Representatives from Buffalo State and M&T Bank with Buffalo Public Schools students and staff

Buffalo State and M&T Bank Donate 50,000 Solar Eclipse Glasses to Buffalo Schools


Buffalo State University and M&T Bank, education sponsor of Buffalo State’s eclipse programming, provided 50,000 pairs of solar eclipse glasses, as well as eclipse-related educational materials, to Buffalo Public Schools students, teachers, and staff.

Buffalo and Western New York will be in the path of totality for the total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8. Considered by many to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the celestial event will be a memorable occasion for Western New York residents and an expected several hundred thousand visitors.

Buffalo Public Schools have been preparing students through a variety of interactive learning opportunities, including essay writing, art making, and trips to Buffalo State’s Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium. The halls of Public School 17 Early Childhood Center—where representatives from Buffalo State and M&T Bank met with students on Friday, March 22 to give out the glasses—are lined with student-created eclipse-related art, writing, and visual aids.

Early Childhood Center teacher Kimberly Kaliszewski has been leading the charge on eclipse education for the kindergarten wing, which has included art, writing, and even drama activities to maximize learning and engagement. “This has become a STEM project,” she said. “The kids are so involved; they just love learning about the sun and the moon. They’re prepared and excited. This is a phenomenon happening in their lifetime, and hopefully they will bring it into their careers.”

Eric Feldstein, M&T regional president of Western New York, BPS Superintendent Tonja M. Williams, and Buffalo State Interim President Bonita R. Durand, Ph.D., agreed that STEM education is key. “This really gives our children and our community, who are our future, the chance to explore more around STEM, what science and exploration really look like,” Feldstein said. “We couldn’t be more proud to partner with BPS and Buffalo State.”

“We do a lot of work with STEM in our schools, starting in kindergarten,” Tonja Williams said. “We are all super excited, and want to thank Buffalo State, Bonnie Durand, all the staff.”

“This is just absolutely amazing,” Durand added. “Our mission at Buffalo State is to be an active, involved member of the community, so we have thoroughly enjoyed having students from BPS on our campus. At Buffalo State, we are known for teacher education, but we have quite a few STEM programs and a planetarium. I’m hoping that the students here will remember this, and when it’s time for them to go to college, think about Buffalo State.”

“It’s been a pleasure having the Buffalo Public Schools fourth-graders and high school earth science classes visit the planetarium to learn about the eclipse,” said Kevin Williams, associate professor of geosciences and director of the Buffalo State Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium. “It was very special to visit School 17 today to see how excited the students there are for the eclipse and how they have been preparing.”

Buffalo State is hosting a series of eclipse-related programming on its campus, leading up to its signature Eclipse Fest on April 8 at Coyer Field. Eclipse Fest will feature food trucks, entertainment, eclipse-related activities and demos for all ages, a Kids’ Zone, and eclipse swag. 

Tickets for Eclipse Fest are $40 each for general admission, or $35 each for general admission four-packs. VIP packages have already sold out. Learn more and purchase tickets on Buffalo State’s Eclipse website.

Follow Buffalo State on social media for “Totality Tuesday,” a series in which Kevin Williams addresses common questions and concerns about the eclipse to help the community prepare for the big day. 

“We are really looking forward to April 8,” Durand said. “It’s going to be a big deal.”