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Open AccessCommunication

Working with Institutional Stakeholders: Propositions for Alternative Approaches to Community Engagement

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Department of Communication Studies, Albion College, 611 East Porter Street, Albion, MI 49224, USA
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Department of Communication, Michigan State University, 404 Wilson Road, East Lansing, MI 48824-1212, USA
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School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University, 665 Auditorium Road, East Lansing, MI 48824-1212, USA
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Environmental Science and Policy Program, Michigan State University, 293 Farm Lane, East Lansing, MI 48824-1212, USA
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Department of Communication Arts & Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 4010; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16204010
Received: 21 August 2019 / Revised: 30 September 2019 / Accepted: 15 October 2019 / Published: 19 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Directions in Environmental Communication Research)
Community engagement is a vital aspect of addressing environmental contamination and remediation. In the United States, the Superfund Research Program (SRP) forms groups of academic researchers from the social and physical sciences into Community Engagement Cores (CECs) and Research Translation Cores (RTCs), which focus on various aspects of informing and working with communities during and through the resolution of environmental crises. While this work typically involves engaging directly with members of affected communities, no two situations are the same. In some cases, alternative approaches to community engagement can be more appropriate for community improvement than traditional approaches. In particular, when research teams become involved in contamination crises at a late point in the process, their contributions can be better directed at supporting and reinforcing the work of institutional stakeholders charged with remediating pollution. Relevant factors include issue fatigue among a local population, and contamination that is due to a major employer. Supported by literature and experience, we offer several propositions that we believe lay out conditions that warrant such an approach by academic teams, rather than their direct engagement with unaffiliated individuals in communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: community engagement; environmental communication; contamination; institutional stakeholders; remediation community engagement; environmental communication; contamination; institutional stakeholders; remediation
MDPI and ACS Style

Cox, J.G.; Chung, M.; Hamm, J.A.; Zwickle, A.; Cruz, S.M.; Dearing, J.W. Working with Institutional Stakeholders: Propositions for Alternative Approaches to Community Engagement. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4010.

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