PHOTO COURTESY OF LOS ANGELES CI TY COLLEGE
LA City College chapter activities are student-driven, and members have become very tight-knit. Each year they plan a chemistry show and arrange
get-togethers during school breaks so members can stay in touch with one another.
include immediately after large lecture classes, during lunch
(especially if you can provide the food), evenings, and weekends.
Best times will depend on how you organize chapter activ-
ities and what works best for the students at your school. For
example, the Anne Arundel CC chapter holds weekly officers’
meetings in order to plan chapter activities. Because planning
is done primarily by the chapter officers, they are the
only ones who need to be present, simplifying schedul-
ing. The activities themselves are held at a variety of
times of day, so that there is at least one activity
that every member can attend.
In contrast, the St. Louis CC chapter
comprises primarily students in the
chemical technology program. Because
most students are on the same
schedule, meetings can be sched-
uled around common classes.
Lunchtime activities are particularly popular.
Flexibility should also extend
to the activities themselves.
When the Cincinnati State chap-
ter participated in an all-day
campus event, volunteer shifts
were only 15 minutes long. The
short shifts allowed members to set
schedules that worked best for them, even
if they could only participate for a few
minutes between classes and other com-
Make it worth the effort
Participating in extracurricular activi-
ties can become a real hassle, especially
if members have limited transportation
options or family commitments. So make
sure that meetings and activities are interesting and worthwhile. Sometimes professors give extra credit for participation
in chapter activities. Mostly, though, chapters focus on what
interests their members most.
A little organization can go a long way. Tracy Lynn,
faculty advisor for the Anne Arundel CC chapter,
tries to ensure that everyone attending a meet-
ing leaves with a specific and manageable action
item. She has found that when members know
exactly what they need to do, they are more likely
to follow through and do the tasks. For activities
that require coordination among many people,
such as scheduling volunteer shifts for the chap-
ter’s National Chemistry Week booth, officers
create and share a grid with the names of all the
volunteers and their assignments.
The Cincinnati State chapter uses a similar
strategy, assigning its members highly focused
tasks that can be completed in about an hour.
Azariah reports that officers are looking into
ways to minimize the amount of time spent
in meetings and options for holding virtual
Use social media
Good communication is essential. For example,
the Anne Arundel CC chapter relies on a com-
bination of mass e-mails, Facebook, on-campus
bulletin boards, and classroom announcements to share
information about activities. Activities are open to any-
one who is interested, and membership is open to anyone
participating in two or more activities (that’s the flexibil-
ity mentioned earlier).
Likewise, the Los Angeles City College chapter
uses Google Groups to keep in touch with members and schedule activities. Chapters also use