This year, CSU’s Chemistry Club was honored as an outstanding chapter by the American Chemical Society – the highest category of achievement recognized by the ACS. Their growth as a club, as well as increased community outreach and student activities, have elevated the group’s status from “commendable” to “outstanding.”
“I’ve been involved for three years now, and I’ve loved seeing how the club grows and changes with different people,” said Hannah Hare, an outreach coordinator for the club. “People are so excited because of the amazing demos, we’ve had more volunteers for community events, and more hands-on involvement.”
Many of the Chemistry Club’s activities aim to reach kids in the Fort Collins community, in addition to CSU students. They want to show students from elementary school through higher education that chemistry is more than lab coats and data analysis; it can be a hands-on, visual, and reactive experience.
“We all really love chemistry, and we just want to see other people get as interested and get as much out of the club as we get out of it,” said Luca Zocchi, the club’s demo specialist.
To engage with students, the club hosts shows and events for schools in Fort Collins. One such event is the annual Halloween Show – which includes everything from liquid nitrogen demonstrations to making and eating rock candy. This year, they hosted over 1,000 people.
These demonstrations not only create formative moments for young students, but also provide CSU students the opportunity to improve their own chemistry knowledge and a chance to practice their teaching skills.
“We know these chemistry concepts, but as soon as you try to pare it down to a little kid’s level, it makes you doubt your knowledge,” said Maggie Wellman, an outreach coordinator for the club. “It causes us to confirm what we know and reminds us of the basics.”
The club engages in activities for CSU students as well. Chemistry Club members travel to the ACS conference every year, develop demonstrations, and hold meetings every week.
“We’re always accepting new members, and while we are the chemistry club, we’re not just for chemistry majors,” said Jake Neuwirth, the club’s president. “We try to our best to be no more academic than we have to be – we also do experiments and watch science videos and eat liquid nitrogen ice cream.”
The club meets every other Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. in Yates 406. If you would like to get involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.