What do you think of when you hear “lecture”?

Well, what’s your answer?  Do you hear lecture and think boringlong, monotone? I’m not sure why, but these are usually the words that come to my mind when someone calls something a lecture. I don’t know why they have gained such a negative connotation but that definitely needs to change!

Anyway, the point of my rant is because this past Thursday was the annual Schooler Lecture at Mount Union.  Samantha touched a little bit on this in her blog as well but it was too great for me not to talk about it. Since I’m the news director at WRMU, it is my duty to cover this lecture each year.  It is usually around my birthday and this year it happened to fall directly on my 21st birthday.  It was OK though.  At first I was a little sad that I couldn’t go out to dinner to celebrate the day, but I realized that I could just celebrate another day, and the Schooler Lecture is not an event I’d want to miss.

Since I’ve been at Mount, the Schooler lecturers were Fareed Zakaria of CNN and last year was Greg Mortenson, a humanitarian and author.  He has built schools in third world countries where no schools previously existed.  These lecturers always share their vast knowledge with the people in attendance, and even if you’ve never heard of the person or you don’t really know too much on the topic they’re speaking about, these lectures are always so powerful.

So like I said, this year’s lecture was on Thursday and the man who presented this year was Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.  He is an astrophysicist and the host of NOVA ScienceNOW on PBS.  When I heard who the speaker was, I have to say I had no idea who he was!  I am not a science person and really do not know a whole lot about astrophysics.  One of my best friends was OBSESSED with the fact that he was coming here and that made me more excited that she had heard of him and really enjoyed hearing him speak. Turns out, a lot of people on campus really knew of him and were fans.

For the radio station, I asked some directors and staff to join me and help out.   What we do for WRMU is attend the press conference, fancy dinner and the lecture as well as write stories at the end of the night to put on-air.  Yes, it is an extreeeemely long night.  We arrived at 4 p.m. for the press conference and I didn’t leave the radio station until midnight.  I’m actually really happy though, despite the long hours, because the night went so well.

The press conference is really exciting.  We broadcast it live because only media people are invited.  This way, anyone who wants to hear the lecturer speak before the actual lecture can just tune into our radio station!  We had a bit of technical difficulties, but right as he began talking, we got it to go through and were on-air. PHEW!

It is a really intimate setting since there are so few people that attend the press conference and that is our chance to ask him our questions.  We even got a picture with him after the conference.  :)

After that, we headed over to the field house where a VERY fancy dinner was held.  Everything was delicious and this was our chance to relax a little bit during this busy evening.

The lecture followed, and that lasted about two hours.  Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is a very smart man but he put all of these technical terms and concepts into very understandable concepts for the common person.  He took off his shoes during the speech and walked around in his socks which I found very cool.  To me that showed that he felt so comfortable speaking up on stage to this very large audience of people.  The audience gave a standing ovation when he was done speaking; I guess everyone had a good time!

After the lecture was over, students are allowed to go up to a microphone and ask the speaker a question.  I really like that Mount Union does that.  For students that are interested in the topic or the speaker, it really excites them to be able to speak with the esteemed person.

I, along with two of the other WRMU directors, went over the radio station after the lecture let out and began working on stories.  We had to think of which topic that he talked about that each of us wanted to write our story on and then we had to find the soundbites from the audio that we had collected.  The stories that we wrote were from the press conference as well as the actual lecture.  As I said, I finished up all the editing just before midnight and put the stories into the system to play the following day!

Listen to the podcasts we produced.

That’s all for now… back to a busy week again tomorrow!


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