Holy Cross students work on prefabricated housing in New Mexico to be placed on a nearby Native American Reservation as part of last year’s Spring Break Immersion Program.
Hundreds of Holy Cross students are forgoing the beach and opting for an “alternative” spring break by spending their vacation doing service work, learning how to start a business, and gaining a better understanding of themselves and others.
Here are three programs taking place the first week of March.
Spring Break Immersion
A large number of students are spending their break doing community service as part of the Spring Break Immersion Program. The 280 students — or one in 10 students at the College — are working in 25 locations across 13 states.
During the week of service, students work on home repair; clean up, paint, and visit schools; call on the elderly and people with disabilities; and learn about the various cultures of the regions.
Students will work in various sites throughout the Appalachian region, including communities such as Bayview, Va., Burkesville, Ky., Glasgow, Va., McKee, Ky., Roanoke, Va., and Wheeling, W.Va.
Students will also spend the week in immersion experiences at L’Arche communities in five cities across the country, including Haverhill, Mass., Jacksonville, Fla., Mobile, Ala., St. Louis, and Syracuse, N.Y. L’Arche is a faith-based international federation where people with and without disabilities share together in community.
Other sites are varied, says Martin Kelly, associate chaplain and director of the Arrupe Immersion Program. Among them are urban experiences in Chicago and Camden, N.J.; building housing on a Native American reservation in Gallup, New Mexico; and preparing meals and providing other services to migrant workers and their families at La Puente Home in Alamosa, Colo. Students will also travel to El Paso, Texas where they will work at a shelter for women and then close the week with an experiential Border Awareness Experience to better understand the issues around immigration.
The program, now in its 39th year, is sponsored by the Chaplains’ Office.
Executive Leadership Workshop
Thirty-three students will participate in the 10th annual Holy Cross Executive Leadership Workshop, an intensive immersion in understanding how to start a business, take it to the next level, and be an effective leader. Students get real-life tutorial through business simulations, case studies, team projects and presentations. The rigorous program is conducted on campus in Smith Labs and run entirely by Holy Cross alumni executives from various fields. Student teams will be working on a case study project over the course of the week.
Sponsored by the Ciocca Office of Entrepreneurial Studies, the Executive Leadership Workshop demystifies the business world and professions; improves business literacy and job search confidence; provides training in general business skills; and exposes students to the intellectual, emotional, and moral qualities of successful business leadership.
Another 17 students will reflect on their lives and their relationship with God as part of a five-day adapted version of the traditional Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. The retreat will take place at the Campion Renewal Center in Weston, Mass.
The five days of silence and prayer is an opportunity for students to reflect more deeply about their faith, the power of God’s love for them and their relationship to others. In addition, liturgies and thematic talks by the chaplain retreat directors help assist in the faith journey of the participants. The retreat directors will be Sr. Lucille Cormier, S.A.S.V.; Marybeth Kearns-Barrett, director of the Chaplains’ Office; Keith Maczkiewicz, S.J., assistant chaplain; and Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., former president of Holy Cross.
The Spiritual Exercises retreats are also offered in October, January, and May. About 100 students participate in the exercises annually.
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