Leadership Through Service
The Austin Scholars program is the oldest existing living-learning community at Merrimack College. Austin Scholars are Merrimack College students who intentionally choose to celebrate our Augustinian roots by forming a community and serving those in need in Merrimack’s neighboring communities.
The Austin Scholars program is open to all residential and commuter students who have shown exemplary leadership and service in their community. The program is available throughout all four years at Merrimack.
Students take part in traditional learning, reflection and weekly service in Merrimack’s neighboring communities.
If you choose to live on campus, freshmen resident students in the Austin Scholars living-learning community live in suites in Monican Centre. Upperclass Austin Scholars live in suites in the South Residential Village. Suite-style living includes two bedrooms, a shared common room and a full bathroom shared among the four roommates.
In the Classroom
In the first two years, Austin Scholars take one class together each semester. These four semester-long courses also fulfill Merrimack’s core curriculum requirements. Austin Scholar classes are reflection-based, fostering a connection between in-class content and community service performed. Austin Scholar tutors and teaching assistants provide peer support, in addition to the small classes led by Austin Scholar faculty members.
In the Community
Austin Scholars serve in the community for two hours each week. The service revolves around the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching and supports several local organizations surrounding the college. The service-learning component of Austin Scholars encourages all students to develop leadership skills by serving those in need in our community.
Scholars have the opportunity to choose their service site from an approved list. The service is varied so that students can have a broad range of experiences. Some of the organizations Austin Scholars have served at include:
- Bellesini Academy
- Bread & Roses Soup Kitchen
- Catholic Charities
- D’Youville Life & Wellness Community
- Hands to Help
- Lazarus House
- Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School
- Notre Dame Education Center
- Lawrence Catholic Academy
- St. Monica’s School
Upperclass Austin Scholars may also fulfill their service through a wide array of internship opportunities.
Throughout the year, Austin Scholars have the opportunity to take part in exclusive programming and retreats. The educational, social, and spiritual programs offered provide an amazing community-building experience.
Social programming is open to both resident and commuter students and has included trips to Boston, trampoline parks, Red Sox games, barbecues and Christmas parties.
There are several retreat experiences offered as well, including yearly overnight retreats in Nahant, Massachusetts, just a few blocks from the beach.
All Austin Scholars have access to the Austin Scholars lounge located in the religious and theological studies department. This space is a comfortable place where students meet with fellow Austin Scholars, grab a snack and study during the day.
Alumni Spotlight: Tony Munzing
Listen to Michael Senoff ’22 interviewing former Austin Scholars president, Tony Munzing ’20, on his work after graduation at Notre Dame.
Tony was awarded the 2020 Merrimack Medal Award, the most prestigious non-academic award at the College. He is now teaching and earning his M.Ed at the University of Notre Dame on full scholarship as a recipient of the Alliance of Catholic Education Fellowship. This is the first time a Merrimack student has received this fellowship.