Bill Nye the Science Guy encourages students to change the world

October 15, 2008

University Park, Pa. — "You can change the world," Bill Nye the Science Guy told Penn State students Tuesday (Oct. 15) at an environmental forum on the University Park campus.

"We have to find ways to do more with less," he said. "That is the key to the future. There is no cavalry coming over the hill. This planet is all we’ve got. Inefficiency is affecting everyone. With your brains, you can save the world."

Nye made his entrance to a packed Recreation Building — much to the delight of the enthusiastic audience — on a Segway, a one-person electric mobility device used by Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant personnel to get to buildings on campus.

Employing his wit and comical intellect, he quickly captured the attention of the students, many of whom grew up watching episodes of the Emmy-award winning educational television program, “Bill Nye the Science Guy.”

"It was great to hear someone like him encouraging people to take action to preserve our environment," said Jim Davis, a senior electrical engineering major. "And it was really cool to see and hear someone I watched in eighth grade."
Ashley Gibb, a senior chemistry major, hurried from an exam to get to the forum. "I thought it was terrific," she said. "I love Bill Nye from watching him while I was growing up."

"It was inspirational," added Luke Elliott, a senior information sciences and technology major, who is a member of the student group STATERS (Students Taking Action to Encourage Recycling). "His message makes you want to do more on your part to save the environment."

Damon Sims, Penn State vice president of student affairs, told the students, “It is up to you to save us all. There is nothing as important collectively as the mission to save Planet Earth. You can save the planet, and I’m confident you will."

In his talk, Nye covered a range of topics, from exploration on Mars to fuel cells and his father, who was so fascinated with sundials that he wanted to make the Washington Monument a sundial.

On Mars exploration, he said samples of soil have shown there is water on Mars. "This could lead to the evidence of life and that could change the world," he added.

Concerning climate change, he said there is evidence the world has gotten warmer, in fact, warmer very fast. "This is climate change. You are now members of the climate generation.

"If you look at a picture of the earth taken from the space station, you can see how humans, pumping carbon dioxide for generations, can change the atmosphere by accident," he continued. "The world is getting warmer and warmer. The world will change. The question is, how will we handle it?"

Before Nye's talk, student groups presented practical demonstrations of sustainability in action. A student-produced video, "CO2 and You," demonstrated environmental opportunities in the day-to-day lives of students.
The environmental forum was the third in a series presented by the Division of Business and Finance’s Environmental Stewardship Key Initiative.

For photos from the event, check Penn State Live at

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    IMAGE: Greg Grieco

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010