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The Hillsdale College chapter of the American Chemical Society won out against other Michigan col­leges at the Battle of the Chem­istry Clubs. Sophie Reynolds | Courtesy

This January, the Hillsdale College American Chemical Society chapter defeated more than 10 statewide uni­ver­sities in the Battle of the Chem­istry Clubs at Michigan State Uni­versity.

Though Hillsdale com­peted against larger schools such as Ferris State and the Uni­versity of Michigan, Pro­fessor of Chem­istry and ASC faculty adviser Chris Hamilton said the stu­dents’ enthu­siasm dis­tin­guished them from other com­peting teams.

“We almost always have a very high energy team,” Hamilton said. “They want to win, but they also want to have fun while they are there.”

Run by the Michigan State Uni­versity chem­istry graduate stu­dents, the com­pe­tition aims to “see who knows the most about chem­istry,” according to senior Christine Auscherman, ACS pres­ident. Though the stu­dents have con­sis­tently won the “spirit award,” their overall victory last month was the first since 2012, the first year they attended the com­pe­tition.

“You really get to see how our chem­istry does against other chem­istry depart­ments that aren’t liberal arts schools,” Auscherman said. “It’s also an oppor­tunity to meet other people in the chem­istry world and to see how other people do. And it’s a good net­working oppor­tunity.”

An all-day event, the Battle of the Chem­istry Clubs con­sists of various inter­active chem­istry games. From playing chem­istry cha­rades to racing against other schools to finish titra­tions, a chemical lab process, the 10 Hillsdale stu­dents plunged through the four seeded rounds into the finals. Veronica O’Connor, junior and chem­istry major, credits their success to the wide range of knowledge of the team.

“We had biology majors, biochem majors, and chem­istry majors,” O’Connor said. “There was always a skill that someone was good at across the spectrum, and we had a variety of people who could answer the ques­tions.”

But their prepa­ration, according to Aush­erman, was minimal.

“It’s just kind of this fun thing that we don’t prepare for. We go in with what we know and have a good time,” Auscherman said. “It shows that we can have fun but also that our pro­fessors have pre­pared us well for any­thing chem­istry-related.”

O’Connor said Hillsdale’s liberal arts edu­cation con­tributed to their victory.  

“We under­stand the con­nec­tions that happen through the dif­ferent sci­ences,” O’Connor said. “We under­stand why some­thing is hap­pening, and you only get that learning ability through going to a liberal arts college. We’ve been chal­lenged in all these dif­ferent areas.”