Michigan Tech is one of 12 universities across the nation that are the initial signers of the Green Chemistry Commitment (www.greenchemistrycommitment.org), making them part of the first national effort to make university chemistry education greener. The Green Chemistry Commitment (GCC) is a consortium of universities and industry partners that is bringing green chemistry into undergraduate curriculum to increase the number of green chemists and scientists in the US and the opportunities available to them in the field.
The Green Chemistry Commitment is organized by Beyond Benign (www.beyondbenign.com), a non profit foundation dedicated to providing future and current scientists, educators, and citizens with the tools to teach and learn about green chemistry in order to create a sustainable future. Beyond Benign and the Green Chemistry Commitment will be presenting a session at the 17th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference this month, sponsored by the American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute.
As an academic and industrial field, green chemistry encourages chemists and scientists to develop safer, non toxic, renewable chemistry and materials. Supporting green chemistry education gives chemical companies a competitive advantage by:
- Providing a quicker time to market by reducing the environmental impact of manufacturing.
- Reducing worker injury by minimizing exposure to toxic chemicals, processes, and waste.
- Increasing efficiency and productivity of new employees who are better prepared after graduating from academic programs.
“When we modify our teaching labs by substituting drugstore-variety hydrogen peroxide and other greatly reduced toxicity chemicals instead of hazardous solvents and suspected cancer-causing agents, we show the principles of green chemistry in action,” says Irv Levy, chemistry department chair at Gordon College. “Students learn the same concepts and principles of chemistry they need, but they also learn how to achieve results in a way that’s safer for them, the community, and the environment. It’s just the right thing to do.”
By signing the Green Chemistry Commitment, colleges and universities agree that, upon graduation, all chemistry majors will have proficiency in the essential green chemistry competencies of theory, toxicology, lab skills, and practical application. using resources and courses of other departments or institutions.
More information about the Green Chemistry Commitment, including information about becoming a signer, can be found at www.greenchemistrycommitment.org.
Published in Tech Today.