Chapter Activities

Looking for activities to do with your student chapter? See all of the great ideas below, or find even more activity ideas here.

Chapter Meetings

Learn what to expect at your first meeting, how to plan successful meetings, and tips on organizing special events like those below.

The First Chapter Meeting

Get the school year off to a good start by making your first chapter meeting a fun one. Try throwing a party with liquid nitrogen ice cream or end it with a fun activity to get acquainted with first-year students, newly-declared majors, and invited faculty. Your chapter may also address business matters, committee appointments or plan activities for the semester.

Preparing for Meetings

Many 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.

Here are some tips on preparing for meetings:

  • Reserve a meeting room and necessary A/V equipment
  • Arrange for refreshments
  • Provide travel directions and parking instructions for visitors
  • Publicize meetings via campus radio, the school newspaper, classroom announcements, a chapter newsletter, or your chapter’s website or social media
  • Complete any necessary paperwork prior to the meeting

What to do at Chapter Meetings

There are many ways to structure a chapter meeting:

  • Sponsor a class night for students to discuss future chemistry courses and degree requirements with professors
  • Conduct a one-hour seminar on modern advances in chemistry or laboratory safety
  • Present a service award to the student chapter member who contributes the most time and effort to your chapter, and offer other recognition awards to exemplary members
  • Hold joint meetings with other campus groups (such as: chemical engineering, physics, biology, pre-med, and math majors) on topics of broad scientific interest
  • Host a seminar on research your faculty and graduate students are conducting

To maintain good participation:

  • Keep meetings short
  • Make them interesting
  • Diversify activities with guest speakers, tours, field trips and parties
  • Reserve all administrative work for officer meetings


Chapters often invite speakers to talk about careers, research, and other topics of interest. Consider sponsoring a symposium or panel discussion on a contemporary issue in science by bringing in selected speakers.

Planning Tips

  • Ask students who they would like to hear
  • Write an invitation letter
  • Discuss financial, A/V, and other contractual requirements with potential speakers
  • Confirm your speakers and tell them about the target audience’s level and interests
  • Provide travel directions to the campus and room
  • Request speakers’ curricula vitae for introductions
  • Arrange for an honorarium or gift as appropriate
  • Write a “thank you” letter to each speaker after the event

Speaker/Tour Ideas

  • Conduct faculty and graduate student seminars
  • Hold seminars where faculty speak about their research
  • Take trips to national labs

Field Trips

Planning off-campus trips may take one month to a full semester to arrange. Here are tips and ideas for planning an off-campus event.

Planning an off-campus event

  • Establish with the host an appropriate dress code
  • 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
  • Conduct a follow-up discussion
  • Send appropriate thank-you notes

Ideas for off-campus trips

  • Breweries (check on the age restrictions)
  • FBI labs
  • Area 51
  • Nuclear reactors
  • National labs

Community Service Ideas

Get involved with your community by starting or participating in one of the following community service projects:

  • Test local rivers for dangerous levels of pollutants and contaminants.
  • Conduct river workshops, explaining river pollution and treatment.
  • Teach chemistry to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to help them earn their merit badges.
  • Perform chemistry shows (e.g., at mall, library, K-12 schools) and share fun demos with the community.
  • Hold an open Christmas party.
  • Volunteer to serve as judges for local science fairs.
  • Adopt-A-Spot, Adopt-A-Highway, or other types of landscaping work around the campus or community.
  • Invite high school students on campus to promote chemistry and the school.
  • Participate in charity walks/runs.
  • Take part in food/clothing drives.
  • Provide tutoring for your school or the local high school.
  • Collect goods for local/national charities.
  • Support a bloodmobile drive.
  • Organize recycling projects or a campus cleanup day.
  • Create a community garden.

National Chemistry Week and Chemists Celebrate Earth Week

National Chemistry Week (NCW) and Chemists Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW) is a community-based annual event that unites ACS local sections, businesses, schools, and individuals in promoting the value of chemistry in everyday life.

Here are some creative ways your chapter can celebrate NCW or CCEW:

  • Visit a local elementary school classroom, and do hands-on activities or chemical demonstrations
  • Organize an NCW or CCEW Community Event
  • Sponsor a chemistry related event
  • Wear your favorite chemistry/mole T-shirt
  • Display Celebrating Chemistry and other chemistry related materials at schoosl, local libraries, museums, and other organizations.

Fundraising Ideas

Need to raise money to support your ACS student chapter or an upcoming event? Refer to the following resources and tips on fundraising.


Use the following tips from Fundraising to plan your next event.

  • Know how much money you need and when you need it. Make sure to add estimated costs to your fundraising goal.
  • If possible, start planning your fundraiser at least one month in advance. This way you can get letters and ads written, products lined up, and events scheduled.
  • Set beginning and end dates for each project.
  • Find out what types of fundraisers have been successful for your group or community in the past.
  • If planning a large fundraiser that uses several fundraising sources, estimate the funds needed from each activity. If you can, use figures from past successful events as goal points.
  • Use a goal chart (thermometers are popular) to check your progress.
  • Double check your community calendar
  • Ensure your fundraiser doesn’t conflict with other community activities (i.e. it may be difficult to find enough student volunteers for your 8th grade car wash if you schedule it during the middle school band trip).
  • Coordinate your activities with other community activities (i.e. garage sales on weekends).

Creative & Traditional Ideas

  • Sell liquid nitrogen ice cream on hot, sunny days
  • Candy or baked goods wrapped in packaging with chemistry symbols
  • Request donations from students at chemistry tutoring sessions
  • Pie-a-professor
  • Contests & Raffles
  • Recruit co-sponsors for events or trips
  • Car wash

Drives & Collections

  • Aluminum Can and Glass Bottle Drives
  • Plastic Containers
  • Recyclable Paper
  • Phones
  • Precious (and not-so-precious) Metals
  • Inkjet Cartridges
  • Coupon Collections