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Kean University

Kean Campus Community Gets Starry-Eyed Over Rare Solar Eclipse

3 female of diverse background with solar eclipse glasses looking up with colorful clothing outside on campus

Students Anaya Milian-Cruz, Sadeishy Garcia Ventura, and Nathalie Guerra, pictured from left to right, enjoyed the solar eclipse together.

The solar eclipse that dazzled crowds across the country on Monday, April 8 became an impromptu event at Kean, drawing students and employees outside to don protective glasses and look up at the sky.

Kean President Repollet, wearing eclipse sunglasses, points to the sky as he stands next to VP Karen Smith
President Repollet and Vice President Karen Smith took in the eclipse outside Kean Hall.

Conveniently arriving during college hour – the eclipse’s 3:25 p.m. peak in New Jersey matched Kean’s scheduled break from classes – the natural phenomenon was a hit.

Ava Camargo, an English writing senior from Union, called watching the eclipse a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity. 

“I watched the sun almost completely disappear and then reappear a few seconds later, and I was grateful to see that moment,” Carmago said. “It’s a great experience to see an eclipse that has a pathway from coast to coast. It’s something that everyone will remember.” 

Crowds of students, faculty and staff watched the spectacle as the moon slowly crossed over the sun – making the sun look like a bright orange slice, through protective glasses – until it covered 90% of the sun’s light for several minutes.

The plaza around the clock tower developed a festive atmosphere as groups of students and faculty gathered to enjoy the moment. Elsewhere on campus, Kean’s lacrosse team, fine arts students and others posed for group photos, all wearing eclipse glasses. 

Outside Kean Hall, President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D., took a break to join in.

“It’s great to see our University enjoying a natural, astronomical event that captures the imagination and draws the community together,” he said. “Today, Kean Cougars climbed higher and looked skyward.”

Anaya Milian-Cruz, an environmental science junior from Roselle, watched from outside the Learning Plaza gazebo with friends Sadeishy Garcia Ventura, a junior criminal justice major from Jersey City, and Nathalie Guerra, a junior criminal justice major from Newark. 

“I'm out here today because I'm an environmental science major. This is really important for me—I love all things having to do with the environment,” Cruz said.

Ventura, holding her eclipse glasses, was thrilled to experience her first solar eclipse. 

“The fact that I could see the eclipse with my friends was my favorite part of it. Being able to explore it, see it for the first time, and learn about it was a lot of fun,” she said.

Jarenin Plasencia of Perth Amboy, a junior biology education major, took pictures with her friends, posing in eclipse glasses outside Miron Student Center. 

“I got the glasses from him,” referring to her boyfriend, who joined her. “We’re probably going to be here for about 15 minutes, until the sun gets covered.” 

Also taking in the celestial happening was Kean Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs David Birdsell, Ph.D., who watched with a group of coworkers near the clock tower.

“The eclipse was a spectacular reminder that we are all part of a much, much larger universe,” Birdsell said. “At Kean and across the country, it was wonderful to see people coming together to share their sense of wonder at the solar system's majesty.”