GOLum III – The Search For GEMs



Surveys administered informally at Gordon College and Salem State College indicate that over 95% of incoming organic chemistry students have never heard of green chemistry.  Indeed, one of the most important goals of the green chemistry community today is to cause the principles of green chemistry to become standard operating procedure for all types of chemistry.  WeÕre not there yet.  More students and faculty need to learn about the principles of green chemistry and find ways to adopt those principles into their own curriculum and research.


During the past two years, students from Gordon College have reached out to inform others about the concept of green chemistry.  About sixty CH212 students have formed twenty special topic groups in the Green Organic Literacy forum (GOLum), charged with the responsibility to identify an audience that hasnÕt heard about green chemistry, then design a suitable presentation for that audience.  Nearly 1,000 people have been introduced to green chemistry through the GOLum presentations in the past two years.  Outreach projects have brought green chemistry to faculty, students and the general public.  Our students have been to high schools (as distant as Nebraska) and to venues as well known as the Boston Museum of Science and the American Chemical Society national meetings.


This third year of GOLum projects will be the most ambitious to date.  Instead of dividing the class into various teams with different outreach, we will partner with the Greener Educational Materials (GEMs) project from the University of Oregon, acting as one of their Ambassador sites.  In brief, the GEMs project is seeking educational materials (lecture notes, syllabi, lab procedures, etc.) with green content.  The goal is to encourage faculty who have produced such content to make their material available through the GEMs database that is freely available at the University of Oregon <http://greenchem.uoregon.edu/gems.html>.


As ambassadors of green chemistry, our class will seek to make contact with three groups of faculty: those at CCCU schools, those at schools in New England, and those listed in the ACS Directory of Graduate Research with an emphasis in this area.  In total, our class will seek to contact about 315 colleges/universities soliciting materials for submission to the GEMs site.




1. Select a group to join, CCCU (10 students), NE (9 students), or DGR (7 students). 


2. Elect a leader for the group.  This student should have excellent written communication skills, be very reliable and willing to encourage other members of the group to become more productive when necessary.  The leader will assign schools (12-14 per student) to the students on her/his team, collect results and communicate those results to the GOLum team coordinator, for submission to the University of Oregon.  The leader will also prepare progress reports and summaries of the work performed by the team and statistics related to data collection.  The leader will also be the liaison between the team and the GOLum team coordinator.

3a. Next, you will meet together as a team to craft your solicitation letter, email and phone inquiry.  Details related to the content of this solicitation will be provided later.  They include, for example, information about intellectual property rights, intent to publish, prizes awarded for submission, etc.  Many questions will occur when you contact a faculty member during the solicitation process.  It is the intent of this phase of the project to make the answers to all of those questions clear before making contact with the faculty member.  The team leader will send copies of the three solicitation tools to the GOLum team coordinator for approval.


3b. Concurrently, you are responsible to find exact contact information for each of the schools on your list.  This means that you must find the name, address, telephone and e-mail contact information for the chair of the department (or the faculty member if you are in the DGR group).  Do NOT attempt to solicit GEMs submissions during this data collection phase.


4. After receiving approval from the GOLum team coordinator, you will make contact with your assigned faculty members, formally soliciting submissions for the GEMs database.  If, after a reasonable period, e-mail is unanswered, follow up with conventional mail.  If that also yields no reply, follow up with a telephone call. As each contact is completed, forward to your team leader:  name of school, type of contact, outcome of contact, and, if applicable, type(s) of follow-up and outcome of follow-up(s), and MOST IMPORTANTLY, any materials or further instructions needed related to a GEMs submission.




January 27       Project introduced


January 30       Dr. Julie Haack, GEMs leader, University of Oregon


February 3       Milestone 1: Teams formed and leaders elected;

Report from leader to GOLum team coordinator


February 8       Team leader distributes school names to team members


February 17     Milestone 2: Solicitation letter, e-mail, phone script submitted for review;

                        if not approved, you must rework and resubmit until approved


February 24     Contact information is complete         


March 13         Begin to contact schools


March 27         Milestone 3: Progress report from leader to GOLum team coordinator


April 10           Milestone 4: Progress report from leader to GOLum team coordinator


April 24           Milestone 5: Final report from leader to GOLum team coordinator


May 1              GOLum team coordinator communicates results to GEMs; final contact between

                        submitting faculty and GEMs leading to addition to the database




GEMs Leader

            Dr. Julie Haack,  <jhaack@uoregon.edu>


GOLum team coordinator 

            Prof. Irvin J. Levy, <ijlevy@comcast.net>


Team DRG – 97 Colleges and Universities

            One leader (7 contacts)

            Six additional team members (15 contacts per team member)


Team NE – 113 Colleges and Universities

            One leader (5 contacts)

            Nine additional team members (12 contacts per team member)


Team CCCU – 105 Colleges and Universities

            One leader (1-4 contacts TBD)

            Eight additional team members (13 contacts per team member)





The GOLum project represents 20% of your course grade this semester.  As such, you need to see this as a significant commitment.  You should expect to spend 20-30 hours working on this project during the semester.


The evaluation for this project will be done both subjectively and objectively.



Leaders must meet deadlines.  If a leader has no data to submit because the data has not been submitted by her/his team members, then it is the leaderÕs responsibility to submit as much as possible, along with the names of individuals from whom information is missing. Missing a deadline (see milestones above) reduces the final project score by 10% for each occurrence.  If a leader misses a deadline only she/he will be penalized; not the individual team members.



On the final milestone date (April 24) all students (including leaders) will complete a self-evaluation of their team and their individual contribution to the team.  Students are encouraged to contact the GOLum team coordinator at any time during the course if they feel that their team is not functioning in a useful way or if they are concerned about their own contribution.




Any team which yields more than 1.5 submissions per team size for the GEMs site will receive recognition of some sort.   DonÕt pressure me on this.   I havenÕt figured it out yet. 


But it will be a good thing.  J