College Democrats usually brings pretty cool speakers, but Bill Nye is a on a whole other level. We talked to Weinberg junior Quentin Heilbroner, the outgoing president of College Democrats, about the process of getting Nye from the TV screens of our third grade classrooms to Pick-Staiger.
NBN: How long have you been working to get Bill Nye, and what was the process like?
QH: I’ve been working on bringing Bill to campus since last June - it’s been almost a yearlong process, and I still can’t believe it’s actually happening this week. We were originally meant to bring him during the fall, but scheduling with the election and his speaking plans didn't work out. There have been too many forms, offers, tentative plans and seemingly impossible roadblocks to count, but it’s been incredible to bring it all together at the end.
NBN: What was the best part of securing Nye as a speaker? The worst part?
QH: The best part is also the worst part – everyone loves him. With our past speakers, we knew what we were getting, and we could reasonably anticipate the reaction on campus. I knew that bringing Bill Nye would be a bigger deal than anything we’ve ever done before, but I completely misjudged how much bigger. The extra logistics of handling the explosion of demand have definitely been difficult, especially since we wanted to have tickets be free even though we probably could have made bank. But we’ve worked it all out now - the 500 tickets for Friday and the 250 for Saturday were all gone in hours, and we expect a similar response on Monday for the last 200.
NBN: Why do you think he is a good representative of College Dems?
QH: Sorry if this one’s an easy response, but because he’s Bill Nye! He’s universally known (well, almost – my dad actually had no idea who he was) and loved. And he’s a huge draw. But while students here know him as the face of grade school science, he’s recently been embarking on a quest to change how we understand the pressing issues of climate change and education – and that’s something we’re in desperate need of! I hope that every Wildcat there has a wonderful time with us on Friday, but I also hope that in true Bill Nye tradition, they learn a lot, too.
NBN: Can you give us a preview of what Nye is going to talk about?
QH: Science! And its role in the US and the world today. He’s not going to be pulling any punches, either. I don’t want to spoil too much, but it’ll be fun. I promise.
NBN: What do you love most about him?
QH: He makes homemade pizza for guests. We need more people like that.
NBN: What are you most looking forward to about having Nye on campus?
QH: The student response! I’ve visited Norris a few times during ticketing to make sure everything was running smoothly (and it was), and it’s just wonderful seeing how excited people are about this. I know the lines have been long, and I want to thank each and every person who took the time to get a ticket. We’ll make it worth your while.
Editor's Note: Heilbroner previously contributed to North by Northwestern.