Activity Ideas for Student Chapters

Chapters are often stimulated by projects that involve student members in worthy and interesting endeavors. Explore some of the activities you might sponsor.

Student Members

Professional/Academic Activities

  • Sponsor a Class Night for students to meet with future professors and discuss courses in chemistry
  • Prepare a lounge to use as your meeting room. This arrangement helps focus student attention on the chapter and can increase interest dramatically.
  • Maintain a chapter bulletin board and/or display case in the chemistry building to promote events and communicate with members
  • Tutor students who are having difficulty with chemistry courses
  • Sponsor a symposium or panel discussion on a contemporary issue in science
  • Conduct a one-hour seminar each week on modern advances in chemistry
  • Conduct a seminar on laboratory safety
  • Hold joint meetings with science and math campus groups (chemical engineering, physics, biology, pre-med, math majors) to discuss topics of broad scientific interest
  • Give a service award to student members who contribute the most time and effort to the chapter
  • Present other awards to outstanding chapter members
  • Present an award to your faculty advisor for his/her service
  • Host an ACS local section meeting: Staff the registration tables, serve refreshments, and help operate audiovisual equipment
  • Encourage your local section to host a meeting so that student members can present papers
  • Host the undergraduate program at ACS regional meetings
  • Conduct “Fun with Chemistry” meetings. Have members give chemical “magic” demonstrations. Publicize and charge admission to non-members

Outreach Activities

  • Design science competitions and programs for pre-college students
  • Develop chemistry activities for 4-H and Boy or Girl Scout merit badges
  • Supervise talented high school students in using college laboratory facilities
  • Sponsor an Open House for high school students to tour chemistry departments
  • Buy a subscription to ChemMatters for a local high school.
  • Prepare a program of hands-on chemical demonstrations to present to high school or grade school classes or community groups
  • Set up a display booth at a local science fair to supply career information on chemistry
  • Hold Earth Day festivals
  • Develop National Chemistry Week programs

Social Activities

  • Sponsor a joint campus contest/booth/party with other student organizations
  • Host a potluck dinner at the faculty advisor’s home
  • Sponsor bowling, skating, or pizza nights
  • Schedule a faculty-student picnic
  • Challenge other student organizations and faculty to a sporting competition
  • Convene for study breaks during exams
  • Arrange for banquets, parties, receptions

Green Chemistry

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


The final step in planning a successful activity or program is to make sure the event is adequately and appropriately advertised and that arrangements have been made for follow-up reporting and generating archival records. Adequate lead time is essential for publicity to be effective.

A chapter can take steps to make itself visible around campus and in the community. This visibility serves two purposes: It attracts potential members, and it enhances the image of the chapter in the public eye.

  • Establish a publicity committee. Appoint a public relations director to see that every member knows about each meeting and is introduced to new members
  • Print a chapter newsletter and distribute to all members and chemical science students
  • To announce meetings and special events, create colorful, eye-catching posters and flyers
  • Place ads in the campus newspaper. Obtain air time on the campus radio and TV stations or the public address system to publicize the chapter.
  • Spread the word by mouth. Request that department faculty publicize chapter activities in classes. Give them the information at least two weeks in advance.
  • Write up accounts of chapter activities and submit them to the campus and local newspapers
  • Design calendars of events and post them in key locations.
  • Develop an eye-catching logo and use it to head all announcements.
  • Procure a bulletin board strictly for chapter use in the chemistry department.
  • Wear chapter and/or ACS paraphernalia.