University holds clean air poster contest for teens

Ed Stafford, a marketing professor at the Huntsman School of Business, and his assistant Georgia Crouch go through posters for the 2020 High School Clean Air Contest.

LOGAN – Students from nine high schools in Utah and Franklin County, Idaho took their artistic skills, their ingenuity and created posters for the 2020 Utah High School Clean Air Poster Contest.

Ed Stafford, a marketing professor at the Huntsman School of Business, points out some of the detail of one of the posters that will be in this years 2020 High School Clean Air Contest.

Ed Stafford, a marketing professor at the Jon Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, said this year they had over 800 students participate in the 2020 contest. Entries came from high schools as far north as West Side High School in Franklin County and south to Grand County High School in Moab.

“We go into the high schools and try to engage the students with a little humor and watch their eyeballs move,” he said. “We targeted young drivers so they would learn early to form good driving habits.”

He said what they found was surprising. He found youth have significant influence on their parents.

“We did evaluations and found students engaged their parents and it had an Inconvenient Youth Effect,” he said. “Students put pressure on their parents to change their habits.

“Our research shows that the contest is having an impact beyond just teens in educating Utahns about how to help keep the air healthy.”

Some of the students engaged edgy parodies of pop culture movies like Napoleon Dynamite, Yoda from Star Wars and others, he said.

“It’s fun and it teaches the kids it is not all doom and gloom,” Stafford said. “Students who won at the high school level will receive $50 gift cards or merchandise donated by businesses.”

There will be 25 regional winners and state winners can win cash or prizes from $100 to $200.

Over over 800 students participated in this year’s 2020 High School Clean Air Contest.

This year winners of the 2020 Utah High School Clean Air Poster Contest will be announced at Utah State University’s Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art (NEHMA) Saturday, Feb. 8, at 10:30 a.m.

Posters created by this year’s 50 finalists will be displayed at the museum as part of Community Art Day, a free event where people of all ages can create their own artwork inspired by the theme of Utah air quality.

The Utah High School Clean Air Poster Contest was created in 2015 by USU professors Roslynn Brain McCann of USU Extension Sustainability and Edwin Stafford of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.

The contest was created to raise Utahns’ awareness of air quality issues. It focuses on engaging youth, who are learning to drive, understand the air pollution implications of their new driving privilege, and ways to preserve air quality, especially during Utah’s polluted winter inversion season.

Judges for this year’s contest will include principals of participating high schools, last year‘s winner Yara Ghabayen, Katie Lee-Koven who is the Executive Director of the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Ron Bigelow who is the mayor of West Valley City and Paul Campbell, former President of Campbell Scientific.

Posters designed by teens combine art, science, and savvy marketing to encourage Utahns to help keep the air healthy by carpooling, using alternative transportation, limited idling, and trip-chaining (completing multiple errands at a time to limit unnecessary driving). Posters are often provocative, funny, edgy, and tied to teen pop culture.

Winning posters will be displayed for education outreach across the state.

“We are excited to see the poster contest continue to expand and grow in popularity,” Stafford said.


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