We've got you covered

The Columbia Chronicle

We've got you covered

The Columbia Chronicle

We've got you covered

The Columbia Chronicle

Get exclusive Chronicle news delivered to your inbox!
* indicates required

Editorial: Solar eclipse brought community to Columbia at a time when it was most needed


On Monday, April 8, hundreds of members of our campus community gathered in Grant Park to witness the astronomical phenomenon of the solar eclipse. 

The mood was festive. People shared viewing glasses and passed around pinhole cameras made by the faculty of the Science and Mathematics Department, which hosted the low-cost viewing party with the Chronicle. 

Columbia College Chicago is an urban campus in the heart of downtown Chicago. It is not a college with typical sports teams, a mascot, or regular events on a grassy quad. We don’t have a quad. 

But in the minutes leading up to the peak eclipse at 2:07 p.m., Grant Park was our quad and this single spontaneous event brought the community together in the first celebratory gathering we’ve had since convocation at the start of the fall semester. 

Weeks later, the part-time faculty went on strike for seven weeks, dividing us. We hadn’t even begun the healing process when the college announced a new round of budget cuts and possible faculty layoffs at the start of the spring semester.

It’s been a horrible year.

However, the solar eclipse showed that not only can we come together as a community, but we also need it, to keep the energy on campus and to thrive.

President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim sent an email on March 21 outlining $17.3 million in potential cuts to resolve a $38 million deficit. One of the proposed cuts was to the Student Affairs office, which includes campus events like Manifest and Convocation, the two biggest campus events held by the college at the beginning and end of every academic year.

As Kim gets ready to deliver his final report to the Board of Trustees just days ahead of graduation, the one thing that they need to keep in mind is community and its impact on the college experience. Perhaps this event will be a testament to making college-wide events a priority.

We argued in this space last week that Manifest and commencement may need to be trimmed to help the college cut costs. We were wrong. But after experiencing the solar eclipse with our peers, teachers and administrators, after standing under a darkening sky in awe of the universe, we realize that these kinds of events, more than any, should be prioritized.

That doesn’t mean we can’t reimagine commencement, having it in smaller ceremonies in the Student Center to save on rental costs as we noted.

But community events like our solar party and Manifest, an urban arts festival, are critical to Columbia College.

Students come to Columbia College Chicago because of its uniqueness and emphasis on the arts. The arts foster unity. Community fosters the arts. The solar eclipse viewing was an ode to that, and it is time to bring that unity back to the campus.

More to Discover