Toronto Metropolitan University's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1967

Five people sitting on grass look up to sky with solar eclipse glasses on
All Arts & Culture

Hundreds of students unite in the Quad for rare solar eclipse

By Caelan Monkman

Despite cloudy weather obscuring much of the solar eclipse, hundreds of Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) students crammed into the Kerr Hall Quad on Monday afternoon in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the rare celestial event.
A formal watch party in the quad was organized by SciXchange, TMU’s science literary office. With tables set up throughout the quad, the group supplied students with information about the eclipse and astronomy, as well as the eye shields required to safely view the solar event.

“We were expecting a lot of people, so we actually started planning well into January,” said Kid Naary Branco, a fourth-year biology student and the lead of community partners for SciXchange. “During our second semester, we started putting together the posters, we started putting together the workshops with our community partners [and] we actually started talking about our solar system beforehand around the beginning of March.”

In anticipation of the eclipse, SciXchange acquired 1,500 pairs of eclipse glasses to hand out to students. Although they had anticipated a turnout of somewhere between 600-700 students, the group ran out of glasses by 3 p.m.

“I think it’s really nice that we all just got to be here all at once at the same time”

“We are really happy that it turned out very well,” said Branco. “As we can see there are a lot of people here, and we’re glad that they get to experience this.”
Cloudy skies made it difficult for students to witness the full visual splendour of the eclipse’s 99 per cent totality that could be seen in Toronto. Still, for most students, the event was more about doing something as part of a larger campus community.

“It’s a big turnout. It’s bigger than any other thing that I’ve seen on campus lately,” said Ruben Mohabeer-Ortiz, a first-year media production student. “Even though it’s kind of cloudy and I can’t really see the sun or anything, it’s kind of nice to see everybody around here—it feels like orientation again.”

First-year creative industries student, Faisal Eweje, agreed.

“I think it’s really nice that we all just got to be here all at once at the same time,” said Eweje. “I don’t think you see that many people in the quad in general, except when it’s like a super hot day.”

The next time a total solar eclipse will be visible from Canada is slated to be in 2044, and even then it will only be visible in the more northwestern parts of the country. For Mohabeer-Ortiz, the rarity of the event and the communal nature that comes with it is part of what made the eclipse so special.

“It’s nice to have something that everybody can participate in at once and all talk about”

“We don’t have a lot of universal things that we do anymore. We don’t all watch the same TV shows or play the same video games or have that kind of stuff,” said Mohabeer-Ortiz. “It’s nice to have something that everybody can participate in at once and all talk about because it’s a universal trend.”

Leave a Reply