Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Preferred Name - First Author

Emma Martin

Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Integrated Science and Technology

Advisor(s)

Carole Nash, Ph.D.

Amy Goodall, Ph.D.

Henry Way, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study focuses on the environmental Value-Action Gap of students at James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia. This gap occurs when a person has pro-environmental beliefs but does not have congruent actions. Often, there are other factors apart from a person’s values that influence his/her willingness to participate in eco-friendly behavior (Howell 2013). For this study, the factor of influence being addressed is location. When students live on-campus at JMU they are surrounded by ‘green’ initiatives. Understanding the diffusion of environmental behavior from on-campus living to off-campus living is important because the majority of a JMU student’s residency is often off-campus. It is hypothesized that the Value-Action gap is wider in students who reside in off-campus housing compared to students who reside in on-campus housing as a result of reduced proximity to these initiatives. 1,004 JMU students were sampled using an IRB-approved Qualtrics survey that included questions about age, gender, academic year, environmental values, and environmental actions. Additionally, each participant indicated his/her location of residence using an ArcGIS Online map of Harrisonburg divided into eight generalized on-and off-campus zones. A 2-Dimensional Model of Ecological Values (2-MEV) was used to assess students’ preservation and utilization values, and a series of Likert-scaled statements assessed the frequency of students’ environmental actions. An ANOVA test was used to determine variation in the responses of on-campus and off-campus participants. Contrary to the hypothesis, it is understood that off-campus students have a higher mean value and action score than that of on-campus students, although a Value-Action Gap does exist in both populations. Additionally, there is a moderate correlation between the values and actions within both groups, indicating that stronger values might lead to more frequent actions. The results of this study can be applied to help enhance ‘green’ behavior in JMU students.

 
 

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