Leadership Through Service
Merrimack College’s Austin Scholars is a close-knit community rooted in the Augustinian tradition for students who are invested in serving others and being leaders on and off campus.
A Living-Learning Community
Open to residential and commuter students, the Austin Scholars is available throughout all four years at Merrimack. It is also the oldest existing living-learning community on campus.
You’ll take part in traditional learning, reflection and weekly service in Merrimack’s neighboring communities.
What You’ll Do As an Austin Scholar
You’ll serve in the community for two hours each week. You’ll choose from a variety of local organizations, and Merrimack will provide your transportation to and from the service sites. The service-learning component of Austin Scholars encourages you to develop leadership skills by serving those in need in our community. Upperclass Austin Scholars may also fulfill their service through a wide array of servant-leadership opportunities on and off campus, such as in internships and practicums, and as peer mentors, teaching assistants, service trip leaders, retreat leaders and more.
In the first two years, Austin Scholars take one class together each semester. These reflection-based courses fulfill Merrimack’s core curriculum requirements and incorporate service-learning reflection. Students may participate in special projects like a previous year’s Stations of the Cross project.
Austin Scholar tutors and teaching assistants provide peer support, in addition to the classes led by Austin Scholar faculty members.
The Austin Scholars “live community.”
If you choose to live on campus, freshmen Austin Scholars live together in Monican Centre. The suites include two bedrooms, a shared common room and a full bathroom. Upperclassmen live in the South Residential Village.
All Austin Scholars have access to the Austin Scholars lounge in the St. Augustine Center where students meet with fellow Austin Scholars, grab a snack and study.
Austin Scholar Events
Our students participate in a wide range of activities and events that reinforce and demonstrate the values of the Austin Scholars program. A large piece of community life, beyond the dormitory experience, is the many social and spiritual events offered throughout the year. Social events include:
- Boston sports games
- BBQs and class dinners
- Trips to Fenway Park
- Minute-to-win-it Olympics
- Annual Christmas party
Retreats, both on and off-campus, provide spiritual and relational growth. We’ve sponsored beach retreats where participants stay at a beach house and enjoy reflection, relaxation and home-cooked meals.
Academic and Spiritual Formation
Austin Scholars enjoy special programming that serves to widen their perspectives of the world. Our annual Augustinian of Note Lecture invites international scholars to engage with students both academically and spiritually. Additional programming has included commissioning Masses on campus, pilgrimages to Italy and international conferences in Colombia, Tunisia and Rome. These experiences provide life-changing opportunities for students in our program.
Austin Scholars also engage in collegewide service events. Many participate in Mack Gives Back, an annual event in which members of the Merrimack community perform service projects in the Greater Merrimack Valley and beyond. Our Scholars also join in Merrimack’s Service Recognition Night which highlights students’ community service. Senior class members who have completed four years of service at Merrimack are inducted into the Father John McKniff, OSA, Honor Society, in recognition of their contributions to the campus and greater community.