To the Editor:
I really enjoyed working with the Carbondale community in preparing for the eclipse, which turned out to be part reunion, party, science class, and cosmic experience. As a representative of Brehm Preparatory School, where we had a small park and view event, I interacted with area merchants, church leaders, SIU staff, and city and tourism officials.
It felt wonderful to be working as a giant team to plan and problem-solve for the event. I was very impressed by the professionalism, friendliness, and helpfulness of several city officials — including the mayor, the economic director, and the city clerk. Folks at Tourism were extremely accommodating in setting up and managing an eclipse web site, and giving us tips.
Yes, we put our city on the map with some national exposure. But through many excited and apprehensive conversations, we got to know each other better, and forge connections with our neighbors and businesses. The 2017 eclipse was an opportunity for community building, helping us appreciate where we live and the people here. Let’s keep talking to each other and pitching in to make Southern Illinois an even better place to be.