Written by Lt. j.g. Alexis Davis
The U.S. Coast Guard Academy hosted their 42nd annual Eclipse Week at the beginning of April. The event unites alumni and cadets each year for personal and professional development. Besides promoting camaraderie, Eclipse also supports the strategic goals of retaining top talent, recruiting future cadets and inspiring a climate of inclusion.
This year’s featured speakers included Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft and John Quiñones, author and host of “What Would You Do?” and an ABC News correspondent. The theme of this year’s event was “Character: Who You Are When No One is Looking.”
Quiñones, who gave the keynote address on April 3, thanked the Coast Guard Academy for caring about diversity and making it a priority.
“This Academy has made some great strides already in its mission towards diversity and inclusion,” said Quiñones. “Today, I understand almost 40 percent of the cadets here are women, 33 percent are people of color, who are traditionally under-represented. You’re doing better at this institution than at many colleges and universities of which I speak throughout the country. So I congratulate the Coast Guard for caring so deeply about diversity and making sure the Academy continues to reflect the ever-changing face of America.”
Eclipse Week is a celebratory tradition established by the Genesis Club in the 1970’s to mentor and inspire cadets in preparation for lasting careers as officers in the Coast Guard. The Genesis Club was formed as a social outlet for the few African American cadets within the Corps of Cadets. Over time, Genesis evolved into one of the largest and most active clubs on campus, and became instrumental in professional development and retention.
Second Class Cadet Olivia Chang, a cadet blogger, shared her perspective on Eclipse Week.
“Eclipse Week is one of my favorite events, because I see it as a way to share stories and perspectives that people wouldn’t normally share,” Chang stated. “It’s so easy to get wrapped up in classes, sports, and drill that anyone can get distracted from their roots, no matter where they’re from.”
Dr. Aram deKoven, the Academy’s chief diversity officer called Eclipse Week, “our premier event but, in reality it is one of many each year that spotlights our efforts to advance mission readiness, via diversity and inclusion.
“We are planting seeds in the minds of young men and women, many of whom will go on to become captains of industry, law, business, finance, government, and in the military,” continued deKoven. “They will take with them a sense of consciousness, a level of awareness which many others don’t have, about the value of inclusivity, diversity, and implicit bias, and they will lead equitably.”