Colleen Mearon ‘21
Mack Gives Back, an annual event at Merrimack College, is taking place from Nov. 1- 9 this school year. The occasion is surprisingly longer than it has been in the past, allowing the entire Merrimack community to participate in various on and off campus events throughout the nine day period. There is also a theme for the event titled, “Honoring Those Who Have Served by Serving Others.”
The event was established to recognize two days of significance in Merrimack’s history, Veterans Day and St. Augustine’s birthday. It was founded in 2012 by the college’s Vice President for Mission and Ministry, Father Raymond Dlugos. More than a thousand students, faculty, staff and alumni volunteer for nonprofits and municipal agencies across the Merrimack Valley. Some volunteer activities include ranking leaves, picking up trash and stocking food pantries.
With a nine-day period this year, there are many more options for volunteering, something that most students were happy about.
“I think it was a really good idea to extend the event. So many more people have the chance to get involved, since some weekend schedules can be busy. Adding options throughout the week will definitely help with this,” sophomore Geena Levine explained,
Not only does this benefit those volunteering, but it also will help the numerous non-profit organizations Merrimack is working with.
“Many non-profits do not have enough resources to have large groups of volunteers come on the weekends, especially if they do not normally work on the weekends. Giving the option of two weekends and a work week allows for the organizations to plan for big shipments to come in for volunteers to help with or create certain projects on a day that works best for them,” said Gina Hackett, who is a member of the Mack Gives committee.
“We decided it was best to plan for a week or so of intentional service to the larger community around us, and giving the organizations extra dates to choose from worked much better for some of these organizations. We wanted to be flexible with the organizations to allow for more meaningful service to them,” Hackett added.
The event draws in many different groups, allowing numerous sports teams or student organizations to come together in a different way than they normally do. Bryssa Dos Santos, a freshman at Merrimack, participated in the event with her sorority, Theta Phi Alpha. The group volunteered together, and were assigned to work with NuDay Syria in Nashua, New Hampshire to help sort through donations already received. They separated the items into various categories, preparing the donations before they would be sent out to refugees in Turkey and Syria.
“Participating in Mack Gives Back was a very rewarding experience, and being able to say I made even a small impact is is an amazing feeling…I’m glad I got to participate in the event with the girls in my sorority,” Dos Santos said.