Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nutrition

Committee Chair

Rebecca Pearson

Second Committee Member

David Gee

Third Committee Member

Nicole Stendell-Hollis

Abstract

Composting on a university campus may take a variety of forms. Sustainable approaches to waste management can be taught and supported through educational programs, peer-to-peer behavior modeling, and composting program interventions. Although peer-reviewed research on composting interventions is somewhat lacking, student interest in the topic is demonstrated by a range of exploratory senior projects and pilot interventions conducted at colleges across the United States and abroad.

The purpose of this study was twofold: conduct an educational compost intervention pilot study and develop a survey tool to measure participant attitudes surrounding food behaviors and composting. The Compost Project pilot study focused on determining the influence of a short composting intervention on fruit and vegetable consumption among university students. The Short Composting Survey was developed for use during the pilot study to measure the knowledge, values, barriers, and social norms surrounding composting.

Through development of the pre-intervention survey tool, analysis of the results from the pilot intervention and survey, and post-hoc factor analysis, the researchers found that student interest in home composting is considerable. Confirmatory factor analysis on the survey tool resulted in a three-factor solution with a cumulative loading of 71.2%, meaning that these identified factors contributed 71.2% of the variance in responses. These three factors were labeled “Values,” “Social Norms,” and “Barriers.”

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