Entomological Society of America Renames Student Quiz Competition

"Linnaean Games” to be retitled the “Entomology Games”

Annapolis, MD; July 6, 2020—The Governing Board of the Entomological Society of America has voted to rename its student quiz bowl, previously known as the Linnaean Games, as the “Entomology Games.”

The Games, originally launched in 1982, are a fast-paced, college-bowl style contest in which students from various colleges and universities test their knowledge by answering questions on insect science. Students compete first at the regional Branch level, and then winning teams compete each year at the national level at ESA’s Annual Meeting.

The competition was originally named for Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish naturalist known as the father of modern taxonomy. His standardization of binomial nomenclature was a pivotal point in the history of biological science. However, in his description of Homo sapiens as a species, Linnaeus named four “varieties” of human and ascribed to them anthropological and cultural stereotypes that are inappropriate and offensive today.

In the past several years, the Governing Board has heard from an increasing number of members with concerns about ESA’s student games bearing Linnaeus’ name. Members have also noted that Linnaeus was not an entomologist himself and that the use of his name implies a taxonomic focus to the Games, which actually include questions on many aspects of insect science. Multiple ESA committees have been working to gather input and perspectives on this issue in recent months, including the Student Affairs Committee, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and the Linnaean Games Committee. The board has also received input from ESA Branch and Section leadership bodies.

After extensive discussion and review of comments from ESA members, committees, Branches, and Sections, the Governing Board voted to change the name of the games to the Entomology Games. 

“National events this year have brought issues of diversity and inclusion within our discipline and our Society to the forefront,” says ESA President Alvin M. Simmons, Ph.D. “Ultimately, the board believed that the loss of any student competitors who felt unwelcome because of the name of the Games went against ESA’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and students as the future of entomology. A name can be replaced, but each entomologist brings a unique and valuable contribution to our Society that is irreplaceable. The Entomology Games will continue ESA’s traditions of fun, competition, and school pride.”

The Entomology Games Committee will launch a call for designs for a new Games logo in the near future. The deadline and guidelines for the design competition will be announced as soon as they are available.

•    Lisa Junker, ljunker@entsoc.org, 301-731-4535 x3020
•    Joe Rominiecki, jrominiecki@entsoc.org, 301-731-4535 x3009

ABOUT: ESA is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has more than 7,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland, the Society stands ready as a non-partisan scientific and educational resource for all insect-related topics. For more information, visit www.entsoc.org.