On college campuses, environmental science education largely takes place in classrooms, thereby limiting impact on the full student body. By implementing an educational intervention in an informal campus setting, this study tested an approach aimed at expanding the reach of environmental learning. Students at a mid-size Midwestern university were exposed to a food-focused environmental and climate education intervention consisting of sustainability trivia and marketing materials displayed in dining halls. Prior to exposure, students completed a pre-test, followed by a 5-week intervention, then a post-test. Comparing correct responses between pre-test and post-test, we found a significant increase in environmental and climate impact knowledge. The intervention was especially effective for women such that knowledge increased significantly more among women than among men. Additionally, we found a significant decrease in red meat consumption post-intervention. There were no significant differences between major categories or race and ethnicity. Results indicate that sustainability interventions implemented outside classrooms can be effective. Emphasizing connections between environmental health and sustainable food choices is important in improving students’ environmental awareness.

Available for download on Tuesday, January 07, 2025