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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Chemistry Club fuses community, science & learning

Interested in exploring chemistry beyond the classroom? Have you ever thought, “Man, we never make things like toothpaste or dehydrated food in labs. Where can I do that?”

Even if making toothpaste isn’t your main goal in life, Guilford College’s Chemistry Club is a place for science enthusiasts to work on projects that are a little different.

“Chemistry is like cooking,” said first-year and club member Ward Sandberg. “You’re putting things together, and you get an end result. Most times, you can’t really go back from that. When you can go back, it’s fun, but most times you can’t. It’s an exciting thing.”

The Chemistry Club has been at Guilford since 1994 as a branch of the American Chemical Society. After a period of inactivity, it was revived in 2009, and chemistry students have thrown themselves into it with renewed vigor.

“The purpose of the club is to learn more, delve deeper into chemistry and how it affects you on a daily level,” said Rebecca Webster, Early College junior and club member. “We also give back to the community, finding ways to use chemistry and the knowledge we get from the club to do that.”

No matter their motivations for joining, members enjoy the club all the same.

“I had a fantastic chemistry teacher in high school,” said Sandberg. “He took on the course with such excitement and really made me want to learn about it. This club is a great way to continue that.”

Colin Macintosh, first-year and treasurer of the club, was equally excited about joining.

“I thought the club could do a lot of good while we all had fun,” said Macintosh in an email interview. “(We could do things) like stream clean-ups, water quality testing, tutoring and fun demonstrations.”

One of the great things about this club is that anyone who wants to join can do so easily.

“Anyone who enjoys chemistry is welcome,” said Gail Webster, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the chemistry department as well as the club’s faculty adviser. “It’s good for those who want to learn more about chemistry, the profession and opportunities for chemistry students.”

If you have an interest in the subject, you’re perfectly welcome to stay for a meeting and see what they do.

“We can do stuff you wouldn’t normally do in lab,” said Sandberg. “We explore the things that are really cool. We’re actually trying to set up a project right now where we basically create ice cream from scratch, not like you make at home with a bag, but from basic chemistry materials.””

Just in case the prospect of creating your own ice cream doesn’t entice you, there are plenty of other things done both within and outside club meetings. In the past, students have organized study sessions for others, attended local American Chemical Society meetings and community service events and participated in local student poster sessions. They’ve also had social activities such as a “Breaking Bad” marathon complete with pizza.

Meetings will be every other Monday at 6 p.m. in the Frank Family Science Center’s chemistry study lounge on the third floor. If you’ve got a bit of spare time, go ahead and drop by. Chances are you’ll find a lot more to love about chemistry than you already know.

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