CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - According to SIU Carbondale, the university events during the eclipse have been recognized with a grand gold award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
"This was going to be the first total solar eclipse over the continental United States since 1979 and the first coast to coast in 99 years," Bob Baer, co-chair of an eclipse steering committee said. "It was an incredible opportunity for outreach on a grand scale."
"I suspect that the steering committee had doubts along the way, but they made it happen with perseverance, creativity and collaboration," SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno said. "It told me that together, we can accomplish anything as a university. Congratulations to everyone involved."
Students at the school, like Jordyn Kess, have fond memories of the events leading up to the eclipse.
"It was like the first time at SIU that I really saw all that unity," she said, "and just everybody there to witness something great and spectacular like that. It was so, so cool"
According to Director of University Events, Vanessa Sneed, there were around 2,000 people between committees, subcommittees, volunteers, and the like that went into putting the events on. They started planning in 2014. To put on the best events possible, she says they asked "eclipse chasers" for advice.
"We worked with people who had witnessed more than 20 eclipse across the globe," she said, "we asked them, 'okay, what do we need to plan for? What type of activities will people be looking for?'"
According to SIU, events included a science and technology expo, a comic con, a live broadcast on PBS stations, and other activities at Saluki Stadium.
"We started the countdown to 2024 on the eclipse website as soon as the 2017 eclipse was over," Baer said. "But we're taking a year or two off from planning before we start it all over again. We went into 2017 with no existing model to work from. This time around, we have the model and a great deal of experience to build on."