After long sea days filled with exams, classes and evening seminars, students scatter around the ship to meet and build community with others who share similar interests. From African Dance club, to Black Student Union, there are many avenues for students to find their place within the shipboard community. While there are various students groups this semester, two of the most active groups are the Black Student Union and the Pride Club.
‚ÄúFor me, the most important thing is having a space for people,‚Äù said Marcela Riddick, a student from Colorado State University. ‚ÄúI love Black Student Union, I love being surrounded by people of color who understand the situations I‚Äôve been in.‚Äù
Riddick started her own black student group in high school and was nominated as a leader within that community. Her experience led her to continue empowering others around her and to engage in these identity groups.
‚ÄúI was part of BSU at my home institution and when I got on the ship, I thought having a strong, black community especially when you‚Äôre traveling to all different ports, you don‚Äôt know what we might experience in those countries and I think having a strong community has really helped shape our experience,‚Äù said Pamela Emanuel.
Another group that provides a strong sense of community and access to resources for students who are navigating countries from a different perspective is the Pride Club. The Pride Club is an organization that supports the LGBTQA+ community on the ship.
‚ÄúThis is the biggest support group I‚Äôve ever had,‚Äù said one Pride Club member.
Audrey Montgomery,¬†a student from Oklahoma State University-Stillwater started the Pride Club on the ship as a way to provide a support group for those who identify as queer as well as a space to learn about how others who identify similarly in different countries navigate their identities within their culture.
‚ÄúI didn‚Äôt really find what I was looking for from my LGBT group at home, so I thought I would lead this group to change things up,‚Äù Montgomery said. ‚ÄúWhenever we have experiences related to identity or anything like that in port, we come together and talk about it.‚Äù
Thanks to student groups like Black Student Union and the Pride Club, voyagers are able to have conversations about their shared identities as well as find support systems and lifelong friendships.
‚ÄúI feel more comfortable on this ship than I‚Äôve felt in a long time,‚Äù said Nicole Malec, a student at the University of San Diego.¬†‚ÄúI‚Äôve never found as supportive of a community as I have here.‚Äù