Empowering Students and the Community Through Green Chemistry and Sustainable Science Outreach

Irv Levy Presenter
Director, Green Chemistry Commitment
Beyond Benign
Saskia van Bergen Co-Presenter
Washington State Department of Ecology
Green Chemistry Scientist
Mon, 10/28: 9:15 AM  - 10:15 AM 
60-minutes presentations 
Session B 
Room: 402A - Public Engagement 


Sustainable STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) outreach can have a significant impact on youth –empowering students to be problem-solvers and engage in their communities as change makers, and inspiring students to pursue career paths in the sustainable STEM fields. This session will feature sustainable STEM outreach programs that utilize college students as role models and mentors to engage K-12 students and community members through hands-on activities demonstrating green chemistry and sustainable science innovations.
Green chemistry is a pro-active approach to pollution prevention, which aims to reduce the intrinsic hazard of a chemical or material, rather than reduce exposure. As a solutions-based science, green chemistry focuses on innovating products in a more sustainable way that reduces waste, maximizes efficiencies, and relies on renewable resources. Beyond Benign, a non-profit organization dedicated to green chemistry education, it runs a community engagement program that uses hands-on activities to demonstrate innovative solutions to global challenges. This program develops college students into ambassadors of sustainable science to K-12 students and community members. Beyond Benign's program, along with additional College outreach programs, will be featured in this session.
Through green chemistry and sustainable science outreach, students can engage in hands-on activities that demonstrate cutting edge technologies such as the Blackberry Solar Cell activity where students make solar cells from benign materials and test efficiencies, or an Ocean Plastics activity to learn about the issue of plastics in the oceans and explore innovative solutions. Through hands-on activities, K-12 students and community members can better understand the role of STEM in providing solutions to these challenges. This session will feature hands-on activities that can be immediately implemented in existing environmental and STEM outreach programs on campuses

Audience Empowerment

Hands-on outreach activities will be presented. Audience members will be able to perform the activities to better understand how they can be used within community engagement programs. Activities will include Enrichment Resources from Beyond Benign's curriculum database: https://www.beyondbenign.org/cur-ms-enrichment-resources/, such as the Blackberry Solar Cell, the Biomimicry Matching Game, and the Ocean Plastics activity. All materials are geared towards a middle school audience. 

Primary Topic Area

Public Engagement

Secondary Topic Areas

Campus Engagement & Culture

Session Level

Introductory Level

Intended Audience

Businesses and Community
Graduate Students or Above
Other Staff
Sustainability Staff
Undergraduate Students

Does your submission have a focus on a particular institution type? (select up to three)

Community and Technical Colleges
Hispanic Serving Institutions
Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Institutions outside of the US
Liberal Arts Colleges
Other Minority Serving Institutions
Research Universities
Special Focus Institutions
Tribal Colleges