The IU South Bend Chemistry and Biology Club was honored (Friday, Nov. 8) for community outreach by the St. Joseph Valley Section of the American Chemical Society.
The professional organization presented a traveling trophy to the club. It will be on display in the Schurz Library lobby along with photos of the club’s science outreach programs.
Only five awards are presented nationally each year.
The club was singled out for taking science and chemistry to school children at the River Park Branch of the St. Joseph County Public Library. For the past three falls, the IU South Bend students have presented hands-on experiments at an afterschool program.
In October, the IU South Bend students presented more science at the Ethos Science Center in Elkhart.
Matt Odom of the St. Joseph Valley Section said the professional organization was impressed by the organization and involvement.
Roger Fleming, also a member of the section, said college clubs get together to talk, eat pizza and drink pop. This club has worked hard to bring the wonders of science to grade school children. “When you see this trophy, you can say ‘I did that.’ And you can still eat pizza.”
Dana Lawdenski, a senior from Mishawaka, said everything about the presentation at the library was great. “It was just – wow. You saw the wonder on their faces when you demonstrated the science experiments. You’d ask if all the colors could be seen in a black felt marker and they said no. Then they saw it happen.”
The club membership is approximately 150.
Michael Partridge, a senior from Bremen, said it was such a great opportunity to share and open a door to the primary school-aged students. “They were shy but then they wanted to do more.”
Gretchen Anderson, professor of biochemistry and club advisor, said the group is known to eat a pizza or two but the members have gained momentum in the past few years. “I’m very proud of their work.”