PROVIDENCE — In a series of events, tours and receptions held at 450 Brook St. in Providence on Thursday, Oct. 21, and Saturday, Oct. 23, Brown University leaders, generous donors and community members gathered to dedicate a unique residence hall and student services hub devoted entirely to promoting health, happiness and well-being for Brown’s full student population.
The events offered the opportunity to celebrate Sternlicht Commons and Brown University Health & Wellness Center and the impact of everyone who enabled its creation.
The idyllic autumn weather added festivity to the celebrations: Golden light shone down the center’s wide, neutral-toned corridors, streamed through walls of windows and beamed on relaxing rooftop and ground-floor green spaces. It provided a reminder, Brown President Christina H. Paxson said, that there is a strong connection between happiness and environment, a key motivator in constructing Sternlicht Commons and Brown University Health & Wellness Center.
“This building is more than a building,” Paxson said at the Thursday event. “It’s the representation of a core principle: that students thrive academically and socially when they’re healthy, when they’re supported, and when they’re connected to communities in meaningful ways. That’s the principle we had in mind when the vision for this wonderful space was conceived.”
The new facility, Paxson said, is “wildly innovative” in the way it embeds health and wellness within a residence hall. First opened in May 2021, the bright and airy complex is now home not only to 162 Brown students, but also to numerous programs and services instrumental to students’ physical and emotional well-being, including Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Brown Emergency Medical Services and BWell, the University’s health promotion program.
The building, between Cushing and Meeting streets, is directly adjacent to green space on Pembroke Field, a short walk to Brown’s Erickson Athletic Complex, and just a block away from College Hill’s bustling commercial district on Thayer Street. The residence hall — the first campus residence to be newly opened in 30 years — boasts suites with single rooms and standalone singles, single bathrooms, and open common areas that feature bright natural daylight and views of Pembroke Field. It also includes state-of-the-art common kitchen areas.
The project was enabled by generous financial support from two lead gifts — a donation from the family of the late Duncan MacMillan, and a gift from Barry Sternlicht and Mimi Reichert Sternlicht — which enabled Brown to advance the concept from a vision into a completed building.