In mid-February, 2018 UNE became the first institution in Northern New England to adopt the Green Chemistry Commitment (GCC).
The GCC is a program — administered and supported by Beyond Benign, a green chemistry education and outreach non-profit organization — 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.
By committing to the GCC, UNE joins a consortium of approximately 40 other institutions of higher education nationwide which will share resources toward meeting common student learning objectives that are endorsed by leaders in the chemical industry. Participating institutions also receive feedback and support on an annual basis from leading scientists and industry partners in the field.
What is Green Chemistry?
- Green Chemistry considers sustainability as an important aspect of molecular design, including the entire lifecycle of a product (from feedstocks to end-of-life).
- It utilizes “green” solutions to effectively solve chemical problems, based on the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry.
- It aims to minimize the negative impacts of chemical products and processes on humans and the environment.
Why the GCC?
- Green Chemistry has been slow to make its way into traditional textbooks — adopting the GCC allows our students and faculty access to unique resources that can be integrated into the curriculum.
- The chemical industry seeks employees who can effectively solve problems related to green chemistry theory and practice — UNE students will be well poised to enter the workforce and apply their comprehensive skill set.
How does the GCC work at UNE?
- By working toward shared GCC student learning objectives, our students will develop proficiency in the areas of Green Chemistry theory, chemical toxicology, and laboratory methodologies.
- Our UNE Chemistry Club will continue to partner with Beyond Benign and engage in Green Chemistry-themed outreach in the community.
- Undergraduate students will have opportunities to engage in research projects related the Green Chemistry as well as potential internships.
Green Chemistry Outreach Fellows
UNE Chemistry Club members, an award-winning student chapter of the American Chemical Society, received onsite training at the Warner-Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry with Beyond Benign to become Green Chemistry Outreach Fellows. Following their training, fellows participate in myriad outreach activities at local (Portland STEM Expo), regional (Maine Science Festival-2016 and 2017), and national (ACS Chem Demo Exchange in San Francisco ) events. The demonstrations range from construction of solar cells using blackberry juice, edible plastics, bio-inspired "antibacterial" material, and eco-friendly packaging material.