University News

U. supports local holiday shopping initiative

Staff Writer
Thursday, December 6, 2012

The University is sponsoring the first-ever “Brown Shops Local!” event today as part of a larger city initiative to support local merchants. A free shuttle service will take students, faculty and staff to four different shopping locations around Providence from 4 to 8 p.m. 

The University rented old-fashioned trolleys, which will take interested patrons from the front of Rhode Island Hall on George Street to Westminster Street, South Main Street, Hope Street and Wayland Square, said Jennifer Braga, government relations and community affairs liaison, who planned the event.

Each shuttle will be dedicated to one location, she said, and the event will include a refreshment tent outside of Rhode Island Hall.

The festive event aims to facilitate bonding within the community and to support local shopping, Braga said. It is also part of Providence’s annual Buy Providence/Buy Art campaign, which strives to keep capital within the community even though it is easier than ever to shop online, she said.

“We thought it would be nice to make it easy for the Brown community to take advantage of these incredible things that are so close to us while at the same time supporting the local economy,” Braga said.

Various shops and restaurants in the areas will be offering discounts to Brown students. Hope Street will be having its annual Holiday Stroll, which includes special events like acrobatic and ballet performances, horse-drawn carriage rides and a parade featuring Santa Claus, she said. South Main Street will also be having a holiday stroll, and Westminster Street will host the Buy Art kickoff party at Craftland, she said.

Students generally expressed positive opinions about the service, though many said they had not heard about the event before. Several students described the service as a fun idea and convenient for holiday shopping, though Mark Jacobson GS cited the upcoming finals period as a “time crunch” concern that might decrease attendance at this weekday event.