Sunday, May 19, 2024

Day turns night: Hundreds experience eclipse at Hawkins Pond

Students, college staff, community members and out-of-town visitors flocked to Hawkins Pond to witness the total solar eclipse April 8.


By Brionne Thompson

Monday gave Plattsburgh its most exciting eclipse, creating a midnight look at only 3 p.m. 

There were so many people on Plattsburgh’s roads that many students received emergency alerts on their phones early in the morning, warning of travelers entering the North Country and High Peak areas. Most classes around the totality phase of the eclipse, 3:20 to 3:30 p.m. were canceled. 

It was clear and warm weather Monday, April 8, when the student body and families sat around Hawkins Pond, sitting on the rocks trying to find their friends, excited for the eclipse. Students at SUNY Plattsburgh had a lot to say about watching the eclipse. 

Amen Zergaw, a first-year biomedical science major, took a break from studying to finally relax with her friends and watch the eclipse. 

“I really want to time it perfectly and play the main theme song from the movie ‘Interstellar’ that came out in 2014,” Zergaw said.

She kept more than one pair of glasses from the eclipse watch party as a memory to take home with her during the summer vacation.

Rim Teklu, a first-year studying business administration, came to see the eclipse and her friends as well as enjoy the nice weather because it’s uncommon in Plattsburgh. 

“I just need to make sure that I don’t look too close to the sun without my glasses. I have them, but I don’t want to forget to wear them and accidentally damage my eyes,” Teklu said, laughing.

Wavell Rodrigues, a sophomore majoring in biomedical science, also met up with his friends. He had watched videos of what the eclipse should resemble and was excited to see it happen in his college town. 

“I’m really waiting to just see it with my own eyes, and everyone’s here,” Rodrigues said. “It’s going to be a really fun experience.”

Tedros Teklu, a first-year majoring in business, said he was confused about the eclipse. He is an international student from Ethiopia and wondered why everyone rallied together just to see the sun. 

During the eclipse’s totality phase when everyone cheered, he said, “Why are we all cheering? It’s just the sun.” 

Miyu Kameyama, a sophomore majoring in criminal justice and accounting, was fearful about watching the eclipse. She frantically looked up emails from the Student Digest explaining when it was safe to look up in the sky. 

Khushi Khadka, a first-year majoring in computer science, was excited for more than just herself — her fellow international friend who joined her, who has not ever seen an eclipse before. 

“It’s really nice that she’s happy and excited to be here,” Khadka said.


Aleksandra Sidorova
Students at Hawkins Pond erupt in applause, exclamations and cheer as the solar eclipse exits its totality phase.


Student Association members tabled, giving out free eclipse glasses to ensure the public was not endangering their vision. The student-run #HealWithIt campaign also made an appearance, soliciting surveys about the eclipse and offering free merchandise pertaining to self-care and mental health advocacy. 

Free snacks were also available to everyone, including brownies, chocolates, candies, popcorn, chips and soda. No table ran on a low supply of water. Because of this heat, SUNY Plattsburgh staff used a microphone to let everyone attending know that it might be easy to overheat and to remind everyone to take a water bottle.

During the totality phase, the moon covered the sun and completely dimmed the light over Hawkins Pond, making it look like midnight at only 3 p.m. Everyone went quiet and pulled out their phones to capture the beautiful moment of the eclipse. 

Afterward, students gathered in the Hudson Hall Lobby for a free photo-booth with printed out copies. There were numerous props for students to take pictures with. 

Overall, the students were excited to come together as a community to relax and watch the eclipse.


See more photos of the eclipse watch party at Hawkins Pond in our e-edition.

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