2017 Green Chemistry Student Chapter Award Winners Announced

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What better place than the classroom for green chemistry – the “field open for innovation, new ideas, and revolutionary progress” – to flourish? In the years since its inception, green chemistry has been increasingly implemented in undergraduate chemistry education. In an effort to honor the hard work and dedication of ACS Student Chapters who show outstanding interest in the discipline, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (ACS GCI) partnered with the ACS Education Division in 2001 to initiate Green Chemistry Student Chapter Awards.

The awards, granted to only four student chapters in the 2001-2002 academic year, are now regularly awarded to over 50 student chapter winners across the country annually. This year, we celebrate 53 student chapters who have used their creativity and resources to show their commitment to sustainable chemistry by completing three or more green chemistry outreach activities.

Activities that qualify for eligibility must emphasize an understanding of green chemistry — anything from hosting a lecture at your school to planning a green chemistry scavenger hunt in your community. Here are a few additional standout examples of green chemistry activities that some of our 2016-2017 Green Chemistry Student Chapter Award Winners completed:

  • Gordon College students worked with other student chapters in the Northeast region to coordinate an Earth Day event sponsored by ACS at the Museum of Science in Boston. There, they hosted interactive demonstrations, using M&Ms to explain E-factor and cabbage juice to explain pH, to show local families how green chemistry “feeds the world.” They also conducted similar demonstrations in a STEM fair at a local K-12 school district in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

  • University of New England students organized a lecture by green chemistry founder John C. Warner and performed an “Ecovative Material” activity in advance, showcasing the benefits of sustainable alternatives to nonrenewable resources. Several club members also traveled with an advisor to the Warner Babcock Institute in Massachusetts for the Green Chemistry Innovation Workshop, where they toured the facility, networked with other visiting student groups, and learned about advances in green chemistry from chemists working in the space themselves.

  • University of California-Los Angeles students dissected the chemicals in store-bought cosmetics that pose harmful effects to human health and the environment, and encouraged event participants to join them in making their own alternative, eco-friendly beauty products – including a raw sugar and strawberry face scrub, a green tea and coconut oil face scrub and an oatmeal and honey face mask – that they could take home with them. They also presented on the chemistry of composting.

  • University of Tennessee at Martin ACS Student Chapter students, called SMACS, joined forces with a local Boy Scout troop in West Tennessee to host a Merit Badge Workshop where scouts learned about the importance of green chemistry and chemistry at-large, and engaged in various experiments. The SMACS have been hosting this workshop for nearly 30 years, but only recently have its demonstrations incorporated innovative green chemistry techniques to eliminate waste and more.

The full list of 2016-2017 academic year Green Chemistry Student Chapter Award winners are:

Alvernia University Student Chapter

Angelo State University Student Chapter

Central Michigan University Student Chapter

City Colleges of Chicago Wilbur Wright College Student Chapter

Duquesne University Student Chapter

Erskine College Student Chapter

Gordon College Student Chapter

Henderson State University Student Chapter

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Student Chapter

Inter American University of Puerto Rico Ponce Campus Student Chapter

Inter American University of Puerto Rico San German Campus Student Chapter

Miami University Student Chapter

Midland College Student Chapter

Mississippi College Student Chapter

Missouri State University Student Chapter

Northeastern University Student Chapter

Pace University Student Chapter

Ramapo College of New Jersey Student Chapter

Saginaw Valley State University Student Chapter

Saint Francis University Student Chapter

Saint Louis University Student Chapter

Salt Lake Community College Student Chapter

Santa Monica College Student Chapter

Simmons College Student Chapter

South Texas College Student Chapter

Tarleton State University Student Chapter

Tennessee Technological University Student Chapter

The College of New Jersey Student Chapter

The Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico Student Chapter

Tuskegee University Student Chapter

Union University Student Chapter

United States Merchant Marine Academy Student Chapter

University of Alabama at Birmingham Student Chapter

University of California-Davis Student Chapter

University of California-Los Angeles Student Chapter

University of California-San Diego Student Chapter

University of Central Arkansas Student Chapter

University of Connecticut Student Chapter

University of New England Student Chapter

University of Northern Iowa Student Chapter

University of Pittsburgh Student Chapter

University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo Student Chapter

University of Puerto Rico at Cayey Student Chapter

University of Puerto Rico, Bayamon Campus Student Chapter

University of Puerto Rico-Aguadilla Student Chapter

University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus Student Chapter

University of Saint Thomas Student Chapter

University of Tennessee at Martin Student Chapter

University of Texas at Tyler Student Chapter

University of Toledo Student Chapter

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Student Chapter

Waynesburg University Student Chapter

West Virginia State University Student Chapter


If your student chapter is registered for the upcoming Program-in-a-Box, “Chemistry Rocks! Exploring the Chemistry of Rocks and Minerals,” on October 24, 2017, please note that this does count as one of your green chemistry activities for the next awards in 2018.

There is also an exciting opportunity for student chapter leaders to share their teams’ successes with the broader chemistry community at the next ACS National Meeting in New Orleans. ACS GCI and Beyond Benign will be partnering to host the session “Green Chemistry Student Chapters: Stories of Success.” We encourage students interested in participating to submit an abstract to gci@acs.org highlighting your team’s work in green chemistry. Those who submit accepted abstracts will be invited to present at the meeting on their chapters’ activities.

Need more support in brainstorming cool chemistry activities that quality for the Green Chemistry Student Chapter Award? Check out the ACS GCI Student Chapter Guides and informative videos for more ideas.

Congratulations to the 53 chapters who won this year’s awards!

We look forward to seeing all the new green chemistry projects that student chapters put together next year.

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