Teaching sustainable responsibility through informal undergraduate design education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Recent reports, initiatives, and activities around higher education institutions revealed the relevance and value of sustainability education through both formal curriculum and informal curriculum activities. While the significance of sustainability education has continuously improved by raising awareness among new generations of students, it has not adequately promoted pro-environmental behaviors or attitude changes. This research study used a linear pretest–posttest experimental approach to understand whether two codesigned interventions; a trash and recycling bin system, and a Materials Exchange program, could improve sustainability literacy and material conservation behaviors across the School of Design. Additionally, a mid-experiment focus group study was conducted to provide text-rich data for analysis of 3R behaviors. Analysis of the data collected revealed that these interventions were reasonably successful in improving responsible material management. To have a greater impact on sustainable behavior, it is suggested that a formal educational experience should supplement the informal interventions described in this paper to onboard students as they enter the design studio culture. Additionally, the expansion of the trash and recycling bin station system into the university dormitories is discussed. This work has successfully catalyzed a collaboration between all School of Design stakeholders to address studio waste in a tangible way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8378
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021


  • 3Rs
  • Design education
  • Recycling
  • Reduction
  • Studio waste management
  • Sustainable material reuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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