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Grace J. Palmisano Center for Campus Ministry

Students on their Alternative Spring Break trip to Durbin, West Virginia build homes with Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity.Students on their Alternative Spring Break trip to Durbin, West Virginia build homes with Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity.

Service Opportunities


Defining the Merrimack Experience

The growth of students not only intellectually but also spiritually and morally, is the foundation of our Augustinian heritage with its emphasis on community life and serving one another.

It is a powerful combination of academic excellence integrated with the enriching experience of community service that shapes our students and guides them to a rich and fulfilling life.

The College promotes a cooperative approach among members of the college to teaching and learning, to research, and to social justice in sustaining the College’s responsibility as a partner among neighboring communities.

Alternative Winter Break (AWB) 

 Washington, D.C.

Students will stay in the metro D.C. area. Through volunteering in local organizations working with the poor and homeless, the group will engage in vital service to the D.C. community. Through their service, groups receive as much as they give, witnessing the reality of what it means to be hungry and poor in the nation’s capital.  Students stay in bunk beds and cook their own food.

Camden, NJ

Students will stay and work with the Romero Center, an urban retreat and social justice education center in the heart of East Camden, NJ that is connected with a Catholic parish. During the day, students work at a variety of work sites: in schools, with hot meal programs, at drop-in centers for persons infected and affected with HIV and AIDS, at housing construction, with the South Jersey Food Bank and with several other agencies in Camden and the Philadelphia area.

Alternative Spring Break (ASB)

  • Working in a soup kitchen
  • Volunteering at an Augustinian orphanage or school
  • Building and repairing homes
  • Beautifying a neighborhood environment 

These are but a few of the volunteer activities that many Merrimack College students and their advisors perform every year during Alternative Spring Break (ASB), a tradition on the Merrimack campus for nearly 50 years.  During their various locations across the United States and internationally, students become involved in communities and are exposed to different cultures.  These experiences encourage a lifetime of civic involvement, and often for the first time, students see the struggles that others must endure.  Students raise their own funds to cover program expenses, transportation, food, and supplies for each service site.


Hundreds of students are members of MerrimAction, a student organization that encourages commitment to social justice principles and engagement. Merrimack students volunteer their time in myriad ways, including serving meals to the homeless, babysitting for single teen mothers, reading to children, painting and tutoring. Working with service agencies in the City of Lawrence, Mass., and surrounding communities. MerrimAction heightens the College community’s awareness of cultural and urban issues, offering experiences that teach students how they can be transformed in the process of reaching out to others.

Additional Opportunities 

Merrimack in the City Day

  • This service opportunity occurs once each semester, to reach out to support various needs in our local communities.

Thanksgiving Basket Drive

  • The College community joins together and donates many Thanksgiving meals to families in need.

Christmas Giving Tree 

  • During the Christmas season, the College community reaches out to care for people in need in the Lawrence area. 

Sweeps Week

  • At the end of each academic year, students recycle and donate clothing, housewares, food, etc. to support local families in need before returning home.







Community Service Opportunities

  • Alternative Fall Break (AFB)
  • Alternative Winter Break (AWB)
  • Alternative Spring Break (ASB)
  • Summer Immersion to Ecuador
  • Haiti Service Learning Trip
  • Merrimaction
  • Merrimack in the City Day
  • Thanksgiving Basket Drive
  • Christmas Giving Tree
  • Sweeps Week


Jeffrey M. Wallace, x-5453