Member Recruitment & Retention for Your ACS Student Community

One of the toughest parts of having an student chapter or Graduate Student Organization (GSO) is recruiting and retaining members. On this page, you'll learn about membership requirements, and get ideas for recruiting and retaining student members.

Membership Requirements

Student chapters and GSOs must include at least 6 ACS student members to be considered active and eligible for grants, awards, etc. All officers must be ACS student members. 

  • ACS student memberships:
    Currently $25/year for undergraduate students and $55/year for graduate students, offers the same benefits as a membership with a premium package. You'll have access to all ACS resources, including career consulting and workshops, meeting discounts, and inChemistry magazine.
    • Only students with a student membership may serve as chapter officers and access the chapter reporting system. Additionally, the current member database only connects students with student memberships to their institutions, so students on other categories will not show up on ACS-generated rosters. 
    • Some chapters will cover premium package membership for their officers or other chapter members. In addition to helping members manage costs, it makes the group more welcoming and helps it maintain their active status.
  • ACS basic package membership:
    This free membership category qualifies you as a "Community Associate", with access to ACS newsletters and the broader ACS community. While Community Associates do not count towards the minimum membership count for student groups, this can be a great way to start learning about ACS.
  • Student group participation:
    Student chapters and GSOs have the option of including any number of members who are not ACS members. These members do not receive any ACS benefits.  

Recruiting New Members  

Continuously recruiting new members keeps your chapter or GSO vibrant and growing through member graduations and other changes. Here are some tips for recruiting new members:

  • Meet with other students
    Visit general chemistry and organic chemistry classes at the beginning of the term to invite new members. Share information about your group with your classmates. Get involved in student club fairs and other campus events.  
  • Promote your activities
    Use social media and flyers to let folks know about upcoming events. Create a T-shirt for all members to wear for continual promotion. 
  • Share your experiences
    Talk about the advantages your group offers and the skills you’ve developed—leadership, budgeting, communications—whatever you do well!
  • Hold an open meeting
    Have a meeting for prospective members to learn about your group. Plan a fun science activity and be sure to have food.
  • Partner with other groups
    Work with groups whose interests are similar, like biology or environmental clubs. You can share resources, as well as members. 

Find more tips from inChemistry Magazine: 

Tip: Covering student membership fees for officers encourages participation by removing potential barriers to participation, and makes your group feel more welcoming.

Member Retention

Keeping members engaged and motivated is just as important as recruiting them. Here are some tips for retaining members:

  • Respond to needs
    Find out what matters most to your members and tailor your groups’ activities accordingly. If members are interested in outreach, plan more outreach events; if they have a passion for food, get a food chemist as a speaker, plan a cooking class, or visit a plant/brewery.
    Consider logistical needs, too. If members are busy during the day, it might better to meet after classes. If members live off-campus, lunchtime meetings might be easier. 
  • Celebrate participation
    Celebrate graduating students with a party or grad cords. Offer awards, swag (like an ACS Student Chapter Member pin), or a year of ACS premium package membership for those that participate in activities. Have an induction ceremony for your new members.
  • Build bonds
    Host movie nights, potluck dinners, and other social events to bring members together as friends.
  • Share ownership
    Set up different committees to spread out the workload and encourage members to take ownership of the activities they are most interested in, such as managing social media or hosting an outreach event at a local elementary school.

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

Contact Us

ACS Student Chapters

ACS Student International Chapters

Graduate Student Organization