Planning Activities & Events for Student Communities
Keep your student community active year-round with the ideas on this page!
For Student Chapters: To be considered active, all student chapters must submit a report outlining how they were involved with service, professional development, and chapter development events. The tips and examples on this page can help you meet your goals.
Your student community can have a powerful impact on the larger community around you. Here are some ways to get involved with your department, university, or local community.
Here are some starting points for engaging and educating the public on the chemistry around them.
- Celebrate the chemistry "holidays," National Chemistry Week (NCW) or Chemists Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW) with community events
- Visit a local elementary school classroom, and do hands-on activities or chemical demonstrations (See InChemistry's "Surefire Ways To Engage Kids in Learning Chemistry")
- Use Celebrating Chemistry and other chemistry-related materials at schools, local libraries, museums, and other organizations
- Visit Outreach Activies for activities, videos, and safety information
- Tip: Learch how to engage every age group with InChemistry's, "Fresh Ideas for Sharing the Value of Chemistry through Public Outreach"
Community Service Activities
Start or participate in community service projects. Here are some examples:
- Perform chemistry shows (e.g., at mall, library, K-12 schools) and share fun demos with the community
- Volunteer to serve as judges for local science fairs
- Participate in charity walks/runs
- Organize recycling projects or a campus cleanup day
- Host an Open House for high school students to tour the chemistry department
Use your community as a tool to create learning and networking opportunities for yourself and your fellow community members. Here are some ideas for how to incorporate professional development into your community activities.
Explore the Chemical Enterprise
Create professional and academic opportunities for your members to explore chemistry-related topics and careers.
- Conduct a one-hour seminar on topics such as modern advances in chemistry, laboratory safety, resume writing, etc.
- Hold joint meetings with science and math campus groups to discuss topics of broad scientific interest
- Host a journal club
- Bring in speakers for a panel discussion on a contemporary issue in science
Attend ACS Meetings
ACS meetings can help you grow as a young professional. Consider presenting your research to hone your communication skills, or attend one of many networking events.
- ACS Fall and Spring Meetings
- ACS Regional Meetings
- All ACS meetings and events
- ACS Student Communities Professional Meeting Grant, which covers costs associated with attending an ACS meeting
Connect with ACS
- Learn about their upcoming meetings
Ask if you can help with the planning and organization of a future meeting that will feature student presenters.
- Plan activities together
Organize a large event for celebrations like National Chemistry Week or Chemists Celebrate Earth Week. Each group will plan activities and promote to their local communities, while keeping in regular contact about where you both are in the planning process.
Keeping your community active requires engagement from your members. Here are some ideas to encourage participation with varied, meaningful, and fun activities.
Chapter Socials & Events
Hosting a social function is a great way to have fun as a chapter, and to recruit and retain members! Here are ideas for easy-to-plan events:
- Team up with other clubs for activities like picnics, sports competitions, or community service projects
- Host a potluck dinner or barbecue where everyone brings something
- Go bowling, skating, to a movie, etc.
- Get together for pizza night
- Plan a faculty-student picnic
- Challenge other student organizations and faculty to a sporting competition
- Convene for study breaks during exams
Planning off-campus trips may take one month to a full semester to arrange. Here are some ideas:
- Breweries (check on the age restrictions)
- Local laboratories or chemistry related businesses
- Nuclear reactors
- National labs
- Local sustainability organizations
- Pharmaceutical companies
Tips for planning an off-campus event:
- Establish an appropriate dress code with the host of the destination
- Arrange an orientation/preview for students prior to the event
- Plan transportation arrangements
- Establish time of departure and return, and length of tour
- Specify cost(s) to students, if any
- Observe appropriate safety precautions
After the field trip, remember to:
- Conduct a follow-up discussion
- Send appropriate thank-you notes
Learn what to expect at your first meeting, how to plan successful meetings, and tips on organizing special events like the ones listed here.
The First Meeting
Get the academic year off to a good start by making your first chapter meeting a fun one. Get acquainted with new attendees and invited faculty through a hands-on activity, an ice breaker game, or free time to mingle while snacking. Address any chapter matters (e.g., committee appointments) and start planning activities for the semester.
Preparing for Meetings
Many student chapters meet once a month, while others meet weekly. A good plan is to schedule at least a portion of one meeting each month to address business matters.
Before the meeting:
- Reserve a meeting room and necessary A/V equipment
- Arrange for refreshments
- Provide travel directions and parking instructions for visitors
- Complete any necessary paperwork prior to the meeting
Remember to publicize your meetings via your institution’s available resources (website, social media, email, radio, newspaper, etc.) and through classroom announcements. You may even each out to faculty to see if you can visit their classes to share information about the meeting and answer questions about your chapter.
Keep in mind these essential rules-of-thumb for organizing effective meetings:
- Keep them short
- Write out the agenda--and stick to it
- Make them interesting by diversifying activities with guest speakers, tours, field trips, parties, and hands-on activities
- Reserve administrative work for officer/executive meetings
Student Community Toolkit
Tips for Faculty Advisors
Faculty advisor responsibilities, tips for building a successful group, and other essential information