By Danielle Denenberg
Special to the Chronicle
Are you interested in astronomy? Do you want someone to share that hobby with? If you’re looking at these questions, and thinking, “Yes!”, then the Astronomy Club may be the place for you.
The general basis of the club is for students who are interested in astronomy to get together to discuss their interest, and partake in and plan activities related to it. For example, a regular Astronomy Club activity is to meet on the roof of Berliner Hall to observe the sky.
“We look at the stars, planets… anything in the sky,” said Jessie Berman, president and co-founder of the club. “We try to observe on the clearest night.”
Jessie and another member, Courtney Melrose, started the club last year. Because both shared an interest in astronomy, and realized that Hofstra did not yet have an Astronomy Club, they decided to launch one. They gathered a group of people who were interested in the club, and put up fliers on bulletin boards. Shortly thereafter, the Astronomy Club was underway.
The Astronomy Club meets in Berliner Hall on Wednesdays during Common Hour. Additional meetings, which are planned by members throughout the semester, are held at night for observations on the roof. At the beginning of the semester, meetings are held every 2 weeks in order to allow members to get to know each other and become adjusted. After that, meetings are held about once a month.
The club currently has fifteen members: eleven students, and four professors. New members are always welcome.
The Astronomy Club also plans off-campus activities. “This semester, we’re going to set up a trip to either the Vanderbilt Museum, or the Museum of Natural History.” (The Vanderbilt Museum is located in Centerport, NY, and the Museum of NH is in NYC.) “Once we have a set group of students, we try to set up as many activities as possible,” Jessie said. This includes night observations, city trips, or any other ideas members may come up with. “We’re open to anything,” Jessie stated.
The Astronomy Club can have a positive impact on students. “If someone’s unsure of what they want to do, but they know they like astronomy, the club might help them become more interested and they may decide to major in astronomy. Or someone who already has a major may become interested in astronomy, and declare it as a minor.” In addition, developing an interest in astronomy can be beneficial to students who just need a distribution course. A course in astronomy will fulfill one of the classes needed for the Natural Science requirement. Perhaps joining the Astronomy Club will help students learn more about the subject, and intrigue them to take the course.
The club also helps students who are taking courses in astronomy. Dr. Lawrence, the head professor of the Astronomy Club, mandated his students to observe on the roof as an assignment one night. The Astronomy Club joined the students in the class, and helped them with their assignment.
“It was great. Jupiter and Venus were up that day,” said Jessie.
Jessie will be graduating at the end of this semester. The club is holding elections to find a student to take over as president next semester. As stated by Jessie, “we’re hoping to find an enthusiastic younger student who will be able to take on the job for semesters to come.”