Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) has come alive this week as students return for the upcoming semester.
Staff and faculty welcomed new and returning mariners during a series of check-in events to kick off the college’s Regimental Preparatory Training (RPT) program and more are expected to arrive in the coming days.
“This is my favorite time of the year, always,” President William J. Brennan said. “But having students return now is especially celebratory because our community has done so much to get them here."
Earlier this summer, MMA launched a community vaccine campaign to encourage campus community members to get vaccinated against Covid-19 before the start of the semester.
Brennan said he asked folks to do whatever they could to protect each other, and MMA sees the vaccine as essential to that effort. “I am incredibly proud that – without a mandate or any incentive beyond our sense of responsibility to one another – we have achieved over 90% vaccination rate amongst our employees."
Last week, the college announced a vaccine requirement for students and school officials are already seeing student numbers that approach those of the employees. For those who are not yet vaccinated, the school will host a Community Vaccine Clinic on Aug. 27. Students who participate in the clinic will be automatically entered into the college’s Vaccine Lottery, a series of weekly giveaways designed to promote vaccinations and generate excitement for the upcoming school year.
The upcoming clinic is designed to help students meet the new vaccine requirements, but it will be open to all members of the campus community and the public as well. Only the Pfizer vaccine will be available and a follow-up clinic for the second dose will be scheduled later this fall.
While acknowledging the challenges that lie ahead, Brennan is optimistic about this upcoming semester. “As a maritime college, we are unique and different. We know, as shipmates, that we must help each other and look out for one another. As president, I acknowledge that we all want our lives back, but we have worked hard as a campus community to overcome the scourge of this virus and we will celebrate our successes as they come."
MMA will officially launch its fall semester during the class of 2025’s Academic Orientation and Welcome session on Aug. 23, and classes will begin the next day.