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For Immediate Release:  April 21, 2014

Providence College, Providence Parks Department, and City Officials Collaborate to Build a Community Garden in Neighborhood Park

Providence, R.I. -- For the eighth consecutive year, Providence College alumni, staff, and students will work with the City of Providence in Friars United for Service in Our Neighborhood (FUSION). This year’s project will be to build a community garden at Corliss Park (located on Corina Street, off of Hawkins Street in Providence, R.I.). The event will be held on Saturday, April 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (best media opportunity from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.) 

   Fusion 2012 at Corliss Park in Providence, R.I.

Among those attending will be Mayor Angel Taveras and Providence City Council members, President Michael Solomon, and Councilman David Salvatore. 

 “The Providence College community understands both the importance and the value of giving back to the community.  Once again, we are pleased to focus the efforts of our annual FUSION event on Corliss Park.  We have seen great improvements at the Park over the last few years, and we are proud to have been a part of that effort.  We firmly believe that our contribution here today will continue to serve as a catalyst in assisting the City and the neighborhood in moving Corliss Park forward to a better and higher use,” said Providence College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P.

Providence Parks Department officials estimate that there has been more than $100,000 of labor donated to various projects by PC students, staff, alumni, and city employees in the first seven years of this ten-year partnership. Much of the work in the partnership’s early years occurred at the Esek Hopkins Homestead complex including new walkways and perimeter fencing in conformance with the historical structure, addition of a new turf soccer field, and playground apparatus on the adjoining athletic complex.

Corliss Park has been more of a focal point in the last few years.  In addition to this year’s planned activity, the College collaborated with Providence Parks to build a new playground at Corliss Park in 2012.  PC’s Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams also held a neighborhood clinic at Corliss Park last year to help celebrate the park’s refurbished basketball courts.

(In 2013, PC’s FUSION efforts refurbished Fargnoli Park near the intersection of Smith St. and Academy Ave. Presently, over 2,000 Providence College students volunteer just short of 50,000 hours annually at more than 200 different non-profit sites in the Greater Providence area.)

The unique partnership with city parks department officials was developed by the College’s President’s Council. The council is a leadership group, comprised of senior executives from many of Rhode Island’s most prominent employers, who serve in an advisory capacity to the College’s president.

The FUSION effort matches PC undergraduates with young alumni/alumnae who graduated between 2000 and 2013, regional alumni club leaders, members of the National Alumni Association Board of Governors, and members of the President’s Council. FUSION is designed to facilitate networking and service opportunities among students, alumni, College neighbors, and members of the Greater Providence community.  

According to PC officials, the partnership with the City of Providence has helped cultivate relationships on several levels. Alumni are role modeling for students how to stay connected with their alma mater. Some 18 executive mentors and upper-class student mentees are using the service project as another “touch point” as participants in the President’s Council’s innovative Executive Mentoring Program. Police officers assigned to the neighborhood are using the service day to further engage students living in the neighborhood. And Providence College is working with city officials to find creative ways to serve as an asset to the City. 

​​Chrissy Centazzo
Public Affairs, Community and Government Relations
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