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Swearer Center for Public Service

The Swearer Center for Public Service is a community of scholars, students, practitioners and community members that work together to build on community strengths and address community challenges. The Swearer Center’s work aims to catalyze student learning and commitment to lifelong civic engagement and responsibility to advance social justice. The Center is an important agent of Brown’s intent and obligation to ensure that the University makes meaningful, positive and sustainable contributions to the public good.

We build capacity and community among faculty, graduate students and staff interested in engaged teaching and research through communities of practice, consultations, funding, partnership development and programming collaborations with other units on campus. This helps us center community knowledge as a critical driver of understanding and working toward social justice.

The Swearer Center is located at 2 Stimson Avenue and has a satellite location, the Fidler Family Campus & Community Center, at 339 Eddy Street in Providence’s Jewelry District.

With 11 signature programs, some of the Swearer Center’s programs include:

  • The Bonner Community Fellowship is part of a national network of Bonner programs that aims to combine a student’s community engagement with their academic and career goals. Bonner Community Fellows are committed to working in a sustained, intentional and intensive way with a community partner that works to address issues in one of five focus areas: Education, Healthcare, Environment, Economic Justice and the Arts. Together with community partners, fellows strive to build socially just communities where people have the resources they need to reach their full potential.
  • The Engaged Scholarship Certificate (ESC), sponsored by the Sociology Department with the Swearer Center, allows students to investigate public, civic and/or social justice issues they are passionate about by integrating academic study with community-based learning, research and action. Students pursuing the ESC engage in intensive interdisciplinary inquiry into the issue they define as the focus of their certificate experience, coupled with direct engagement with communities, organizations and practitioners outside the university.
  • The Laidlaw Scholars Leadership and Research Program is an innovative scholarship that aims to develop a new generation of skilled researchers who embrace data-based decision-making and believe it is a moral imperative to lead with integrity. It invests in talented and motivated undergraduate students, giving them the knowledge, skills and experience to become active global citizens and future leaders.
  • The Social Innovation Fellowship provides undergraduate students with meaningful community engagement and social innovation experiences. Focusing on local partnerships and social impacts through the lens of innovation, this two-year developmental program offers students the opportunity to explore modes of social innovation and the tools required to start successful ventures or make transformational changes within existing organizations. Additionally, students’ work enhances the ability of nonprofit community organizations to use student talent effectively helping build organizational capacity while exploring ideas within the local social innovation ecosystem.

Contact Information:
Swearer Center for Public Service
Box 1974
2 Stimson Avenue
Providence, RI 02912
Phone (401) 863-2338
Fax (401) 863-3094