The main purpose of the observatory is education. Union College students benefit from hands-on experience with current high-tech instrumentation. A lab course in which students make professional type observations is offered regularly. The observatory is used for senior theses and independent projects. For example, students have used the telescope to study cataclysmic variable stars. Once trained in the use of CCD cameras and data reduction, students are eligible for time at the SMARTS telescopes in the Chilean Andes with professional, state of the art instrumentation and some of the best observing conditions in the world!