In the Media

Sustainability: The Journal of Record

2018: The Inconvenient Youth Revisited: Teens, Parents, and Clean Air Conversations and Action

How influential are teens in prompting clean air actions among their parents? What factors improve effectiveness of teen communication? To answer these questions, the authors surveyed both teen participants and their parents in the 2018 iteration of an annual high school clean air poster contest. Seventy‐one percent of parents (N=114) reported that their teens talked to them about air pollution as a consequence of the poster contest, and teens who discussed specific actions for preserving air quality had the most influence on changing parent behaviors. Interestingly, only a few parents described their teens’ social influence as pestering or annoying. Rather, most parents reported that their teens simply initiated a reasoned conversation about local air pollution and solutions, and some even welcomed it! This article discusses the implications of these findings and future research directions about understanding how adolescents may become persuasive change agents through their proactive knowledge dissemination.

2017: The Inconvenient Youth: Exploring How High School Teens Voluntarily Influence (Pester?) Others on Confronting Air Pollution via a Clean Air Poster Contest

This article provides an overview of the literature on children’s influence on others in marketing and social settings and a review of our past clean‐air poster contests that were piloted on smaller scales. Details about the launch and outcomes of the expanded 2017 Utah High School Clean Air Poster contest as the context for educating teens about air pollution and clean air actions are discussed, along with the results of a voluntary post‐contest survey of contestants’ self‐reported direct impacts and their social influence on others. We investigated both the contestants’ self‐reported direct personal behavioral impacts and their unprompted behavioral influence on others in what was termed the “Inconvenient Youth” effect because adults often feel uncomfortable having youth instruct them about pro‐social behaviors. Parents, in particular, feel obliged to comply in order to maintain their children’s respect. Approximately two‐thirds of surveyed contestants reported engaging others, primarily parents and siblings, about clean air actions. Only 43 percent believed, however, that they had actually changed others’ behaviors. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of the study and future research directions to help guide others crafting their own school‐based environmental education initiatives.

Solutions Journal

2016: ‘My mom idles less than your mom!’ Empowering High School Teens to Tackle Air Pollution

In Brief, from the original contest: As part of a broader University-community engagement initiative addressing sustainability issues, professors at Utah State University joined forces with Logan City to help improve air quality via a high school clean air poster contest. Contest goals were to: 1) inform students about local air quality problems and driving behaviors that can lessen their personal impact (e.g., carpooling, refraining from idling, taking the bus); and 2) create educational outreach materials for their peers and broader community. Over 100 high school students were mentored in green messaging and graphic design by University students and faculty, resulting in over 75 poster entries. Many posters were creative, funny, and edgy, and tapped into teen pop culture, entertainment, and values. Finally, 14 winning posters were selected for community outreach, each receiving a prize from a local business, with the best overall poster receiving a grand prize from Logan City. Self-reported measures indicated that the contest increased student awareness about local air pollution, as well as increasing their willingness to change their behavior to protect air quality.

Utah Business: Green Business Award

Herald Journal News

2022: Valley Students Clean Up in Clean-Air Poster Contest
2022: Clean Air Poster Contest Joins Creativity with Responsibility
2018: A new outlook: Air quality poster contest changing attitudes
2017: Air Quality Evangelists: Clean Air Poster Contest Grows in Fourth Year
2017: Clean Air Poster Contest Winners Announced
2017: Cache School Promote Clean Air with Poster Contest
2016: Anti-Idling Posters to Adorn Logan Businesses this Summer
2016: LEAF Praises Effective Anti-Idling Messages Through Poster Contest
2016: Reaching New Drivers: Logan High Club Seeks to Develop Air Quality Solution
2015: Logan High Students Design Educational Posters for Clean Air Poster Contest
2015: Clean Air Poster Contest Winners Recognized at Logan High

Utah Department of Environmental Quality Blog

Utah Clean Cities Idle Free Blog

2018: How the “Inconvenient Youth” Can Influence (Pester?) Others on Clean Air Action

Salt Lake’s City Weekly

2018: Inconvenient Youth


2018: The Inconvenient Youth Effect: How Kids Become Pro-Social Brand Evangelists

Moab Times Independent 

2018: GCHS sends six finalists to statewide Clean Air Poster Contest

Cottonwood Heights Journal

2018: Mayors, student contest winners recognized at Utah Clean Cities event

Environmental News Bits

2018: The inconvenient youth revisited: teens, parents, and clean air conversations and action

San Juan Record

2022: Local Student in Clean Air Contest 

Sustainable America Blog

2016: Logan High School Clean Air Poster Contest

Utah State University Extension Sustainability

2015: USU, Logan City, and Logan High Partner to Improve Cache Valley Air Quality

Cache Valley Daily

2022: Cache Valley Students Among the Winners of Clean-Air Poster Contest
2020: University holds clean air poster contest for teens
2018: Photo gallery: The Block film and art festival 2018
2015: Winners of Clean Air Poster Contest Announced at Logan High
2015: Deadline for Air Quality Poster Contest is Friday 

The City Journals: West Valley City’s Own Community Newspaper

2022: Ganger Students Win Clean Air Quality Marketing Contest