Sunday, April 26, 2009

Social Stratification

Here is a small blog rant and then I promise to write part two of India. So for the last two weeks SAS has been running the Shipboard Drive in which we donate money that goes towards scholarships, new gym equipment and so on. Well this year the Shipboard Drive is a competition between the seas (hallway groups kind of like dorms) and the winning sea will get a pizza party. This didn’t really bother me because I knew my sea wouldn’t win and what’s one pizza party in the grand scheme of things? Well now the competition has changed and the first seas to reach 100% participation in the drive will be the first seas off the ship in Fort Lauderdale. This is absolutely despicable in my opinion. Not only are they asking us to pay the program in order to leave the ship and see our families, but they are ignoring the huge financial schism between the seas. For example, my sea (Baltic) is mostly economy cabins, quad cabins, and triple cabins. These are the three cheapest cabins you can get on the ship. Additionally, most of my neighbors either have scholarships or work study programs because it is impossible to afford the program without them. We are the sea that is worried about not having cab money to get to the airport once we reach Fort Lauderdale. So yes, as a matter of fact we are losing the in the Shipboard Drive with 53% participation. Then take a look at the Bering Sea. They are all normal and suite style cabins with larger windows and some even have little sitting rooms. These are the students who can afford to spend $50 on a quesadilla at the Students of Service Auction (really did happen). These are the people that buy burgers every day at the grill instead of suffering through ship food with the rest of us. They, of course, are at 90% participation. There is a huge financial gap between “us” and “them”. And so all I can say is:

Dear Institute for Shipboard Education, I am paying $20,000 for one semester because you refused to give me a scholarship. I have loved traveling the world, but if you expect me to pay another cent just to disembark and see my family, you need to think again. I hope that you are proud of the way you have divided the ship into the “haves” and the “have-nots”. Well done.

Love, Kendra Hartwell—Baltic Sea 3116

Hopefully my message will get across because we have been told that they read our blogs to see if we have done anything against the rules. Still, I would appreciate it if any of you would be willing to call Semester at Sea and let them know what you think of the situation. All of the contact information is at




Mary VoPo said...

This is very upsetting. Is there any way you can make an actual complaint? I can't believe they would make money into a competition of that kind. Charity should always be voluntary. Important rewards should never be encouragement for giving money. That seems corrupt and selfish to me.

Steve said...

Wow! I love this rant. The issue of social stratification is around us all the time, but on board ship it is more evident. I leave it to you to continue to enlighten me and eventually, I hope, propose some first step solutions. By the way, what is the registered country that this educational vessel? Does that mean you are visitor's to that country when you are in international waters? Have ever, individually or as a small group, gone to visit the crews quarters? I imagine the ship's crew is below you in social stratification. Cheers to you, Steve

Steve said...

Always, re-read your work before submitting it! Forgive my hasty typos. Arghhh, Steve