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Live It, Love It, Become It

As I sit on the balcony of the Student Activities Building, commonly referred to as the TIV, my eyes dance along the Throggs Neck Bridge, a passage over which the Long Island Sound meets the East River of New York. Then, I catch a glimpse of a 565-foot training ship, the Empire State VI.

Only 20 minutes away from the greatest city in the world, SUNY Maritime College, established in 1874, certainly fits the role of a "small college." With an enrollment nearing 900 students, it's hard to not know what's going on all the time.

The Maritime Experience
As a cadet, your day will start with waking up, putting on your uniform (hey, it's better than worrying about what to wear that day!), grabbing some breakfast, and forming up in the Quad for colors. After that, it's classes until 1600 hours (that's 4 pm), and the rest of the day is yours to pursue other Maritime offerings.

For adventure-seeking students such as myself, there's the Outdoors Club, the Surf Club, Propeller Club, Tankers Club, and the ever-popular BBQ Club, where you can constantly find students grilling up some steaks on "The Point."

Maritime offers degree programs that lead to a bachelor of science, bachelor of engineering, or an associate in applied science, and licensing programs for a United States Coast Guard Third Mate or Third Assistant Engineering license to work aboard a United States merchant vessel.

At Maritime, cadets are either a "deckie" or "engineer." The two are very different, and you often see some friendly rivalry between the two. This is normal, just so long as in the end, the school's motto of "One Hand" comes into play. That means SUNY Maritime students look out for each other, like brothers, or as we say -- shipmates.

For deck students, many of their classes will be held in the Fort, built in 1833 and named after Phillip T. Schuyler. To this day, the Fort stands, and is used for classes such as navigation, radar, economics, and English. One entire wing of the fort is home of the Steven B. Luce Library, which covers over 19,000 square feet! Engine students attend most of their classes at the Science and Engineering Building -- the S&E for short. Here, courses such as machine shop, ships construction, dynamic systems, solid mechanics, and engine graphics are offered. On the top floor, or "roof" as we refer to it, is the Meteo observation deck. I have spent many nights up there for lab, but I don't mind it at all -- the view is amazing.

You're Never Alone
Throughout Maritime's more than 125-year tradition of excellence has been an enduring commitment to each individual. It is the College's pride and privilege to build pathways to success for all individuals who believe they can successfully complete its challenging and rewarding degree programs.

Participation in the college's Regiment of Cadets and a license program is not a requirement for admission or enrollment. However, recognizing the practical and cultural value of its annual Summer Sea Term, SUNY Maritime strongly encourages all traditional college students, and requires those majoring in engineering, to participate in at least one or a portion of a Summer Sea Term.

To foster campus unity and diversity, all new students, both traditional college and regimental, participate in a new student orientation. Its conclusion serves as a launching point for the team-building program for traditional students and the Cadet Indoctrination Program for students joining the Regiment of Cadets. The program is also essential preparation for the College's new Leadership Experience.

Fun On Land and On Sea
Just past the S&E is Riesenberg Hall, where you'll see the swim team practicing in our heated pool, or our weekly "Midnight Swim" in full effect. The crew team warms up in the fitness room, which was recently fitted with new universal weight-training and aerobic conditioning equipment. Across from there is our new weight room -- a favorite student spot.

Vanderclute Hall is where the "mess deck" (dining hall) is located. It overlooks the Quad, where you can almost be certain there is a game of turbo frisbee or touch football going on. The mess deck is where we chow down three times a day. Only breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served -- on the bright side, it's a good way to stay away from the dreaded "freshman 15." Of course, if your hunger gets the best of you, the sub shop is always open. They serve the most amazing smoothies, my favorite being the "Caribbean Craze."

Speaking of island nations, if you like to travel, Maritime is a great place for you. The annual Summer Sea Term aboard the training Ship Empire State VI is a two-month voyage to world-renowned ports. Over the past few years, the training vessel has visited places such as Athens, Bergen, Dublin, Freeport, the Canary Islands, Copenhagen, Scotland, and Barbados. While at sea, cadets engage in shipboard work, watch standing, and attend various license classes. While in port, cadets are allowed ashore and are able to explore many different world cultures.

Though an experience such as this may be scary for incoming freshmen, otherwise known as MUGS, there is nothing to fear. MUGS are guided for their entire first year at Maritime by IDOs (juniors) and Squad Leaders (sophomores), who teach, and give them the discipline needed to become efficient members of the maritime industry.

SUNY Maritime is a place to learn, grow, become a leader and build lifetime friendships. With one visit, you will see that students here have a certain something about them. You can't quite pinpoint it until you visit, sit in on a few classes, tour the training ship, or become an active member in the regiment cadets of the oldest Maritime College in this nation's history.