March for Science draws hundreds of supporters in Manhattan

People participate in Manhattan's March for Science on April 22, 2017. (Photo Courtesy of Kendra Christman)

Surrounded by halls and buildings dedicated to the principles of science, Kansas State students and faculty and other members of the Manhattan community gathered Saturday to participate in the March for Science.

Onlookers honked and waved as participants, carrying signs referencing subjects ranging from physics to “The Magic School Bus” television show, marched from the quad down to Aggieville, attracting even more participants who joined mid-march.

As the crowd marched, a couple of girls sang about science, prompting others in the crowd to join them in song.

In Manhattan, organizers said over 200 people participated in the March, joining the worldwide Earth Day movement that was held at over 600 locations worldwide.

Daniel Rolles, assistant professor of physics, credited the university’s Physics Club with organizing the local march, which joined marches in Wichita and Topeka.

“The Physics Club organized the event, but it is just a bunch of individuals who all think that science is important and wanted to raise awareness for science,” Rolles said.

According to the March for Science website, scientists around the world organized and marched “to stand up for sound, evidence-based science that helps everyone — policymakers, parents, CEOs, doctors, students — make better decisions that improve lives.”

Michael Crisp, sophomore in physics and computer engineering and vice president of the Physics Club, said he was marching to help the nation heal its political wounds and to start “applying the scientific method to politics.”

“The partisan nature (of politics) was hurting this country,” Crisp said.

Krista Danielson, graduate student in English, said the public sometimes fails to recognize who scientists are.

“Science benefits everybody — it’s not just about the people squirreled away in a lab someplace working on magic positions,” Danielson said. “If you like your cell phone, thank a scientist. If you like to go to be healthy and go to the doctor, thank a scientist. If you like food, thank a scientist.”

Marco Loma, junior in mechanical engineering, said he was glad the march attracted several children from the community.

“I see a lot of kids here, which makes me really happy, because they are the future,” Loma said. “I hope they see what we are fighting for.”

Manhattan city commissioner Karen McCulloh said science needs to be a higher priority for the public.

“We have got to stop this nonsense of not believing science when it’s proven,” McCulloh said. “If we don’t admit to basic truths, then everything is alternative facts. I hope people notice us and think.”