February 19, 2018
UNE became the first institution in Northern New England to adopt the Green Chemistry Commitment (GCC) at a signing event on February 15. Members of the UNE Community joined the Department of Chemistry and Physics to witness the signing and to celebrate the program's launch.
The GCC is a program for institutions of higher education that challenges educators and students to approach chemistry from a “green” perspective in order to solve problems in the 21st century. By signing on to this commitment, the Department of Chemistry and Physics has pledged to further integrate green chemistry theory and practice into its curriculum, providing hands-on laboratory experiments, lectures from experts in the field, and emphasis on chemical toxicology, as it works toward meeting the shared learning outcomes that are central to the commitment.
In addition to providing resources for faculty and students, such as curricular materials, webinars, and grant and internship opportunities, UNE’s commitment to green chemistry will ensure that students are equipped upon graduation to evaluate the impact of chemical use on the human population and the planet and are well poised to enter the workforce, where the chemical industry seeks employees with the skills and knowledge to solve problems through the application of green chemistry theory and practice.
Green chemistry involves using 12 principles to thoughtfully design and implement chemical products and processes, with the objective of minimizing hazardous waste and using more benign methodologies. Amy Keirstead, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and interim associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, who spearheaded the campaign, explained that the goal of Green Chemistry is to “yield the same products afforded by more traditional chemical methods, while using less hazardous materials and more energy-efficient processes, and creating less waste.”
A key tenet of green chemistry is the consideration of sustainability as an important aspect of molecular design. According to Keirstead, “an additional advantage of Green Chemistry over traditional methods is that the entire lifecycle of the product is considered, including efforts to use renewable feedstocks and designing the product for recyclability or biodegradation.”
Administered and supported by Beyond Benign, a green chemistry education and outreach non-profit organization, the GCC provides annual feedback and support from leading scientists and industry partners in the field to all participating institutions. Adopters of the GCC share resources with the goal of meeting common student learning objectives that are endorsed by leaders in the chemical industry.
By signing the Green Chemistry Commitment, UNE joined a consortium of approximately 40 other institutions of higher education nationwide.
To learn more about the College of Arts and Sciences, visit www.une.edu/cas
To apply, visit www.une.edu/admissions