What is ND LIGHTS?

ND LIGHTS is a University of Notre Dame program that takes working equipment and instrumentation from retired or upgraded Notre Dame laboratories and donates them to schools in need of laboratory equipment. ND LIGHTS is a partnership among the College of Science, the Office of Sustainability, and VWR.

In its first year, ND LIGHTS donated over $275,000 worth of equipment to schools across the country, including resource-limited ACE (Alliance for Catholic Education) schools. The program reclaimed over 50 square feet of Notre Dame laboratory space.

This initiative is in line with the values of the University by supporting the following:

  • Catholic mission by sharing our gifts with schools across the country.
  • Sustainability by giving the instruments a second life as teaching tools.
  • Broader impacts by providing laboratory tools and training to educators and students.

Learn more about the program at the ND LIGHTS blog.


ND LIGHTS brochure (249 kb PDF)


Who can donate instrumentation?

Donations can be received from any laboratory on campus. ND LIGHTS has received donations from individual research laboratories, centers, and teaching laboratories. Instrumentation includes any laboratory equipment, including glassware and other accessories. The program will process all donation approval paperwork on campus and determine an appropriate recipient for the equipment. Currently, the program can only receive working equipment.

Donations are divided into two groups: 1.) items appropriate for secondary schools and 2.) items more specialized for colleges.

ND LIGHTS designs a high school-level laboratory experiment for the high school items and will train the recipient teacher on how to use the instrument and perform the experiment. VWR gifts the recipient school with all of the accessories and reagents needed to perform the experiment for the class.

All college-level items will be donated to the schools in need of the instruments.

Past donated items include:

  • DNA sequencer
  • Arrayer
  • Microinjectors
  • Rotary evaporators
  • UV/Vis spectrophotometer
  • Reflected light microscope
  • pH meters
  • Multimeter
  • Volumetric flasks

Who can receive the donated instrumentation?

Resource-limited schools with specific instrumentation needs may submit a statement of need for donated items. Recipient high schools are required to send their teachers to campus in June/July for training and all recipient schools must assume responsibility for shipping/delivering the items to their schools.

Past recipient schools include:

  • St. Matthias High School, Downey, CA
  • Ascension Catholic High School, Donaldsonville, LA
  • Don Bosco Cristo Rey, Takoma Park, MD
  • Bourgade Catholic High School, Phoenix, AZ
  • Adel-DeSoto-Minburn High School, Adel, IA
  • Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, IN

When will the donated instrumentation list be posted?

The available donations will be posted in the beginning of the calendar year. Training of the high school teachers takes place in June/July.


Faculty who are interested in donating lab items and high school teachers interested in receiving instrumentation are encouraged to contact Michelle Joyce at (574) 631-2786 to discuss donations.