On Friday May 8, 2009 the first Michigan Green Chemistry Education Networking Conference was held at Grand Valley State University. With financial support from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, this conference was designed to establish a network of educators who utilize or are interested in implementing green chemistry in their classrooms. The goals of organizing the annual one-day symposium are to build awareness and communication among educators in K-12 and higher education institutions and develop long-term plans to implement green chemistry curricula into classrooms and laboratories. In the end, the aim was to better prepare the future MI workforce and to promote and protect the state’s economic, social, and environmental needs.
Over 70 educators, legislators, and industrial chemists from across the state of MI attended the conference, which was held at the GVSU Alumni House. Opening remarks were given by the GVSU Chemistry Department Chair Todd Carlson and faculty member Dalila Kovacs. The morning session consisted of several talks from educators who have established green chemistry and pollution prevention courses recently. Jim Krikke of Grand Valley State presented his experiences teaching a new general education Pollution Prevention and Green Processes course. This course was designed to introduce freshman to the primary sources of pollution and how green chemistry and green engineering may be used to limit these sources. Jennifer Aurandt and Montserrat Rabago-Smith of Kettering University discussed the implementation of a green chemistry course to their department curriculum and the assessment the course outcomes and student feedback. The third speaker of the morning, James Jackson of Michigan State University, presented his development of a green chemistry freshman seminar course.
The conference was excited to host the featured speakers, John Warner and Amy Cannon. John is an internationally recognized leader in the implementation of green chemistry practices in both the industrial and academic sectors. He started the first Green Chemistry Ph.D. program at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and founded the Center for Green Chemistry at University of Massachusetts-Lowell. He is also editor of Green Chemistry Letters and Reviews, associate editor of the journal Organic Preparations and Procedures International, and co-author of the book Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice. Currently, John is the President of both the Warner-Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry and Beyond Benign.
Amy Cannon holds the world's first Ph.D. in Green Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts where her research involved the environmentally benign synthesis of photoactive materials. Along with John, she co-founded Beyond Benign, a non-profit organization that specializes in K-12 curriculum, community outreach, and workforce training in green chemistry. John gave an inspiring presentation on how his life has led him to the importance of implementing green chemistry throughout industry and academics. Amy followed his talk with information on how Beyond Benign has been working to achieve this goal.
After lunch, attendees of the conference were invited to a session on implementing green chemistry into high school chemistry curricula. Doug Mandrick of Portage Public Schools demonstrated several green chemistry labs based on those he learned from a Beyond Benign program in Colorado.
8:30 AM Registration and Breakfast
9:00 AM Welcome and Opening Remarks
Professor Todd Carlson, Chair of the GVSU Chemistry Department
9:15 AM Speaker Session
Jim Krikke (Grand Valley State University)
Jennifer Aurandt & Montserrat Rabago-Smith (Kettering University)
Ned Jackson (Michigan State University)
Dalila Kovacs (Grand Valley State University)
11:00 AM Featured Speakers
John Warner (Warner-Babcock Institute)
Amy Cannon (Beyond Benign)
12:00 PM Intermission Address
Thomas J. Hass, President, Grand Valley State University
1:30 PM Concluding Remarks
Dalila Kovacs, Director, Green Chemistry Education Networking Conference
Tour of the Chemistry Department
2:00PM Laboratory Demonstrations
Padnos Hall of Science, 3rd floor, room 377