By Mary Roper
In addition to holding our positions this summer, each of us IUOS interns is enrolled in a one-credit hour class where we learn about the inner workings of sustainability-driven initiatives that are implemented throughout our campus. While the first part of our class focused on Scott Russell Sanders’ book, A Conservationist Manifesto, in which we explored Sanders’ remedy for our destructive consumer-based culture, the second part has enabled us to adapt his antidote into our respective internships and see how our university is doing the same. Perhaps it is the second part of the class that has resonated most with me.
The second part of our class has included a look at the Campus Master Plan, An Introduction to Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM), and Fostering Sustainable Behavior. Personally, incorporating these works into the second half of our class has made it easier for me to visualize the solutions that Sanders suggests we implement. For instance, I had previously blogged about the idea of returning our human bodies and minds to the “pace of nature,” as advocated by Sanders. Recently, our instructor and the Director of Office of Sustainability, Bill Brown, led us on a tour through campus to see the Campus Master Plan in progress. One part of this included an area on campus that the groundskeepers were working to return back to its natural state. For me, this sanction represented a space where students can go to regress back to a more natural speed.
Additionally, by reading An Introduction to Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM), and Fostering Sustainable Behavior, I now feel confident that I have the tools to promote and encourage others to make environmentally-friendly behavioral changes. A large part of doing this begins with identifying the target behavior that we are trying to change. Then, by utilizing the right combination of the tools reviewed in An Introduction to Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM), and Fostering Sustainable Behavior, such as prompts, incentives, and social diffusion, we can instill a commitment to the behavior change within our target audience.
As the internship program enters its final stages, I feel confident that my fellow interns will continue to use these tools not only to better our university, but also to change the habits and consumer culture for the better wherever they may go.