An internationally recognized expert in community-based social marketing will be leading a group of community and regional leaders in a two-day workshop Monday and Tuesday aimed at creating sustainability.
In its quest to enhance various environmental affairs, Kennecott Utah Companies is helping to sponsor the event, which will feature Douglas McKenzie-Mohr.
McKenzie-Mohr has worked to develop systems that incorporate scientific knowledge of human psychology to promote more sustainable practices by individuals, businesses, government agencies and universities.
Leaders of the University of Utah's relatively new Office of Sustainability attended a similar workshop last year and were "impressed with the approach," said Jen Colby, U. sustainability coordinator. She said McKenzie-Mohr's research and tool kit for social marketing could help foster awareness and participation in recycling, health promotion, carpooling, safety and other programs dealing with psychology and human behavior.
"It's much more effective than handing out brochures or posting information," Colby said. The Office of Sustainability launched a comprehensive paper recycling program on campus last July, and efforts have shown there may be some miscommunication that keeps the "end-user," as she said, "from doing the right thing."
Moving toward sustainability requires individuals to take action in the form of social marketing where people are challenged to reduce waste, increase water and energy efficiency, change transportation modes, increase healthy behaviors, prevent pollution, and more. To date, most programs have relied on information campaigns to create change.
However, McKenzie-Mohr's research has demonstrated that people's attitudes, beliefs and knowledge have surprisingly little correlation to their actions.
The workshop will delve into the discovery of mutual interests for such behaviors and teach leaders how to better support their own systems of sustainability. Implementation of signage, providing examples and test programs could improve participation and cohesion of such programs.
"We're looking to tweak programs, allowing them to take off and make them most productive," Colby said.Pre-registration for the two-day workshop is required, and only about a dozen spots are left for single-day registration. However, McKenzie-Mohr will address the public at the Salt Lake City Library Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Monday. For more information, visit sustainability.utah.edu.