SCUM wins award for outreach work

Valerie Dennis

Students in the Society of Chemistry Undergraduate Majors have continued their winning ways for the second year in a row.

The group received an honorable mention for its activities and outreach programs from the American Chemical Society, said Tom Greenbowe, professor of chemistry.

“The chemistry club is a chapter of the ACS, and each chapter submits reports of activities,” said Greenbowe, adviser of SCUM for nine years. “They are judged using various criteria, such as outreach and service to the community.”

David Aeschliman, graduate adviser for SCUM, said he feels it is a great honor for the group to have won an award.

“It’s a real pleasure to be recognized in a nationwide society,” said Aeschliman, graduate student in chemistry. “To be recognized two times in a row is even more of an honor.”

Although the club received the honor in the late spring, it wasn’t well-known in the Physics Department and public until now, Aeschliman said.

Currently the group participates in the Adopt-A-Highway program, movie nights, an annual Veishea show and demonstrations for school-aged children, Aeschliman said.

“We focus mostly on chemistry demonstrations to spark kids’ interest in the field,” he said. “We explain the chemistry behind it and explain what is going on.”

Aron Butler, president of the group, said he is happy that SCUM’s work is being recognized but hopes the group continues to improve.

“We would like to take things up a notch,” said Butler, graduate student in electrical and computer engineering. “We get bigger and better every year and try to incorporate more activities and improve safety.”

The group is working on diversifying activities in hopes of improving its chances of receiving a higher honor, Aeschliman said.

“This year we are going to focus more on interaction with the faculty,” he said. “We hope to have faculty talk about research and tour labs to get hands-on research with graduate work. We also hope to get people to talk about job opportunities in fields relating to chemistry.”

Aeschliman said more people are taking the club seriously because of the award, and membership has grown during the past two years as a result.

“With an increase in membership and dedication of members, SCUM will only continue to get better,” he said.

Aeschliman said he encourages anyone interested in the group from all fields of study to give the group a chance.

“Although we are called the Society of Chemistry Undergraduate Majors, we have a variety of members in the club,” he said. “The goal of our group is to dispel misconceptions of chemistry that it is boring. We do this by showing the interesting aspects of chemistry that a lot of people overlook.”