5 Ways for Brown Students to Learn & Engage Over 2017-18 Winter Break

From exploring social challenges in Providence to tackling mini-internships in New York City, we've rounded up several programs for Brown students to consider over winter break.
by Anna Fireman '19, Storytellers Fellow
October 28, 2017

Brown University’s winter break provides a perfect opportunity for students to do something they care about and to try something new. With about a month off for vacation (Dec. 22, 2017-Jan. 24, 2018), Brown students are invited to make the most of that time through a variety of activities available both on and off campus.

1. Careers in the Common Good Winternships

This "mini-internships" program, which is run through a partnership between the Swearer Center and CareerLAB’s BrownConnect, places undergraduate Brown students at social enterprise and nonprofit organizations in Boston, New York City (pictured), San Francisco and Washington, D.C. for two weeks over winter break. Winternships provide students with the opportunity to experience working for innovative agencies, as well as to build professional skills through completing a concrete project. Some insight from Winternship participant Jessica Reisch ‘19: “My Winternship at Free Arts NYC provided me the opportunity to work closely with professionals on meaningful projects, while also allowing me the creative freedom to contribute my own ideas (like with arts curriculum development!).”

Interns will be awarded a $350 stipend to help cover food and local travel costs. Student interns must organize their own housing in the city that they are placed. Applications must be submitted by Oct. 30, 2017. Contact Lizzie Pollock ([email protected]) for more information.

2. Winter Break Providence

Swearer Center program Winter Break Providence gives students an opportunity to immerse themselves in the Providence community. Each WBP participant works on a particular social issue of their choosing with a team led by fellow student(s) who have passion and experience in the justice area. The teams reconvene each night for dinners, group sharing, learning opportunities, and guest lecturers. Some insight from WBP participant and Storytellers Fellow Jennah Gosciak ‘19:  

“My decision to participate in Winter Break Providence was one of the best decisions I've made at Brown. WBP reoriented my perspective away from campus and forced me to think critically about my position in the Providence community. I met so many people--both students and non-students--that have deeply influenced me.  I can honestly say that I would not be doing any of the things I'm doing currently if it were not for the conversations and meetings I had during that week.”

The program occurs from Jan. 13, 2018- Jan. 20, 2018. The program has 40 spots, and all Brown students are welcome to complete the need-blind application. WBP costs $100 for the week, and offers some financial aid. If accepted, students must provide a non-refundable $50 deposit. Applications for 2017-2018 winter break are due Nov. 10, 2017. Contact Lizzie Pollock ([email protected]) with questions.

3. Volunteer with Community Partners

When Brown students leave for winter break, many community partners face a shortage in volunteers. If you are in Providence for winter break, consider volunteering with one of Brown’s community partners. For more information on what opportunities are available, email Swearer Center staff members: Joshua Rodriguez ([email protected]) or Tiesha Sinouthasy ([email protected]).

4. Brown University Wintersession

Just launched last year, Brown’s Wintersession allows students to continue their coursework in a condensed timeframe. The courses are offered in a variety of disciplines, and  some even include travel opportunities. Each course is the equivalent of one Brown course credit. The coursework is equivalent to 180 hours of effort in and outside of the classroom, just like a semester-length course. A Wintersession course can count toward one of the thirty credits required to graduate.

Some courses include:

·      Decolonizing Museums: Collecting Indigenous Culture in Taiwan and North America.

·      HIV/AIDS in Diverse Settings: Focus on Israel

·      Living and Material Landscapes of the African Diaspora

·      Deep Thoughts v Big Data: Dostoevsky's Underground Man in the 21st Century

Check out more course offerings on the Brown website or email [email protected] with questions. Applications for courses that are by application only (noted in the individual course descriptions) are due Nov.1, 2017.

5. RISD Wintersession

If you want to get creative this winter break, consider registering for a RISD Wintersession course. For five weeks between RISD’s fall and spring semesters, RISD offers students a condensed opportunity to explore a discipline, topic, technique, or experimental process of their choosing. Innovative course offerings during RISD’s Wintersession are an incredible way to learn something awesome, as well as to connect with the RISD community. If you are interested in learning more about courses offered, email or visit the RISD registrar’s office [email protected].