"I think it's important to protect our environment because it's
the only one we have and if we don't protect it now, we won't have it
for future generations," said Olivia Gordon, a chemistry major
who is pursuing a minor in environmental and sustainability studies.
Gordon, who has a goal of advanced degrees in chemistry, is grateful
for the opportunity to learn about these principles so they can be
incorporated into future studies while also providing the type of
knowledge in an emerging field that can provide a professional edge.
The process of working green principles into chemistry is an
important ongoing effort even when results aren't immediately
apparent, Gordon said.
"Part of making chemistry more green is you don't have to be
perfect," Gordon said. "There isn't going to be a perfect
solution, but there's a research-oriented process to make it a little
bit better. You don't always succeed at first, but eventually you are
going to make a breakthrough that makes things a little better not
only for you but everyone around you."
Beckett Vigh, who is a biochemistry major, said his green chemistry
studies align with this motivation to work around environmentalism
with a strong background in science.
He recalled his fascination at seeing the familiar reactions in a
chemistry lab experiment done in a more eco-friendly way – and his
excitement at the possibilities this different approach holds.
"Green chemistry is shaping the way people think about chemistry
moving forward and reworking how things have been going in chemistry
for years but do it in a more sustainable way," said Vigh,
adding, "This is the route where the chemical field is starting
to go. It's cool to be in the early stages of that."