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Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(4), 134; doi:10.3390/socsci6040134

What Motivates Student Environmental Activists on College Campuses? An In-Depth Qualitative Study

Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences, Michigan State University, 673 Auditorium Rd., Room 118, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Global Studies Institute, Department of Geosciences, Georgia State University, 25 Park Place, 18th floor, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 August 2017 / Revised: 9 October 2017 / Accepted: 2 November 2017 / Published: 5 November 2017
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Public concern for the natural environment continues to grow as complex environmental problems emerge. One avenue where concern for the environment has been expressed is through activism. However, research on environmental activism, often aimed at understanding the motivations behind activist behavior, has largely focused on older adults. In this study, we extend the state of knowledge on environmental activism further by focusing on college students. We use qualitative methods (in-depth interviews and observations) to examine the motivations behind student involvement in environmental activism on a state university campus. Our findings underscore that young people’s activist motivations are not stand-alone phenomena; they work in tandem with other processes and factors in a dynamic way and are influenced by an individual’s history, previous experiences and passion, a sense of community, existing incentives, and self-satisfaction derived from activist behavior. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental activism; pro-environmental behavior; college students; qualitative study environmental activism; pro-environmental behavior; college students; qualitative study

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Fung, C.Y.; Adams, E.A. What Motivates Student Environmental Activists on College Campuses? An In-Depth Qualitative Study. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 134.

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