Providence College/Smith Hill Annex

October 12, 2017

To the Providence College Community:

As we move to the mid-point of the fall semester, we wanted to share with the campus community a brief update on the Providence College/Smith Hill Annex (“the Annex”).  We are pleased to report that the Annex, which opened in 2012 and is located at 231 Douglas Ave., remains very much active and in daily use.

PC has been leasing 1,000 square-feet of space at the Douglas Avenue location for the Annex with the simple purpose of fostering conversation between members of the College and Smith Hill communities. The goals are increased mutual understanding and opportunities for collaboration. The Annex supports immediate, short-term initiatives like potlucks, information nights, exhibitions, recruitment events and meetings.  It also supports courses, workshops, board meetings and retreats of campus and community groups, and ongoing projects that serve campus and community.

As you may have noticed, the building in which the Annex operates has been in transition for some time. Originally developed by the Smith Hill Community Development Corporation, the building was foreclosed by an out-of-state mortgage company and put up for sale. A series of bureaucratic snafus delayed the sale for over a year. The new owners – DeCrescenzo Chiropractic – closed on the sale in September. During the transition, the Annex moved from the north end to the south end of the building.  Now that the sale is complete, we will be able to move signage, paint and settle in. All users of the Annex appreciate the patience and consistent support of campus administrators, Smith Hill CDC staff and the new owners through this long process.

The Annex currently has 17 community and campus groups using the space on a regular basis, and an additional 20 more groups have used the space over the past year.

Here are some brief stories:

-For five years the Annex has been hosting an interdisciplinary special topics course series called “The City and…” that uses the city of Providence as its primary learning platform. This spring the course will explore “The City and Its Artifacts.” Half the students are from Providence College and half from College Unbound, a college for working adults.  The diversity of life experiences and perspectives makes for rich, deep conversation.

-Young Voices a group of over 400 youth with intensive leadership development, supports young people to become skilled leaders who advocate for policy change at the state, local, and school levels.  They find the Annex to be a comfortable space to convene youth, alumni and partners for conversation, training, networking and planning.  They also use it year round for Host Committee meetings, Alumni Gatherings, and their Summer Program.

-As part of the Providence College Global Studies Department’s new Peer Mentorship Program, student mentors led freshmen majors on a community walk around Smith Hill.  Pre and post-walk workshop discussions were held at the Annex.

-Over the past couple of years, the Annex staff have been part of the planning committee for the Smith Hill Block Party.  This event has had around 700 people in attendance and is supported financially by PC.  Two consistent Annex groups (Project 401 and the Banjo Group) both performed at the event this year.  Project 401 is a local hip hop group, and the Providence Slow Banjo Group is a grass-roots band; both practice weekly at the Annex.

-It is in the Annex where 12 representatives from different CDC’s and public housing authorities from NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley’s Accessing Home Initiative meet to trouble shoot and problem solve some of the housing problems facing Rhode Islanders from all over the state; Woonsocket to Newport!

The “mix” of Annex users continues to evolve: where the majority used to be nonprofit organizations, we now have a mix of statewide convenings, board meetings, information sessions, one-time events, and grassroots efforts such as ethnic associations, music groups, and gamers.  A conversation with Greg Ricks will be occurring at the Annex later this month.  Greg is the dean of multicultural education at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa, and a longtime leader in racial equity in higher education.  A monthly speaker series focused on racial equity and current events will begin in January.

If you are interested in initiating a conversation, project, course or event at the Annex, please contact Lizzie Kravatz at the e-mail address, smithhillannex@providence.edu.

 

Sincerely, The Annex Management Team

Brian Bartolini, Academic Affairs
Gail Dyer, General Counsel’s Office
Warren Gray, Business Services
Lizzie Kravitz, Graduate Assistant, Public and Community Service Studies
Dr. Keith Morton, Public and Community Service Studies
Steve Maurano, Public Affairs, Government & Community Relations

 

Steven J. Maurano ‘78
Associate Vice President
Public Affairs & Community Relations
Providence College
Harkins Hall 217
1 Cunningham Square
Providence, RI 02918
401-865-2775 office
401-486-9899 cell
smaurano@providence.edu
Twitter: @SteveMaurano