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Tuesday, April 16
The Indiana Daily Student

campus student life

IU ready for once-in-a-lifetime eclipse but urges patience

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For four minutes next Monday afternoon, Indiana University’s Bloomington campus will be plunged into darkness as the moon shrouds the sun. Then the unprecedented crowd will immediately leave, likely causing major congestion — IU predicts it could take as long as 11 hours to clear parking lots.  

It's exactly why IU has been preparing for the total solar eclipse for years, having met to discuss it as far back as 2019. About five years later, IU is ready to execute a day filled with events and celebrations of the once-in-a-lifetime celestial experience. Whether you’re a student, Bloomington resident or visitor, here’s everything you need to know about the eclipse on IU’s flagship campus April 8. 

Changes to parking and road closures 

Parking will change drastically just before, during and after eclipse day. Amanda Roach, director of emergency management and continuity, said the university is expecting faculty and staff to park in on-campus parking garages, which will be free for faculty and staff beginning Monday.  

All athletic lots, however, will close 6 p.m. Friday. They will open Monday morning for people with prepaid passes for eclipse events, Roach said. Students will not be allowed to park in the athletic lots through Tuesday, according to an email from the Office of Parking Operations sent April 1.  

Finally, parking enforcement will be suspended in all surface lots for IU permit holders except American Disability Act designated spaces and reserved 24-hour spots beginning 5 p.m. Friday through 7 a.m. Wednesday. 

Certain intersections on campus will have temporary traffic barricades to allow large crowds to cross, Roach said. These include Tenth Street from Woodlawn Avenue to Eagleson Avenue and Woodlawn Avenue from Tenth Street to Seventh Street. 

However, the only firm closure is David Baker Avenue, Roach said, which will ensure emergency vehicles can get through campus.  

Safety and first aid 

IU will set up three first aid and information stations staffed by emergency medical services, nurses, IU Police Department and event services employees at McNutt Circle Drive, Wells Library and Lauren Robel Plaza, which is on Seventh Street across from Ernie Pyle Hall.  

In addition to first aid, the stations will offer directions and general information.  

Anticipating increased 911 calls, IU has set up a special number for non-emergency calls. People can reach this line at 855-603-7911.  

Students, residents and visitors will also be able to opt in to receiving public safety messages by texting “MoCoEclipse” to 226787 beginning April 5.  

Transportation and traffic 

Like the City of Bloomington, IU Campus Bus service will have limited operating hours. 

Roach said the bus will operate from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with one final run from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. if traffic conditions allow. To check for any changes in bus service, check the Instagram and Facebook of the bus service. 

In speaking with other universities who have been in the path of totality before, Roach said one issue kept coming up.  

“Traffic was just the biggest challenge,” she said. “They said roadways were just impassable.” 

Southern Illinois University, which experienced a total eclipse in 2017, had a 75-mile traffic backup immediately after the eclipse, Roach said. 

“That’s like from Bloomington to Westfield,” she said.  

It took them 11 hours to completely clear the parking lots, Roach said, meaning event attendees could be waiting until the early morning hours of Tuesday before they can leave.  

Food and restrooms 

Roach said dining halls have prepared by having some typical deliveries come the week prior to the eclipse in case roads will be congested leading up to the day. Students can still grab a meal at dining halls but may have to go at different hours. 

Bookmarket, Forest and McNutt dining halls will close during the 3 p.m. hour, while Eigenmann will be open from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wright, Read, Collins and Goodbody eateries will be closed. Some, but not all, campus stores will be closed while all IMU restaurants will remain open. More information is available here. 

University Information Technology Services will be monitoring internet connection the weekend prior, Roach said, but the university is not expecting any catastrophic issues with the network. Ultimately, public safety will be given priority access to the network. 

Portable restrooms will be available across campus, but some campus buildings will be open for bathroom access as well. Roach said these include Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall South, Wells Library, the IMU, the lobby of the IU Auditorium and the Student Recreational Sports Center, although only the lobby and restrooms will be open after noon.  

The Student Health Center will remain open for mild medical issues from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Crimson Cupboard locations will be closed. Many student life offices will offer remote service only April 8 — a list is available here.  

The rest of the buildings will be card access only, Roach said.  

IU urges patience for event attendees 

IU is used to large crowds and strains on traffic and network connections, but the eclipse will be far more taxing. Roach compared it to five or six football games happening at the same time. 

“I don’t think we’ve had anything of this magnitude,” she said.  

The last time Bloomington was in the path of totality was the 1800s, and Roach said the next time will not occur within our lifetime. 

Roach urged people to go into the eclipse with a mindset that there may be delays in getting home and to be patient. 

“But at the same time, we're going to get to see this amazing once in a lifetime eclipse, and right in our community,” she said.  

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