Members of Logan High School’s Environmental Action Force (LEAF) gave awards Tuesday night to participants in a poster contest emphasizing anti-idling messages.
“We were just blown away at the meeting when we had this flood of entries coming in,” LEAF President Piper Christian said about the 100-plus entries the group received. “It sort of exceeded what I expected.”
Aiming to showcase the creativity of post-Millennials, or members of “Generation Z,” Ed Stafford, a professor of marketing in the John M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, launched a poster contest last year with his colleague Roslynn Brain and Logan Conservation Coordinator Emily Malik. LEAF then took the contest on as its own this year.
“What we wanted to do was target teens now learning to drive to understand the air pollution implications of their new privilege,” Stafford said. “We thought if we target these individuals who are learning to drive and they understand idling, carpooling, taking the bus, if they understood those are alternative options, they might try to preserve our air quality, particularly during the inversion season.”
As a result of LEAF spearheading the contest this year, club members felt they were able to easily connect with their peers, sparking the flood of poster submissions they received.
“I think a big part of that was that it was a student-led effort, and we were really able to connect with students and work one-on-one right next to them throughout the entire process,” LEAF historian Victoria Stafford said. “We were able to supervise a little more closely.”
One of the winners, junior Alyssa Johnson, said although participation in the poster contest was a part of her grade for Andrew Semadeni’s science class at Logan High, she enjoyed participating. Her poster showed her sitting in the front seat of a car driving three friends and Logan High’s mascot, Grizzwald. She photoshopped the phrase “Grizzwald says carpool for clean air” over the picture.
“Logan High can make a difference, and Grizzwald is an example to people in the community, so I wanted to show that people can make a difference,” Johnson said.
One of the advantages of having Logan High students participate in this contest was they have the capability to easily reach out to their peers, something Stafford called the protégé effect. This makes it easier for post-Millennials to understand or sympathize with a message versus Logan city professionals trying to reach out to them. Logan Conservation Coordinator Emily Malik said this can be advantageous in helping them to develop better driving habits geared toward air quality preservation from an early age.
“I think they’re right at the age of driving, and they’re gonna start developing their habits the right way from the beginning instead of having to learn behavior in the future, which is a lot harder,” Malik said.
LEAF will now take the 12 winning posters to businesses in the community to see if they would like to feature them. Stafford hopes the poster contest will eventually become a statewide competition and inspire people inside and outside of Logan to aim for cleaner air.