Friday, August 15, 2014

Farewell Joe Williams

The Stephen B. Luce Library bids Joe Williams a warm farewell.  On Thursday, August 14, 2014, many members of our campus community stopped by the library's foyer with well wishes for him.

We wish him all the best.  Thanks for the many years of terrific service, guidance and laughs.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Final Evening at Sea SST 2014 - Deck Wars!

Today was the day for the infamous “deck wars” - a competition of skill, strength and rope-throwing marksmanship among all the ship’s deck-side cadets. It’s in this ultimate test of will that they focus their talents on winning by drawing upon all they have learned during the 2014 cruise, assuming they have been paying attention!

The competition took place in the morning between the three teams - stern, bow, and house - and began with a firefighting competition. In essence, this involved turning a hose on a buoy that was hanging from a rope, and seeing which team could push it the farthest. While I still have no idea who won in this division due to all the spray, we all had a great time watching and getting partially hosed on this warm and sunny August morning!

Other events in this fateful challenge included throwing a heaving line around the arms of a scarecrow longshoreman, aiming a bowline around one of the bits, and a contest to see who could throw on their fire gear the fastest!

As the contest unfolded, a three-way tug of war was by far the event that received the most shouts and cheers from the crowd. Each team put their strongest feet forward and pulled their hardest for three intensive matches. As the results came in, the crowd grew quiet as Mate Vecchio announced the winner….Congratulations to the ‘house’ team, winner of the cruise B 2014 deck wars - and good luck to all the cadets in their future endeavours!

This is our last evening at sea and we will spend it bbq-ing while anchored off Stapleton, NY before breezing through New York Harbor early tomorrow morning. The best part of the cruise, however, is only a few hours away when we get to see and greet all of you back at SUNY Maritime’s Fort Schuyler!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Barry the Bird

An Update from our ship's librarian Laurel


We struck anchor last night off of Montauk, Long Island – a pit stop on our way to Virginia where our MARAD “sea trial” begins. The color of the water here feels extremely familiar, reminding us that we are indeed close to home! The ship was so close to shore, in fact, that many of us picked up a bar or two on our phones. As a result, the library was rather empty last night, with everyone up on deck and chatting away. Cruise B is now clearly winding down and the cadets seem much more relaxed with many having already completed the "sheer torture" of their three-hour final exams. 

Awhile ago I mentioned our carrier pigeon-visitor, who sailed with us for a time and has finally re-entered the races. In his place, we have a new feathered friend to care for known as “Barry the Bird.” An ambitious sea gull, Barry suffered a minor concussion while diving down for food scraps and is currently being cared for in our avian sick bay on Boat Deck. Doctors say he has a healthy appetite and is right now enjoying his fill of imitation crab meat and sliced apple. Stay tuned for further updates on his progress and more news about the arrival of Empire State VI back to US shores! As for our present location, we’ll remain anchored until this evening for “quarterly drops,” the 4x yearly lowering of lifeboats into the water, and tomorrow will head south to Norfolk, Virginia.

Barry the Bird

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Library Website Changes

Wait a second...the site looks a little different, doesn't it?

With SST 2014 drawing to a close and the new semester a few weeks away it was time to refresh the library's website.

In the spring we conducted a survey and a study of our website to figure out how we could make our site better. You may notice several changes including:
  • Addition of a new research tool: Compass. Compass searches the library's catalog and many of our databases from a single search box.
  • Addition of Google Custom Site Search to locate information found on our website, blog, and LibGuides
  • Enhanced content
  • Improved navigation
If you have any feedback or comments about our website, please contact Cataloging, Metadata, and Systems Librarian Rebecca Hyams.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Homeward Bound

An Update from our ship's librarian Laurel:


It’s been smooth as polished glass these past few days, allowing for our easy passage past the steep and rugged cliffs of the Portuguese Azores, and continuing onward to the middle of the Atlantic. We are the only floating island on this calm sea, with not a glimpse of another mass of land in any direction – although discussions have often turned to the ocean territories beneath our feet. Flying fish leap ahead of us regularly, and a few cadets on bow lookout have even spotted an occasional blow from a whale!

Taking advantage of the sunny weather, our enthusiastic caterers from Chartwell’s decided to host  a barbecue not once, but twice yesterday, dishing up an endless supply of tasty burgers, hot dogs, corn, baked potatoes and more than half a dozen barrels of mouthwatering ice cream. Needless to say, our Sunday-at-sea was spent rather lazily, with cadets and faculty sprawled out across the decks to catch some z’s, or hanging out and playing music from each of the ship’s sunny hatches. 

There has been quite a bit of excitement lately around on our upcoming stop in Norfolk, Virginia, where we will pick up members of MARAD (the U.S. Maritime Administration) for a test of the ship’s capabilities while at sea. Although the Empire State has regular “dry dock” inspections to make sure its propeller and attendant parts are working effectively, these “sea trials” only happen once every couple of years. The main reason we find this so exciting is because the test involves a speed-trial, during which we will get to go fast! Although our typical speed runs between 8 and 12 knots, rumor has it we may push 20 during the trial and hopefully catch some ‘real’ waves.

For the mean time, we will continue our calm pace slightly northwards in the direction of the Canadian Maritimes. We are keeping this northerly course to avoid any encounter with tropical storm Bertha which is heating up along the Gulf Stream; for us now, it’s nothing but bright and cloudless skies!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Great Advice for Female Cadets

 An update from our ship's librarian Laurel,


When the men aboard the Empire State VI heard about the meeting that was taking place for women in the maritime trades, they joked. “Are you ladies conspiring?” one said. “Will there be boxing?” another grinned.

The informal lecture led by Mates Thayer and Chmielewski concentrated on the challenges of being a woman working in the maritime trades, an employment sector in which women are largely outnumbered by men. The twenty-five or so cadets in attendance, all of them women, were not there to vent about the men around them at all, but instead, came to discuss some positive tactics for building a career on equal footing. They came to hear what their post-regiment life would be like, a time when they will join a ship with people they may never have met before.

Mate Thayer began by talking about the extra scrutiny that women often face in her industry, where women stand out among other professionals aboard a ship. “It’s not a balanced environment and you will be watched with everything that you do, so you have to be on it, you have to be confident. The best way to deal with it is knowing how to do your job.”

While voicing similar ideas, Mate Chmielewski also mentioned the challenges of working as the only woman among men during her employment stints on commercial ships – and the need to be aware of your own particular circumstances. “You want to make sure that you set your boundaries. Don’t have relationships with anyone on the ship.”

Later on, the two Mates discussed what can happen in cases of sexual harassment and discrimination. “The first time anything like that happens you have to come down hard, and go to captain,” says Thayer. They both stressed the importance of keeping a written record in any such instances. “Stick to your guns and keep a log of anything that happens to you. If you let things go it won’t hold up in a court of law.”

In case of on-the-job injuries, they also gave solid advice, reminding the cadets to always let someone know, and never pretend like they aren’t injured. “Don’t feel like you have to prove something,” said Mate Chmielewski.

The mates also took questions, which ranged from advice about unions, contracts and more. Through the answers they gave and the stories they told about their own experiences, they gave a truly positive outlook on their lives as women in the maritime professions. The cadets in the audience were all ears – and looking forward to a rewarding career.

Cadet Shout Out: Martin Masterson, a 3rd class grad student, says “Hi to my Family and Maria Rose! I love you and I’ll see you soon.”