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Students come to RISD from throughout the US and more than 50 countries around the world, bringing a wide range of perspectives and experiences to campus. Yet they share a love of art and find common ground in their drive to make meaningful work and communicate visually. This inspiring breadth of cultural diversity enriches our creative community—both at work and play.

Supporting intercultural experiences

RISD’s office of Intercultural Student Engagement (ISE) promotes cultural awareness, dialogue and interaction to foster inclusivity and understanding. Working closely with faculty, staff and administrators, ISE advises student-led cultural groups and helps students to develop strong leadership skills.

The office of International Student Services (OISS) advocates for international students, advising them on a wide variety of experiences related to studying in the US and at RISD in particular. Through walk-in advising and scheduled appointments, OISS supports the success of our diverse international student population by helping with immigration compliance, employment searches and US systems navigation, along with cross-cultural awareness and support initiatives

Getting physical

RISD’s Center for Student Involvement (CSI) oversees many student-initiated clubs + organizations, including more than a dozen athletic teams and groups that put a distinctly RISD spin on collegiate sports. You can run 5-on-5 basketball with The Balls, master the art of fencing with RISD Pricks or venture outdoors with the Wilderness Club. Teams like RISD Cycling compete at the varsity level while others—like the coeducational RISD Sacks football squad—participate in intramural tournaments with neighboring Brown University or revel in the glow-in-the-dark glory of ultimate frisbee after dark. And those preferring a spectator experience can cheer “Go Nads!” in support of our hockey team The Nads, a RISD institution since 1961.

Learning to lead

Students have a number of avenues for exploring an interest in leadership through programs such as RISD LEADS, offered through the Center for Student Involvement (CSI), along with engagement in student government.


As the voice of the student body, The Alliance offers students a collective way of communicating with RISD’s administration about issues of particular interest and/or in need of attention.


The Grad Student Alliance helps foster interdisciplinary dialogue among graduate students by hosting events and providing a platform for student-led initiatives.

LGBTQQ support

RISD offers a welcoming environment for students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning. Members of RISD’s LGBTQQ community get together regularly through a number of student groups and organizations—including RISD Feminists, SHARE (Sexual Health and Relationship Educators) and the Queer Student Association (QSA)—providing programming, education, social activities and support.

RISD’s office of Intercultural Student Engagement also provides resources and support for LGBTQQ students. Feel free to contact the Office of Residence Life or Student Affairs with any questions or concerns.

Pursuing religious + spiritual practices

RISD is committed to embracing the diverse range of religious beliefs and spiritualities held by our students, including those of no faith. The RISD Office of Intercultural Student Engagement helps RISD students, faculty and staff connect with their religious communities in Providence and assists anyone wishing to continue their religious + spiritual practices while at RISD. Our community also enjoys connections with a number of religious organizations at neighboring Brown University and beyond.