse platform.  If you have not received an invitation and would like to utilize GivePulse, please contact  

Check out GivePulse at  

All Paws In

Brain Club

Colleges Against Cancer

Delta Sigma Pi (for Business Students)

Engineers Without Borders

Food Recovery Network

Foundation for the International

Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC)

Future Teachers of America

Habitat for Humanity

Helping Hawks/Special Olympics of RI

Roger's Miracle Network (Hasbro Children's Hospital)


Send it on (Homelessness)

Society of Women Engineers


RWU’s mission is to “strengthen society through engaged teaching and learning”. As a private institution, we embrace our very public responsibility to partner with local organizations and municipalities. We value teaching that tackles community-based issues, share the resources and expertise of our community with our neighbors, and facilitate student engagement with the community.

Course-Engaged Projects

Students under the guidance of expert faculty members take on real projects that benefit real communities and partners. Working with Community Engagement is a great place to get your project started. We connect faculty members to the non-profits and municipalities we work with in RI and southeastern MA. Project applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Short-Term Volunteer Opportunities

Need help unloading a delivery of donations? Looking for artistic volunteers to paint faces at a fair? Organizations often request students to volunteer for special events or programs. Many of our residence halls, clubs and athletics teams look for these types of experiences as a way to build their team while making a difference. GivePulse is the place to list these opportunities.


RWU hosts events year-round that are open to our community, such as visiting speakers, public forums, athletic events and theatrical performances.