Monday, February 01, 2010

One Earth, One Future

Two weeks in, and I’m delighted to report that our voyage has been off to a very promising start. The students arrived in Ensenada with most if not all of their luggage, no easy feat for ISE to pull off considering that bribes are standard fare for crossing the Mexican border, so I hear. A few students had to go home for medical purposes and we had 5 straight days of 15 – 20 foot waves on our first half of the Pacific crossing (causing a mess of sugarpackets in the FSL and a disaster in my cabin), but overall I feel like we’re settling in to a nice groove. It’s not often that I can say with honesty that I adore 98% of the people. The faculty are savvy, the staff friendly and the deans are clearly the best of the best.

Donny G is at the helm of Global Studies, taking it back to the days of student and faculty involvement. Often dressed in a cherry tart Mr. Rogers-esque V-neck, his self-proclaimed “republican haircut” is not to fool you, nor would he be caught dead in a bowtie though I have offered him a slice of Americana on more than one occasion. When he’s not roaming around NY on his hog, he’s bamboozling the students for two sessions a day, 4 in total with A and B days. With an exaggerated drawl the likes of a character actor, he rings in each day with the greeting “Hello fellow adventur-errrs,” followed by our bearings in relation to the “Priiiiime Meridian.” With classic rock cues and the perfect amount of powerpoint versus talking time, I’d say it’s the gold standard.

In addition to our focus on Sino-US Relations, the voyage is also focused on “sustainability,” hence our voyage slug “One Earth, One Future.” Semester at Sea has worked incredibly hard to make the MV Explorer one of the first ISO Green Certified ships, a pretty major feat considering the floating carbon footprints that litter our ocean, including the newly launched Oasis of the Seas. In addition, we are endeavoring to print less, encourage less energy, water and food waste, and are trying to verse the community on ways to lessen their overall footprint. Considering we all live in 100 square feet (or less) aboard the ship and aren’t driving our cars, I’d say we’re off to an okay start. Now we just need to find a way to start charging for printing services and to maybe turn off the neon tube lights in the Garden Lounge, though I will admit that I love our little splash of Vegas.

Daily Water Consumption as reported:
1/31: 498 ltrs / 132 gallons per person
1/30: 404 ltrs / 106 gallons per person
1/29: 390 ltrs / 103 gallons per person

Here is even more information regarding our sustainability efforts if you're interested. I find it quite fascinating myself.

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