‘Over the moon’: Hardin Planetarium receives grant from Gatton student

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The Hardin Planetarium on Western Kentucky University’s campus at night.

Kennedy Gayheart, News Reporter

The Hardin Planetarium is due to receive a round of refurbishments this summer thanks to an unexpected grant. 

Arivumani Srivastava, a student at the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science, received the first place winnings of $1,500 in the Doctors Mody Make a Difference Community Service Competition for Students in Kentucky, founded by Bharat and Bharati Mody.

Srivastava decided to use the money to help fund new resources for WKU’s Hardin Planetarium, where he has been volunteering for two years.

Srivastava explained that he and the planetarium director were “over the moon” when they were notified that they were awarded the grant.

“In order to upgrade exhibits, we rely heavily on grants,” Srivastava said. “We’re hoping to use the money to upgrade the exhibits and our goal is to make them durable and more appealing so they can last the planetarium at least a decade.”

Because the planetarium offers free shows, many volunteers are required to keep it running to the best of its ability. Generosity like this helps ensure the well-being of the facility.

Additionally, Srivastava plans to increase the accessibility of the exhibits by offering different reading levels on planetarium posters and infographics so everyone can enjoy the shows. 

“We’re really hoping to just make it feel more professional and make it feel like it’s actually a museum or a science center,” Srivastava said.

The refurbishments are scheduled to be completed before August. The planetarium’s free shows are still open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

News Reporter Kennedy Gayheart can be reached at [email protected]