Winter Break Projects

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What are Winter Break Projects (WBP)?

Imagine spending a week of intensive learning and living with a group of fellow students, exploring critical social issues in Providence.

Unlike most university break projects that engage in direct service, WBP focuses on investigation and collaborative learning. Thirty-five Brown students live together in a church in downtown Providence to explore and engage with local issues such as affordable housing, homelessness, urban education, equitable health care, refugee services, environmental justice and homelessness.

During the week, students meet with policy makers, service providers, politicians, activists and community members to better understand both the context for these issues and the skills and commitment required to create meaningful social change.

“Action after education is the only path to meaningful, sustainable change, and Winter Break Projects is a first step in that direction.”

– 2015 WBP participant

What will I do?

As a participant in WBP, you will join a small investigative team. During the day, each team focuses on a particular issue, led by student(s) with extensive experience and passion for the issue. In the evening, all 35 participants come together for dinner and group learning.

The 2016 Winter Break Projects will focus on the following six investigations:

  • The Road to Ending Homelessness in Rhode Island
  • Beyond Healthcare: The Social Determinants of Health in Providence
  • Understanding Refugee Communities in Rhode Island 
  • Environmental Justice and Activism in Rhode Island
  • Equity, Theory, and Policy: The State of Education in Providence 

Learn more: 

How can I participate?

Dates for the 2016 WBP are January 17-23 and takes place in Providence.  Students make their own way back to Brown and at the conclusion of WBP can move into their dorm rooms for the spring semester. 

In October we hold a series of information sessions about Winter Break Projects including introductions to investigative team leaders. We welcome a diverse pool of participants, including community service and public policy veterans and students with little or no experience in community work. 

Students must apply to participate, and since we always have more applicants than we can accommodate, students are encouraged to put careful thought into their application. In the application, we ask students to rank investigative projects in order of interest, and we work hard to place each student with their first or second choice.

Cost for the week is $85 and some financial aid is available. If accepted, students will be asked to pay a non-refundable $50 deposit by Monday, November 16.

Applications are currently closed. The link will be posted here on October 15 and applications will be due on November 5. 

Contact Alan Flam for more information or questions regarding financial aid.