Committee on Community Activities History
National Chemistry Week began as National Chemistry Day, and was a vision of Dr. George C. Pimentel. In 1986, Dr. Pimentel, then President of ACS stated that:
“National Chemistry Day is a bold and exciting undertaking for us. Its success will be measured, in the short term, by the number of people reached by our efforts. Over the long term, we will measure our success by the continued use of chemistry to solve societal problems and to improve the quality of life for us all.”
This visionary statement led the ACS Board to establish National Chemistry Day. The first National Chemistry Day was celebrated November 6, 1987. National Chemistry Day was originally celebrated on a biannual basis, and was expanded to National Chemistry Week (NCW) in 1989. In 1993, NCW officially became an annual event, although many local sections had been celebrating it annually already. In 1998-1999, NCW was part of a one-time international event called the “International Celebration of Chemistry.”
Oversight for the NCW program fell to the National Chemistry Week Task Force. During its 15-year existence, the task force expanded its role with the increasing offerings of the Office of Volunteer Support to include the Chemagination, Chemists Celebrate Earth Day, and Salutes to Excellence programs. Since NCW had become an annual celebration and CCA’s responsibilities had grown to include the other outreach offerings, its status was changed to “Other” Committee of the Board in 2003.
With its growing programs, the committee saw distinct advantages to increasing the visibility of its programs to councilors and members alike, to continue to diversify ethnically and geographically, and to recruit additional members with varied outreach experiences. In 2006, the Board of Directors supported and Council voted for CCA to become a Joint-Board Council committee.
CCA Volunteer Support programs went through an extensive review process that was initiated by the Board of Directors’ Program Review Advisory Group. Although the programs fared well, key metrics were not available to fully substantiate the existence of certain aspects of the programs. In anticipation for metrics, CCA restructured its subcommittees to add “Evaluation and Technology” (E&T), whose role is to determine methods to assess effectiveness of Volunteer Support programs and to technically enhance program offerings.
Over time and after strategic planning efforts, CCA currently has three subcommittees: Tools and Training, Program Development and Promotion, and Volunteer Engagement and Recognition. CCA works as an advisory group to the American Chemical Society’s Office of Science Outreach.