College Receives Grant Supporting Community Education Regarding 2024 Total Solar Eclipse
Campus News

Franklin College has received a $2,500 grant from the Community Engaged Alliance (CEA) to support community education about the total solar eclipse occurring on April 8, 2024. The Supporting Engagement and Authentic Dialogues (SEAD) grant was awarded to Arbin Thapaliya, Ph.D., associate professor of physics at Franklin College for his project, “The Great Eclipse – A Once in a Lifetime Learning Experience.”

This will be the first total solar eclipse to cross Indiana since 1869, and Indiana is one of 13 U.S. states that will be in the eclipse’s narrow path of totality. Franklin, Indiana anticipates experiencing 2.5 hours of eclipse and four minutes of totality.

Programming providing by the grant will be in collaboration with the Johnson County Public Library (JCPL). The purpose is to educate the public about the eclipse as well as to make information and activities accessible to residents with limitations that prevent them from attending the larger community-wide activities being planned by Festival Country Indiana in the city of Franklin.

Programming will occur on Wednesday, March 6 at the Franklin branch of the Johnson County Public Library. Registration for the 4:30 p.m. session, geared toward school-age children, is already full, but interested parties may add their name to the waitlist. A 6:30 p.m. session, geared toward teens and adults, is currently accepting registrations. You may register for these and other solar eclipse special programs at:

Content and activities for the two sessions have been developed by Thapaliya, as well as two student interns under his supervision. The trio have also collaborated with Sarah Taylor, assistant director at the Johnson County Public Library, and her staff.

“We are thrilled to support Dr. Thapaliya’s project,” said CEA Executive Director Elijah Howe, Ph.D. “The appeal of this project was that it capitalizes on a rare astronomical opportunity while blending multiple high-impact education practices into one experience. In addition to providing a high-quality education experience for Franklin College students, the project invites the local community to participate and extends the educational assets of Franklin College to serve more people. Dr. Thapaliya’s work and partnership with the Johnson County Public Library is emblematic of the type of experience students receive from Franklin College.”

“Astronomical phenomena, whether big or small, always fascinates me, and I think we are incredibly lucky that we can witness this once-in-a-lifetime event from Franklin,” said Thapaliya. “What is even more exciting is that the college is partnering with JCPL to provide free, hands-on, educational and informational offerings related to the eclipse for members of the community. Our students will not only be learning by experience, but also the activities they will be developing and leading will help others of all ages do the same. We are confident that through this partnership we can make a meaningful positive impact on the community.”

“Franklin College and the Johnson County Public Library have something in common – we want to provide unique high-quality educational experiences to help people in Franklin learn the science behind the eclipse,” said Taylor. “We are committed to doing our part to help these plans succeed for our residents, and we are looking forward to working closely with Franklin College to support science education in the community.”

To learn more about what Franklin College and Festival Country Indiana in Franklin have planned to celebrate the solar eclipse, please visit

For more information, contact the Franklin College Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185.

POSTED Feb 22, 2024