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Bradshaw Library and Whitaker Center Partner for Solar Eclipse Event

Alexandra Cavalier

Over 1,600 students and faculty gathered on the library lawn on April 8 to watch the solar eclipse. The FGCU library and the Whitaker Center for STEM Education partnered together to plan the event, which lasted from 2 to 4 p.m.

The departments provided attendees with solar eclipse glasses and a telescope to view the eclipse, as well as some solar crafts. 

Outreach librarian Heather Snapp worked to plan the event. 

“Quite a bit went into it [planning],” Snapp said. “We had to research where we could get glasses and where we could get them for a great deal. We had to reserve the lawn and get student workers signed up to work at the event. We had to make marketing for the event and make the graphics.”

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The library reached out to Whitaker Center staff including the Assistant Director for the Whitaker Center, Jessica Marcolini, when they heard the eclipse was happening, 

“We partnered on them getting the glasses and we have a few different things. We have our solar telescope. We have solar beads that people can make bracelets with. We also have some solar paper that the students can make arts and crafts with. So, all around sun projects,” Marcolini said. 

The Whitaker Center already had a lot of the materials needed for the craft projects. 

“A big part of what the Whitaker Center does is STEM education here at FGCU, but we also partner with local community groups and K-12 programming. A lot of this stuff we’ve done before. So, it didn’t take a lot of planning, but it’s something that we enjoy doing to give back to our campus community,” she said.

The solar telescope was provided by Whitaker Eminent Scholar and Astronomer Derek Buzasi. He was in Ohio to view the total solar eclipse. 

“[The telescope] is something that you can buy online, they are not too expensive,” Snapp said. “The telescope makes the eclipse a little safer for people to look at. A lot of people can look at it at the same time as opposed to everyone having their individual glasses.”

Sophomore Emily Kruzel decided to bring her own telescope to the event after seeing an advertisement for it on Instagram. Her friends along with random people asked to use her telescope to catch a glimpse of the eclipse.

“I just really love space,” Kruzel said. “So, I was like, ‘Maybe you could see it through my telescope.’ It’d be easier than just looking up and everyone loves it, so it was a good idea.”

She was surprised by how many people came out to the event. 

“It is kind of cool that the whole school is here, a lot of people are here. It feels more of a community. So, that was pretty cool to have everyone here,” she said. 

Junior Casey Shepherd also attended the event. He said this viewing experience was better than the one he had during the 2017 eclipse. 

“I was outside of the hospital because I had a broken arm. I was waiting to get it looked at but I wanted to see the eclipse,” Shepherd said. “This is better than the hospital. It’s really great that they’re (the Bradshaw Library and Whitaker Center) supplying free stuff and not letting us burn our corneas.” 

Snapp felt the event was successful. 

“I’m really excited about the turnout,” she said. “It is more than I ever could have imagined. We had people calling us all morning, we were inundated with phone calls, with people asking about it.”

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About the Contributor
Alexandra Cavalier
Alexandra Cavalier, Eagle News Assistant Assignment & Features Editor
Alexandra Cavalier is a junior majoring in journalism. She is from Bradenton, FL, and has been interested in journalism since she joined the yearbook staff during her freshman year of high school. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in publishing. When not planning her next story, you can find her studying art history or watching movies.

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