Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Summer 2015

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

College of Health and Behavioral Studies

Advisor(s)

Georgia N.L.J. Polacek

Abstract

Composting among college students can promote a healthy environment and encourage the appropriate disposal method for generated organic wastes. The purpose of this study was to observe composting behaviors and attitudes among students and foster an increase in knowledge of suitable composting behavior in on-campus dining halls. Questionnaires containing questions related to composting behavior and knowledge, demographics, and place of residence were distributed to 140 James Madison University (JMU) undergraduate students. Of those students 26.4% were males and 73.6% were females. Freshmen made up 77.9% of the sample followed by sophomores making up 14.3% of respondents. The sample was made up of 80 people in the control group and 60 in the experimental group. Both groups were given the pre-test questionnaire in person and emailed the post-test questionnaire via Qualtrics. Only the experimental group was presented a brief educational PowerPoint presentation pertaining to composting and received the first post-test questionnaire to account for immediate changes. Statistical significance identified relationships for the stages of change, self-efficacy, and attitude test scores among the experimental group. Overall the experimental group showed more improvement from pre-test to post-test scores on composting information and composted more often. Most respondents fell within the maintenance or action stages of change. This study has shown the potential that universities have in mobilizing students to take action in promoting environmentally healthy choices. Further research should involve observing the short-term and long-term effects of a campaign to reduce waste production on-campus.

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