Integrating Sustainable Practices into Teaching and Research Laboratories through Systems Thinking
Symposium Organizers: Dean Campbell, Professor of Chemistry, Bradley University; Ettigounder “Samy” Ponnusamy, Fellow & Global Manager, Green Chemistry, MilliporeSigma, and; Natalie O’Neil, Director of Higher Education, Beyond Benign
Training the next generation of chemists and engineers to use sustainable practices, while thinking in systems will allow for future understanding of the health and environmental impacts of the molecules they are designing. To achieve a sustainable future, it is vital the next generation thinks about the impacts of their chemistry on our systems and explores ways to reduce the effects in the design, manufacture, or synthesis, use or characterization, and disposal in teaching and research laboratories. Many of our global challenges can be solved with chemical solutions and industry along with consumers are demanding safer working conditions and products. This demand requires a shift in teaching and research practices to ensure the most sustainable and system compatible innovations are created by future generations.
This symposium will highlight the design and use of curricula and initiatives that infuse green chemistry and sustainable chemistry concepts into teaching and research. These approaches include systems thinking approaches, life cycle analysis, and leverage the circular economy to engage students in the chemical systems their education is preparing them for. We cannot advance to a sustainable circular economy if the next generation of scientists are not equipped with the principles and practices of green chemistry during their training and beyond to ensure they are designing for sustainable use. This symposium aims to spotlight designing sustainable labs practices and how many approaches can be utilized to bring systems thinking into the teaching curriculum as well as research culture to achieve a sustainable future.