Each year ACS Student Chapters incorporate green chemistry outreach and activities into their programming in order to receive the Green Chemistry Award. The Green Chemistry Student Chapter Award, created eighteen years ago through a collaboration between the ACS Green Chemistry Institute (ACS GCI) and ACS Education Division, recognizes the efforts of chapters that have incorporated at least three green chemistry activities.
This becomes a challenging task for student chapters, as many of their chemistry courses do not integrate green chemistry into the curriculum. Therefore, many of the chapters learn about green chemistry by studying on their own—and it can be tricky understanding the difference between general sustainability, environmental chemistry, and green chemistry – three related but different subject areas. One way chapter members ensured they were performing a qualified green chemistry activity was by participating in ACS webinars and/or Program-in-a-Box activities prepared by ACS GCI.
Other green chemistry activities chapters did in the 2018-19 school year ranged from volunteering at local schools, holding symposium on emerging topics in green chemistry, creating trivia games, to helping rewrite the curriculum for general chemistry labs. Here are a few standout examples of green chemistry activities:
- Volunteering at local schools was a popular activity. Student Chapters went to K-12 schools and demonstrated several activities ranging from an E-factor experiment with M&Ms that conveys the importance of limiting waste (and cleaning up the process) to a safety in chemistry lesson guiding Boy Scouts through the importance of using alternative materials.
- Nine Student Chapters participated in the Program-in-a-Box (Mars: Red Planet Chemistry and The Evolving Periodic Table). Many of the students commented on how The Evolving Periodic Table activity opened up a dialogue on endangered elements and the challenges faced in designing greener alternatives.
- Playing games was a fun and creative activity in which many chapters participated. Students created and developed jeopardy games, bingo game boards, trivia with Kahoot, and scavenger hunts to facilitate learning about green chemistry.
- A few chapters applied their green chemistry knowledge by making changes to their chemistry course’s curriculum. One student chapter brainstormed innovative ways to make their chemistry lab experiments greener by reducing waste and replacing hazardous elements and solvents. Another chapter altered a traditional lab experiment in the organic chemistry lab and taught why these modifications to the lab were important.
This year there were 55 student chapters’ winners (both U.S. and International) who have won the Green Chemistry Award. The full list of the 2018-2019 academic year Green Chemistry Student Chapter Award winners are:
Angelo State University
Anne Arundel Community College
College of William & Mary
Emory & Henry College
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Florida International University – Biscayne Bay Campus
Georgia Gwinnette College
Humboldt State University
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
Morehead State University
Pacific Lutheran University
Pasadena City College
Saint Francis University
Saint Vincent College
Salem State University
Salt Lake Community College
Santa Monica College
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Stern College for Women – Yeshiva University
Tarleton State University
Tennessee Technological University
Texas Christian University
The Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico
Universidad de Costa Rica
University of Alabama, Birmingham
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, San Diego
University of Central Arkansas
University of Cincinnati Main Campus
University of Detroit, Mercy
University of Dhaka
University of Houston
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
University of Michigan, Flint
University of New England
University of Pittsburgh
University of Puerto Rico, Bayamon Campus
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras
University of Tennessee at Martin
University of Toledo
West Virginia State University
Western Illinois University
Western Washington University
If your chapter needs ideas of green chemistry activities that will help you receive a green chemistry award, review the ACS GCI Student Chapter Guide. We are excited to see what everyone does during the 2019-2020 academic year. Congratulations to all 55 chapters for reaching your green chemistry goals!