Several students in lab coats stand on a stage performing chemistry experiments at a red clothed table.

2018 in Review: ClubChem

Categories: Students

ClubChem is an organization dedicated to the MIT undergraduate chemistry community and friends.




Achievements of the 2017-2018 Academic Year

Over the last year, ClubChem has hosted a number of events, each with the intent to promote chemistry on and off campus and to foster a community of undergraduate chemistry majors. Their main events were experimental chemistry outreach programs called Magic Shows as well as faculty dinners and social events on campus.


Magic Shows are ClubChem’s main outreach program, primarily targeting elementary and middle school students in the greater Boston area. Over the last year, they hosted multiple shows each semester both in and outside MIT, trained new magicians, and designed new demonstrations. On campus performances varied in size, ranging from a couple dozen participants in a small classroom to more than 100 audience members in large auditorium settings. The highlight of the year was Family Weekend in October, where children and parents packed Kresge Auditorium for an hour-long stage show, whisked away by the spectacle of lights, colors and flashy demonstrations.

Faculty Dinners

In the 2017-2018 Academic Year, ClubChem hosted a total of five dinners with Chemistry faculty members, including Firmenich Professor of Chemistry Ronald Raines and Novartis Professor of Chemistry Laura Kiessling. At each dinner, undergrads from all years attended and learned more about both the research and the personalities of the Chemistry faculty outside the classroom, while the faculty heard about the undergraduates’ experience with MIT and the Chemistry Department. ClubChem is excited to continue hosting faculty dinners in the year to come.

Community Building Events

To promote a sense of community among chemistry undergraduate students on campus, ClubChem hosts social events such as Donut Mondays and Ice Cream Socials once or twice each month in the undergraduate lounge. In the 2017-2018 year, a pilot study session was organized for students taking the 5.111/2 and 5.12 final exams, where dedicated chemistry tutors and cub members, all undergraduate volunteers, worked with students and helped go over difficult practice problems and teach core concepts in chemistry to help prepare for the final exams. Coordination with the GIR and 5.12 teaching staff, along with the presence of snacks to help create a relaxing atmosphere, allowed for this event to be a great success as many students utilized the session as an additional resource to help them prepare for their finals.

With the introduction of the Course 5-7 joint major in the previous 2017-2018 year and the 5-Flex major for the 2018-2019 academic year, ClubChem anticipates holding social events to support and welcome the majors into the community, in addition to furthering the existing community building events.

Club Chem is funded by the late Mr. James K. Littwitz, SB ’42, who, on the occasion of his 60th reunion, decided to demonstrate his continuing support for MIT’s Chemistry Department and its students by establishing an endowed fund to promote undergraduate activities. The Littwitz fund has been providing funding for Club Chem for many of the activities described.