University News

WIU's American Chemical Society Chapter Chosen for National Award

October 24, 2019

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MACOMB, IL – The Western Illinois University chapter of the American Chemical Society has been selected for a Green Chemistry Award for its activities conducted during the 2018-19 academic year.

More than 100 reports were submitted for consideration and 51 chapters, who engaged in three or more green chemistry activities, were chosen for the award nationally.

"Green chemistry, or sustainable chemistry, is very important to the future of chemistry," said WIU alumna Nicole Walker, who was chapter president during the academic year. "Our chemistry club decided that it would be a good topic to focus on throughout the year, so we decided to hold some events to teach ourselves and our community about some of the ways that chemistry can be green."

Walker said the chapter learned about how to make biodegradable plastics from an ACS webinar, then made some of their own bioplastics from white vinegar and chitosan (a compound derived from lobster shells). Chapter members also went to Macomb Earth Fest and showed community members how to make a universal pH indicator out of red cabbage and other activities focusing on reducing waste materials.

"There are several principles included in green chemistry," said WIU Chapter Advisor and Associate Professor of Chemistry Brian Bellott. "Some of those principles that our chemistry club focused on were prevention, finding less hazardous chemical pathways, use of renewable feedstocks and design for degradation. Our chemistry club did a wonderful job of conducting their experiments with these principles in mind. This year we intend on expanding our use of green chemistry principles and encourage people to contact me with ideas or projects that we can collaborate on."

For more information about the WIU Department of Chemistry, visit

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