Date of Award

Summer 8-2015

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Anthropology and Sociology

First Advisor

Jeffrey Kaufmann

Advisor Department

Anthropology and Sociology


The sustainability movement has been studied in general before, but little research has been done on topic of the sustainability movement at universities. This study aims to contribute to the larger conversation on sustainability by looking at the ideas and motivations behind participation in the movement among students at the University of Southern Mississippi. This is done primarily through interviews performed by the researcher with a number of students in a club on campus dedicated to spreading knowledge of and participation in sustainable activities, known as the Sustainability Advocates. Background information about the sustainability movement on campus is provided by an interview with Haley McMinn, the assistant director of the Office of Sustainability at USM, and survey information she provided. Ultimately it was found that students involved in the movement initially emphasize the pragmatic aspects of sustainability, but have as the core of their participation in the movement a desire to inspire larger social change. Also, it would appear that in this case, the university is the forerunner of sustainability in the larger Hattiesburg community, part of a trend supported by the literature. This research is intended to contribute to the body of anthropological and other research on the topic of sustainability.