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Distinguished Lecture Series’ success attributed to student involvement

Distinguished Lecture Series’ success attributed to student involvement

Bill Nye Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor

Distinguished Lecture Series’ success attributed to student involvement
May 05
02:58 2016

Nikki Lyssy | Staff Writer


A line snaked around the side of the Coliseum as students awaited the arrival of Bill Nye. As he speaks, students admire a man whom many call their “childhood hero:” the man behind the beloved “Bill Nye the Science Guy” videos shown in many schools.

The event’s coordinator, Ellysia Dierker, chooses applicants at the end of each school year to serve on the committee that decides who will be a good fit for the series.This entails event planning and contacting each speaker’s agency.

Dierker spoke about how the committee decides who will speak each year. She brings the committee lists of agencies and recommendations, and they look at the recommendations and then choose speakers.

“That’s the great thing about having a committee of students,” Dierker said. “They know what the student pop[ulation] is looking for.”

The process for electing members to serve on the committee is carried out in two phases. The committee applications are due Wednesday, Dierker said. After that, the committee looks through applications and schedules interviews to see who is best fit.

Dirker explained the choice behind Bill Nye as a speaker.

“Bill has been in the spotlight recently with his books, so we thought this was going to be a good time [to have him speak],” Dierker said. “All the students who would have seen him before are phased out.”

Graduate student and technical communications major Dallas Guill served on the committee from May 2015 to May 2016. He enjoyed his time on the committee and spoke about his favorite part of serving.

“It starts with suggestions — everyone puts together these lists, and the chair of our committee reaches out to agencies to see if these people are on the speaking circuit,” Guill said. “There’s such a diversity on the committee in the suggestions that people come up with, people that I’ve never heard of in my whole life.”

Guill enjoys seeing the events come together for the students and the excitement that builds before and after.

“Leading up to the event, to hear people talk about it, saying, ‘Bill Nye’s coming to campus in a couple of weeks,’ and then to see a line stretching out of the Coliseum on the night of the event is the coolest part,” Guill said. “I had a small part in making this happen.”

Forensics freshman Michaela Fruci elaborated on what it was like having Nye on campus.

“[The event] superseded all my expectations. He’s why I fell in love with science, and he just fulfilled every one of my expectations,” Fruci said. “He was funny, engaging and it was definitely cool.”

Fruci spoke on how events like that bring students together from different walks of life.

“You know everybody there wasn’t a science major, but we’d all been through science classes with him, but he gave the same message to all of us,” Fruci said. “That we can all make a better world, and I think that really inspired a lot of people.”

Guill acknowledged that it’s for people like Fruci that he served on the committee.

“You’re helping create so many memories for all these people,” Guill said. “And you know it means as much to them as it does to you.”

Featured Image: Students and guests fill the Colisieum for Bill Nye’s Distinguished Lecture Series speech, which sold out days before. Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor

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