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Spring Hill College Magazine

Team Green

Focused approach stresses safety and the environment

For Lesli Bordas, PhD, associate professor of chemistry, practicing green chemistry is more than just a mindset for the lab – it’s a way of life. 

“I do green chemistry because I want to convert my students into being environmentally conscious and realizing the consequences of all the decisions they make, not just in the laboratory,” Bordas said. 

Bordas, who converted to green labs close to 10 years ago, said green chemistry is about making better choices, minimizing waste and safety hazards, and using green chemicals. According to Bordas, at the same time students gain an understanding of the science during their experiments, they also learn to be conscious of the environment and materials selection. The approach focuses, in part, on the use of safer chemicals, resulting in students working out in the open, and collaborating more closely with each other and with Bordas.

The green approach also has been embraced by the Spring Hill student chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The chemistry club, which is open to all majors and has close to 50 members, has been nationally recognized for its activities during seven of the last eight years. When determining these designations for clubs, ACS considers service, professional and chapter development, budget, and the size of the club based on a submitted report. 

The Spring Hill club will complete its 65th year as a student chapter next spring. Members participate in service, such as free chemistry tutoring, the hosting of schoolchildren on campus for chemistry experiments and fundraising for charities. The club also coordinates and hosts annual National Chemistry Week events. Building upon the momentum from its recent collaboration with Greenkeepers, an environmentally focused student club, the group is working toward submitting an application to be designated as a Green Chapter. Bordas is the faculty mentor for both clubs. 

Visit the website for the Department of Chemistry, Physics & Engineering to learn more about the program.

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