Eco-Reps aim to fix behaviors

You are taking the elevator up to your floor, facing the door you walked in from. Three people walk in and face the opposite door behind you. Do you turn around?

Conformity can be defined as the act of matching attitudes, beliefs and behaviors to group norms, but for the Eco-Rep’s agenda it also means changing the behaviors of the UVM community to reduce environmental impact and foster sustainable behaviors. 

Coined by environmental physiologist Doug McKenzie-Mohr, the concept of Community Based Social Marketing or CBSM uses tools from social psychology to discover the barriers to behavior change and ways of overcoming these barriers. 

In an attempt to make environmental stewardship the norm on campus, the Eco-Reps will be engaging students in CBSM projects that will hopefully change the social norms on campus and move the community as a whole toward accepting sustainable practices. 

This semester we have been focusing on uncovering barriers in an attempt to understand why students do not practice sustainable behaviors like recycling, composting and reducing their energy usage. 

In most cases we have found that students do not have enough information on the subject, or are apathetic despite their environmental knowledge.

As environmental leaders on this campus, the Eco-Reps are constantly working to provide information to students so they can improve their ecological footprint. 

However, the most difficult challenge we face is getting students who don’t give a rat’s ass to make real changes in their behaviors. 

By making sustainable behaviors like recycling, composting and energy reduction the norm at UVM, we can reach those students who don’t care because at heart most people don’t want to be left out. 

Don’t be the only kid to throw your food scraps in the trash instead of the compost. Don’t be the only student who doesn’t care. The norms are changing and soon you will be the only one.