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ACS Chem Club earns Green Chapter status

Posted by Sarah Deutl '11, Anoka on Monday, Apr. 28, 2008

The University of Minnesota, Morris American Chemical Society (ACS) Chemistry Club obtained Green Chapter status and a commendable mention ACS Student Affiliates Chapter Award during the National ACS Conference in April.

“We call ourselves Chemistry Club we really are American Chemical Society (ACS) Student Affiliate Chapter. Our officers are ACS members and we work with this huge society to promote chemistry and make a difference,” said Janice Lee, UMM ACS Chemistry Club co-chair.

The American Chemical Society is one of the largest scientific societies and organization of members, who are chemists. There are different types of members—those who study or work in the fields of science, research, education and industry: undergraduate students, graduate students, scholars, teaching chemists, etc.

At the end of every year ACS Chemistry Club members at UMM report their activities to the ACS headquarters. The organization evaluates performances compared to other chapters. Since the award is given at the national conference each spring, the club works each academic year to make a better impact on local and campus communities.

“On our chapter report we are evaluated on different areas such as service projects, education, social, green, etc. Therefore, we have many activities including a chili-cook off, senior chemistry banquet, chemistry demonstrations in elementary schools, fundraiser selling, Erlenmeyer flasks and tubes filled with candy, graduate school and internship information night, mural painting project in the science building, highway clean-up and many others,” Lee said.

The club gave a chemistry demonstration using household products during the national ACS Conference. While many of the chemistry demonstrations use toxic materials, Carla Steinbring, who was in charge, used water and starch Styrofoam. The demonstration was to help K-12 students to learn about “green” chemistry.

In 2007, club members volunteered for science demonstrations that promoted biodiversity and renewable energy during a “Plan-It-Green” campus event. During Beautiful U Day last spring, the club applied for a grant in order to purchase solar cooker ovens. They hosted a picnic during which the ovens were used.

“Becoming a Green Chapter was an important goal for us during the recent years. We wanted to do something different and promoting green chemistry seemed to be a great agenda,” said Lee.

ACS Chemistry Club has been responsible for activities that include teaming with the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG) for “Detox Minnesota,” which invited speaker Peter Starzynski to the campus to talk about the health and environmental threats of the usage of harmful chemicals. They also presented a chemistry demonstration exchange expo using household chemicals during this year’s National ACS Conference in New Orleans. This spring, the club will host another picnic during which they will again use the solar cooker ovens.

The University of Minnesota, Morris is a national leader in green energy and UMM’s students are driving change and engaging the campus community toward being better resource stewards. These conversations are leading to action. From renewable energy and conservation to social justice, UMM students are at the forefront of change.

For more information about UMM’s Green Campus initiatives, visit Green Campus.

Photo: Janice Lee