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Lab Coat Drive Gathers Old Coats for Local High School

Are you done with your old lab coat? Instead of throwing it away in the trash or shoving it in the back of the closet, why not donate that perfectly useable coat? On Thursday June 1, the Out In Science club held a goggle and coat drive in Western’s  chemistry building . This is their second quarter running the drive for local Bellingham high schools. This quarter the coats went to Squalicum High School, which is in desperate need of new lab apparel.  Volunteer Tegan Barron is a student teacher at Squalicum and showed pictures of dirty and torn aprons with old safety goggles that students at the high school had access to. The aprons lacked any kind of arm protection and the goggles were so gross looking that no one would want to put them on. “They’re the same things you’d use in the kitchen,”  Barron said.  Barron says students are hesitant to use their safety equipment. On top of the safety concerns, Barron said it makes chemistry less engaging when your lab equipment is falling apart.  One of the students who donated their lab coat was sophomore Christopher Whit, who just finished his last chemistry class. He’s a computer science major and decided to take chemistry for his science credit requirement because he enjoyed it in high school.  “I spent like maybe $30 on the whole [labcoat]. Some schools can’t afford that,” Whit said . Students at Western have to buy their own lab coats and goggles so for those that are not in the chemistry major, there isn’t much use for it afterwards, according to the faculty adviser of Out In Science G.I. McGrew. He said he has heard some interesting ways that people have disposed of their lab apparel. “I was talking to a student and they were telling me ‘Well I was gonna burn it but I guess I can donate it. Do you think they would mind if I kept a little bit of it to burn? I’ll donate the rest of it,’” McGrew said.  If you have any lab coats or goggles laying around, the donations will still be open through Friday June 9 at Chemistry Building 270. 

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