University foodservices’ potential for providing environmental education to students
Mirosa, Miranda; Thomson, Carla; Slobbe, Chelsea
University foodservices are potentially well placed to foster environmental education in a non-classroom setting and so could have the power to benefit communities through producing environmentally literate graduates. Buy-in from foodservice staff is critical for realising this potential, so understanding what foodservice staff think about their foodservice engaging in the provision of environmental education is essential. The aim of this study was to identify the dominant perspectives held by university foodservice staff about the desirability and realities of fostering environmental education in their workplaces. Methods: The study design integrated two phases: (i) 36 foodservice staff conducted a card-sorting activity that revealed four dominant viewpoints; (ii) 60 foodservice staff completed a survey where they identified with one of these viewpoints. The study was conducted in Dunedin, New Zealand. The four main perspectives were The ‘Believer’, the ‘Relatively Positive Integrator’, the ‘Uncertain Contender’ and the ‘Sceptic’. All of the perspective groups, except for Sceptic, believed environmental education in their workplace was desirable. In the survey, 25% of the 60 participants self-identified with the Believer narrative, 40% with the Relatively Positive Integrator, 25% with the Uncertain Contender and 10% with the Sceptic. There were no significant differences between factors for sociodemographic characteristics. A paradigm shift in foodservice framework thinking could unlock the potential university foodservice has to assist universities whose strategic mission is to embed environmental education in both curricular and co-extracurricula activities.
Published in: Nutrition and Dietetics, volume 74, issue 2
Rights Statement: DOI: 10.1111/1747-0080.12334
Keywords: environmental education; Foodservice; perspective; Q methodology
Research Type: Journal Article