While most people know about the three big University of Rhode Island campuses, Kingston, Providence and the Bay campus, there is a fourth satellite campus sitting on 2,300 acres in West Greenwich, Rhode Island.
- Alton Jones is a URI campus that most people don’t realize is affiliated with the school. In fact, many students don’t even know that it exists. Cassie Audette, one of the coordinators for the Environmental Education Center, said that the campus is a “unique place.”
“I just wish that the University, or people on the main campus, took advantage of what we have to offer,” she said. Alton Jones has two facilities at its campus. The Whispering Pines Conference Center hosts corporate groups, URI departments and groups of the like for conferences, retreats and team building programs. This center has four professional conference rooms, 32 guests rooms and a lakeside campfire area.
The other facility is The Environmental Education Center that hosts up to 1,900 campers in the summer and 70 groups during the school year. They deal with all summer camp programs, school programs, weekend groups, retreats and much more. From September to December they host school groups every week before picking back up in the spring.
“People don’t like to be outside in the winter,” Audette said, adding that they do host college groups in the winter, though not as many as they hope.
“We would like to have more [student groups],” she said. “Part of it is people don’t realize it is easily accessible for students.” Student groups can bring their members to the campus for a retreat or team building experience.
“It’s a unique place, which is cool,” Audette said. “It’s very different. We’re out in the woods. It’s something they’re not used to on their day to day schedule.” Alton Jones has forests, lakes and farmlands so there is something for everyone. Especially for environmental and geology departments, according to Audette.
Alton Jones also hosts multiple research projects from not only URI but also the Department of Environmental Management and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among the few.
Because of the nature of the programs run at Alton Jones, they like to say it is a closed campus as a lot of children come and go and they like to keep traffic to a minimum. Though, as part of the University, it is technically public property.
To URI students, Audette said, “come here.”
If people want to walk around, book a retreat for their organization or just get more info, you can contact Audette at firstname.lastname@example.org.