UT students wait hours for lecture with Crash Course co-founder Hank Green

Hope Unger, News Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the April 15, 2022 flipbook.

Science content creator Hank Green visited the Texas Union on Thursday to talk to students about his journey in science and communications. Hosted by the Student Endowed Centennial Lectureship, hundreds of students lined up to see Green in person. 

Green is known for his educational science videos on media platforms such as YouTube and TikTok. He started his video career on VlogBrothers, co-hosted by his brother, author John Green, and moved on to help launch Crash Course, a series of educational videos that quickly teach students about different topics. Green has also hosted podcasts, co-created VidCon and published several books.

“The world is super interesting, so I don’t have to be that interesting — I just have to tell you about the world. I just have to see it in the right way and use the right eyes,” Green said at the lecture. “We’re always finding out new interesting things, and (students) are always learning about new interesting things, even if I’ve known them for 20 years, everybody starts out from scratch. So I get to tell high schoolers about this stuff.”

Biochemistry sophomore Sofia Scalzo said she was one of the first students in line, arriving at 1:30 p.m. to ensure her spot. Scalzo said she planned on being the first in line when she saw the poster for the event on the side of the Union a week before.

“He’s been an influential person in my life since I was in high school, so I just really love him,” Scalzo said as she waited. “I can’t believe he’s coming here.” 

SECL is an organization of representatives from different student groups who invite a speaker to campus every year, exposing students to a wide range of perspectives during their time at UT. Communications director Hayley Fitzsimmons said SECL identified 200 potential speakers before choosing Hank Green to speak to students. 

“He is an influential character in our lives,” said public relations junior Fitzsimmons. “Hank Green’s probably taught you a thing or two.”

Fitzsimmons said communication with Green’s team was a lot faster than she expected and everything was set in a couple of weeks. 

“I’m going to be excited to see a roomful of students who have at some point in their life been impacted by this man and his knowledge,” Fitzsimmons said.

Fitzsimmons said the last thing she wanted was for any of the 900 seats to be empty. However, the auditorium was filled to capacity and some students had to be turned away.

During the conversation, Green said he has plans to remake the biology crash courses with UT chemistry professor Kate Biberdorf, known for her educational chemistry video series Kate the Chemist.

Green ended his lecture by emphasizing to students the power they have to be in charge of decisions they make in their lives.

“I think everyone has agency and everyone has power,” Green said. “The amount of power that we have varies greatly. … We have a lot of agency, we have a lot of control. … I think some people don’t want to hear that they have agency because they’d rather not have to deal with it.”

Hank Green visits UT