Students and faculty gather for solar eclipse

A shot of the solar eclipse as seen through a pair of solar eclipse glasses. Photo by O.Schultz/Setonian.

Aug. 21 students at Seton Hill University were not only preparing for their first day of classes but also for a partial solar eclipse. Some professors even let students out early or just canceled class so that everyone could enjoy the scientific spectacle.

This solar eclipse was special because it was the first total solar eclipse visible to the continental United States in 38 years. Some people even traveled across the country just to see the total solar eclipse. Although we did not reach full totality here in Greensburg, many were still able to see the eclipse with special glasses; that is if you were able to get them before they sold out.

A solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to about three hours. That is why the states that saw totality became pitch black and it looked like night time.

Students gathered on Sullivan Lawn to watch this wonder play out only to be greeted by clouds and rain, but it cleared up just in time. Students and faculty were able to interact while sharing their glasses and homemade eclipse viewers with one another.

Having the partial solar eclipse on the first day of classes allowed freshmen and transfer students to witness firsthand how much of a community SHU is. That is one of the most important parts of this university and we all started off on the right foot when we all came together to watch the solar eclipse.

Students looking through their homemade solar eclipse viewing boxes. Photo from the Seton Hill Instagram.

The solar eclipse did not just bring together the community of SHU, it also brought together people all over the United States of America. People traveled as many as 11 hours to see the eclipse since it could be a once in a lifetime event. In a time where there is a lot of tension, the solar eclipse provided a break from the negativity.

In reality, this eclipse brought us all closer and helped us reach out within our community. Is it not funny how such an amazing event can relate to something that SHU teaches us during our time here? The freshmen who talked to someone new or shared their glasses may not know it yet, but they were using one of the pillars that the Sisters of Charity put in place here on campus.

So with that my fellow SHU students, look around you and think about what else the solar eclipse may have taught you. Go out into the SHU community and meet new people. The four years you spend here will go by fast so why not get involved now, and for upperclassmen it is never too late to get involved.

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