Reducing the Impact of Chemical Education

Reducing the Impact of Chemical Education

Project Lead: Laura Fredriksen

Sponsor: Department of Chemistry Instructional Support
Facility, administered by Anne Baranger

TGIF Grant: $6,000.00

Project Theme: Education, Outreach, and Behavior Change

2020 Application

Project Description: The nature of chemical instruction can often produce unintended adverse environmental results. In 2016, our General Chemistry course series underwent an unprecedented redesign. In addition to fully integrating green chemistry learning goals into both the majors and non-majors series, we also made steps toward reducing the environmental impact of the course through lower student preparation volumes, elimination of hazardous chemicals, and using renewable resources where possible. As a next step, we are now turning toward our instruction of Organic Chemistry courses. we will 1) measure the baseline environmental impact of solvent release from Organic Chemistry laboratory instruction of at least one course, 2) measure the harm reduction by the purchase and implementation of an upgraded solvent-evaporation system, 3) identify major environmental concerns that the Instructional Unit can prioritize, and 4) identify key learning goals that can be introduced as part of an Organic Chemistry curriculum redesign. This study will be lead by a team of undergraduates, and their work will be paid by this award. These students will also be empowered by staff and faculty to engage the larger class of chemistry students in the discussion and study of green chemistry concepts while they undertake this study.

Goals: 1) Get a baseline measurement of environmental impact of organic chemistry instruction due to solvent evaporation

2) Measure or predict harm reduction with upgraded equipment

3) Identify other major environmental impacts due to organic chemistry instruction

4) suggest course improvements that can be implemented and tested by the department in future semesters