Everyday environmental behaviors within the residential sphere contribute significantly to global carbon emissions. Understanding the factors underlying these behaviors is key to changing behavior. This paper examines undergraduate behavior in on-campus housing as a case study with the following aims: (1) to identify the personal dimensions that underlie undergraduates’ environmentally responsible behaviors (ERBs) and (2) to determine if environmental signage in on-campus housing aligns with these existing personal dimensions. This study involved an online survey of ERBs, values, motivations, and knowledge of students in six residence halls. A content analysis of environmental signage examined how values and motivations were used to frame environmental messages. Comparisons were made to determine how the communications aligned to occupants’ values and motivations. Undergraduate ERBs are supported by subjects’ Biospheric values, Environmental Concern, and motivation to engage with Technology. Female subjects performed significantly more ERBs than male students. Male students placed a significantly higher value on Egoism, which was significantly associated with poorer environmental behaviors. Signage with behavioral appeals is a relatively cost-effective and prevalent intervention strategy. However, signage should be tailored to appeal to a range of values and motivations of the target audience, including students’ desires to interact with technology and the personal benefits of environmental responsibility.
- Behavior change
- Environmentally responsible behavior
- Intervention strategies
- Message framing
- Residence halls