The Student Body—It would be hard to find a more engaged, passionate, committed and smart group of students. Everyone we spoke to feels compelled to make a difference, to work towards improving our society upon graduation. We asked many: What do you love about Brown? What do you dislike about Brown? No one had anything negative to say. Maybe we asked the wrong people, but overall we’d say this is a very happy group.
The Campus-If you were a Hollywood director looking to cast a campus as a star, Brown would audition well. Stately wrought iron gates surround the Green, with the iconic Van Wickle Gates opening just twice a year: welcoming new students at Convocation and saying goodbye to seniors as they walk through at graduation. The history and tradition are palpable you wander the main and lower quads where old 19th century buildings sit side by side with public art installations such as Giuseppe Penone’s Ideas of Stone and Urs Fischer’s 23 ft tall Baby-blue teddy bear. Like it or loathe it, the bear, on loan for 5 years is hard to miss.
Core Requirements-Unique to the Ivies, Brown offers an open curriculum encouraging students to study broadly and experiment. Classes can be taken pass/fail, and many students stated that this led them to take classes in subjects they would have otherwise stayed away from.
RISD—It’s hard to see where Brown’s campus ends and RISD’s begins, as the two schools border each other. Brown students and RISD students can take classes at each other’s institutions, offering a chance to explore subjects outside of ones major. RISD has an impressive art museum and their student’s influence is visible all around Providence, reflected in great design in the eclectic coffee shops, bakeries and cafes around town. Plus they often sell great t-shirts on the street, keep your eye out for that!
College Town-Thayer Street is the typical college street with an array of fast food, the school bookstore and coffee and tea shops. NY’s hot vegan cafe BY Chloe is opening in the fall and there are rumors of a Shake Shack coming soon. On the opposite side of campus, Wickenden Street also caters to Brown’s students with a mini restaurant row and student favorites such as Brickway, Duck and Bunny, Amy’s Café and every colleges quintessential coffee hangout—Coffee Exchange.
Downtown-Providence is undergoing an urban renewal and the downtown is lively with art installations, cool cafes and eclectic shopping. The Dean Hotel is a meeting place for a morning coffee at Bolt, known for having Providence’s best coffee. Locals love the artisan cocktails at the Eddy, or grabbing a beer at Trinity Brewhouse, The Malted Barley or Foolproof. The historic Columbus Theatre, a venue for live music, attracts indie artists and local musicians.
Eat Well-The restaurant scene in Providence is hot. Oberlin was named one of the Top Ten restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit in 2016. But that’s not all; excellent dining can be found at Persimmon, North, Birch, Il Forno and Bacaro—just to name a few.
Historic Architecture-Have your camera handy as you wander College Hill, Providence’s original settlement. From early colonial to 20th century triple-deckers the homes are swoon worthy especially in late spring when the wisteria is in full bloom. Indulge your inner architect--some of these beautiful former mansions have been carved into apartments and can be rented on Airbnb.
Travel -The Amtrak runs out of Providence Station, just a 5-minute drive from campus. It’s only one hour to Boston and just over three hours by the Acela to NYC. Alternatively, students sometimes share an Uber to Boston with their friends for the reasonable cost of $55, but note that the return fare from Boston is double that. Nearby day trips include Jamestown, Newport and Narragansett.
Convenience -Two Whole Foods border campus and the Providence Place mall, downtown, is home to a Bed, Bath and Beyond, Apple Store, all the typical mall stores and a Cinema De Lux Movie Multiplex. Students don’t need to write home for supplies, everything is an Uber ride away.