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Chemistry Week
Ramapo College of New Jersey

Objective: To excite students and the public about chemistry.

Participants: Members of Sigma Xi, students, faculty, and general public

Description: To celebrate National Chemistry Week, Sigma Xi and other organizations host a series of talks that illuminate and stimulate an interest in science for area students. Typically 250-300 students attend the talk. Chemistry professors Ariel Fenster and Joe Schwarcz from Vanier College and McGill University present a chemistry show that uses chemical demonstrations, slide projection, music, and special effects. This has become an annual tradition of the chapter. The show is videotaped to show at schools not sending students. In addition to the talk for students, a lecture is given for faculty.

Cost implications and source of funds: The Ramapo College Chemistry Club pays the honorarium for the visiting chemistry professors. The Sigma Xi chapter pays incidental costs. Students are charged $2.00 to attend the show or $50 per school for 30 students.

Time Commitment: A committee handles arrangements. Because the show is in it's ninth year at Ramapo, many of the tasks have been streamlined. The time commitment the day of the show is a total of about four hours.

Co-sponsors/Partners: Ramapo College Chemistry Club, Hudson-Bergen Chemical Society, Rockland Chemical Society

Number of Chapter Members Involved: 10

Number of attendees: 250-300, primarily students

Outreach/Publicity: The organizing committee sends letters to the area high schools inviting them to participate. The mailing involves over one hundred schools. The college's school of education is used as a resource to identify area high schools and the appropriate contact at the high school. Schools that have sent students in previous years receive a personal invitation to send students again.

Sigma Xi membership implications: There is no particular membership implication with this program.

Checklist for Chemistry Show and Lecture:

  • Arrange for Vanier College and McGill University professors to come to campus.
  • Book suitable space for chemistry show and talk.
  • Work with School of Education to identify contacts at area high schools.
  • Send letters to schools about show.
  • Notify university press office.
  • Design, print and distribute flyers.
Contact Information: Grace Borowitz, ghorowit@cybernet.net.


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