Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology and Research

Major Professor

Jennifer Ann Morrow

Committee Members

Gary J. Skolits, Michael L. McKinney, Jimmy G. Cheek


As colleges and universities implement or enhance campus sustainability programs and administrators seek to understand the impact of such programs on their campuses, much effort has focused on understanding the green behavior of students enrolled at these institutions. However, given that universities employ large numbers of faculty and staff, it is also important to understand employees’ green behaviors. This descriptive survey research study sought to better understand the green behaviors of employees at a research university in the southeastern part of the United States. Potential participants were emailed a link to an online Qualtrics survey consisting of 31 closed and open-ended questions at the beginning of the fall 2022 semester. The final sample included 397 employees, including 119 faculty and 278 staff. In addition to descriptive statistics, inferential statistics were conducted to look for differences between select demographic groups, including employees’ primary role on campus (staff or faculty), length of employment at the university, gender, generational status, and political beliefs. Results show a statistically significant relationship exists between all five of these demographic variables and employees’ awareness of and participation in specific campus sustainability initiatives. For example, staff and women are more aware of the Office of Sustainability, and employees who have been at the university for more than 10 years are more likely to be aware of the Campus Sustainability Master Plan. A statistically significant relationship exists between employees’ motivation to participate in green workplace behaviors and their gender, generational status, and political beliefs. Additionally, a statistically significant relationship exists among three barriers (lack of information, lack of time, inconvenience) to recycling and composting and employees’ length of employment at the university, generational status, and political beliefs. The findings from this study provide implications for the university’s environmental education outreach initiatives. This study also highlights potential motivators for getting employees to engage in green behaviors at work and barriers that are negatively impacting employees’ participation in green workplace behaviors.

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