Spring Break Immersion Program


Holy Cross as a Jesuit school teaches the message of becoming men and women for and with others, emphasizing the importance of service. While Holy Cross offers plenty of opportunities to conduct service on campus and in the city of Worcester, an opportunity unique to the school is the chance to travel over spring break to another part of the country, serving a community beyond just Mount St. James. 

Every year, the Chaplains’ Office organizes the Spring Break Immersion Program, or SBIP, an opportunity for students to travel to serve different communities across the country, ranging in sites from Kentucky, Alabama, to Colorado. The purpose of these trips is to conduct direct service and foster connections with other communities,  immersing yourself in a life different than your own. Every year, around 250 students travel in student-led groups, working in churches, schools, community centers, soup kitchens and different community landmarks across the different sites. 

Last March, I got to travel to Narrows, VA through SBIP (fun fact-Dirty Dancing was filmed there!). I was the only freshman in my group, travelling with nine other students to serve the town of Narrows. Although this trip was daunting, as I was the only first-year in my group travelling with people I had never met before, this wound up being the most rewarding and affirming experience of my first year at Holy Cross.

During my trip, my group and I stayed at the Narrows Parks and Recreation Center, and worked at different sites in town. Each day was different, and each of us were able to work in a variety of service activities. We worked with the librarian in the town public library, helping renovate the library, rearranging and reconstructing shelves, organizing the books and reordering the books on the shelves under a new system of organization. We also got to work with town municipal workers, building park benches and trash can holders to be used throughout the town park grounds. Since Narrows is located in the Appalachian region, we were able to hike some of the trails and help clear debris with a local guide, making sure trails were safe for tourists. Through my service, I got to do things I never thought that I would have the chance to do, and got to become immersed in a beautiful town I never would have travelled to if it had not been for SBIP.

My group and I also had the chance to get to know the community beyond our service. Every night, different churches would host potluck dinners, serving delicious homemade food. We would eat with community members, and they were so kind and eager to get to know us. I still keep in touch with some members through social media, and will cherish the connections I made there outside of the service for the rest of my Holy Cross experience. The town not only fed us, but entertained us as well. Every night we were invited to a town event to further immerse us within the community. My group and I got to go to a Haunted House organized by the town, did karaoke, and we even went to a performance by a local lawyer who also worked as a children’s party entertainer as a magician and balloon animal artist. My experience was something I will never forget, fostering these unique connections with a community that was so generous and kind, shaping my experience beyond just the service aspect of the trip. 

These connections with other communities are as important as the ones you make with other Holy Cross students. You form a strong connection with other students you may not have met outside of SBIP, bonding with one another through this experience in a way that is different to other connections you make on campus. Every night, to conclude your day, you reflect upon the day’s work and experience with your group members, making sure you get the most out of every aspect of your trip, deepening your bond with your group members. This bond does not exist solely during the trip, but gets carried back to campus. I still stay in frequent contact with my group, despite three of our members having graduated, and some members currently studying abroad.

Spring Break Immersion is something unique to Holy Cross, and oftentimes can be overlooked by students. It is an opportunity not many schools offer, and is something that many students identify as a Holy Cross Bucket List experience. I can say with complete confidence that this experience was the best experience I have had at Holy Cross thus far, deepening my commitment to the school and to service. 


Michaela Lake ’22

Why Holy Cross? Community, Balance, Location

TranKim-Senior.BLOG2In case you are still debating whether or not Holy Cross is for you, I want to offer some of my personal and professional thoughts on why Holy Cross is so special and why you should apply. 

The community that exists at Holy Cross is incredibly supportive, nurturing and close-knit.  It is a place where students look out for each other, where faculty members take time to help each student succeed and where administrators take the time to get to know and care for each student.  You cannot get lost here as a student unless you are purposely trying to hide.  Struggle is inherent to the college experience, but regardless of the challenges they face during their time on the hill, students at Holy Cross have always been able to find the support they need to overcome any adversity and succeed.    

Second, you have the best of both worlds at Holy Cross, the excitement of a large school setting and the intimacy of a small school setting.  Because we offer a Division I athletic program, you will find incredible support for athletics and a strong network of fans for our various sports teams.  As I often say to students, you have the feel and energy of a bigger school at Holy Cross even though we are a community of less than 3,000.  It’s a place where you can count on students to proudly don their Holy Cross gear at football games or paint themselves purple to attend a basketball game.  At the same time, you can always count on receiving the best of what a small school can offer you:  one-on-one attention in the academic arena.  In the classroom, you are treated as an individual and as an intellectual.  Professors will not just talk at you but they will talk to you, and you can always expect to have a collaborative relationship with faculty members.

 A third reason is our location in WorcesterWorcester is the second largest city in the New England region and is an incredible environment for higher learning.  It is rich in culture and industry with residents from all over the world and industries that range from medicine to education to business.  There is a little bit of something for everyone. Such an environment is uncommon for a small liberal arts school, most of which are located in more rural environments.  In Worcester, it is easy to find good food, good shopping and good entertainment among other things. 

I could give you a plethora of other reasons to attend Holy Cross but there’s not enough time.  I hope that these thoughts give you a few more things to consider as you make your enrollment decision.  And of course, I hope to see you on campus this coming fall!


Tran Kim-Senior
Assistant Director of Admissions
Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment