Understanding the Science behind Sustainability

Tuesday, January 27 2009

Jan. 27, 2009 Written by Brandi Hayes MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho students are looking beyond the actions of being ‘green’ to the reasons for such behavior in a new course that will be offered during spring semester. The new class, Environmental Psychology, will cover three primary areas: built environments, or the ways in which buildings change the thoughts, feeling and behaviors of individuals; conservation efforts and attitudes toward sustainability; and understanding how populations respond to crowds, the natural world, and build demographically diverse, fiscally and environmentally sustainable communities. “Understanding why people choose to engage in some behaviors rather than others can allow for the creation of programs that promote sustainability even in its broadest senses,” said Traci Craig, associate professor of psychology. “Then, we can look at how to prevent behaviors that are detrimental to sustainability.” The course will cover consumer behavior, also known as Green Shopping, comparing a typical grocery shopping trip with an environmentally-friendly trip. Students also will study the cost of living in a more sustainable situation – or Living Green. Students from different disciplines outside the psychology major have found that the class translates into varied subject areas. “I'm a senior in Conservation Social Science and have taken other classes regarding environment and its effect on people,” said Marci Miller. "So it's a natural fit to take a class that delves into the minds of those interacting with the environment." The course is sustainable, too. Only taught online, Environmental Psychology eliminates the use of paper since assignments, lectures and handouts are delivered via Blackboard. The course also boasts a carefully selected textbook list, as all books will be available used. Electronic books also will be explored. “The online course is clearly the more sustainable option and reduces resources used at the university, in line with serving the public good with fewer public resources,” Craig said. The class, which now is offered by the Psychology Department, is open to all majors and is worth three credits. For more information on this class and other offered by the University of Idaho, visit www.uidaho.edu/schedule. # # # About the University of Idaho Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 150 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu. Media Contact: Brandi Hayes, University Communications, (208) 885-7251, brandih@uidaho.edu

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.