Courtesy of Our Place in Space

Cornell Astronomical Society along with eight other organizations are hosting the Our Place in Space event May 1st to raise funds for Ithaca Welcomes Refugees and Sustainable Tompkins' Youth Climate Challenge.

April 24, 2018

Cornellians Organize Arts Quad Event on Space Exploration and Climate Change

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Cornell community members will have the opportunity to use telescopes and detect microwave background radiation on the Arts Quad at Our Place in Space on May 1.

Our Place in Space, an event featuring activities, demonstrations and projects, will engage Cornellians on topics related to space exploration and climate change.

Emma Vedock-Gross ’20, the event organizer, said the inspiration for the event came from her experiences working on the design and outreach team of the Cornell Astronomical Society, an undergraduate student organization that “conducts public viewing nights at Fuertes Observatory,” according to the group’s website.

As a member of the outreach team, Vedock-Gross taught about space and Earth at local schools and in the Ithaca community, and she felt that there weren’t enough opportunities for Cornell undergraduate and graduates students to join in the conversations about space.

Driven by a desire to increase engagement on campus, Vedock-Gross hopes Our Place in Space will provide a channel for “organizations who may not have a way to share their passions … to share [their] projects, ideas with the Cornell community.”

The event, which runs from 8-11 p.m., is planned in partnership with eight other organizations that “will be presenting their projects, research, and art exploring the connection between Earth and space,” according to Vedock-Gross.

“Hands-on activities will include everything from telescopes and Magic Planet demonstrations to lego challenges and microwave background radiation detection by a satellite dish,” she added.

Vedock-Gross said the winning artworks from the Luminescent Space Art Contest, a cross-disciplinary contest focused on ideas of space discovery and light, will also be on display at the event. She hopes attendees who come across the pieces will come to appreciate the value of art as an “incredible place” to convey the “intersection of different issues.”

Vedock-Gross said Our Place in Space is a part of People’s Climate Week, which she defines as “the result of collaboration between a huge variety of organizations in order to amplify the fight against climate change here at Cornell … so that we are all encouraged and inspired to do our part to create a sustainable future.”

She said Our Place in Space is partnering with People’s Climate Week because everyone involved in the event is passionate about “this intersection between space science research with climate issues.”

“We are fascinated by what we have been able to learn about our planet as a result of space exploration, and the ways that space exploration has inspired climate research,” she said.

According to Vedock-Gross, Our Place in Space is also organized in conjunction with Arts Quad Camp Out, an event featuring free camping supplies, raffles, glow sticks and entertainment to fundraise for Ithaca Welcomes Refugees and Sustainable Tompkins’ Youth Climate Challenge, according to its Facebook event page.  

“Our goal in partnering with People’s Climate Week and the Arts Quad Camp-Out was to help bring together all of these different organizations in support of a common cause,” Vedock-Gross told The Sun. “We hope that the activities and displays that we showcase can provide a global context for climate change as well as engage the community with these issues.”