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Towards a campus culture of environmental sustainability: Recommendations for a large university

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Purpose ‐ The authors led an interdisciplinary team that developed recommendations for building a "culture of environmental sustainability" at the University of Michigan (UM), and the purpose of this paper is to provide guidance on how other institutions might promote pro-environmental behaviors on their campuses. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The authors synthesize research on fostering environmental behavior, analyze how current campus sustainability efforts align with that research, and describe how they developed research-based recommendations to increase environmental sustainability on the UM campus. Findings ‐ Analyses of prior research suggest that there are five factors that influence individuals' pro-environment behaviors: knowledge of issues; knowledge of procedures; social incentives; material incentives; and prompts/reminders. Given these factors, UM should pursue three types of activities to support the development of pro-environment behaviors: education, engagement, and assessment. Practical implications ‐ The specific recommendations in this report are for the University of Michigan. However, other institutions interested in fostering a culture of environmental sustainability might benefit from undertaking similar comprehensive assessments of how they could support community members' development of pro-environment behavior and knowledge. Originality/value ‐ The paper builds on prior research to offer a new vision for how to develop a culture of environmental sustainability on a large university campus.
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Keywords: Environmental management; Sustainability; United States of America; Universities

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 14, 2012

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