Hillsdale Col­lege’s chapter of the American Chemical Society par­tic­i­pated in the Battle of the Chem­istry Clubs at Michigan State Uni­versity Jan. 28. Christine Aush­erman | Courtesy


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.”