Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences

Document Type



This article examines results from a survey of Indiana State University (ISU) students on the level of concern and willingness to pay for improving the environment on local and global levels using the contingent valuation methodology. On the local level, the environmental issue presented was a local air-quality problem associated with the “Terre Haute smell” and the proposed funding would reduce odors from the sewage treatment process. A survey of students has the potential to bring a new perspective because many students are not originally from Terre Haute and, unlike longtime residents, may not be accustomed to living with these odors. The global environmental scenario involved climate change from greenhouse gases, and the proposed funding would achieve climate neutrality by purchasing offsets for university travel. Students were sensitive to the price of the proposals, and more support was found for reducing greenhouse gases than for reducing the local airpollution odor problem. Support for reducing the local odor problem increased among students who reported noticing the smells more often and who were concerned about the potential health effects. Political affiliation is related to the support for reducing greenhouse gases, but not to the local air-quality problem.