Remember the Reading Rainbow song? That little ditty was a part of many a child’s Saturday morning ritual—sitting in the living room with a bowl of Cap’n Crunch, listening to the wisdom of LeVar Burton.
And just think, Burton might be coming to Butler University, or at least, that’s the hope of Sarah Kuchinsky and Chris Ring.
They are in charge of Podium Expressions, a branch of Student Government Association’s Program Board. Their job? Bring cool speakers to Butler.
Their affinity for YouTube stars and educational friends “brought to you in part by viewers like you” isn’t a cheap pastime. This year, Podium Expressions is operating on a $35,000 budget—$5,000 more than previous years.
“We sought additional funding because the price of speakers has gone up tremendously recently,” Ring said. “We were struggling to find notable individuals that fell into our price range. This funding will help us bring someone noteworthy to Butler’s campus.”
Last year, they nabbed the guys from “Auto-Tune the News.” A couple years ago, they brought BJ Novak. This year, they could get Bill Nye the Science Guy.
When one of those noteworthy speakers finds their way to Butler, Podium Expressions provides for literally every expense, from a first class flight to the pillow that could caress the head of Mr. Nye.
The extra money came from a vault in the SGA coffers called the “cushion.”
“We expressed [our] concerns with the assembly, and our request was voted on with a favorable outcome,” Kuchinsky said. “We received the extra funds because we pleaded our case.”
The extra money will not idly sit by.
“We are looking to wisely use the funds allotted to us, so we will do the best we can to bring someone exciting to Butler,” Ring said.
Kuchinsky and Ring also work with other campus organizations.
In the past, they’ve partnered with SGA’s R.E.A.C.H. and Peers Advocating Wellness for Students to bring speakers to Butler.
Along with the possibility of Nye and Burton, Podium Expression intends to invite some other speakers to campus.
“Nothing is definite. It depends on the costs of each speaker as well as their availability,” Kuchinsky said, who hinted at the possibility of some TV personalities, including Robert Irvine of Food Network fame.
“We will now discuss what options we can do with the new amount of money we have—the bigger the name, the more expensive they are. We may look into bringing one big name to campus and spend the majority of our funds on that.”