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Carie Hertzberg, RICC executive director, left, with
Miranda O’Hayer, project director

Open house set for Feb. 27

R.I. Campus Compact Welcomed to PC 

Providence College is the new home of the Rhode Island Campus Compact (RICC), housing the organization and staff in the Feinstein Academic Center.

Previously hosted at the Rhode Island School of Design, RICC is an affiliate of a national organization of more than 1,200 colleges and universities.

As members of the compact, all 12 institutions of higher learning in Rhode Island work together to promote community service, civic engagement, and service learning for students and faculty.

To support this mission, RICC provides resources, professional development, and grant funding to assist in building transformational partnerships with community-based organizations through teaching, service, and research.

Carie Hertzberg, executive director of RICC, is grateful that Providence College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. ’80 offered to host the organization for the next four years. She looks forward to working with faculty, staff, and students to tighten the bond between the community and higher-education institutions.

“PC was a perfect move for the organization. We are excited to be on a campus that is nationally known for its community-based work and look forward to building new and innovative programs with the College that will serve the campus and the state of Rhode Island,” said Hertzberg.

PC is the home of the nation’s first undergraduate degree program in public and community service studies.

Civic duty: Opportunities to give back

Since becoming a member of RICC in 1993, PC, in conjunction with the Feinstein Institute for Public Service, has embraced several programs administered by the compact and has engaged students in meaningful, civic-minded activities.

One of the best known of these programs is AmeriCorps*VISTA. This year-long national service program provides a living allowance for college graduates interested in building the capacity of campus/community partnerships to respond to the ongoing challenges of low-income communities.

This year’s PC VISTA volunteer is Samantha Bergbauer ’12 (Barrington, N.J.), a public and community service studies graduate who is serving in the Feinstein Institute and working at the new Providence College/Smith Hill Annex. The College-leased storefront on Douglas Avenue is available for use by campus and community groups for the purpose of dialogue and collaboration.

Bergbauer also oversees PC’s EXPLORE! Program, which promotes awareness of, access to, and readiness for college among first-generation, urban high school students while, at the same time, supporting and enhancing the educational experiences of students.

“As a VISTA volunteer, I’ve been given so many practical and valuable experiences to develop my skills on a professional level,” said Bergbauer. “I have also been provided with great connections, which will benefit me in the future. I’ve especially loved being with the Feinstein Institute at Providence College for another year, working to connect the campus with the community.” 

RICC also coordinates the Scholarships for Service: Student Civic Fellows Program. This part-time AmeriCorps experience offers 100 Rhode Island college students Education Awards of $1,175 for 300 hours of public service.

Eight PC students are currently participating in the Scholarships for Service program. These students serve as community liaisons with the Feinstein Institute and work with youth serving organizations in the surrounding neighborhoods.

RICC’s Partnerships for Success Initiative is aimed at fostering productive collaborations among Rhode Island’s colleges, universities, and pre-K to 12 public schools.

As director of the Feinstein Institute, Dr. Richard M. Battistoni, professor of political science and professor of public and community service studies, has a natural connection to the work of RICC and trusts that the organization’s move will create the synergy needed to provide the best opportunities for RICC and PC.

“It is significant for Father Shanley to have made a commitment to host RICC for four years, as it also means a commitment on his part to serve on the executive board,” said Battistoni. “In my mind, it marks the uniting of PC’s prominent and unique civic engagement program with the statewide body charged with promoting service learning and civic engagement in higher education.”

Open house planned

RICC will host an open house on Wednesday, February 27, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. in Room 404 of the Feinstein Academic Center. The event will provide an opportunity for the College community to meet the RICC staff and learn more about its programs.

— John Larson
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