SUNY Oswego campus watch party weathers clouds for eventful afternoon

Clouds did not stop SUNY Oswego students from enjoying the solar eclipse festivities on campus. Photo by: Ben Diamond

OSWEGO, N.Y. – Crowds of people, from students to faculty and more, gathered on the grass next to the Marano Campus Center (MCC) and hoped the weather would allow for a clear view of the total solar eclipse.

At the event, Aidan Wilson, a junior at SUNY Oswego from the Bahamas, went to the event with his friends and was able to experience totality for the first time.

“I enjoyed it, I have never experienced anything like that, it being dark in the middle of the day, it’s an experience I will definitely remember,” Wilson said. “Being around friends and the environment itself definitely helped make the day what it was and no classes made it even better.”

Students created a lot of buzz on the North Lawn, enjoying all of the activities and black-and-white cookies made to look like an eclipse. Wilson took the time to partake in the different activities around the watch party grounds and enjoyed the festival-like atmosphere, similar to the end of year celebration on campus.

“It is kind of like a little-mini OzFest,” Wilson said. “It was a great taste of what to expect for next month.” 

The event was equipped with a live DJ providing music for the attendees and yard games like cornhole, Spikeball and a life-size version of Connect 4 to keep up the energy leading into the main event. 

The event included an arts and crafts section where attendees were able to personalize tote bags and spin yarn in the shape of a crescent moon. There were also 500 free T-shirts given out to students to commemorate the day.

The viewing party officially lasted from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with most of the crowd showing up around 1:30 p.m. to find the perfect spot to view the eclipse and to enjoy the many yard games and other attractions around the North Lawn.

Ashley Dailey, the program coordinator for student organization support and activities for the Student Engagement and Leadership office said that the North Lawn next to MCC was an ideal location to hold the campus’ eclipse viewing party.

“We like how it faces the lake,” Dailey said. “We like that it’s a central location on campus, it’s easy to find right outside Marano Campus Center which everybody pretty much knows. And the rain location, if it was really cold or bad weather, was the arena so we could pop out quickly to see it.”

The total solar eclipse also attracted many people from outside Oswego, including Adam Brumberg, a native of Ithaca who also traveled to the path of totality for the solar eclipse in 2017. However, inclement weather dampened his previous experience and he had hopes of a better experience the second time around, even with some cloud cover.

“When we flew to Kansas City for the last eclipse, this is exactly the same thing [cloud cover] that happened, I am beginning to think I am bad luck for eclipses,” Brumberg said. “I am looking forward to seeing the total darkness again and maybe we will get a glimpse of the corona.”

With the sun peaking through the clouds frequently during totality, the SUNY Oswego eclipse watch party was still able to draw a large crowd.