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2008 News Releases

Longwood Chemistry Club receives two national awards

October 8, 2008

Chemistry Club

The Longwood University Chemistry Club recently received two national awards from the American Chemical Society (ACS).

The club was one of only 25 organizations from among the approximately 900 active student affiliate chapters of the ACS in the United States and Puerto Rico to receive the Green Chemistry Award. It was one of only 71 to receive ACS’s second highest award, the Commendable Award. Both awards are for the chapter’s activities during the 2007-08 academic year and will be presented during the ACS national conference March 22, 2009 in Salt Lake City.

The chapter previously received a Commendable Award for 2003-04 and an Honorable Mention Award, the third highest honor, for 2006-07 and 2005-06.

The chapter in 2007-08 judged science fair projects at Powhatan High School and Middle School, participated in such community service fundraisers as Relay for Life, Operation Turkey and Miles for Smiles, hosted a seminar series that brought several speakers to campus, actively promoted Earth Day, Mole Day and National Chemistry Week, volunteered at the Science Museum of Virginia, held an informational session in which Longwood chemistry graduates discussed their jobs and graduate school experiences, and had a booth at Oktoberfest and Spring Weekend, during which they sold reusable plastic cups. The club sponsored a demo show for future science teachers for Mole Day.

For Earth Day, members built recycling bins for plastic bottles and aluminum cans, sponsored a seminar on biodiesel fuel by 1995 Longwood alumnus Ross Horner, encouraged patrons to "go trayless" in the dining hall and take part in a "power hour" in which all non-essential electronics were turned off to save energy. Among other activities, the chapter presented a poster on "Longwood University Goes Green" at the ACS national conference in New Orleans in April 2008 and helped a professor conduct "green" labs for organic chemistry lab students.

"The ACS is looking for chapters that are active not only on campus but also in the community," said Dr. Melissa Rhoten, co-faculty adviser, who is associate professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry & Physics. "They want to see that you are promoting chemistry outside your club."

Rhoten re-activated the chapter in 2001, the year after she came to Longwood. The other faculty adviser is Dr. Sarah Porter, assistant professor of chemistry. The chapter has about 20 active members. 

One of the speakers brought to campus, in November 2007, was Dr. James Burgess, a 1992 Longwood graduate who later taught in the chemistry department before taking a position at Case Western Reserve University. Burgess gave a lecture in the university-wide Simkins Lecture Series on cholesterol detection and quantification, and he also spoke in the seminar series, which featured specialized topics in chemistry.