‘Science guy’ may spark more speakers at Ontario Tech

Bill Nye the Science Guy speaking to students at Ontario Tech University on Jan. 20. Photo credit: Courtesy of Ontario Tech Student Union

Science ruled during guest speaker Bill Nye the Science Guy’s event at Ontario Tech University.

The beloved star spoke with an audience of approximately 1,500 people on Jan. 20. The event, sponsored by Oshawa Power and Utilities Corp. and Ontario Power Generation, took place in the form of a moderated Q and A, and ran almost two hours.

Nye discussed a range topics, from climate change and women in science, to vaccines and space exploration, according to Ontario Tech Student Union (OTSU) President Owen Davis.

The event was undeniably successful and Davis says this is the “first of many” to come. Davis says the union would like to bring in guest speakers at least once a year.

OTSU is aiming towards steering away from concert-based events, according to Davis. He says the union hopes to book more guest speakers who inspire the students academically.

“What educational experience does a student really get from [a concert]?” Davis says. “So, we were hoping to kind of bring in somebody who is actually on that educational and academic side since…the university’s a tech school.”

Davis says they already have an “idealist” guest speaker in mind, but he can’t release that information just yet.

He says the union sends out student engagement surveys every year. On it, they asked students which guest speaker they’d like to have at the university.

He says the students were very clear about who they wanted to see, and are still very vocal about which people they want to hear from moving forward. Davis says OTSU is definitely listening.

“The only reason why I could do this is because all the students are engaged,” he smiles. “So, it’s just, we’re happy to keep doing this for our students…because realistically, it’s not my dream to bring him here. It’s everybody’s.”

Davis says audience members began lining up two and a half hours before Nye’s show, forming a line that stretched all the way from Ontario Tech’s main gym to Durham College’s computer learning commons.

“We are extremely happy and proud. It’s the largest event the university’s ever seen and largest name to come to the institution,” he says. “I’ve had some people tell me that it’s on par and to the same level as when the student association brought in Avicii and The Chainsmokers.”

The OTSU started promoting Nye’s appearance in October of last year. Davis says the booking process was smooth and straightforward.

“You just contact the agent, you offer the money, then you say yes or no. And then we negotiate, obviously,” he explains. “It’s no different than when we’re booking concert artists. It’s no harder, no easier.”