Full Moon | Photo courtesy of the WSU Astronomy Club
Wright State University’s star gazing club hosts date-night event to provide a safe experience for new couples and students.
Hosted by the Astronomy Club, the ‘First Date Night’ star-gazing event kicked off at John Bryan State Park near Dayton campus.
According to Club President Brad Kerry, the purpose of this event was to provide a safe environment for first dates during the ‘Red Zone’ of university life, a time of statistically heightened instances of sexual assault that happens during the first semester of college.
The Astronomy Club also partnered with the Women’s Center and Rainbow Alliance for the event.
“The reason why we are working with those organizations, they tend to be the ones that have significant amount of resources to address sexual assault and stuff like that. They are also communities that are disproportionately affected by that,” Kerry said.
This pairing made for an event that was safe with the inclusion of code words that would let any astronomy club leader know if a student felt uncomfortable with a dating partner. No one used the code word during the event.
While the event took place at a public observatory, students could rest easy on first dates during a time of heightened awareness without the association of being on campus.
“Since it’s off campus, the environment’s a little more relaxed. You don’t have that innate association with school. You don’t have to be thinking about classes, all that by being on the campus,” Kerry said.
In addition to offering a safe experience for WSU students, the club also offered educational opportunities to learn about stars, galaxies and planets.
The club used four telescopes to present better images of the sights, equipping one telescope with professional astrophotography equipment to get high-quality images.
Upcoming President of the Society of Physics Students Neil Eohl appreciated the relationship between astronomy and the physics major.
“I like the science behind what they are doing, becoming a physicist myself, looking at things we describe in Physics,” Eohl said.
Vice Presidential candidate for Astronomy Club and commuter student Misha “M.J” Harris found comfort in the event being close.
“I tend to prefer off-campus events just because I tend to be closer to them,” Harris said.
Harris also mentioned a love for learning about stars and the galaxies despite a limited knowledge of the phenomena.
At the current time, the Astronomy Club plans to bring back this event for next year.