About Us


The mission of the Feinstein Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement is to support the University’s core purpose of strengthening society through engaged teaching and learning by meeting the needs of the community through fostering partnerships, encouraging and supporting service learning initiatives, and offering resources and opportunities for civic engagement.

History of Service Learning at Roger Williams University


  • RWU establishes the Volunteer Center, which functions as a clearinghouse for co-curricular service opportunities for students and is housed in the Department of Student Life (now Department of Residence Life).


  • The first of three annual Day of Service programs, a precursor to the current Community Connections program, is facilitated in November.


  • Alternative Spring Break launches its first trip in March.  After 5 months of pre-service orientation and planning, nine students and one staff member venture to Letcher County, KY to build houses with H.O.M.E.S Inc.
  • The Volunteer Center moves to the Career Center, reflecting both growing relationships with the non-profit community and common experiential learning goals.


  • RWU establishes the Feinstein Service Learning Program a result of a gift from Alan Shawn Feinstein and institutes a service graduation requirement for all undergraduate students and formally recognizes its first service-learning courses.
  • Data on 149 hours of service is collected.


  • “Commitment to community through service" is added to the University’s core values. 
  • FSL moves to the Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences under the direction of its first full-time coordinator.
  • The Community Service Work Study Program expands and the Bristol Reads literacy program is piloted in Bristol/Warren schools. 
  • Feinstein Service Learning Program becomes the Feinstein Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement. 
  • The first Mr. RWU Pageant, run by the Intern-residence Hall Association as a fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network, becomes the largest single fundraiser in RWU history by raising over $20,000.
  • Data on 6,600 hours of service is collected.


  • Community Connections, a service program involving all incoming students, is piloted. 
  • The University offers service learning courses in a variety of disciplines including architecture, education, electronic communication and management. 
  • RWU hosts its first AmeriCorps members through the VISTA and Scholarships for Service programs.
  • Data on 23,000 hours of service is collected.

2006 - 2009

  • RWU is named to the President’s National Honor Roll for Community Service by the Corporation for National and Community Service.


  • Students participate in the first international alternative spring break service trip to El Salvador through the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC).


  • Alternative Spring Break (ASB) expands to include a January trip through Habitat for Humanity (HFH).
  • Data on 52,000 hours of service is collected, more than doubling over 5 years.


  • RWU launches the Community Partnership Center (CPC), which undertakes academic service learning projects that benefit the local community, while providing RWU students with academically-related real world experience.  It is housed in the School of Art, Architecture, and Historic Preservation.


  • The Feinstein Center, CPC, and Career Center move to the newly formed Division of University Outreach and Engagement, a hub of departments and programs focused on external relationships and civic engagement work.
  • Faculty form the Community Engagement Faculty Learning Community, comprised of faculty focused on social justice issues and academically linked civic engagement.
  • RWU receives Davis Grant to promote and expand academic service learning and civic engagement. 


  • ASB adds a third HFH trip to their annual schedule.
  • Community Connections celebrates 10th Anniversary and hits the 56,500 service hours mark.
  • CPC posts their 130th academic service learning project and has to date engaged nearly 1,000 undergraduates.
  • The Career Center facilitates 159 internships that engage students in over 21,000 hours of unpaid, non-profit based placements.
  • Data on 65,000 hours of service is collected.


  • The University officially adopts a purpose of "to strengthen society through engaged teaching and learning", clearly connecting the work of the Feinstein Center to the University's overall public purpose efforts.  
  • The Feinstein Center and Community Partnerships Center join the Division of Academic Affairs under the direction of the Vice Provost. 
  • Data over 100,000 hours of service is collected. 


  • Based on the amazing growth and focus on community engagement, the University applies for the Carnegie Elective Classification in Community Engagement.  Decisions will be released in December 2019.