St. Olaf and Green Chemistry:

St. Olaf College is one of the first undergraduate institutions in the nation to fully embrace "green chemistry" in its science curriculum and to construct a major facility — Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences — around its principles and practices. Rather than teach chemical principles in classic ways, a small team of faculty members collaborating with undergraduate researchers developed a suite of laboratory experiments for introductory chemistry, organic synthesis, analytical chemistry and physical chemistry. These experiments use water-based and nontoxic chemicals, recycle solvents and catalysts, employ no sample preparation for chemical analysis, yield more efficient chemical transformations and use processes that generate less waste, which limits dependence on energy-intensive fume hoods. The work effectively mapped and integrated the 12 principles of green chemistry into the first three years of the St. Olaf chemistry curriculum. A chemistry student cannot help but have learning experiences that simultaneously emphasize the chemical process or transformation with a view of the entire chemical enterprise, including all its impacts - positive and negative - on the world around them. We aim to create a mindset, one of chemical explorers who recognize the impact chemistry has had on the earth, but who also want to be part of the solution moving forward.

United States