Its opening night and green chemistry enthusiasts scurry to take their seats. The wait is finally over! The stage is set, the houselights dim, and the curtain slowly opens… There they are; shoulders squared and standing tall. They are the elect, the chosen twelve, the stars of the show, they are…The12 Principles of Green Chemistry. This is their global movement, and your exclusive inside look at the ACS Green Chemistry Institute’s® (ACS GCI) 2013 Student Workshop that brought them to life.
On Monday, June 17, 2013, David Constable, Director of ACS GCI along with Rich Williams, Founder and President of Environmental Science & Green Chemistry Consulting, LLC. co-facilitated a high-energy and fast-paced collaborative learning experience where each principle took center stage. The workshop was hosted in conjunction with the 17th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference and was held at the American Chemical Society’s Headquarter Office in Washington, D.C. where over 90 attendees (including the 2013 National Science Foundation Scholars) participated.
Shadowing a modular approach, David and Rich provided in-depth presentations for each of The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry and strategically focused on key learning objectives. The presentations were followed with interactive small-group learning activities that allowed students to further expand their knowledge base through practical application. The level of enthusiasm that filled the room was so infectious that I couldn’t help but to get excited and want to learn more myself! The students were eager to learn and had the perfect dynamic-duo instructors to get the job done! But the show didn’t end there, in fact, it had just begun, and we had a little surprise up our sleeves.
During the workshop, Amy Cannon and Kate Anderson of Beyond Benign conducted an insightful presentation on the importance of advocacy and educational outreach activities. Unbeknownst to the attendees, the student workshop was coincidentally hosted on the same day as the 2013 ACS Bring Your Child to Work Day. Little did they know, their next “small-group” learning activity would consist of over 100 1st – 8th grade students, who’d just eaten lunch. Need I say more? SURPISE! Led by the Beyond Benign staff, the workshop attendees were partnered into groups with the ACS children and challenged to assist in a biomimcry card -matching game followed by a “green” glue-making experiment in which children made glue with water, powdered milk, vinegar, and baking soda. The glue was later put to the test as they constructed green chemistry collages with recycled paper… Talk about a full day!
This year’s student workshop was a tremendous success and the attendees greatly appreciated the opportunity to take part in an event of its caliber. The majority of the students had never seen such insightful presentations of The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry and left fully understanding just how practical they can be in everyday application.
And so, the stars of the show took to the stage for their final bow leaving the audience to remember: green chemistry isn’t just a moment; it’s a movement, and a lifestyle. Together, we must work to create a more sustainable future for the current generation and those to come. Each of us must now take center stage in our own communities and begin to be the agent of innovation and change. It’s your world… be the star, be the difference.
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