Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of intensive extra‐curricular learning opportunities on students' knowledge, skills, and attitudes regarding cotton and sustainability. Design/methodology/approach – A three‐phase extra‐curricular learning opportunity was designed to include a Sustainable Cotton Summit; pre‐summit and post‐summit surveys of students' knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward cotton; and an individual essay competition. Findings – The two‐group mean comparisons showed that the summit made the largest impact on students' knowledge in cotton and sustainability, followed by students' skills and attitudes. The student essays indicated that the summit provided insight that is not readily available in their education curricula. Research limitations/implications – The benefits derived from educating students about sustainability and cotton should be extended to other fibers, as well as to other segments of the supply chain. Practical implications – Businesses involved with cotton supply chain must do a better job at educating and explaining sustainability aspects of cotton to consumers. Educators must also further their efforts in preparing students as professionals in the industry. Originality/value – In response to the lack of educational opportunities about cotton and sustainability in the textile‐ and apparel‐related academic field in the USA, this study offered the two‐day Sustainable Cotton Summit in 2010 in which over 400 students have participated. Changes in students' knowledge, skills, and attitudes were assessed through pre‐ and post‐summit surveys, and post‐summit essays.
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 20, 2011
Keywords: United States of America; Universities; Sustainability; Cotton; Students; Experiential learning; Summit