Sophomore Emily Mitchell’s interest in stars started at an early age. Mitchell remembers her father waking up her and her sister in the middle of the night to look for shooting stars and meteor showers. And, like many ‘90s kids, the ceiling in her room was covered with glow-in-the-dark stick-on stars. This early interest stayed with her. This semester, Mitchell turned her love for watching stars into a student organization: the Stargazing Club.
Last spring, Mitchell, a psychology major, began meeting up with friends on the quad to stargaze at night. She started a group text among friends, talking about meeting up for the next lunar eclipse, supermoon or other astrological happenings. The friends realized that they were not the only ones who would be interested in these activities, and decided to start a club open to all JCU students who shared their passion.
Over the summer, Mitchell completed the process of establishing a student organization by drafting a constitution, solidifying 10 members and filling out paperwork. Mitchell found it to be a lengthy process, but worth the time.
The Stargazing Club was introduced at this year’s Student Involvement Fair, sharing a table with the Violence Prevention and Action Center. Armed with Milky Way bars and business cards with various astrological facts on the back, the club racked up 60 interested students.
Andrew Harrington, vice president, said, “I am absolutely blown away with the number of sign-ups we had. I am so happy that this many members of the JCU community share the same interest in stargazing and I hope the club continues to expand in the future.”
The club had its first meeting last week on the Dolan Center for Science and Technology patio. The group played relaxing music and enjoyed a clear night watching the stars.
Mitchell plans on making a collaborative playlist so every member can add songs.
Freshman Emily Nerici attended the first meeting. “It was my first time on the Dolan patio,” said Nerici. “On that clear night, it was breathtaking. Everyone there was just as taken aback as me. All the stars were out and there was music in the background. I really loved it.”
Do not be mistaken, however – this is not an astrology club. You are not required to know how to use a telescope or name star formations. However, any astrology-fanatics are more than welcome to join.
“The club is not about astrology, but rather a place for people to go to relax, listen to some music and enjoy the stars,” said Mitchell.
The club will meet at a number of locations both on and off campus. Ideally, the group will go off campus on a regular basis to get away from Cleveland’s light pollution. The further away you get from the city, the more stars you will see.
There are two upcoming off-campus events for the club. The first is a trip to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for Astrology Day on Saturday, Oct. 4. The students can watch a show at the Shafran Planetarium, tour the Ralph Mueller Observatory and meet other local astrology clubs.
The second event is a night-walk at a park on Thursday, Oct. 23. This event is weather-permitting.
Mitchell admits this club is more for night owls, but everyone – including early birds – are welcome to join.
Many JCU students have shown interest in the club, and it looks like the club will be a success.
Editor’s note: Anyone interested in joining can contact Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org or the vice president Andrew Harrington at email@example.com. If you are interested in any of the events above, send either Mitchell or Harrington an email and they will save you a spot.