Providence College Students: Transforming Society 2022

“No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens
the burden of another,”

– Author Unknown.

Providence College (PC) students perform thousands of hours of community service annually. Eager to give back to the community that they have called home for the last four years, community service initiatives play a vital role in the PC experience. More than 100 community agencies, schools, and other non-profit sites in the Greater Providence area benefited from PC students’ volunteer time and talent this academic year. Many of the in-person service activities that had to be cancelled, postponed, or altered due to the Covid-19 pandemic last year, were fortunately reinstated this year. Volunteer service is provided through the Office of the Chaplain/Campus Ministry, the Office of Student Affairs, the Feinstein Institute for Public Service, the Office of Public Affairs, Government and Community Relations, the Student Athlete Advisory Council, and many of the College’s student clubs, organizations, and service-learning classes.

FriarServe is a service initiative now in its fifth year. In 2017, PC committed a $100,000 gift to Catholic schools in the Diocese of Providence in celebration of the College’s Centennial and in support of Catholic education in RI. In 2021, PC announced a second gift of $100,000, reaffirming the College’s support of Catholic education in the diocese. The College’s gifts were made through the Diocesan Catholic School Office (CSO) in equal sums for four years, with two major components. The money is used for scholarships given to students attending Catholic elementary and secondary schools via the CSO’s Anchor of Hope Fund, a diocesan financial assistance fund that helps financially strapped families secure a Catholic school education for their children. A portion of the funds are set aside specifically for five Catholic Pre-K – 8 schools in the Greater Providence area: Bishop McVinney School (South Providence), Blessed Sacrament School (Mt. Pleasant), St. Augustine School (also Mt. Pleasant), St. Pius V School (Elmhurst) and St. Rocco School (Johnston).

Perhaps the most important aspect of FriarServe is its community service component. PC students, staff and faculty are invited to volunteer their time to each of the five above-mentioned schools during the academic year. Not all schools have the same programs, but all have more than one. FriarServe continued its dedicated service to several Catholic schools in Providence in a mixed in-person and virtual manner again this academic year, providing activities including art club, cheer club, tutoring, classroom assistance, homework help, and civic engagement programming as well as reading times in person and via Zoom.

Volunteer statistics for the fifth year of FriarServe are as follows:

Total numbers of volunteers for 2021-2022: 113; Total number of volunteer hours: 457

Other notable PC student service projects:

  • In its eleventh year, the FaithWorks pre-orientation service immersion program was thrilled be fully in person again this past August 2021. More than 65 PC first-year students participated in the program, led by upperclassmen peers. Sponsored by Campus Ministry, FaithWorks enables new PC students to build community with their peers, perform service work for vulnerable populations in Providence, and reflect on the significance of this work for their own lives. The participants were able to serve with sites in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including My Brother’s Keeper, St. Edward’s Food and Wellness Center, St. Patrick Academy and Church; St. Pius V. School and Church; McAuley Ministries and Habitat for Humanity Providence.

Established in 1993, the Feinstein Institute for Public Service at Providence College was created to support the major and minor in Public and Community Service Studies. After two decades, the Institute turned its efforts to campus-community partnerships aimed at addressing the larger questions underlying our public and community service systems. Over the past two years, the Institute has worked with campus and community partners to focus its efforts on questions of racial and economic justice, particularly for youth and families, both locally and globally. To date, the Institute has 37 community partners.

  • The Feinstein Institute’s Community Work Study Program partnered with 17 schools and non-profits within the Providence area. Forty-three students participated in the program and used their federal work study award to work with our partners in the local community as an after-school tutor, health care advocate, or social media intern. The students have worked over 7,400 hours within the community over the past year and gained professional experience working in non-profits and schools which has created lasting, community-wide systems that welcome and support students and Providence community members.
  • The Feinstein Institute’s Feinstein Community Fellows Program brings together undergraduate students and community partners who share the Feinstein Institute’s commitment to overcoming racial inequity, local and global poverty, and barriers to young people’s capacity to achieve their aspirations. Now in its fourth year, the program matched 14 PC students with ten different community organizations. The Fellows were given their own project responsibilities that ranged from restructuring the bilingual volunteer training at the RI Free Clinic, to enhancing the training and workshops at Mentor RI, to building graduate support and mentoring at Sophia Academy. All of the Fellows participated in bi-weekly meetings to reflect on their service and examine social justice, non-profits, power, and privilege. Together, they completed over 2,800 hours of service throughout the 2021-2022 school year.


  • The Athletic Department’s commitment to service others, and our surrounding community remained consistently strong as demonstrated by the following data:
    • 2017-18 – 2,060 service hours | $28,800 raised
    • 2018-19 – 3,547 service hours | $49,500 raised
    • 2019-20 – 3,244 service hours | $82,486 raised
    • 2020-21 – 406 service hours* | $51,685 raised* Virtual only due to COVID
    • 2021-22 – 3,380 service hours $69,601 raised
  • Finished 7th in the country for Division 1 community service hours for the Fall semester for the annual NCAA Helper Helper Teamworks Challenge which is tops in the BIG EAST Conference
  • Every PC student-athlete, representing 19 varsity sports, participated in a range of community service projects throughout the academic year. There were 428 participants out in the community representing the Friars. In total, they raised $69,601 for various charitable organizations for 2021-22. Student-athletes understand giving back to the surrounding community and are committed to demonstrating the Athletic Department’s core values: Valiance, Excellence, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability, and Service (VERITAS).
  • Each year, students work with local elementary schools through their participation in the annual Reading Week event. 15 student-athletes read to the students and answered questions about attending college, reaching out to hundreds of youths. Another major initiative was a partnership with The DaVinci Center and the Adopt-a-Family Project, which afforded over 350 Christmas gifts to 130 children and 44 families.

• The swimming and diving team raised more than $50,000 for Swim Across America’s nationwide virtual swim event this year to benefit cancer research.

• 79 Freshman Student-Athletes supplied 100 Easter Baskets to the Smith Hill Early Childhood Development Center as well as over 100 Homeless Kits in partnership with Campus Ministry as part of the Friar Edge Student-Athlete Development Program which launched earlier this year.

• 261 Student-Athletes participated in the nightly Good Night Lights initiative outside Hasbro Children’s Hospital to say goodnight and offer encouragement for those battling severe disease.

• PC Athletics partnered with Team IMPACT, a national non-profit organization that matches children facing serious illnesses and disabilities with college athletic teams across the country. Three teams signed youth to National Letters of Intent this year (Lacrosse, Women’s Ice Hockey & Swimming/Diving). Men’s & Women’s Soccer will be signing their matches this summer.

• 376 Student-Athletes donated to Providence College during the annual Friars Give 24 Hour Day of giving raising $1,120 for the College.

The PC community also supported numerous charitable organizations:

  • The School of Continuing Education (SCE) and the Eta Lambda chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society for Adults in Continuing Education donated to the College’s overall Thanksgiving Food Drive for the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday.
  • The School of Continuing Education conducted their annual “Adopt-a-Family” Christmas drive. This year, the SignUp Genius tool was used which allowed those who wanted to donate to choose their donation gift electronically this year. SCE was able to purchase gifts and necessities requested by one family referred to SCE by the Smith Hill Community Development Center (Smith Hill CDC).
  • For the sixth year in a row, the President’s Standing Committee on Service (“the Service Board”) coordinated a Thanksgiving Drive, in partnership with the Smith Hill CDC and Mary House, the social ministry of St. Patrick’s Parish in Providence. The Board raised over $6,000 in monetary donations which helped provide a free Thanksgiving meal of a turkey and fixins to 320 local families. These families were also presented with a gift card to local retail stores.
  • Thanks to the generosity of the Friar Family (students, faculty, alumni, and families), the Office of Campus Ministry collected over 450 gifts for children at the Smith Hill Early Childhood Development Center and San Miguel School. Additionally, supplies for over 150 Homeless Care Kits were also donated and assembled during the Spring Semester by students. Students then gave out these care kits throughout the semester to those experiencing homelessness in Providence.
  • Adapting and responding to COVID realities and restrictions, student leaders in Service and Justice were able, once again, to be in-person and serve the local community. This included a new partnership with the local PVD Habitat for Humanity in which some students served as interns, assisted with weekend builds, and spent their spring break helping to install flooring and paint rooms for a house on the south side of Providence.