After a difficult start, Peru State provided NASA-approved solar viewers to 5000+ school age students in southeast Nebraska.

After a difficult start, Peru State provided NASA-approved solar viewers to 5000+ school age students in southeast Nebraska.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
8:00 p.m., August 20, 2017
Jason R. Hogue, Director of Communications, Peru State College, jhogue@peru.edu, 402-872-2429

 

Peru, Nebraska – In August of last year, the Peru State Marketing Department started planning for the coming solar eclipse in 2017. Later the idea was pitched for Peru State to provide solar eclipse viewers to its closest neighboring schools in the path of totality.

Dr. Dan Hanson, president of Peru State, said, “Providing solar viewers is a great way for Peru State to engage with school districts and their students. Everyone in the path of totality will need safe, trusted viewers.”

“Peru State was glad to provide them.”

Jason Hogue, director of marketing and communications said, “Buying solar viewers is another way for my department to introduce Peru State to potential students.”

“It also helped districts fill a safety need that looked difficult to meet. Grants were filling some of this need, but districts were facing funding gaps.”

Peru State ended up providing more than 5000 NASA-approved solar viewers to students in Auburn, Falls City, HTRS, Johnson-Brock, Nebraska City and Syracuse. Viewers were also provided to community events in Auburn and Tecumseh.

Hogue continues, “School districts passed out these safe, known solar viewers even when school was canceled for the day of the eclipse. Peru State had a lot of help from scientists and industry leaders getting the best option to our students and the students of those districts – why not take advantage of that work?”

More solar viewers will be provided to Peru State students, potential students, faculty, staff and guests during Monday’s eclipse event on campus.

Solar Viewer provided by Peru State College.

Thousand Oaks Optical Solar Viewer provided by Peru State College.

A Rough Start

Working with local partners, the Marketing Department spent November and December shopping for an affordable way to purchase custom cardboard eclipse viewers. An order was placed in early 2017.

Unfortunately, when the order arrived in late July the glasses were beautiful but did not meet new NASA regulations for eclipse glasses. The glasses shopped-for and ordered in early 2017 were from China and had the wrong ISO number.

Hogue said, “Our American vendor worked very closely with us, ultimately issuing a full refund as everyone’s understanding unfolded. We are just happy that we never gave a pair of these faulty glasses to a student.”

Fortunately, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and Dr. Rick Fienberg took an interest in the Peru State glasses. Fienburg is the AAS’ Press Officer, holds a Ph.D in astronomy and is the former Editor-in-Chief of Sky & Telescope.

Earlier in August Fienberg told CBS News, “[Fake glasses from Asia] is a problem that we didn’t know existed until two weeks ago. Now, it’s occupying every waking minute.”

Fienberg, in his role as press officer, worked with Hogue to tell Peru State’s story to better educate other colleges and institutions that might have similar problems. With this new knowledge several colleges and universities have since recalled their glasses before the impending eclipse.

Fienberg and the AAS are the scientists behind the NASA-supported list of approved eclipse glasses and solar viewer manufacturers. The list of manufacturers and the vendors that sell their products can be found at eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters

Peru State was able to order new solar viewers in early August. The new company is Thousand Oaks Optical out of Arizona. Peru State College, the Campus of a Thousand of Oaks, has no prior relationship, but now feels a strong connection.

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