The ACS Undergraduate Programs Office offers two grants to help your chapter reach the community: the Community Interactions Grant and the Innovative Activities Grant. Both of these grants are due March 21, so if you’re interested, apply now!
Below is an account of what one school, Texas Christian University, did with their Community Interactions Grant, by Erica Zimmerman, TCU Chemistry Club Outreach Officer.
In the spring of 2011, Sandi Dang, President of the Texas Christian University Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society, had a vision for the ACS Dallas – Fort Worth area to work together to foster the love of chemistry among their local community. The result was a week-long set of hands on activities at the Fort Worth History and Science Museum (FWHSM). That event motivated the chapter to expand its program in 2012 by inviting local elementary schools to visit the TCU campus!
TCU “College Scientist for a Day” starts when students from local elementary schools arrive at the campus and are greeted by TCU faculty and Chemistry Club Members. Activities begin with a “magic show” by faculty and students. The magic show includes eating a candle made of apple, a dissolving snake race, and the crowd-pleasing Super Frog Toothpaste (you may know it as Elephant’s Toothpaste).
After the magic show, students are divided into groups of about 20 and are escorted up to actual TCU teaching labs. In the labs, students don protective eye wear, and TCU Chemistry Ambassadors guide the students through the ACS Jiggle Gel Kits. The group leaders are TCU undergraduate and graduate students from both the chemistry and biology departments. Two TCU student leaders lead each student group through making polymers.
After the lab session, the remaining time is spent on a question-and-answer session with TCU students about college. Students talk about what it’s like to be in college, what classes they take, what professors are like, where they live, what they do with their free time, and so much more. Then the chapter takes the students on a mini tour of campus, visiting the Monning Meteorite Museum, the library, administrative buildings, and dorms. The kids leave tired and happy – and hopefully knowing a little more about the world of a college student.