The event was supported through an ACS International Festival Grant and co-sponsored by the Chemistry Professional College, CEQIATEC, and CIPA-TEC. The Festival was organized by the ACS International Student Chapter at the TEC with the participation of UCR-volunteers.
The Festival was a complete success. It left dozens of volunteers inspired to continue serving the community, hundreds of visitors awed by science, a team of faculty proud of their students’ commitment and performance, and new bonds between institutions. We all are anxious to start working on our second Festival, October 2020.
Here is a short video prepared by volunteers: Festival video (3 min)
This ACS International Chemistry Festival series event was held February 14th and 15th at the City House, Casa de la Ciudad, in Cartago, Costa Rica, a vibrant cultural center that attracts a diverse array of citizens. This successful event served over 300 visitors, and several local primary and secondary schools. More than 35 college-student volunteers (TEC and UCR) facilitated the activities, and coordinated the organization leading several committees (e.g. Safety, Scientific, Budget and acquisitions, Communications and Media, Volunteers and Training).
A team of chemistry faculty led by Professors Isaac Céspedes Camacho (TEC) and Ricardo Coy (TEC) supervised all the steps over the course of the five months previous to the event. The City House provided access to their facilities and assisted with the on-site logistics. Additionally, they coordinated the cultural component of the closing ceremony. Post-experience attendee survey responses were overwhelming positive, valued the contribution to the community and highlighted the support of interest in science.
The Festival inspired young students and in-service teachers through the use of simple, hands-on activities. The Festival created a space where individuals, who otherwise might have limited access to science and scientific information, can see science in action and interact with scientists. It favored a balanced, educated perception of science and chemistry, and it strived to improve the public image of scientists.
Students who develop scientific vocation may find more support (or less resistance) at home if their guardians are cognizant of the role of science in society and of the many possibilities open to future scientists. Thus our interest to reach and engage their guardians, as well.
The Festival was carried out very successfully as attendance and surveys show. Moreover, success is demonstrated by the satisfaction and excitement expressed by volunteers. Organizers are already thinking big for their second Festival, More Chemistry – Better Life, to be held in October during National Chemistry Week.