Winners of the 2024 Utah High School Clean Air Marketing Contest will be announced at Utah State University’s Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art Community Art Day on Saturday, Feb. 10. Clean air public service announcements created by this year’s 57 finalists will be displayed at the museum as part of the event.
The Utah High School Clean Air Marketing 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.
PSAs designed by teens combine art, science and savvy marketing to encourage Utahns to help keep their air healthy through carpooling, using alternative transportation, limiting idling and trip chaining (completing multiple errands simultaneously to reduce driving).
The messaging and artwork are often provocative, funny, edgy and tied to teen pop culture. The winning PSAs will be displayed for educational outreach across the state and on social media.
The contest is intended to raise Utahns’ awareness of air quality issues by helping youth who are learning to drive understand the implications their new driving privilege can have on air pollution. It also helps them engage in ways to preserve air quality, especially during Utah’s polluted winter inversion season.
Stafford and McCann’s research finds that for many participants, the contest is the only formal education they receive about local air pollution. As they talk about air pollution with their families and friends, they become air quality influencers in their local networks.
McCann said that contestants report becoming more committed to clean-air actions such as refraining from idling and engaging in carpooling and trip chaining, and that parents also report being influenced by their teens to engage in clean-air activities.
In turn, the parents also encourage others in their networks to be mindful about preventing air pollution.
“Our research shows that the contest is having an impact beyond the teens in educating Utahns about how to help keep the air healthy,” she said.
Over 1,000 teens from Utah and southern Idaho participated in the 2024 contest. Participating high schools include Logan, Ridgeline, Fast Forward, Green Canyon, Carbon, Whitehorse (Montezuma Creek), Westside, Preston, Grand County (Moab) and Granger (West Valley City).
“The entries seem to get better and more ingenious every year,” Stafford said. “Creative competitions are important vehicles for educating youth as they encourage the fun of learning, spark a competitive spirit, and provide self-discovery that you just can’t replicate in the classroom.”
Many students have entered the competition multiple times. Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of the contest.
Over $6,000 in cash, gift cards, and merchandise will be awarded, all donated by local businesses, organizations, and individuals.
The free event begins at 10:30 a.m. and includes refreshments. With the help of the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art’s education staff, those participating in the art activity can create a kinetic sculpture powered by clean air after the awards.
Visit artmuseum.usu.edu for updates on museum events.
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