ABINGTON, Pa. — A Penn State Abington student and a faculty member traveled to Toronto to present their research on food waste and dumpster diving at the recent American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference, held April 5-9 in Toronto, Canada.
Senior Zelnnetta Clark and Assistant Professor of Science Education Kathleen Fadigan said their project, "Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behavior Regarding Food Waste, Date Labels, and Dumpster Diving: An Exploratory Study," received an enthusiastic response at a poster session open to more than 20,000 people.
“It was quite an honor to speak with so many scholars who are on a mission to transform society and the way that we think,” Clark, a Psychological and Social Sciences major, said. “The professionals we interacted with really admired the work that Dr. Fadigan and I are doing.”
Clark said the goal of this undergraduate research project is to bring awareness and change attitudes toward food waste, date labels, and dumpster diving.
As a baseline, they wanted to understand food waste behaviors, how much effort people exert to reduce food waste, and why people waste food.
“We thought many people may waste food because of food date labels. If something is past the expiration, sell by, best by date, many people tend to automatically throw it out. But what do these food date labels even mean?” Clark said. “Thus, we decided we wanted to understand what knowledge people had about date labels — most of which were misconceptions.”