Small ACS Student Chapters Make Big Impacts

The ACS Student Chapters Program has been around for nearly 80 years, serving undergraduate students interested in the chemical sciences. These student chapters conduct service, professional development and chapter development activities both on their campuses and in their communities. About 400 of these chapters each year submit reports detailing their activities. The Society Committee on Education selects chapters to receive recognition and awards based on the reports.

There are three award levels: Honorable Mention, Commendable, and Outstanding. The list below contains chapters with the fewest number of ACS Student Members to achieve the Outstanding level.

Inter American University of Puerto Rico Ponce Campus Student Chapter

Chartered in 2013, the Inter American University of Puerto Rico Ponce Campus Student Chapter has developed and become well-rounded, with a focus on forensic and green chemistry, which were interests of the students. The chapter attended an entomology and literature review workshop, performed demonstrations for children in preschool up through high school, and even took a field trip to the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge.

Illinois Valley Community College Student Chapter

This chapter, located in Illinois, was part of an Inter-Chapter Relations meeting with other area student chapters, where they shared ideas and bonded over a titration race and other events. Members did local river testing to monitor the environment with sciences department students seeking extra credit. Student members organized a kid-friendly project to introduce local 8th graders to organic chemistry and engineering by creating silver Christmas ornaments with Tollens’ test.

Heidelberg University Student Chapter

Extensive fundraising efforts by the Heidelberg University Student Chapter, such as selling cacti for Earth Day, and holding a fundraiser at Cedar Point Amusement Park, allowed it to do many of its activities this year. The chapter held a CSI Heidelberg day, where middle school students learned about forensic chemistry through activities like a “Solve the Murder” scavenger hunt. The chapter also toured the National Center of Water Quality Research and attended the ACS National Meeting.

Erskine College Student Chapter

This small chapter in rural South Carolina lives up to their unofficial motto “we do our best with very little.” The chapter provided 10 labs to homeschool students over a year, performed outreach to middle schoolers, and held a lab for Boy Scouts, discussing the green chemistry of cleaners, so they could earn their science badges. Members were also able to attend local, regional and national ACS meetings.

Canisius College Student Chapter

This chapter, hailing from Buffalo, N.Y., has a focus on chapter development and increasing the bond between student members and their professors. They went rock climbing, bowling and to a haunted house with several faculty from their department. The chapter teamed up with the biology club and won an annual football game. Perhaps most notably, the student chapter hosted a large demo show for National Chemistry Week, which boasted 14 different demonstrations and 130 attendees.

University of New England Student Chapter

National Chemistry Week was a major focus for the student chapter of the Maine-based University of New England this year, with the member students hosting events each day, including apple picking and a potluck dinner, as well as a periodic table of cupcakes and liquid nitrogen ice cream. The chapter also hosted speakers and did demonstrations around the theme of National Chemistry Week, “Chemistry Colors Our World,” and participated in the Beyond Benign Green Chemistry Outreach Fellows Training Program.

South Texas College Student Chapter

The South Texas College Student Chapter focuses on community outreach through events. Student members served as judges for elementary school science fairs, and conducting demonstrations for the young students. The chapter did spooky science activities using fluorescent materials as part of their Mad Scientist Lab show during the South Texas College Fall Festival. They also coordinated a canned food drive that netted more than 2,000 lbs of food for the local food bank.

California State University Stanislaus Student Chapter

While participating in service and chapter development activities, the California State University Stanislaus Student Chapter works to provide professional development activities for its members. Students presented at several research symposia including an ACS National Meeting and the Northern California Undergraduate Research Symposium. The chapter also learned about the roles chemists play during tours of a brewery and a winery.