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Of 400 chapters in the country, Hillsdale’s ACS chapter was chosen to be awarded with the “Out­standing Chapter” Award, along with 69 others chapters. Matthew Young | Courtesy

Hillsdale College’s American Chemical Society (ACS) chapter won the Out­standing Chapter Award for the 2017 – 2018 cal­endar year. Out of more than 400 chapters, only 69 were selected for Out­standing Chapter.

“The award is a tes­tament to how active the Hillsdale College ACS chapter has been, both on and off campus,” said Chairman and Pro­fessor of Chem­istry Matthew Young, who is co-faculty adviser for ACS. “All of the credit goes to Dr. Hamilton, the ACS officers, and our student members.  Dr. Hamilton has put in a lot of effort over the past several years as the faculty mentor for our ACS chapter, and the result has been a large and vibrant student orga­ni­zation.”

Though the chapter has received “com­mendable” and “hon­orable mention,” Christopher Hamilton, pro­fessor of chem­istry and co-faculty adviser, said the chapter has never received the “Out­standing Chapter” award. He attributed the award to the active involvement of the stu­dents.

“They are looking for a chapter that is very active that is putting on a variety of events. They want to see that we are pro­moting chem­istry directly, that we are pro­viding out­reach events, that we are con­necting with other ACS chapters,” Hamilton said. “They also want to see pro­fes­sional devel­opment.  They want to make sure that we are doing a lot of things and doing these things well.”

Already one of the largest chapters in the nation, Hillsdale ACS chapter has hosted a variety of events over the years. Senior and Pres­ident of ACS chapter Christine Aush­erman said the chapter is only doing what is natural to them.

“It’s kind of cool that even though we have lots of fun, and we reach out to schools, we are able to win out­standing chapter,” Aush­erman said. “We’ve done what we’ve always done except we’ve reached out more to middle schools, ele­mentary schools, high schools, and now other ACS chapters. Adding those things makes us an “out­standing chapter.”

ACS has hosted a variety of events ranging from the first annual “Pie Day run” where stu­dents run 3.14 miles and receive pie to now hosting “Science Olympiad,” a science com­pe­tition for over 200 middle school and high school stu­dents. According to Aush­erman, vol­un­teerism is key.

“We ask for a lot of vol­un­teers and we put on at least one event a month that requires vol­un­teers,” Aush­erman said. “We’ve per­pet­uated this culture that if we want some­thing to be put on, we need vol­un­teers, and we need people to be excited about science.”

Aside from steady vol­un­teerism, Hamilton said the chapter’s diversity greatly con­tributes to its activism on and off campus.

“One thing that is great about our chapter is that we have not just chem­istry and bio­chem­istry majors. We have some other science majors and even people who just like chem­istry. This helps bring in dif­ferent per­spec­tives into what we do as a chapter,” Hamilton said. “Hillsdale Stu­dents are just really com­mitted and really involved.”

Aush­erman said this award affects future involvement within the chapter.

“We do take our­selves seri­ously, and rec­og­nizing that we are out­standing chapter will help provide more energy and enthu­siasm to the chapter itself,” Aush­erman said.

But she said she does not doubt the value ACS has already had on this campus.

“Chem­istry is the way in which mankind can appre­ciate and under­stand his place in nature. It asks the question, ‘what is man’s place in nature and how can we use it?” Aush­erman said. “Having some­thing like this club in the liberal arts context ded­i­cated to chem­istry, ulti­mately rounds out the liberal arts expe­rience just as much as the human­ities do.”