Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Folk Studies and Anthropology

Additional Departmental Affiliation

School of Journalism and Broadcasting

Document Type



The concept of sustainability encompasses environmental, social, and economic issues. A sustainable approach encourages a balanced earth in both well-being and resource conservation for the sake of future generations. Unfortunately, awareness of and participation in various dimension of sustainability are currently inadequate given the current projections of the negative impact of climate change to humanity. Therefore, this project was designed to research if there was a relationship between viewing sustainably themed films and becoming more sustainably-conscious as a way to explore a potential avenue for mental and behavioral change. Furthermore, this project examines audience perception of sustainable messaging and content across various film genres in order to investigate sustainable community practices on a college campus, and participant’s level of interaction with sustainability. This research design draws on similar studies on film’s influence on behavior (Zillman and Weaver, 1999), current perceptions and practices of sustainability on college campuses (Stafford, 2011), and the use of mass media to promote sustainable behavior (Minton et al., 2012). Data was collected from primarily college-age students, utilizing pre-screening and post-screening surveys, which were designed to elicit perceptions of sustainability (generally) and sustainable messaging in film content. Additional contextual data was collected during post-screening discussions. The result of this study suggests that there was an immediate change in viewers’ perceptions from the pre-screening survey to the post-screening survey. Viewers agreed that their definition of sustainability had changed post-viewing.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Ashley Stinnett, Ted Hovet, Siera Bramschreiber


Anthropology | Arts and Humanities | Environmental Studies | Film and Media Studies