Interviews with undergraduate students were conducted as part of a follow-up to a survey soliciting information about student engagement in sustainability at a small upper Great Lakes public university. The environmental psychology theoretical foundation for the study presented the potential interdependent role of social and physical conditions to support environmental behavior change. Twelve undergraduate students were interviewed with a goal of gaining additional insight into daily student engagement in sustainability. Hycner’s (1985) guidelines were used for the phenomenological analysis of the interview data. Data were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. The key finding was an affirmation of the idea that we must identify and eliminate barriers in order to support an increase in daily student participation in sustainability. Participants noted convenience as a key factor to consider. Numerous references to “back home” remind us that we need to make our campus function more like a community with systems that support engagement. Reflective analysis of all of the findings leads to a discussion of how this particular university can achieve the intent of its core value of sustainability. It is proposed that this university put more energy into changing norms than changing attitudes. Heberlein’s (2012) behavior change guidelines are used to provide a strategy for addressing behavior change via an emphasis on normative behavior. Facilitating sustainability actions as normative behavior may be an effective first step in long-term attitudinal change.
|Journal||Journal of Sustainability Education|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|
Swedish Standard Keywords
- Social Sciences Interdisciplinary (50901)
- environmental behavior
- environmental psychology
- sustainability behavior