December 16, 2019

Featured Friar: Sean Richardson ’20

posted on: Thursday November 21, 2019

Richardson has made the most of his PC experience. photo courtesy of Sean Richardson ’20

by Max Waite ’21

News Staff

During the college search, some people do not have to search very far to call a place home. For Sean Richardson ‘20, home was just a stone’s throw away.

Richardson is a sociology and public/community service double major who grew up in the neighboring town of Pawtucket, where he attended Charles E. Shea High School. Staying close to home was very important for Richardson, and the proximity of the Providence College campus to his house was too tempting to pass up.

Richardson explained, “I really wanted to stay close to my family. The campus was really pretty, and the financial package made it a no-brainer to stay local.”

In high school, Richardson was involved in his student government as the class secretary. By the time he came to PC, he wanted to continue down that path. As it turns out, Richardson was elected vice president of his freshman class. 

Richardson was very excited but quickly became overwhelmed. Upon arriving at his first meeting, he instantly realized that student government in college was not nearly the same as it was back at Shea.

“Student Congress was an interesting place. I was in a room with almost 100 people, a majority of the upperclassmen, and I was one of the only black people in the room. After some time, I got into it a lot more because we were doing some really important work, and realized how important it was for voices of color to be present in those conversations.”

Coming to PC, there were many opportunities Richardson took advantage of during his freshman year, and he used these opportunities to try new things. Despite the fact that Richardson had never danced in his life before arriving in Friartown, he became a part of Motherland, the African dance group on campus, during his freshman year.

“Joining Motherland was completely random and outside the box. I figured I would join because my friends were in it and I wanted to see if I would like it too. It ended up being so much fun, and I still do it here and there.” 

Starting his sophomore year, Richardson was one of the resident assistants in Guzman Hall. After that memorable year, Richardson became the head resident assistant in McDermott Hall and is now the head resident assistant in Fennell Hall. Needless to say, Richardson says it has been a wild ride as an RA.

“I’d say my favorite RA experience was in Guzman. I miss watching over first-year students a lot. Everyone was so invested and interested in everything I did and really wanted to get to know me. There was such a great atmosphere and they had so much respect for me where nothing felt forced.”

Richardson did not study abroad for a semester, but did take two courses that were global-service learning. He was involved with global border crossing, where he actually got to walk across the California-Mexico border. Additionally, Richardson went to Guatemala last spring break where he fulfilled one of his theology requirements.

Looking back, Richardson reminisced on what stood out to him about PC that made it feel like home. He came onto campus for registration day when Huxley Avenue still ran through the campus. A couple of weeks later, he came back as part of the Friar Foundations program and Huxley had disappeared. Richardson noticed the huge difference it made for the campus.

Another aspect of the PC community that made Richardson more at ease was the sense of feeling a part of something. He said, “People were asking how I was doing. If I was not in class or was busy somewhere doing work, my friends would ask where I was or what I was doing. I felt like I had a presence in my community, which was really comforting.”

Recently, Richardson attended SRW and had an amazing time. His favorite part of the weekend was being able to see his entire class in one place at the same time. “Just seeing all the seniors come together and the camaraderie between everyone was really exciting to see. Usually, everyone is really busy but I was able to see all my friends in one place. I was even able to meet some new friends, which was nice.”

Though Richardson’s four years on campus are coming to an end, he is looking forward to finishing some of his thesis work, as well as figuratively “passing off the torch” to the next class.

“I think there is such a special moment when transitioning out of PC when the senior class knows that they are putting the community into good hands. For the next class to learn from the old class’s mistakes in order to make everyone better.”

Richardson is looking forward to continuing his education in graduate school, where he hopes to study higher education policy within the New England area.

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