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Chemistry and Biochemistry Clubs

Three chemistry club students talking to two students and performing an experiment while standing at table during a middle school outreach fair.

Chemistry Club (Chem Club) is a club for students interested in chemistry. All majors are welcome.

Joining Chem Club provides:

  • Camaraderie with other students who love chemistry (and science).
  • Opportunities to learn more about chemistry (and science).
  • Opportunities to volunteer in the community.
  • A safe space for moral support, advice and tips from other students who are taking or have taken those really hard classes.

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Fall 2023-Spring 2024 Academic Year

  • Mary Matya (senior biochemistry major) – president
  • Libby Gregg (senior human biology major) – vice president and social media representative
  • Matthew Schell (junior biochemistry major) – secretary and treasurer

Past Events

  • Mole Olympics: We celebrated National Chemistry Week and Mole Day with a Mole Olympics activity. We did a chemistry word search, a Mole Day maze, mole corn hole and a Mole Day Kahoot. We also had molasses cookies to celebrate Mole Day.
  • Pioneer Biotech Presentation: A start up company that started on the South Dakota State University campus presented their research to our group. They do research in food preservation and other biotechnology products. Most of their research is green chemistry based and they informed us on how their achieve their products with green chemistry.
  • Make Your Own Lava Lamp: Everyone had the chance to make their own lava lamp using oil, water, food coloring and Alka-Seltzer tablets.
  • Green Chemistry Tie-Dying: We tie dyed cotton wash clothes using natural food dyes. We used two different foods to get two base colors. We used red cabbage to get red and black beans to get blue. We then had baking soda and vinegar which could be added to change the pH and therefore change the resulting color. The green chemical principles explored include using safer and renewable options for dyes.
  • The Chemistry of Chocolate: We celebrated Valentine's Day by looking deeper into chocolate as well as having some chocolate fondue.
  • Pizza “Pi” Day: We had a Pi Day celebration with a pizza night.
  • Fleece-Tie Blanket Service Event:We made tie blankets for the Sanford Children's Hospital. We were joined by several other groups on campus. Each group got supplies and we got together to make the tie blankets. The blankets were then given to the children at the Sanford Children's Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 

    Two students from chemistry club showing off a tied fleece blanket.
  • Build-A-Bear Service Event:We made and outfitted 10 bears (see photo one) which were then donated to Brookings Child Protective Services (see photo two) to be given out to children in traumatic situations as a way to ease their anxiety. 

    A group of seven chemistry club students holding up the bears they built at this Build-A-Bear event.
  • Promising Futures Middle School Outreach: Promising Futures Fund has focused on serving students who often come from economically disadvantaged situations, and who would likely be first-generation college students if they end up attending college after high school. Promising Futures aims to provide these students with an impactful experience on a college campus and sponsor a “field trip” for them when most of them have never had the opportunity to be on a college campus or take a field trip at all. Chemistry Club set up a table where students could explore chemistry by making (and taking home) their own slime using glue, contact solution, baking soda and food coloring. 

    Three chemistry club students talking to two students and performing an experiment while standing at table during a middle school outreach fair.
  • Earth Day Parking Lot Cleanup: We gathered and worked in pairs to pick up trash in the largest parking lot on campus. Collectively we gathered five large trash bags of garbage. Several other organizations on campus were involved with clean-up activities on the same day for a campus-wide #JacksGiveBack effort. 

    Six chemistry club members standing in the parking lot taking a selfie.
  • Sanford Research Lab Tour: We traveled to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and toured the Sanford Research Lab. We got to see several labs within the facility and speak with many of the scientists. 

    Eight chemistry club students standing by a Sanford sign.
  • Fun with Liquid Nitrogen: We made Dippin' Dots using liquid nitrogen and melted ice cream and also made flash-frozen Cheetos! 

    Students performing an experiment with liquid nitrogen.
  • Borax Crystal Snowflakes: We made crystal snowflakes using hot water, borax, food coloring, pipe cleaners and string. Each attendee got to shape their pipe cleaner however they liked and then placed it in the saturated aqueous borax solution. Each attendee got to take their jars home and allow the crystals to form overnight. 

    An ornament of a snowman made with borax crystals.
  • Fun with Slime: We experimented with slime. We used different ingredients and ratios of ingredients to find which made the best slime. 

    Five chemistry club students holding up their slime creations.
  • Easter-Egg Dying with natural dyes: We attempted to dye Easter eggs with natural dyes such as grape juice, beet juice, turmeric, chili powder and red cabbage juice. There was also baking powder used in some of the dyes to change the acidity and therefore the color. The green chemical principles explored include using safer and renewable options for dyes. 

    A carton of dyed Easter eggs.