Center for Community Engagement

Maritime: Helping Retired Ships Come to Life

Cal Maritime

Volunteer work aboard historic vessels in the San Francisco Bay is a tradition at California Maritime Academy. Robbie Jackson, instructor of Marine Engineering Technology, saw a need to spread the word among campus cadets to get involved by offering a Historic Ship Preservation service-learning course. Students complete 30 hours of service restoring historic ships that are operating through non-profits as museums and educational sites. At the end of their experience, students write a culminating paper, reflecting upon their learning and its impact on their development as future marine engineers.

Over 30 years ago, Professor Jackson assisted in restoring two of Suisun Bay's "mothballed" vessels. He shares, "The experience gave me a lot of pride in what I do and those individuals whose footsteps I follow. It is my hope that these students will also gain from the experience aboard these vessels." In Spring of 2012, students in the Historic Ship Preservation course completed their service with the non-profit Pacific Battleship Center on the USS Iowa, a World War II battleship. The USS Iowa was undergoing repairs in the East Bay and planned to open as an interactive naval museum in the Los Angeles area during the summer of 2012. Students gained hands-on technical experience in marine vessel engineering using techniques such as "enclosed space entry" where strict safety protocols must be followed. To ensure that the vessel was seaworthy, cadets visually inspected over 800 tanks and void spaces to confirm they were water tight.

In years prior, the bulk of student involvement has been on the SS Jeremiah O Brian and the SS Red Oak Victory. Many California Maritime Academy alumni sailed aboard similar vessels during World War II and they represent an important part of the institution's history. These vessels afforded students the opportunity to operate an older steam propulsion power plant and gave the students a rare glimpse into the past.

Cal Maritime students have commented that their service on the USS Iowa has given them a greater respect for, and understanding of, the history of their chosen industry. The volunteers were vital in preparation of the Los Angeles opening, with more than 600 hours of assistance from Cal Maritime students.

Find out more about community engagement at Cal Maritime.

View campus service-learning projects involving the ecosystem:
CSU Channel Islands
Channel Islands

One year after the devastation that came from the massive earthquake off the coast of Sendai, 15 CSU Channel Islands students enrolled in Science and Technology in Japan traveled to Japan to volunteer in the rebuilding efforts during their spring break.

CSU Dominguez Hills
CSU Dominguez Hills

Some of the first words of greeting that Earth Sciences Professor Judy King receives from Biogeography students are: "Have you seen the garden today?"; "Did you notice how much the Sycamore has grown?"; "Those Monkey Flowers are blooming like crazy!" With funding from an ECO LED grant made possible by Edison International, 26 students joined forces to plan a garden, learn the scientific and common names of their plants, dig, add amendment, dig some more, learn to plant carefully, spread wood chips, build a path, and water diligently.

CSU Fresno
CSU Fresno

Students in Dr. Steve Blumenshine's aquatic ecology course work with a variety of community partners on issues of water quality and habitat restoration, including fish sampling, water testing, river restoration efforts and teaching aquatic ecology modules in local classrooms.

Humboldt State University
Humboldt State University

In Dr. Matthew Johnson's Upland Habitat Ecology course, students learn about the process of research by being exposed to real issues impacting their community and sharing their findings and recommendations with local planners and city officials.

Cal Maritime
Cal Maritime

Volunteer work aboard historic vessels in the San Francisco Bay is a tradition at California Maritime Academy. Robbie Jackson, instructor of Marine Engineering Technology, saw a need to spread the word among campus cadets to get involved by offering a Historic Ship Preservation service-learning course.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

The students of Engineers Without Borders USA-Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (EWB-Cal Poly) are creating change domestically and abroad. In the summer of 2011, students worked with villagers in Sainji, India to create an economical and user-friendly corn de-kerneler to help ease the physical stress of their manual method.