Hank Green to be Keynote Speaker at Earth Day 50

A flyer advertising Hank Green’s visit hangs on a bulletin on the second floor of Putnam Hall. Many students recognize Green from Crash Course videos (Photo by Zahra Ahmed).

To kick off Earth Day 50 at Albion, the Center for Sustainability and the Environment (CSE) is bringing in Hank Green to be a keynote speaker. 

Although many students know Green from Crash Course videos in Chemistry labs or psychology, what is not commonly known is Green’s background in Environmental Studies and the work he has done for Environmental Communication. Green was invited to the college to provide insights on connecting facts with public opinion on environmental issues. 

Dr. Doug White, professor of biology and director of CSE, said the main point of bringing Green is to fill a gap in communicating on environmental issues. 

“The scientific evidence is very powerful and convincing, but the popular viewpoints are frequently dismissive of the science. And that’s to some degree what we’re faced with, addressing this miseducational, misinformation problem, which is very frustrating to educators,” said White. “So, I’m looking for insights in a circumstance where the science and evidence is so clear and we have so much denial and dismissal.”

Green will be attending one of Albion’s environmental classes, which will be open to the public to observe. Later, he will deliver his keynote speech in Goodrich Chapel, followed by an informal meet and greet in the lobby of Bobbitt. 

There has been much talk about this event, and White is expecting people from across Michigan to come to this event. 

“A lot of times, we’ve brought nationally important people to campus, and, you know, not that many students show up, because they don’t know or relate to these people despite how important they are,” said White. “To get someone that’s really famous for the young people, even though a lot of people in my generation don’t know at all who he is, it seems like the clever thing to do.”

Many students are looking forward to meeting an educational icon. Students who have utilized his videos in the past are excited to meet him in person. Sarah MacMaster, a senior from Alpena, Mich. was impressed to hear of a big name person coming to Albion. 

“The crash course videos were really nice because they had nice pictures and explained things well. There have been certain times where I’m like I don’t understand this concept so I go and watch like the Sci show or the Crash Course video and I’m like oh okay,” said MacMaster. “I think it’s cool that he’s coming here. We’re a very small place and he’s an actual real name person.”

The keynote speaker, along with other Earth Day 50 events, are funded in large part by a donation from Bruce ‘67 and Jane Harper. Albion College has historically been involved and nationally prominent for Earth Day celebrations. CSE had planned on putting on larger events for the 50th anniversary, and the support from the Harpers has allowed them to bring such prominent figures to campus.  

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