Making the Case for Green Chemistry Education at the University of Colorado Boulder: A Report Available to Use and Adapt for Advocacy on Other Campuses

Natalie Kra, University of Colorado Boulder

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The need for green chemistry education is becoming increasingly clear. Green chemistry, defined by the EPA as "the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation of hazardous substances," is only made possible when members of society are properly educated on how to conduct scientific processes in a more responsible manner. Green chemistry education provides the academic framework and foundation that students need to conduct chemistry-based processes in more sustainable ways, taking into consideration the health of the planet and its people. Many students not only want this education as part of their chemistry coursework, but there is a growing demand among the citizens of the world for responsible care of the planet.

There has also been an increasing emphasis on the need for green chemistry knowledge from various industries, making green chemistry topics and skills useful and applicable for students who are preparing to enter the workforce. There are many actions that universities across the country can take to provide students with the opportunity for green chemistry education, especially in a manner that can be recognized on their resumes as they leave the universities to find employment and further their careers. We hope that this report will provide the impetus and tools to help make that happen at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) and beyond.

This is a presentation on a report that the CU Green Labs Program has written to:

  • Explore current green chemistry efforts at CU Boulder.
  • Share the results of interviews and surveys soliciting input on interest in green chemistry education at CU Boulder.
  • Give an overview of what other universities and organizations are doing for green chemistry education.
  • Provide reasoning why green chemistry education would be beneficial at CU Boulder and other universities.
  • Provide recommendations and existing resources to help with incorporating green chemistry principles and practices into curriculum.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about a report resource written by the CU Boulder Green Labs Program that can be used or adapted to advocate for green chemistry education opportunities at other universities;
  • Learn about how CU Green Labs used this opportunity to write this report to further engage with the CU Boulder Chemistry Department on green chemistry efforts and discussion about incorporating green chemistry into the curriculum;
  • Learn about how CU Green Labs is using this report to raise awareness about the need for more opportunities for green chemistry education at CU Boulder; and
  • Learn about the different ways that green chemistry education can add value to chemistry departments and universities.


Natalie Kra is a first year MBA student at the University of Colorado Boulder, focusing her studies on sustainable supply chain management. With a background in environmental studies and sustainability consulting, Natalie plans to continue to use her passion to advise businesses and institutions on the ways in which sustainability initiatives can add value to the triple bottom line.


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