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"My mom idles less than your mom!" Empowering High School Teens to Tackle Air Pollution

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

Solutions Journal






Solutions Journal

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As part of a broader University-community engagement initiative addressing sustainability issues, professors at Utah State University joined forces with Logan City to help improve air quality via a high school clean air poster contest. Contest goals were to: 1) inform students about local air quality problems and driving behaviors that can lessen their personal impact (e.g., carpooling, refraining from idling, taking the bus); and 2) create educational outreach materials for their peers and broader community. Over 100 high school students were mentored in green messaging and graphic design by University students and faculty, resulting in over 75 poster entries. Many posters were creative, funny, and edgy, and tapped into teen pop culture entertainment, and values. Finally, 14 winning posters were selected for community outreach, each receiving a prize from a local business, with the best overall poster receiving a grand prize from Logan City. Self-reported measures indicated that the contest increased student awareness about local air pollution, as well as increasing their willingness to change their behavior to protect air quality.