Claflin University's "Throwing Shade" celebration on Monday, August 21, for the first total eclipse of the sun visible from the contiguous United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) since 1979, created astonishment, excitement, and curiosity, throughout the campus community.
"It was amazing," said Amanda Perry, a sophomore digital design major from Irmo, S.C. "I did not really know what to expect. We were told the sky would go dark, but it was difficult to imagine how it would happen." Perry joined hundreds of Claflin students, staff, alumni and visitors at Claflin to witness the "Great American Eclipse," a total solar eclipse occurring exclusively over the continental United States. No other country saw totality, though many countries witnessed a partial eclipse of the sun.
"Even the temperature changed," said Annechester Williams, a junior business administration major from Spartanburg S.C. "I expected the weather to stay hot but when the sky turned dark, the temperature dropped."
Students and visitors donned their solar eclipse safety glasses as the much-anticipated moment of the total eclipse began at 2:43 p.m. In a matter of minutes, the bright sky became eerily dark. But soon after, the bright sunshine and 90-plus degree temperatures returned slowly.
"It's really cool that a total solar eclipse is such a rare event," said Aishwareya Singh, a sophomore at The High School for Health Professions in Orangeburg. "All of my friends have been pretty excited and social media really helped with creating awareness for the eclipse. A lot of articles and information were posted on social media about places that previously had a total eclipse. I read a BuzzFeed article about how some of the animals reacted during a total eclipse in Africa."
Richard Furlong and his family traveled from Queens, N.Y to Claflin to view the eclipse. Furlong, his wife Cristina, and son Jackson visited several places before coming to Claflin. "This has been an astronomy vacation," said Furlong, an English professor at City College of New York. "We saw a rocket launch at Kennedy Space Center last week." Furlong said he and his family enjoyed the lecture in the W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Building that featured Ms. Thusheeta Sivayogan, astronomy and physics professor at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, N.C. "This was a great event and Claflin has a wonderful campus. Of all the choices we could have made along the way, we chose Claflin. We are in the perfect place."
"The total eclipse was a history making event," said Claflin President Dr. Henry Tisdale. "What better place to witness history than at Claflin's historic campus. We are hopeful our students and visitors appreciated this special moment, which many of us may never see again."