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Recycling Mentors: An Intergenerational, Service-Learning Program to Promote Recycling and Environmental Awareness

D'Abundo, Michelle L. PhD, MSH, CHES; Fugate-Whitlock, Elizabeth I. PhD(c); Fiala, Kelly A. PhD, ATC

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice: July/August 2011 - Volume 17 - Issue 4 - p 373–375
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3182159674
Original Article

The purpose of Recycling Mentors was to implement an intergenerational, service-learning program focused on promoting recycling and environmental awareness among students enrolled in Community Health (HEA 301) and Current Issues in Gerontology (GRN 440/540) and adults older than 60 years. Recycling Mentors was conducted in New Hanover County (NHC), North Carolina, where a moderate climate and coastal location attracts many tourists, retirees, and college students. A community like NHC is a good place to implement service-learning that educates both students and older adults about the benefits of recycling to individual health and the environment. During the Fall 2009 semester, undergraduate and graduate students completed institutional review board training and then conducted the program with older adults. The education component of Recycling Mentors included a pre/post survey, brochure, and scheduled visits. Overall, Recycling Mentors was positive service-learning experience with students identifying salient outcomes such as learning about recycling and the environment and working with older adults. In addition, teaching the education component of Recycling Mentors was good practice for students who will be the future health professionals. While service-learning and environmentally themed projects are common, a program that combines the 2 like Recycling Mentors is unique and has the potential to motivate individual change while positively impacting the local community and the environment.

Recycling Mentors is unique and has the potential to motivate individual change while positively impacting the local community and the environment.

School of Health & Applied Human Sciences, University of North Carolina Wilmington, North Carolina (Dr D'Abundo and Ms Fugate-Whitlock) and Seidel School of Education & Professional Studies, Salisburg University, Maryland (Dr Fiala).

Correspondence: Michelle L. D'Abundo, PhD, MSH, CHES, School of Health & Applied Human Sciences, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403 (dabundom@uncw.edu).

Copyright © 2011 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.