The Penn State Berks Chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS), a student organization, has been honored with a Green Chemistry Chapter Award from the ACS Green Chemistry Institute for completing three projects that highlight the value of green chemistry to people and the environment. The Penn State Berks ACS chapter also received an Honorable Mention Award from the Society Committee on Education (SOCED) in recognition of the chapter’s program and activities.
The projects that were recognized with the Green Chemistry Chapter Award include building a solar-powered pollen collector, holding a program titled “Discover Chemistry” and sponsoring a presentation on the power of social entrepreneurship, highlighting sustainability and humanitarianism.
The ACS chapter partnered with a Berkshire Allergy & Asthma Center in Wyomissing to provide pollen collection and monitoring. The pollen collection equipment was provided by Berkshire Allergy and the ACS chapter modified the equipment with a new solar panel and electrical box designed by ACS chapter adviser Greglynn Gibbs along with chapter members Mikayla DeLuca, Jonas Estevez and Angie Nertavich, with support from Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences Michael Fidanza. The goal of the project is for Penn State Berks to become an official pollen collection and reporting site.
In the “Discover Chemistry” program, the ACS chapter held an educational workshop at the Spring Township Parks and Recreation building. Every year, the ACS chapter partners with local organizations to hold programs that encourage elementary and middle school students to explore chemistry concepts in a way that makes learning fun and interesting. In this session, students explored the variables in a chemiluminescent chemical reaction as they were challenged to find the combination that resulted in the brightest and longest-lasting light that did not produce heat. Chemiluminescence is the production of light from a chemical reaction.
The ACS chapter also highlighted “The Power of Social Entrepreneurship” by co-sponsoring a presentation by Khanjan Mehta, Director of the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship Program in the College of Engineering at University Park campus. The lecture related research and entrepreneurship to global sustainability and humanitarianism. Mehta discussed topics that are central to green chemistry engineering and design from his book, Solving Problems that Matter (and Getting Paid for It).
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 164,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS student chapters are organizations for undergraduate chemical science majors who participate in a wide variety of programs and activities that enhance their college experience and prepare them for successful careers. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.
For more information, contact Penn State Berks ACS chapter adviser Greglynn Gibbs at [email protected].