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How to get involved now in ACS San Diego

by Chris Avery, Chair, Committee on Environmental Improvement
February 17, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 7


Credit: Courtesy of Chris Avery

You may think that Orlando in April is all about water, given the large number of parks, lakes, and beaches that make the area famous, but water will be even bigger at the American Chemical Society national meeting in San Diego in August with the theme of “Chemistry and Water.”

The ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement (CEI) is the theme organizer for the national meeting, which will take place Aug. 25–29. Our committee has made a point to create innovative, outside-the-box opportunities for you to communicate about your work in new and interesting ways, and you don’t have to wait until August to do it.

I encourage you to check out the options below and think about how you can start participating right now:

CEI has long held a film event at our fall national meetings, and this year, we’ve changed it up! Interested members are invited to participate in our first annual short-film festival based on the national meeting theme. Chemists are encouraged to work with filmmakers or film students to advocate for an environmental cause, promote a challenging message, or call for change. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with storytellers and connect your interests or your research to the society in interesting and compelling ways. Winning films will be showcased at the San Diego national meeting, with awards and prizes given out. More details can be found at the CEI Film Competition website at The deadline to submit a film is in April, so don’t delay!

Chemists Without Borders (CWB) is a nonprofit international organization dedicated to addressing humanitarian problems throughout the world through the transformational power of chemistry. In San Diego, ACS and CWB will be collaborating to highlight the organization’s work and leverage the power of our society to help with global water issues. Starting in San Diego, and in every subsequent national meeting, you can donate to CWB and its clean-water projects when you register for the meeting. CWB will use the donations for clean-water projects around the world, providing drinking water to communities in Africa and Asia that lack access to clean water. We hope you will join us in our effort to raise money for this critically important partner. If you don’t want to wait until meeting registration, you can donate now at To help us keep track of the project’s reach, please check the box stating the donation is a result of the ACS campaign.


Chemist-photographers are invited to submit their photos highlighting chemistry and water as part of C&EN’s Chemistry in Pictures competition, which in June will feature the San Diego meeting theme. The winning photos will be honored and displayed around the meeting. Take a look at some of the past photos, and I think you’ll be as inspired as I am: C&EN will share information on how to participate in June.


Join us for a tour of the Carlsbad Desalination Plant in Carlsbad, California. This plant is a fascinating example of chemistry in action: the plant supplies nearly 10% of water in San Diego County and uses both well-known and cutting-edge technology to serve the region. The plant has agreed to host a small group of meeting attendees to tour the facility and see up close how it works. All proceeds from registration fees will be donated to our charity partner, Chemists Without Borders. Be sure to look for this tour under Special Events when you register. It is guaranteed to fill up quickly.

Our committee has made a point to create innovative, outside- the-box opportunities for you to communicate about your work in new and interesting ways, and you don’t have to wait until August to do it.

ACS national meetings always showcase brilliant chemists doing brilliant research. San Diego will be no different. In addition to the great work (water related and otherwise) that our fellow society members will present, it is CEI’s hope to showcase how that work connects to the broader world.

Chemistry and water impact people’s lives and the environment we live in every single day. With your participation today, the national meeting in San Diego will affect people’s lives this August.

Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of C&EN or ACS.



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