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The science of chemistry focuses on the way matter is composed and the reactions that occur when different substances are combined. Similarly, Olivet College’s Gruen Chemistry Society has a mission to share chemistry with others, and often experiences unique outcomes when the group brings the community together through science.

The Gruen Chemistry Society is a chapter of the national American Chemical Society (ACS) that focuses on supporting the next generation of chemists. Each year, ACS designates a week to recognize National Chemistry Week, encouraging its chapters to help educate the public. Recently, OC’s Gruen Chemistry Society volunteered at Impression 5 Science Center to help share the excitement of chemistry with local children.

The event on Oct. 28 marked the 31st year the local section of ACS, including OC, has held a free, public event to celebrate chemistry. Comets joined forces with students from the Lansing area to perform experiments and demonstrations under the theme “Chemistry Rocks!” Gruen Chemistry Society president Brooke Sturgeon helped teach children about dry ice rockets, hardness tests, and even how to get light out of rocks.

“It’s awesome to have an opportunity to show people, and especially children who could become future chemists, that chemistry isn’t just about boring math,” Brooke explained. “It’s also not just about doing gimmicky demos. There are lots of interesting things about chemistry and chemists are in high demand. No matter what aspect of chemistry you’re in, it’s a fun, hands on job.”

In addition to community events, the Gruen Chemistry Society also travels to ACS’ annual conference. At the conference, chapters from across the nation come together to celebrate their contributions and network with a vast spread of industry professionals. Last year, OC students had opportunities to meet with graduate school recruiters and attend professional talks by graduate students, research professors, and chemistry professionals on cutting edge research. Further, the Gruen Chemistry Society received an honorable mention at the conference for their efforts as an undergraduate chapter.

Since then, OC’s chapter has been ramping up with hopes to advance in the rankings. Chapters are honored for its level of activity, the number of students who participate in activities, and the type of activities. “It’s hard to prove to students that chemistry is fun,” she explained. “We really don’t just sit around and talk about chemistry, we focus on learning new things and networking. Non-chemistry majors are definitely welcome – just think what a great diversifying tool and resume builder the club could be! It’s also a great way to get involved with the community and build a deeper relationship with your professors.”

Brooke admits that while it might sound a little nerdy, one of her favorite activities as part of the Gruen Chemistry Society is participating in Battle of the Chemistry Clubs. Challenges range from traditional chemistry trivia to Pictionary, corn hole, escape challenges, experiments and more. Last year, OC made it to the semifinals for the first time in school history, and this year, the team is hoping to make it back.

“There are so many fun things we do with the club, but they’re all really important things too,” Brooke exclaimed. “It’s really cool that everything we do is helping prepare us for our future careers. If you like to travel, learn new things, want to prepare for your career and have fun while doing it, Gruen Chemistry Society is for you.”

Olivet College offers 31 majors and 24 minors, including biochemistry, chemistry, and chemistry with forensic science. Coupled with an outstanding liberal arts education and more than 60 clubs and organizations that help to build on and expand a students’ interests, OC graduates leave set up for career success! Learn more about the OC chemistry program by applying or visiting campus. Contact the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu to learn more.

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