As cadets return to campus for classes, the Regiment, athletics, extracurricular activities, and time with old and new friends, they have another opportunity awaiting them — the chance to serve their community. Service is required of every cadet at Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA), but many students embrace the opportunity to give back well beyond their service requirements.
All cadets are expected to participate in Community Service regardless of year, rank, or seniority. Simply put: if you are not willing to serve, you are not willing to lead. Students can acquire service hours through programs on campus such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, by participating in events in the community like the Town of Bourne trash cleanup, or by volunteering in their hometowns.
“Service is an important part of our culture,” said Rear Admiral Francis X. McDonald, USMS, President of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. “We believe in experiential learning and volunteering in the community provides a wonderful way for our cadets to learn about the world around them and how they can make a difference. It’s also a great way to develop leadership and teamwork skills and acquire empathy.”
MMA’s culture of service is so strong that every year a Regimental Community Service Operations Officer is appointed to lead the service efforts for the Academy. This year’s officer is 1/C Alec Goldenberg, a senior from Douglas, MA, who is studying Energy Systems Engineering with a minor in Facilities Engineering. In addition to his Community Service role, he is a rate of the Energy Systems program where he will be aiding the department where his major will lead, captain of MMA’s Track & Field Team, and Vice President of MMS’s Student Athletic Advisory Council.
“I’ve always been inspired to make a difference in the world, and I’ve been able to experience elements of that at MMA,” Goldenberg said. Starting as a freshman, he participated in events in his hometown and helped coach the Douglas High School track team. When COVID hit, he spent time running and noticed immense amounts of trash on his small street in Douglas, so he set out to clean it up. “For a week straight, I spent hours collecting trash on my little road. It seemed that I hardly made a dent, but I was hooked.”
When Goldenberg returned to campus last year, he got involved in all the events he could and worked as a Volunteer Coordinating Assistant. “I got to experience organizing events and it felt great to have an impact,” he said.
The 2021-2022 academic year is off to a strong start under Goldenberg’s leadership. MMA cadets can participate in six service events scheduled in September alone; with more being added as the semester is kicking off:
• Plymouth Maritime 400 Salute (Sept. 4-5):
• Heroes Run (Sept. 11):
• ALS Cliff Walk (Sept. 12):
• American Lung Association Annual Bike Ride (Sept. 25-26). Cadets will be assisting in the setup and running of the event. The annual event is held in Sandwich.
• StriperFest (Sept. 25) The biggest fishing party in the Northeast held at Marine Park, Falmouth, MA. Cadets will help fishermen of all experiences learn about boater safety, awareness of overfishing hazards, rules of the road, and other crucial knowledge for fishermen.
• Pumpkin Patch at Bourne Methodist Church (Sept. 26). Cadets will be assisting with the unloading of pumpkins at this annual event that helps the community with the sale of their pumpkins.
“Many of the organizations we’re partnering with have long-standing relationships with the Academy, but we’re always looking for new organizations so we provide a variety of opportunities that will appeal to all the cadets,” Goldenberg said.
Some people love to be out picking up garbage while others prefer to serve food to the homeless, mentor younger students or coach an athletic team. According to Goldenberg, “What’s important is that everyone has the opportunity to get out in the world and contribute their time and talents.”
And the organizations are pleased with the support. “I can say that all the organizations we’ve worked with have been happy that the cadets were there to assist,” Goldenberg said. “These service opportunities enrich so many lives; whether you view it from the aspect of aiding the community or from how the cadets’ lives are impacted through service. Civic engagement is critical in all of our lives; to make this world a better place we all play our part.”
MMA is the nation’s leader in GWO training, continues to provide innovative insight in maritime responsible energy initiatives, and is a fully accredited, four-year, co-educational state university offering Bachelor and Master of Science degrees that are highly regarded in the worldwide maritime industry and beyond. For more than 100 years, MMA has been preparing women and men for exciting and rewarding careers on land and sea.
Located on Cape Cod, at the mouth of the scenic Cape Cod Canal, Massachusetts Maritime Academy is the ideal college to pursue the love for the ocean, concern for the environment, interest in math and science, and thirst for adventure. Visit https://www.maritime.edu
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