Welcome to Brown!

Do you have an interest in community service? A desire to make a difference in the world?

Brown's educational philosophy promotes community engagement as a central component of its undergraduate education.  The Swearer Center for Public Service is a national model for exploring the intersections of scholarship and service, and for engaging students and faculty in community-based work in Providence and around the world.

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  • Each year roughly 700 volunteers participate in 20 student-led community programs throughout Providence;
  • Fellowships and internships support nearly 100 students each summer to engage in research or direct service around the world (and blog about it!);
  • Over 75 students have participated in the Social Innovation Initiative Fellowship to design, launch, or build on social ventures;
  • Brown’s pilot TRI-Lab brings faculty, community leaders, and undergraduate and graduate students together in a year-long seminar to engage with a complex social issue and explore solutions;
  • More than two dozen faculty meet regularly as part of the Engaged Scholars initiative to support the integration of community work within their research, teaching, and practice;
  • Almost 50 first year students arrive early on campus each year to participate in the UCAAP pre-orientation program and continue on with monthly seminars exploring Providence and issues of social change;
  • Each year, 12 recent graduates from Brown and other colleges commit a year or more to full time work in the College Advising Corps, one of the largest university-K-12 partnerships in the state;
  • In recent years, as many as 47% of Brown graduates have taken their first jobs working in the nonprofit or public sector.

Click the links below to learn more about all the ways you can get involved during your time at Brown!

Launch Into Service with UCAAP

The University Community Academic Advising Program (or UCAAP) is designed for students who want community service and social change work to be a central part of their Brown experience. UCAAP brings together a lively and engaged cohort of students together with advisors who will challenge and support their exploration of academic learning and effective community engagement. 

Coordinate A Community Partnership

Swearer's 20+ Community Partnership programs are built on strong, long-standing partnerships with community organizations and governmental agencies that work on critical social issues throughout Providence and the surrounding area. Each year, hundreds of Brown students volunteer or lead programs alongside peers, faculty, and local residents; learn more about Providence's many unique neighborhoods; and gain a knowledge of the community that enhances their learning in the classroom.

Be an Engaged Scholar

At Brown, you will be encouraged to develop relationships with faculty who are engaged in research and community-based scholarship. Sign up for courses as part of our Engaged Scholars initiative, which celebrates, supports, and strengthens the experiences of faculty and students who seek a purposeful integration of teaching, research, and practice with a goal of advancing scholarship and producing a public benefit.

Explore Fellowship and Funding Opportunities

Each year the Swearer Center awards over fifty fellowships to support undergraduate projects related to service and scholarship. These awards help the Center develop and support learning communities that bring students, faculty and community members together to explore questions of practice, purpose,  ethics and impact.

Discover Social Innovation

The Social Innovation Initiative (SII) promotes an open culture of collaborative learning and community impact at Brown through academic initiatives, venture support, advising, and a close, connected network of students, alumni, and practitioners. Since its launch in 2007, SII has advised and invested in over 100 students with big ideas for social change. 

About Our Community

When you applied to Brown, you may not have considered the contribution that the City of Providence could make to your educational experience. As America’s birthplace of religious freedom and the industrial revolution, a center for immigration and tolerance, Providence is a fascinating and provocative city that can provide an important context for your Brown education. Providence is frequently touted as a “renaissance city,” and a leading example of new urbanism. At the same time it is a city that faces many of the issues that challenge urban America. As the largest city in the state (and the second largest city in New England) and as the capitol city, Providence affords students easy access to governmental officials, and the leading policy and advocacy organizations in the state.  Brown students have unique access to direct service work as well as opportunities to engage in research, policy and advocacy.

Come Talk to Us

The Swearer Center is located in a cozy house not far from the Main Green at 25 George Street (with additional offices on the second floor of J. Walter Wilson). We act as a resource for students seeking service opportunities and as a hub for community building, conversation, and action. We encourage you to take full advantage of our opportunities for community engagement while at Brown.

To learn more about the Swearer Center and any of the information listed above, attend our session during A Day on College Hill. Otherwise, feel free to contact us with any questions you might have.

Again, welcome to Brown!