Transitioning conservative students into environmental leaders through service learning: A step-by-step guide for educators

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Streaming Media

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A significant disconnect often exists between environmentalists and conservatives in terminology and approach, where although both might see the benefits of acting pro-environmentally, the communication gap results in divergent behaviors. This paper presentation will provide a step-by-step guide of ways to overcome the communication gap and foster environmental leaders in a conservative area. Service learning will be discussed as it was used in this study as the platform to foster pro-environmental behaviors among a conservative audience. The presentation will address the following: 1) Finding a common ground in terminology and values between environmentalists and conservatives, 2) Key concepts behind service learning and how they were applied to foster lasting pro environmental change, 3) Harnessing conservative values and terminology to transition students into environmentalists with application of community-based social marketing, and 4) Research results from a life-skill assessment, campus-wide sustainability survey, course evaluations, and impact statements from students. Methods, outcomes, and impacts will all be discussed in-depth. Attendees will walk away with a toolkit of actions to communicate, collaborate, and harness environmentally sustainable behaviors with conservative audiences.