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Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter partners with Roger Williams University for 100 Years of Service Campaign

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The exhibit has turned out better than we could have ever hoped.

Student Project Becomes Focal Point of Centennial Celebration

 The American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter is celebrating 100 years of service to the Rhode Island community. As part of the celebration, the Red Cross has partnered with Roger Williams University (RWU) to create the signature piece of the Centennial celebration.

Led by RWU Faculty Member John Farmer, graphic design students from the University created the “Century of Service” Traveling Exhibit as part of a Community Partnerships Center project. To build the exhibit – which includes 12 large poster panels – RWU students met with leaders from the American Red Cross Rhode Island chapter to research its history and identify historical objects, articles and photos that formed the exhibit’s historical timeline which depicts significant milestones and achievements of the organization over the last century. Some milestones featured include the USS Bennington disaster, the Hurricanes of 1938 and 1944 and the Red Cross Water Safety Program which started with native Rhode Islander Commodore W.E. Longfellow.

“The Red Cross has been an integral part of the Rhode Island community for 100 years, helping prevent and relieve suffering in a myriad of services” said Tempie Thompson, Executive Director, American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter. “We knew we needed a signature piece to commemorate this important event in our history. When we heard the University was interested in partnering with us for a real-world project for students, we jumped at the chance. The exhibit has turned out better than we could have ever hoped.”

Adjunct Professor John Farmer led the project between the American Red Cross and the students to mirror the project work that takes place in graphic design studios in the industry.

“The collaboration on this project between RWU and the American Red Cross has allowed the students to gain valuable, hands-on work experience that they can directly apply in the field as they start their careers,” says Farmer. “Similar to a design studio setup, the students were able to work together collectively to find common solutions that were responsive to the needs of the client. I’m very proud of their leadership and work with this project.”

Recognizing an opportunity to build her skillset and gain valuable work experience, Roger Williams University Student Augustina Dickinson joined the graphic design course for the opportunity to work with the American Red Cross and has been able to showcase her work from the collaboration to secure an internship this summer with a marketing agency in New York City.

“It’s been an amazing experience to work with the American Red Cross and to lead a project where we are able to work directly with a client to help them accomplish their goals and have a direct impact on what they are working to achieve,” says Dickinson. “The entire semester – from working collectively with other students as a team to incorporating the client’s feedback into the design – has provided me a greater understanding of how I can apply my knowledge and skills in the field and I’m confident this work will continue to open additional opportunities for me moving forward.”

In addition to the exhibit, the students are also creating a social media campaign and developing marketing collateral to help promote the traveling exhibit including worksheet activities and games that encourages young students to learn about the history of the Red Cross while viewing the exhibit.

The exhibit will be on display on the University’s Bristol campus in the library from May 1 -14, 2016. Information on the “Centruy of Service Traveling Exhibit can be found by visiting

The Rhode Island Red Cross Centennial Celebration will culminate in a special event on September 17, 2016 at the Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, 100 years after the formation of the Rhode Island Chapter in Newport in September 1916. For more information visit

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.