193795 University and Community Partnerships to Promote Sustainable Technologies

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Marian Levy, DrPH, RD , School of Public Health, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
John Hochstein, PhD , Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
Srikant Gir, PhD , Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
Marla Royne, PhD , Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
Sustainability is a major public health issue of the 21st century. Improving community health relies on partnerships to address physical, environmental, social, and economic conditions. The University of Memphis' Center for Biofuel Energy & Sustainable Technologies coordinates interdisciplinary research to promote environmental responsibility and achieve community-wide carbon neutrality. Faculty of Public Health, Mechanical Engineering, and Marketing/Supply Chain Management formed partnerships with over 40 community groups to explore clean energy alternatives. The cornerstone of our community alliance was Sustainable Technologies Awareness Day held October 7, 2008 to encourage environmental awareness, inquiry, and activism. University, community, and industry partners including the Memphis and Shelby County Health Department, University Neighborhood Development Corporation, Sustainable Shelby, and others showcased eco-friendly initiatives. Data were collected to assess environmental attitudes and behavioral intent. A total of 337 individuals (57% female, 43% male) participated. One third (33%) were <20 years old; 39% were 21-30. For ethnicity, 51% were Caucasian; 35% were African American. Concerns rated most highly were health (64%), energy (61%), and waste/recycling (47%). Age was a significant factor; the older the respondent, the greater the environmental concern. Forty-two percent (42%) were willing to spend up to 10% more for an eco-friendly product, 20% would spend 15% more, and 11% would spend an additional 20%. However, 8% were unwilling to spend any more money on eco-friendly products. African Americans were willing to spend significantly more than Caucasians (p <.01). Age was unrelated to spending levels. University-community partnerships have potential for promoting eco-friendly behaviors and shared environmental responsibility.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the formation of community partnerships to promote environmental responsibility 2. Identify strategies that encourage community-wide environmental awareness, inquiry, and activism.

Keywords: Community-Based Partnership, Sustainability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As Associate Director of the Center for Biofuel Energy and Sustainable Technologies at the University of Memphis, I had primary responsibility for developing the University-Community relationships to promote environmental responsibility at Sustainable Technologies Awareness Day.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.