Civic Engagement Series

The Swearer Center's Civic Engagement Series brings together students, faculty, staff and community to learn, reflect and take action. Each semester, through a series of workshops, presentations and convenings, participants engage with multiple strategies that communities are using to effect social change around an issue impacting Providence & Rhode Island.

The Spring 2023 series, focusing on Housing Justice, is co-sponsored by the Urban Studies Program and the Warren Alpert Medical School. See below for more information on events in the series.



Civic Engagement Series Kick-Off Event

Friday, Feb. 24th, 1-2:30 p.m.
Location: Friedman Hall Room 102

Dannie Ritchie, MD, MPH, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
Rochelle Lee, Commissioner of the Providence Public Housing Authority

Join Dannie Ritchie, MD, MPH and Rochelle Lee, Commissioner of the Providence Public Housing Authority as they lead a presentation and conversation describing the history of Urban Renewal on the East side and development of the two cities of Providence. You will understand the differences between displacement and gentrification, and the interplay of housing development, developers, affordable housing, and policy to create housing and protect people of Providence from displacement.

Register for event

Healthy and Sustainable Communities through Housing Services 

Wednesday, March 8th, 4 - 5:30 p.m.
Location: Friedman Hall Room 102

West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation

Monah Rhodes, NeighborWorks Homeownership Counselor
Lisa Galloway, NeighborWorks Homeownership Counselor & Lending Coach

Join Monah Rhodes and Lisa Galloway, HUD Certified Housing Counselors at the West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, as they lead a presentation describing how their organization helps people demystify "creditworthiness", and how education can help underserved communities avoid the usual traps that allow homes to be foreclosed on.

Register for event

Women & Housing: A Rhode Island Snapshot

Tuesday, March 28th, 10 a.m.
Location: Roger Williams University, 1 Empire St.

HousingWorks RI at Roger Williams University

Sabina Matos, Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island
Meghan Kallman, Rhode Island State Senator
June Speakman, Rhode Island State Representative

HousingWorks RI (HWRI) is hosting an event co-sponsored by Women's Fund RI centered around the release of their latest infographic that explores the housing-related challenges facing women in Rhode Island. HWRI, whose mission is to inform public policy through its research, will have three politicians speaking at the event: Sabina Matos, Meghan Kallman and June Speakman. While this event is not officially in the Civic Engagement Series, HWRI is partnering with the Series on our Walking Tours. Additionally, Bonner Fellow Ariana Clark '24 collaborated with HWRI to conduct and organize the infographic's research.

Event information is available here. RSVP to [email protected]

Housing Justice Advocacy from the Lens of a Student Group: A Conversation with HOPE

Wednesday, April 12th, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Location: Friedman Hall Room 202

Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE)

Ben Ringel, Class of 2026
Gabriela Paz-Soldan, Class of 2024
Julie Rojas, Class of 2023

Members of Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE) will present on the organization’s advocacy efforts, including past successes and challenges. The workshop will feature an overview of the different kinds of work that HOPE members engage in as well as the ways HOPE advocacy has evolved since its inception. Participants can also expect a discussion of the unique opportunities and obstacles facing HOPE as a student-run activist group, which will touch on central questions around accountability and impact. HOPE is a student-run organization fighting for housing justice through direct service, education, and advocacy.  

Register for event

Health and Housing: The Intersections of Health Equity and Affordable Housing in Rhode Island


Thursday, April 20th, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Location: Salomon Center Room 001

ONE Neighborhood Builders

Belinda Philippe, Director of Community Building and Operations

Belinda Philippe, Director of Community Building and Operations, ONE Neighborhood Builders (ONE|NB), will share insights on the intersections of health equity and affordable housing and how ONE|NB and other Rhode Island organizations are advancing efforts in these areas. Through this presentation, participants will learn how ONE|NB’s role as a community development corporation shapes its work, about Central Providence and Rhode Island’s place-based efforts to advance economic and health equity, and how ONE|NB’s permanent supportive housing combines resident supportive services and quality, affordable housing.

Register for event

Follow Their Lead: Lessons From the Youth-Led Movement to Eradicate Homelessness in Rhode Island

Tuesday, April 25th, 5:00 - 6:30 p.m.
Location: Salomon Center Room 001

RI Coalition to End Homelessness and the Youth Action Board

​Benji Chaplin (they/ them)
Michelle Duso (she/ them)
Suzan Adekunle (she/ her)
Tatiana Reis (she/ her)


Follow Their Lead offers a window into the movement to end youth homelessness that has been co-created by youth and adults who value, respect, and honor them. Presenters will share their experiences building community and culture as they also designed the statewide Coordinated Community Plan (CCP) to guide a $3.5M federal investment they helped secure. They’ll discuss power, privilege, youth and partner engagement, moving at the pace of trust while meeting funder expectations, humanizing processes that are built to do otherwise, strategies for centering and protecting the community, and the process of transitioning from goal setting to implementation as a community. The values and principles that have enabled the Youth Action Board (YAB) and adult allies to co-create goals and initiatives fueled by and in service of love, joy, and community will be highlighted. This interactive session will also include an introduction to the priorities outlined in the CCP and ways to get involved and will be led by members of the YAB and adult partners.

Register for event




​Contact [email protected] with any questions.