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 "After spending the entire summer fretting over how I would feel underrepresented at a place like RISD, the program really helped ease my worries. Now I have a fantastic mentor whom I value as a very dear friend.” - Thrive Student

Project Thrive is a multi-year student support and learning community program designed specifically for RISD students whose parents did not attend or did not complete college. The program provides students with opportunities to reflect on their identities and embrace the strengths and assets they hold as first-generation college students. Project Thrive challenges students to think critically about their social and cultural identities, aspire to and achieve academic excellence, enhance their leadership skills, and begin to build a path towards professional and personal success.


Project Thrive engages students through:

  • Pre-Orientation Experience: First-year students get a crash course on life at RISD; connect with need-to-know faculty, staff, and students; and spend time building relationships with other students. This year, incoming students interested in Project Thrive are strongly encouraged to apply for RISD First Generation College Student Pre-Orientation Program, which will also serve as Project Thrive's pre-orientation.

  • Mentorship: Students are connected to a faculty/staff and peer mentor and build strong connections with ISE staff.

  • Programming: During the first-year at RISD, Project Thrive students meet with RISD faculty, staff, and alumni to engage in developmental sessions to help ensure a positive first-year experience and create a foundation for success. Sophomore and Junior year students meet once a month for sessions on maximizing their time at RISD through high-impact experiences such as studying abroad, internships, and leadership opportunities.  They are also invited to support the transition of our first-year cohort.

  • Community: Students experience Project Thrive as a cohort. Thrivers build strong relationships with each other that last throughout their years at RISD and beyond.  Students participate in community and cultural events at RISD and within the
    Providence community.

The essential goals of the program are:

  • To honor the strengths and assets that first-generation students inherently hold and highlight how they positively contribute to the RISD community as makers and doers.

  • To guide first-year, first-generation students’ transition and connect them to the RISD community in a meaningful way that allows them to have a full and positive RISD experience.

  • To provide engaging programs and tailored workshops that foster skill development, critical consciousness, and community.

  • To illuminate and explore the many intersections of identity and to help students embrace and express their unique identity in positive and creative ways.

  • To offer an affinity space where students of alike identities can debrief shared experiences, connect across similarities and differences, and be their authentic selves

  • To provide RISD faculty, staff, and alumni with an opportunity to guide students as they develop the skills for success inside and outside of the classroom/studio and beyond the RISD experience.

  • To leverage the strength of community by establishing meaningful relationships between students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Learn more about Project Thrive

Important Things to Know....

  • Incoming students interested in Project Thrive are strongly encouraged to apply for RISD First Generation College Student Pre-Orientation Program (FGC POP), which will also serve as Project Thrive's pre-orientation.

  • Students who attend RISD FGC POP will automatically be invited to be part of Project Thrive.

  • If you are interested in Project Thrive but unable to attend RISD FGC POP, you can still be part of Project Thrive during the academic year.


For more information, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at or by phone at 401.277.4908.

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