2019 in Review: ClubChem

Categories: Students

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




Club Chem is the MIT Undergraduate Chemistry Association. Our goal is to foster interaction among undergraduates, between undergraduates and faculty, and between undergraduates and the greater Boston community. 

2019 Achievements

Over the last year, ClubChem has hosted a number of events, each with the intent to promote the field and to foster a community of both undergraduate chemistry majors and people generally interested in chemistry. These events consisted of Magic Shows, faculty dinners, and social breaks on campus.

Magic Shows

Magic Shows are part of ClubChem’s experimental chemistry outreach program. This year, we were involved in the Family Weekend, which took place in Little Kresge at the end of October. Some of the featured experiments included:

Blue Bottle:A classic experiment which demonstrates oxidation and reduction, or the transfer of electrons between atoms or molecules.

Breath: Your breath is full of chemicals!

Nylon: Nylon Synthesis. Making of the polymer nylon, a common plastic.

Luminol: Chemiluminescence of luminol.

Elephant toothpaste

Paper Chromatography of Wet Erase Marker 

Faculty Dinners

This year, we hosted two dinners with chemistry faculty members, including Firmenich Professor of Chemistry Ronald Raines and Camille Dreyfus Professor Stephen Buchwald. At each dinner, undergrads ranging from 1st semester freshmen through seniors learned more about the research, the personalities, and the life-ling paths of both professors, while also having the opportunity to share their own experiences with MIT and the Chemistry Department. ClubChem is excited to continue hosting faculty dinners in the years to come.

Community Building Events

As an organization dedicated to the MIT undergraduate chemistry community and friends, ClubChem also hosts social events such as Donut Fridays and Ice Cream Socials every other week in the undergraduate lounge. Additionally, this year, study sessions for 5.111, 5.112, 5.12, and 5.13 continued to be implemented as chemistry tutors, club members, and undergraduate volunteers, worked with students and helped go over concepts and practice problems to help prepare for the final exams. Coordination with the GIR, 5.12, and 5.13 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. We are planning on expanding these study sessions into other course 5 classes.

With the increased popularity of both the Course 5-7 joint major and the 5-Flex major, we anticipate the continuation of joint social events to support and welcome the majors into the community, in addition to furthering the existing community building events.

ClubChem 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. ClubChem is also sponsored by the MIT UA and the MIT Chemistry department, and is advised by Professor Brad Pentelute.