Hawkeye Sunset Club helps UI students unwind with a view

The Hawkeye Sunset Club gathers at the Old Capitol steps every evening to watch the sunset.


Isabella Cervantes

Sunset watchers gather to watch the sunset on the Capital in Iowa City on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022.

Isabelle Foland, News Reporter

While walking past the University of Iowa Old Capitol steps in the evening, passersby can witness a group of students gathered on the steps. These students, who are members of the Hawkeye Sunset Club, play music, chat, or just silently watch the sky.

The UI student organization was started by second-year student Andrew Kovar and his friends E’mma Camara and Rey Bernhard, who are also students at the UI.

Kovar, Camara, and Bernhard went to Ames High School in Ames together. Bernhard said the group started watching sunsets when the pandemic started.

“We were all in quarantine and then, you know, we would have to find things to do,” Bernhard said.

Kovar said he wanted to form the organization after having nightly sunset watches by himself.

“My inspiration behind it was I was watching the sunset every day at Old Capitol steps last year,” Kovar said. “I was like, you know what, I’ll just make it a club, and so more people can do it and enjoy the sunsets together.”

Camara said the club has held meetings since Aug. 20, only missing one day due to rain.

Kovar said Iowa winter weather won’t stop the Hawkeye Sunset Club. He said he will bundle up and watch the sunset in the winter, even if it’s only him who shows.

He said he hopes to see this club continue on after the founding members graduate.

“I’m trying to build longevity in this club for sure,” Kovar said. “So, I want to find another leader once we’re all gone that’ll kind of step up and take the reins.”

To join the Hawkeye Sunset Club, Kovar said it’s as easy as just showing up to a meeting, which are held at the Old Capitol stairs every night about 30 minutes before the sunset.

On the club’s Instagram account, they post a picture of the sunset along with how many people showed up to watch and a rating of the sky every night.

The Aug. 31 sunset’s average rating was 5.2 with 41 people attending the viewing.

Camara said through the help of social media as well as word of mouth, the club has seen a lot of growth since it first started.

“I think it just multiplies because you get one person and they bring in like two friends, then they bring like two friends,” Camara said. “But yeah, it’s gotten pretty big. We’re filling the steps more.”

Bernhard said having daily time to sit and appreciate nature is very therapeutic, especially after a long day of classes.

“I want everybody to experience it because it’s definitely been a highlight of my week, or my day, every single day,” Bernhard said.