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.

Science Outreach & Community Events

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.

Science Outreach

Here are some starting points for engaging and educating the public on the chemistry around them.

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

Professional Development

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.  

Connect with ACS

Establishing a relationship with your ACS Local Section or ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapter can help you connect with the larger chemical enterprise. Reach out to them to:

  • 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.

Student Community Development

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

Field Trips

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

Green Chemistry

If your chapter completes three or more green chemistry activities during the school year, you will have a chance to receive a Green Chemistry Student Chapter Award.

Hosting Chapter Meetings

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

Successfully start and manage your student chapter or GSO with these resources. If you have any questions, email ACS Student Chapters at, ACS International Student Chapters at, or GSO at

Tips for Faculty Advisors

Faculty advisor responsibilities, tips for building a successful group, and other essential information

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