President Way hosts campus-wide eclipse watch party

Published by , Author: Megan Bush - Campus Life Editor, Date: August 31, 2017

Monday, August 21, North America was able to experience the first total solar eclipse in almost 100 years.  As part of his initiative to increase faculty and community morale, enhance community culture and keep the campus successful, President Philip Way hosted a campus-wide Eclipse Watch Party in the quad for all students and faculty currently on campus, as well as community members.

Monday was the beginning of the Jump Start program here at SRU, and was also the first day of band camp for the Marching Pride, so while the campus was not quite at its full capacity yet, the watch party experienced the foot traffic of hundreds of people, faculty and community members included.

The watch party was President Way’s first event as president of the university, and he considers it a big success

“It provided a good look forward into my longer-term plans for the university,” Way said.  

These plans include keeping the employment satisfaction and standards as high as they are now  Way said he also recognizes the positive culture and caring community surrounding the university, and he wants to take it to the next level in the next few months.

“I want to make this a very good place to work, with high levels of employee satisfaction,” Way said.

He referenced the numerous awards SRU has won, specifically the six-time placement on the Chronicle’s “Best Colleges to Work For,” and said he wants to incorporate the idea of ‘work hard, play hard’ into the employees’ work days.  Having fun at work, Way said, is good for employee satisfaction and morale, which in turn, is good for productivity and quality of work.

The idea to have a gathering to watch the eclipse came to Way when he first heard about the eclipse, and when he brought it to the Cabinet of the university, all members were excited to make it happen.  He decided that trying to “flex” the free time that faculty had during the day could provide more people with an opportunity to witness the eclipse, which could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some.  

The event was put together by a whole team of people, including the dean of the College of Heath, Environment, and Sciences (CHES) Dr. Jerry Chmielewski and the vice president of Finance, Administration Affairs, and Advanced Services, among many others, Way said.  The day included cookies decorated with eclipses, the ability to view the eclipse through a telescope with help from students and faculty, and the opportunity to watch NASA’s live stream of the eclipse in the campus planetarium.  

“I feel like the faculty attending felt a sense of release,” Way said of how people enjoyed the party.  “‘Even the president’s here, not in meetings!'”

Way said the future holds more events with similar intentions of bringing the campus together, including birthday breakfasts and dinners at the president’s house for the many different groups of people at SRU.  He said he hopes to create more ties between people, as well as promoting good morale and satisfaction.


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