WEsTeRn Chem Club

Message from the Chem Club

The Chem Club is a Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society.  The chapter gives students at Western an opportunity to gain information on educational and professional opportunities and activities. Most importantly, the chapter provides Western students with opportunities to have fun by participating in social and service activities that help to strengthen bonds among students and faculty. We hope you will get involved and participate as much or as little as you can. Whether it’s coming out to go bowling or helping to plan an event; your presence and input is needed and wanted!

History and Goals

The ACS Student Chapter at Western Washington University has been in continual operation since its formation in March of 1969. The two main goals of our organization are:  1) to bridge the gap between professors and students, and to serve as a resource to students in any stage of their university career and 2) to create a fun community for undergraduate chemists and biochemists. Activities such as the annual chemistry department picnic, annual faculty/staff vs. student slow-pitch game, bowling, movie night, donut day, etc. bring students and professors together in fun social settings.  Informational seminars, tours to local labs, lunch with invited speakers, conference travel (for student researchers), Scholar's Day, and other events give students practical knowledge about the field of chemistry.

Our chapter has received an ACS Outstanding Chapter Award for the the 2010-11 & 2011-12 academic years. Before that the chapter received 3 consecutive Commendable Chapter Awards from the ACS (2008-2010) and Honorable Mention Awards for 5 straight years (2003-2007) in recognition of its activities and efforts.  During the 2000-2001 academic year it was featured, along with the other chapters receiving awards, in the American Chemical Society's newsmagazine, Chemical and Engineering News, as well as in the news magazine, inChemistry.


Everyone is welcome to make suggestions for activities during our weekly meetings. Planned meetings, activities, and their locations are listed on the Meetings and Events page.  If you are interested in joining the council, want to help to organize events, or if you have any questions or comments, you may contact a Chem Club officer or faculty advisor.

The Who, What, Where, How, and Why of Graduate School

Chem Club Projects

Scientist Citizen

Scientist Citizen Television Project

Scientist Citizen is a new television program that aims to introduce chemistry into the local media by training a generation of scientist citizens to communicate their ideas and engage the public outside the classroom setting. Prof. John Gilbertson is currently developing this pilot program in collaboration with Western's student-led Chemistry Club. Footage for the first pilot episode has been recorded and is currently in editing and a preview of this episode will be posted as soon as it is available.

Program Philosophy & Aims

Science literacy and understanding in the general public is vital to continue to improve quality of life in the face of the challenges posed by globalization and emerging economies around the world. However, most Americans learn about science outside of school, and obtain science and technology information primarily from informal settings such as television and the internet. Informal learning opportunities, such as family TV viewing or internet websites can broadly engage and educate the general public. Unfortunately, in these informal settings little primary chemistry content is found; chemistry is in fact the neglected science in relation to television programming. One common explanation of the avoidance of chemistry in the mainstream media is that chemists do not communicate information about their fields effectively, even though there are many articulate chemists.

WWU is located in Bellingham, WA, which lies 90 miles north of Seattle, WA and 50 miles south of Vancouver, BC, Canada. Bellingham has a population of roughly 75,000 and is located in Whatcom County, which has a population of 201,140. As a consequence of its geographical location between two major metropolitan areas (3.7 million in the greater Seattle area and 2.1 million in greater Vancouver), the residents of Bellingham do not have access to a news channel dedicated solely to Bellingham. The local news channel, KVOS12, serves all three areas, which severely hampers the representation and dissemination of local scientific information to Bellingham and the residents of Whatcom County as a whole. Even with the advent of social media via the internet, television continues to be the main source of news for Americans. Therefore, there is real opportunity for our undergraduate students to become "scientist citizens" thereby engaging the local public and improving general chemical literacy by utilizing both classical and social media outlets.

If you have any suggestions and/or comments about the program please send an email to: John.Gilbertson@wwu.edu.

Scientist Citizen - An Ocean Acidification Dialogue

Green Chemistry

What is Green Chemistry?

Green chemistry is an approach, like green architecture, that is focused on developing sustainable chemical practices and methods that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. Developing new methods that reduce wastes and hazards from the outset is the primary focus of green chemistry.

The Chemistry Department at Western Washington University continues to implement green chemistry principles throughout its curriculum. In addition, the Chemistry Club is initiating a local green chemistry education campaign. The club strives to promote green chemistry practices at all of its events and club members are available to visit local schools to discuss green chemistry with teachers and students.

Please contact a Chem Club Officer or Advisor to arrange a visit to your school.

Green Chemistry Links