Members of Hillsdale College’s American Chemistry Society united to compete against other chemistry clubs Jan. 28 in the 10th annual Battle of the Chemistry Clubs.
Held at Michigan State University, the annual competition pits chemistry clubs from Michigan schools — including Hillsdale, University of Michigan – Flint, Wayne State University, Adrian College, and others — against each other. Although the nine Hillsdale students who attended did not qualify for the final playoffs, the team members said they enjoyed spending time together learning about chemistry.
Four team members competed in each of the five events, starting with Running on Shrooms, a relay race where competitors dressed in lab gear, ran to the end of a hall, and answered a lab safety question. Hillsdale placed second in their group for the relay.
Hillsdale also placed first in Chemistry Pictionary, a chemistry drawing game; second in Pinning the Periodic Table, where students identified elements based on etymological clues; and second in Survey Says, a “Family Feud” chemistry trivia game.
Scores from the first four events then determined how quickly teams could start in the first playoff event, It’s All About that Base. Hillsdale started at a four-minute disadvantage going into the competition, a titration where competitors determined a concentration of acid by neutralizing the acid with a known base concentration, senior Sheldon Saccoman said.
Speed, accuracy, and precision determined the titration victor, ACS Secretary junior Andrea Lee said.
“We finished first, and we had great precision, but the accuracy was off,” Lee said. “In years past, time mattered more than precision or accuracy, but this year the reverse was true. So we didn’t end up moving on to the finals.”
Nevertheless, the students said they enjoyed working together and sharing jokes.
“[Senior] Kyle Shillingstad had a cheesehead, because he’s from Wisconsin,” sophomore Christine Ausherman said. “Someone wore it during every event. It made us distinguishable. Everyone knows who we were or at least recognized the cheesehead. It became part of Hillsdale College.”
But the cheesehead was only part of what made the competition fun, Ausherman said.
“It was mostly upperclassmen, and I knew a few of them, but many of the others I didn’t know as well,” Ausherman said. “It was really great getting to know the other members.”