Student solar solidarity

Students joined together to witness the solar eclipse.

tucollegian | Collegian

On April 8, 2024, the campus experienced a rare cosmic alignment known as the solar eclipse. This occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, casting a shadow over certain regions of our planet and blocking the sun from view. This occurrence is scientifically predictable, but did not fail to create a sense of awe and wonder for those that experienced it. The phenomenon had a great impact on The University of Tulsa’s campus.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of a solar eclipse is its ability to bring communities and people together. This shared experience was a gentle reminder of our similarities. Although Tulsa could only witness a partial eclipse that covered about 94.7% of the sun last Monday according to NASA, The University of Tulsa’s campus was full of life and discussion. Many students gathered hours early, beginning at 11 a.m., to secure the perfect outdoor location on campus to witness this cosmic wonder. A few of the main spots students, staff and faculty gathered were Harwell Field, Chapman Commons and Dietler Commons.

Senior Bella Musollino said, “I thought the solar eclipse brought a lot of students outside to hang out with one another. Some of us spent over an hour on Harwell field enjoying the nice weather and the break from professors who either delayed or canceled classes.”

These large grassy fields were full of students, faculty and campus visitors. As Bella explained, some classes halted their teaching to allow students the chance to witness this rare marvel, others were reported to have delayed exams and some even brought their teaching outdoors. At Dietler Commons, several professors could be seen conducting their classes outdoors. Dr. Alderman is one such professor who did this so that the students who were supposed to have classes indoors could take a glimpse at the solar eclipse.

The eclipse began at 12:30 p.m., reached its peak at 1:48 p.m., and ended around 3:07 p.m. During the peak, many students could be seen playing outdoor games, talking and sharing their protective glasses. Some faculty members and students even brought extra pairs of glasses for others to use to ensure everyone had the same ability to see the eclipse. Even students who initially felt indifferent towards the solar eclipse gathered to be included in the sense of community this event created.

The partial solar eclipse that Oklahoma observed for a few fleeting hours greatly impacted the campus community. I have never in my four years on this campus witnessed so many students in one place for reasons other than free food, drinks or merchandise. After this event, TU added blue patio chairs to the Dietler Commons field. This new addition of outdoor seating could be seen as an attempt to provide students with more incentive to spend time outdoors on the grassy fields as the weather gets warmer.

For anyone who may feel left out for missing this rare cosmic event, there is always the next eclipse in 2044.

Post Author: Jeana Brewer