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An Exchange with Rhode Island State Universities

It truly is a give-and-take at Rhode Island colleges and universities. The schools the state boasts will give you the experience of a lifetime with its specialized programs. Plus, you can effortlessly give back to the school's many volunteer opportunities.

Oprah's Got Nothing on Rhode Island Universities
Open Books-Open Minds was launched at Rhode Island College (Providence, RI) recently. The program allows students, faculty, and members of the campus community to read books with a group to discuss themes and social implications from assigned text that draw upon many relevant subjects. Hey, if Oprah can have a book club, why can't Rhode Island state universities?

For instance, the book group will be reading Lynda Barry's "The Good Times are Killing Me," which delves into tough social issues. Don't be intimidated because the book uses a simple language to touch upon the intense subjects.

As the first of its kind at the school, about 1,000 students are participating this semester from English, political sciences, social work, nursing, education, and biology majors alike. Some of the events planned for the group include an evening with the author, a forum for alumni, and a forum for the community at large.

Rhode Island Universities Give Back
Rhode Island state universities give back to their community through various programs. In fact, Plymouth State University's (Providence, RI) motto is "Ut Prosim." What's that mean? The motto, which is carried on the school's Community Service Learning Center, keeps volunteers motivated as they participate in a variety of service projects.

Not only do these projects help the community, they give student volunteers an opportunity to take on leadership roles. Blood drives and volunteer work at local senior centers were on the group's agenda, as well as alternative spring break trips, and hunger and homelessness week.

"Plymouth State's commitment to service has allowed for me to strengthen my values, enhance my leadership skills, and truly make a difference in the lives of others,""says Katie Saraiva, childhood studies major at Plymouth State. "I feel confident in saying that any student who is committed to serve can find their niche at [my school]."

Starring at Universities in Rhode Island
Like Katie, many other students from Rhode Island state universities accomplish great feats. Some, on the volunteering level; others on the big screen. John O'Hurley, the accomplished TV and stage actor who starred as J. Peterman on "Seinfeld," for instance, is a Providence College (Providence, RI) alumnus. He'll be the honored speaker at the school's 2006 commencement.

The theater major maintained closed ties with his alma mater having sponsored a rehearsal room. Looking back, O'Hurley recalls how he got to do major roles in about 13 shows. Small parts are usually left for undergraduates. O'Hurley believes Providence College game him the tools he needed to pursue acting -- and evidently, he's right.

Want to give to and take from Rhode Island state universities? To take advantage of Rhode Island universities, do your research and see if they offer the program you're interested in.

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