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Green Chemistry Track Now Offered at UMN Morris

Sue Dieter
Publication date: 
July 22, 2021

The University of Minnesota Morris’s commitment to provide a renewable, sustainable education continues to expand with a new green and sustainable track for chemistry majors.
The chemistry major now has three possible tracks:

  • a standard chemistry major,
  • a chemistry major with biochemistry subfield, or
  • a chemistry major with a green and sustainable chemistry subfield.  

The new subfield in green and sustainable chemistry was formally approved by the campus curriculum committee in April, although former division chair Peh Ng says the Science and Math Division has been developing this for some time.
“Chemistry faculty and students have been discussing how to be as green as possible in the labs for at least the past decade, starting with how to eliminate waste, use and manage nonrenewable resources, and avoid the use of toxic materials.”
The conversation has grown to include the study of how to include sustainable applications of chemistry, including how to conduct experiments in a safe and sustainable manner and how to think more critically about chemistry as a tool for sustainability.     
Acting Chancellor Janet Schrunk Ericksen notes that the new track for the existing chemistry major builds on the campus commitment to providing a renewable and sustainable education.  
“This gives our students one more opportunity to see that sustainability is not necessarily a separate field of study, but can be applied widely and across disciplines. This is another step toward preparing students to create and discover solutions to complex problems of the 21st century.”
Ng said UMN Morris is one of a growing number of universities to introduce green and sustainable chemistry offerings.  
“This is a great fit for Morris and is a way for the chemistry discipline to show our commitment to our mission and vision of being an environmentally sustainable campus. It is the right thing to do, and our faculty have shown their commitment to improving our academic program in this way. The feedback from current students and alumni was instrumental in helping us integrate green and sustainable chemistry into our courses and research," Ng said.  
Like the recently added sustainability leadership minor, the green and sustainable chemistry major adds another opportunity for students to dive in and dig deep in sustainability.