RWU connecting students with community needs

By Patricia Daddona
PBN Staff Writer

Literacy Volunteers of Washington County is a small nonprofit in Westerly with two big problems: lack of brand identity and a website with limited capacity to upload updates and photographs. More

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HIGHER EDUCATION

RWU connecting students with community needs

By Patricia Daddona
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 10/7/13

Literacy Volunteers of Washington County is a small nonprofit in Westerly with two big problems: lack of brand identity and a website with limited capacity to upload updates and photographs.

Enter, faculty and students at Roger Williams University in Bristol who will create a logo for the nonprofit and modernize the outdated website. With limited resources, it hasn’t been possible for staff to do these things, said Ruth Tureckova, Literacy Volunteers’ executive director.

“It is phenomenal for a small nonprofit to have this sort of expertise available to us,” Tureckova said. “For 31 years we’ve had no logo, you can just never get to it. Now we can get to it.”

The project is one of 27 to be started this academic year through RWU’s Community Partnerships Center. The center provides help with projects to nonprofit organizations, municipalities, government agencies and low- and moderate-income communities in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts.

Students, meanwhile, gain real-world experience within the disciplines they are studying, said CPC Director Arnold Robinson.

With more than 50 projects completed to date, the work can involve everything from market research or environmental-sustainability planning to such current projects as revitalizing a roof garden at Sophia Academy in Providence, a school for girls at risk for repeating a family cycle of poverty.

In its third year, the CPC had 90 applications from groups, communities and nonprofits, for the fall semester, said Robinson. He and Project Coordinator Stephany Hessler selected 27 projects to pursue.

Tureckova applied in April and was notified in May that her two projects have been approved. She met recently with a class of 25 students who will work on the website and five other students who will work on the logo branding and design, she said.

This year’s crop of projects broadens the CPC’s scope of work to more than 30 disciplines and expands its presence regionally with new nonprofit partners in Massachusetts and Cape Cod.

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