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FALL 2017   |   VOLUME 1   |   ISSUE 1








EDITOR'S NOTE The Wisconsin Undergraduate Journal Association’s very first “Best of” publication is a compilation of UWMadison’s finest undergraduate scholarship. This interdisciplinary collection provides a look into the many issues and ideas that UW students are exploring through in-depth academic research. Whether they are historicizing German-American war efforts to defeat the Third Reich, addressing the changing nature of corporate responsibility, or explaining the benefits of precision farming, undergraduates are investigating topics that resonate with the past, present and future. All of the students featured in this publication were previously published in one of UW’s undergraduate journals, and they were helped along the way by dedicated professors and undergraduate journal editors. For these students, being published means having the opportunity to share their ideas, which are deeply rooted in passion, genuine interest and enthusiasm, with a wider campus community. This “Best of” publication is not only another means of exposure for these student researchers, but also an emulation of their passion and excitement for undergraduate scholarship and academia.









Non-paid publication means that there is no cover price and issues are given away, for example in street dispensers, airline in-flight magazines, or included with other products or publications. Controlled circulation is the model used by many trade magazines distributed only to qualifying readers, often for free and determined by some form of survey.



Washington, D.C., Nov. 5. Bernhard Hofmann, Milwaukee Radio Salesman and Head of the Wisconsin Federation of German-American Societies Courtesy: Library of Congress

Fritz Kuhn, a charismatic, naturalized American citizen, launched the Bund formally in 1936 in New York. The Bund rose out of the ashes of an earlier pro-Nazi organization, the Friends of New Germany.2 However, despite the name change, the German American Bund did little to disassociate itself from its predecessor’s National Socialist ideology. Kuhn’s inaugural speech outlined the philosophy and goals of his new organization: [The Bund] shall educate the American people to become friends of the New Germany…. the Germany of today… the Third Reich! [The Bund declares] to oppose all racial intermixture between Aryans and Asiatics, Africans or other non-Aryans; to fight communism; [and] to break up the dictatorship of the Jewish-international minority...” 3


The German American Bund took up the mantle of National Socialism in the United States. It was a homegrown Nazi movement, dedicated to the Third Reich, but independent of it. Many scholars of pre-war Nazism in the United States argue that the Bund was untenable as an organization and posed little real threat to the institutions of the nation. As Stephen L.R. Petrie of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire states in his thesis: “Ultimately, the German American Bund in Milwaukee was an organization inherently doomed to failure...”4 Another scholar, Leland Bell, Professor Emeritus of History at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, writes that, “throughout its brief and stormy history, the German American Bund faced a succession of difficulties and problems...”5 The first opposition to the Bund came from labor leaders, who picketed their rallies and spoke out against their anti-labor ideology.6 The Federal Government, local and state politicians, and the American Legion all accused the Bund of un-American and subversive activities as well. Legislators introduced bills to suppress the Bund.7 The FBI conducted investigations of Bund properties, and the Dies Committee in Congress held hearings concerning the organization’s activities. However, modern scholars’ scepticism that the Bund could ever succeed denies the organization’s appeal to Americans, German or otherwise. These scholars also deny the critical role anti-Nazi GermanAmericans played in counteracting the Bund’s attempts to equate German-American culture with their brand of National Socialism.


In 1936, Fritz Julius Kuhn, dressed in the uniform of the Third Reich, stood before a crowd of fifteen hundred German-Americans in New York City to christen the newly organized Amerikadeutscher Volksbund, also known as the German American Bund, or simply the Bund. Kuhn, standing amidst swastika banners, told the fervent crowd that the Bund would unify German-Americans into a single cohesive political and cultural organization to fight “Jewish Marxism and Communism”.1 In Milwaukee, however, GermanAmericans united to oppose the National Socialist program of the Bund. The saga of rivalry and reaction in Grafton, Wisconsin between two summer youth camps, the Bund’s Camp Hindenburg and the Federation of German-American Societies’ Camp Carl Schurz, exemplified this cultural civil war. The Federation’s programs at Camp Carl Schurz, combined with its efforts in the “German Athens” of Milwaukee successfully projected a German-American culture and heritage alternative to the Bund’s Nazi germanocentrism, accelerating the failure of the German American Bund in 1941.

As the threat of war loomed in Europe, the Bund grew increasingly fearful of how the German-American community would be treated by the U.S. government should Congress declare war on Germany. Their concerns were anchored in history: German-Americans and GermanAmerican culture suffered severe persecution and repression during World War I.8 The Bund twisted the fears of GermanAmericans to fill its ranks. Trying to legitimize its selfdeclared role as the defender of German-Americans, it organized events celebrating German culture. However, as Kuhn declared in 1936, the German culture advanced by the Bund was the culture of the New Germany, the Third Reich. They sang “Horst Wessel,” held Nuremburg-style rallies, dressed in Nazi uniforms complete with swastikas and the lightning-bolt “S” symbols of Hitler’s infamous Schutzstaffel, organized a Jugendschaft youth movement mimicking the Hitler Youth, and bragged about their audience with Hitler when the Bund visited Germany during the 1936 Olympics. In sum, the Bund portrayed itself as both the ally of GermanAmericans and the Third Reich against hostile conspirators and reactionaries entrenched in the upper echelons of American society. At the same time, the Bund’s publications and rallies exploited Americans’ deep reluctance to enter into another war in Europe. Before the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, isolationism gripped the United States. Faced with the rearming of Germany and the rise of Nazism, many Americans looked at military intervention with the hard skepticism they learned from their experiences in the previous World War. American blood and American treasure had been spilled in the trenches of the Somme and the forests of the Ardennes, all to win “the war to end all wars” and make the world “safe for democracy”. But the war accomplished neither of those lofty goals, leaving American citizens disillusioned over what they saw as a wasteful and ineffectual war. The last thing the “lost generation” wanted was another brutal war in Europe. Congressmen heeded the grumblings of their constituents, forcing President Franklin D. Roosevelt to sign three bills into law guaranteeing absolute neutrality. These laws forbade the U.S. from giving military aid to either Great Britain and France, or Germany.

Many Americans also sympathized with the staunch antiCommunist stance of the Bund. Combating communism and all other forms of Marxism occupied a central position in the ideology and political goals of the Bund. Their German and English weekly newspaper The Free American published many articles “revealing” the secret threats and plots of Communists, including an article claiming American Communist party members lose their freedom to the national Communist party leadership.9 The aggressive and sometimes violent picketing of Bund events by labor organizations garnered some public defense for the Bund. Congressman John C. Schafer of Milwaukee, a conservative Republican and ardent anti-Communist, blasted many of the groups picketing the Bund rallies, denouncing them as By: Author Communists or Communist sympathizers.10 The antiOriginally featured in Archive Communist ideals of the Bund earned it some degree of tolerance and defense despite its racist and fascist bend. Finally, as the unofficial missionary of National Socialism and Hitler’s cult of personality in the United States, the Bund had a great stake in keeping America out of the European war. Through lurid headlines in The Free American, the Bund attempted to justify Hitler’s atrocities. Take, for instance, the headline following the German invasion of Poland in 1939: “Poles Committed First Act of War; Attacked Gleiwitz, Miles Inside of the German Border Line.”11 The Free American also suggested a vast web of conspiracy between the Jews, the British, and the Communists. In their 1940 and 1941 editions, each front page of the newspaper included the tag “The U.S.A. is NOT a “British” Bolshevik Nation! Keep the U.S.A. out of Bolshevik “Britain’s” Wars!”12 The Bund was not content in spreading their ideology exclusively to adults; they wanted to indoctrinate children as well. Their efforts to win the hearts and minds of Milwaukee’s youth centered around Grafton, Wisconsin, a small rural town less than thirty miles north of the city. Bund members from Milwaukee had picnicked under the shade of the cedars along the banks of the Milwaukee River in Grafton while their children swam and played as early as 1934.13 But in 1937, the German American Bund’s Midwestern chapter formally organized a youth camp on the west side of the river.14 They named the site “Camp Hindenburg” in honor of Paul von Hindenburg, a German World War I hero and former president of Germany.15 The camp was located on a twenty acre wooded tract of land leased from a local farmer.16 George Froboese, the Bund leader of the Midwestern region, described the purpose of Camp Hindenburg: “Our highest aim… is to remove young people… from the atmosphere of the big cities, the Mae West and Eddie Cantor atmosphere, and to lead them, physically and mentally, towards a better existence in the open air.”17 These initial efforts garnered some success. In its first season one hundred and three young GermanAmericans stayed at the camp.18 Despite its posturing and grandiose claims, the GermanAmerican Bund did not represent the German-American community in actuality, especially in the “German Athens” of Milwaukee. Nor was the Midwestern chapter of the Bund on good terms with the umbrella organization that did, the Federation of German-American Societies. German immigrant and activist Bernard Hofmann founded the Federation in 1932 to “preserve our economic and cultural interests as Americans in our new home, America.”19 Hofmann intended the group to take an apolitical approach, bridging the deep religious and political divides within Wisconsin’s German-American community.20 The Bund’s immediate predecessor, the Friends of New Germany, deeply resented this approach, and sought to dominate the


The German American Bund took up the mantle of National Socialism in the United States. It was a homegrown Nazi movement, dedicated to the Third Reich, but independent of it. Many scholars of pre-war Nazism in the United States argue that the Bund was untenable as an organization and posed little real threat to the institutions of the nation. As Stephen L.R. Petrie of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire states in his thesis: “Ultimately, the German American Bund in Milwaukee was an organization inherently doomed to failure...”4 Another scholar, Leland Bell, Professor Emeritus of History at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, writes that, “throughout its brief and stormy history, the German American Bund faced a succession of difficulties and problems...”5 The first opposition to the Bund came from labor leaders, who picketed their rallies and spoke out against their anti-labor ideology.6 The Federal Government, local and state politicians, and the American Legion all accused the Bund of un-American and subversive activities as well. Legislators introduced bills to suppress the Bund.7 The FBI conducted investigations of Bund properties, and the Dies Committee in Congress held hearings concerning the organization’s activities. However, modern scholars’ scepticism that the Bund could ever succeed denies the organization’s appeal to Americans, German or otherwise. These scholars also deny the critical role anti-Nazi GermanAmericans played in counteracting the Bund’s attempts to equate German-American culture with their brand of National Socialism.


Following the sundering, the Federation initially refused to acknowledge the break in the German-American community. Their weekly paper Deutsche Zeitung continued to report on Bund events, while Hofmann tempered his criticism of the Bund. He once commented regarding a speech Froboese was giving that “at least he is going to make a speech in the language of Americans.”24 However, on March 12, 1938, the Federation formally abandoned its neutrality and adopted a resolution condemning the Bund and its activities after a violent Bund rally held in honor of George Washington’s birthday.25 Labor union picketers had clashed with the jackbooted Bund security forces, invoking the specter of Hitler’s brownshirts into the already suspicious minds of Milwaukeeans. The Bund had thrown the gauntlet, and after three years of attempted neutrality, the Federation had picked it up, meeting the threat of the Bund’s cancerous National-Socialism with their own brand of GermanAmerican culture. The Federation recognized that the Bund was attempting to equate German-American identity with the Third Reich’s National Socialism. In response they presented a GermanAmericanism alternative to the Bund’s Nazi fantasy culture. The Federation remained unapologetically German, holding German festivals and German language classes, but emphasized that loyalty to the United States was paramount. Hofmann, speaking at a concert put on by the Federation, reminded the attendees that, “We are meeting here today to show our unity with America. This is our homestead and our homeland now, and the homeland of our children… Since we took the oath of citizenship, we belong to this country. What we do we will do under one flag, the American flag.”26 The Federation’s continued advocacy for German culture, American patriotism, and national loyalty challenged the Bund’s attempts to exploit German pride for their National-Socialist cause. In 1939, the Federation opened a new front in their campaign against the Bund. In response to the Bund’s Camp Hindenburg, the Federation resolved to begin their own summer youth program. Before 1936, the Federation had put little effort towards creating a youth movement for German-American children. But that changed in 1939, when the Federation pulled off a major coup. The Milwaukee Journal reports: “The Federation looked over the Bund’s camp. It looked like a fine place. So the Federation obtained a lease on the campsite and the Bund was out in the cold.”27 Undeterred, the Bund purchased a new campsite on the Milwaukee River a short time later through a subsidiary, the Grafton Settlement League.28 These two camps, separated geographically by a mile of water but ideologically by leagues, began an intense rivalry.


The Federation intended their new camp to serve as a direct contrast to Camp Hindenburg. They named the camp after Carl Schurz, a liberal German immigrant and Wisconsin statesman who perfectly embodied the Federation’s idea of German-Americanism.29 More than 2,000 Federation members attended the dedication of Camp Carl Schurz in 1939.30 The dedication ceremony boasted several important Milwaukee figures: assistant Milwaukee city attorney Carl Zeidier, secretary to the mayor Otto Hauser, and Bernard Hofmann, the Federation president.31 The speakers “reviewed the life of [Carl] Schurz, the immigrant German boy who became an outstanding American, and urged Germans to stand by the democratic principles of their By: Author adopted homeland.”32 Ziegler further declared to the gathered guests that, “Too many Americans today have an Originally featured in Archive erroneous concept of citizenship as something that is naturally theirs. It is a privilege that must be earned by loyalty to America and not to any other country.”33 In this ceremony, the Federation delivered a platform that masterfully countered the present threat of the Bund’s attempts to hijack German-American culture. But their approach to the Bund also protected German-Americans from the seething distrust of the “Huns” still lingering from the first World War. By portraying themselves as exuberantly and undeniably loyal to the United States, even against their countrymen, they insulated their community from any antiGerman sentiments that may arise should the United States join the European war. Meanwhile, a mile south at Camp Hindenburg, the Bund also had planned a special dedication ceremony for their new site. They invited Fritz Kuhn, the national leader of the German American Bund to visit Milwaukee and speak at the camp. He arrived in Grafton with his entourage, escorted by uniformed members of the Milwaukee Bund.34 They marched to Camp Hindenburg, and as they passed Camp Carl Schurz they belted out “Horst Wessel,” the anthem of the Third Reich, to goad their anti-Nazi opponents.35 At Camp Hindenburg itself, Kuhn delivered a fiery speech drenched with vitriol under a banner loudly proclaiming “Germans Awake!,” urging the crowd of 350 to defend the camp to the last man.36 With the thundering oration of Fritz Kuhn the die was cast: Camp Hindenburg must win its rivalry with Camp Carl Schurz or perish. Kuhn’s visit, however energizing, failed to translate into organizational success. During the middle of the 1940 camp season, the Bund made its most damaging mistake. In early June, A.H. Becker, a member of the nearby Port Washington American Legion, and Deputy Sheriff Albert Heidel decided to investigate Camp Hindenburg.37 The inspection of the camp by German-speaking men wearing what appeared to be Nazi uniforms proved enough to arouse the suspicion of the patriotic Legionnaire and lawman. They entered the camp and began jotting down the license plate numbers of the cars parked there.38 A uniformed Bundsman quickly accosted them, telling them they could not write down the plate numbers, as they were on private property. Deputy Heidel showed his badge and responded, saying, “We have a right to take the license numbers here. This is a public gathering and you are charging 10c admission.”39 In response to the Legionnaires’ investigation, the Bund decided to close Camp Hindenburg to all “aliens,” or nonBund members.40 The Cedarburg News reported that Bund members began parking their cars out of view from the entrance.41 The same article ironically commented that Federation camp was open and entertaining a large crowd, unlike the Bund camp which experienced a drop in attendance following the license plate scare.42


Federation. This rivalry came to a head in 1935 over a planned German-American Day celebration. George Froboese and his allies demanded that the Federation display the Third Reich’s swastika flag at the event, arguing that the controversial banner was in fact the official flag of the German nation.21 After a fierce debate, the Federation voted by secret ballot against displaying the swastika, triggering a caustic argument between the anti-Nazi and pro-Nazi delegates.22 Eventually Hofmann restored order by removing Froboese and his allies from the meeting. Immediately after the Nazi-sympathizers departed, the remaining delegates voted to bar the Friends of New Germany from all future meetings.23 This abrupt break set the Federation and the Bund on a collision course over the heart of the German-American community in Wisconsin.

On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, bringing the United States into World War II. The German American Bund knew its days were numbered following the declaration of war. The headline of the final issue of The Free American read “Our Country, Right or Wrong, When Invaded,” and urged all GermanAmericans to fulfill their civic duty to the United States.46 The German American Bund disbanded shortly after war was declared, and, following the declaration of war against Germany, many of its members were rounded up by the U.S. government and de-naturalized.47 The Federation of German-American Societies continued to advocate for the German-American community during World War II, until until local political squabbling lead to its extinction.48 This wholesale defeat of the Bund’s national organization mirrored the local defeat of Camp Hindenburg, ending not with a bang but a whimper. The German community answered the challenge of Nazism and preserved their legacy of Americanism against the cancer of National Socialism. The contest between the Federation of German American Societies and the Deutscher American Bund over the soul of the German-American community in Milwaukee centered on the question of what it meant to be a German-American. To the Bund, German-Americans were ethnic Germans who lived in the United States, but whose blood compelled loyalty to the German community and state. While these ethnic ties did not compel German-Americans to sedition against American interests, they instead mandated advocating for friendship and against aggression towards the German state. To the Bund, the United States may be home to many Germans, but it was not the Fatherland. The Federation took the opposite view. They were unapologetically proud of their German heritage and culture, but they also were wholly loyal to United States. They fully embraced Americanism, showed their pride in the institutions of democracy, tolerance, freedom, and equality, but retained their unique German flavor. To them, GermanAmericanness was a new identity, something fresh and unique which could only arise in the New World.

To them, the native home of the German-American could be nowhere else but the United States of America. This is where the Bund failed. They tried to exploit the Germanness of German-Americans, but underestimated the power and intractability of the American aspect of German-American culture. When the national Bundesführer Fritz Kuhn visited Camp Hindenburg, he addressed the crowd underneath a large banner proclaiming provocatively “Germans Awake!” This trivial detail betrays their fatal flaw: they maintained that “German” and “German-American” were synonymous, when they were not. The Bund failed to awaken Germans because they were not surrounded by Germans as they thought, but by German-Americans, a breed apart.

By: Author Archive

Here illustrated is the foundational truth and promise of the Originally featured in United States. Americans are a people bound not by race, creed, or ethnicity, but rather by a mutual loyalty to the institutions of the United States. Men and women from near and far journey to this nation and become Americans, bringing with them their unique cultures and values. These immigrants start out as German, Nigerian, Chinese, or any other unique nationality and become German-Americans, Nigerian-Americans, Chinese-Americans, and so on, vastly different from each other culturally, but united by a shared loyalty to the institutions of their new home. They are new men and women, different even from their family in the old country. As long as the United States continues embracing immigrants and establishing them as Americans first, free and equal as their fellow citizens, this nation will be safe from the factionalism of identity demagoguery. As long as the melting pot continues to simmer, the grand American experiment will continue to roll ever forward.

Acknowledgements: 33 |  TRIPMAG.COM

Moreover, its reaction to this event firmly planted Camp Hindenburg in the public’s suspicion, and provided the Federation with all the dirt needed to bury the Bund. The Milwaukee Journal published an exposé piece revealing the history of the Bund, George Froboese, and Camp Hindenburg in rather unflattering terms following Becker’s investigation.43 Even though nothing came of the license plate numbers, the seclusion Camp Hindenburg veiled itself in suffocated it. If a camp full of uniformed Nazi sympathizers speaking a foreign tongue was suspicious, such a camp also barring the public eye and hiding its membership was downright seditious. Rumors that the Bund was training some kind of army to act as a fifth column for Hitler in Wisconsin spread like wildfire. Attending the supremely unpopular camp became a social liability. Rather than a struggle to defend the camp to the last man, the Bund’s activities at Camp Hindenburg slowly dried up. The smashing success of Camp Carl Schurz did not help ease the pressure bearing down on Camp Hindenburg. The Federation consistently managed to capture the approval of the popular press. In 1941 the Federation announced that Camp Carl Schurz would accept children of all nationalities.44 Later that year, the Federation revealed that it would provide scholarships for underprivileged children who wanted to attend the camp but whose families lacked the financial mean.45 All the positive press made it impossible for Camp Hindenburg to compete with Carl Schurz. The rivalry between the was over and the Federation had won.

Many thanks to the dedicated and friendly staff at the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Ozaukee County Historical Society, and the Cedarburg Public Library. Without their considerable help, the research needed to treat this fascinating historical episode with justice could not have been done. Further thanks goes to Dr. Kathyrn Ciancia and Monica Ledesma, my excellent instructors for History 201. Without their expertise and guidance this paper would not be anywhere near worthy of publication.



1 Susan C. Clark, America's Nazis: The German American Bund (Ann Arbor, MI: UMI, 1989), 75. 2 Leland V. Bell, "The Failure of Nazism in America: The German American Bund, 1936-1941," Political Science Quarterly 85, no. 4 (December 1970): 586. 3 Ibid., 75-76. 4 Stephen Petrie, Nazis among the Cedars: The Inability of the German American Bund to Find Acceptance in Pre-War Milwaukee, Master's thesis, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 2015, Eau Claire: McIntyre Library, 2015. 5 Bell, "Failure of Nazism," 585. 6 "Anti-Nazis May Picket Bund Rally at Kenosha," Milwaukee Journal, August 6, 1937. 7 "Bills Offered to Curb Bund," Milwaukee Journal, November 28, 1937. 8 Ibid., 12-13. 9 "American Communists Are Prisoners!" The Free American (New York), November 10, 1938, 1. 10 Dieter Berninger, "Milwaukee's German-American Community and the Nazi Challenge of the 1930's," Wisconsin Magazine of History 71, no. 2 (1987-1988): 118-42, JSTOR, 134. By: Author 11 "Poles Committed First Act of War," The Free American (New York), September 7, 1939, 1. 12 "Stalin Expected to Quit Soon," The Free American (New York), October 16, 1941, 1. Originally featured in Archive 13 Steven Benter, "German Ideology Clashed on River's Banks," 1. 14 "After Seven Years of Life, What Is Future of the Bund Here?" Milwaukee Journal, July 14, 1940. 15 Benter, "German Ideology,” 1. 16 "After Seven Years of Life, What Is Future of the Bund Here?" Milwaukee Journal, July 14, 1940. 17 "Quiet Sunday at Bund Camp," Milwaukee Journal, August 2, 1937. 18 Petrie, Nazis among the Cedars, 9. 19 Ibid. 20 Berninger, "Milwaukee's German-American Community,” 123. 21 Ibid.,” 128. 22 Ibid. 23 "After Seven Years of Life, What Is Future of the Bund Here?" Milwaukee Journal, July 14, 1940. 24 "Quiet Sunday at Bund Camp," Milwaukee Journal, August 2, 1937. 25 Berninger, "Milwaukee's German-American Community,” 131-132. 26 "German Play, but U.S. Spirit." Milwaukee Journal, April 24, 1939. 27 "After Seven Years of Life, What Is Future of the Bund Here?" Milwaukee Journal, July 14, 1940. 28 Berninger, "Milwaukee's German-American Community,” 138. 29 Ibid. 30 "Carl Schurz Camp on River Is Dedicated." Cedarburg News, 1938. 31 Ibid. 32 Ibid. 33 Ibid. 34 Berninger, "Milwaukee's German-American Community,” 140. 35 Benter, "German Ideology." 36 Berninger, "Milwaukee's German-American Community,” 140. 37 "Deputy, Legion Man Take Numbers of 200 Cars Parked at Bund Camp," Milwaukee Sentinel, June 10, 1940. 38 Ibid. 39 Ibid. 40 "Bund Members Bar Visitors," Cedarburg News, 1940. 41 Ibid. 42 Ibid. 43 "After Seven Years of Life, What Is Future of the Bund Here?" Milwaukee Journal, July 14, 1940. 44 "Camp Carl Schurz To Accept Children Of All Nationalities," Milwaukee Journal, May 29, 1941. 45 Ibid. 46 "Our Country, Right or Wrong, When Invaded," The Free American (New York), December 11, 1941. 47 Berninger, "Milwaukee's German-American Community,” 140. 48 Ibid.



Research by Hasan Nadeem Written by Connor Thellman Originally featured in Equilibrium

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had a substantial impact on the healthcare system, but it is not the only attempt to improve health outcomes in the United States. A few of the major stipulations in the ACA were expanding federal healthcare provisions like Medicaid, requiring employers of a certain size to offer insurance, prohibiting insurance discrimination based on preexisting conditions, allowing coverage to young adults up to age 26, offering an online marketplace to compare insurance offerings, and mandating that individuals purchase insurance. The overarching goal of the ACA is to increase the number of insured individuals to drive down costs and improve health outcomes, yet it is not the only way these goals might be achieved. Public health officials have long affected policy, initiated public

awareness campaigns, and improved the environment surrounding people so that they can lead healthier lives. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations believes that establishing more nutritious food systems is key to improving global health outcomes. If a major facet of healthcare access in the United States is limited personal finance, then it may intuitively seem that offering more money to those having trouble affording insurance, especially in states that did not expand Medicaid, could help achieve this same goal of improving health outcomes. However, an increase in the minimum wage could also cause people to lose government benefits as they start making more money, undoing positives that the minimum wage increase may have had. This uncertainty in deciding whether a change in policy may do more harm than good is where economic research comes into play. The Minimum Wage and Healthcare Hasan Nadeem is a senior at UW studying economics and biology, and he has written a thesis on the effects of increasing minimum wage on healthcare access and utilization. When deciding on his thesis topic, he says, “I followed my interests, and it led me to this intersection.” Growing up surrounded by healthcare, Nadeem had a deep interest in healthcare provision. After exploring a second set of interests in economics and policy, he began to see an intersection between healthcare and economics. His interest in the minimum wage lies in his philosophy of societal responsibility: “Our markets have inefficiencies, and we have to solve those inefficiencies the best we can.” As 2016 is a presidential election year, Nadeem is also interested in the political implications his research might have on the discussions surrounding the minimum wage. He is


People value their health. As measured by gross domestic product, the United States values health almost twice as much, on average, as the other twenty-nine countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. For those who can afford excellent insurance or services in the United States, the offerings are at the forefront of medicine, with much of the world benefitting from the industry’s breakthroughs. Yet, despite the United States’ status as the world’s top healthcare spender, it paradoxically does not rank highly in the World Health Organization’s rankings of health systems among other global health system rankings. Its surprisingly average rankings are largely attributed to an overcomplicated system with high administrative costs, high rates of disease like obesity, limited healthcare access, and insurance removing financial burden from the patient and provider. As a remedy, the Affordable Care Act was created in 2010 and passed in 2012 to curtail costs as well as improve access to and efficiency in healthcare.


Nadeem begins his research with an informative history on the minimum wage, which has been historically controversial. The federal minimum wage was introduced in 1938 in some sense as a public health measure to protect women and minors. Now, the minimum wage is seen more as a mechanism to diminish poverty and give poorer, lowskilled workers capital. When adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage fluctuated from about $4.50 from 19401950 to $9.00 from 1955-1980 to $6.50 from 1985-2015. Once the minimum wage is raised, the real value, or what someone can buy with a given amount of money, typically declines because of inflation. Currently, the real value of the minimum wage has declined to a point that in the past has led to an increase to keep up with inflation. For the past 35 years, policy makers have increased the minimum wage every 10 years, and the last increase began in 2007. The controversy of raising the minimum wage, or even having one at all, lies in basic economics, which posits that any wage floor below equilibrium leads to less employment and inefficiency in an economy. As producers have to pay more in wages, it is believed that they will have to balance their budgets by hiring fewer workers. However, as Nadeem explains in his paper, this area of research is still hotly debated by economists because of the mixed results found in the data. Although Nadeem believes that “the minimum wage is our social responsibility, and we must make sure it is effective,” his paper does not take a stance on the validity of a minimum wage, but rather investigates its public health implications. To investigate how the minimum wage has affected healthcare access in the past, Nadeem examines the effects of previous minimum wage increases on three healthcare system metrics. These metrics include data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey and the American Hospital Association Annual Survey. The three metrics he studied were the proportion of uninsured people, about 12 to 15 percent, the proportion of people who had to forgo healthcare services because of costs, about 10 percent, and how many times people utilized outpatient medical services, which is essentially non-emergency preventative medical care – about two per year. He uses data spanning from 1999-2012 to measure the effect of increasing the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 from 2007-2009. His methods, built on a previous paper by Kelly McCarrier, PhD, et al., use a linear least squares regression line – essentially a best fit line – to measure how much the minimum wage might explain the three variables of interest. He accounted for several factors across states that may have also had an impact on the three metrics: unemployment levels, Gini coefficients that measure income distribution, number of hospital beds per capita and personal health expenditures per capita. When controlled for, these other factors, or covariables, help to make Nadeem’s data more robust, as they disentangle other possible explanations from changes in the three healthcare system metrics. Nadeem’s data show that a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage significantly increases the insured population, does not impact those with unmet medical needs because of costs, and significantly increases outpatient medical care utilization. According to his results, there should be 11,000 more Americans insured and about 3,000,000 more outpatient care visits attributed to a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage.


Current discussions surrounding an increase in the minimum wage call for much larger increases than 10 percent. Nadeem extrapolated his findings to see what a federal minimum wage increase to 15 dollars could mean in his metrics. He finds that in the year 2012, raising the minimum wage to 15 dollars could have resulted in a 12.7 percent increase in insured Americans, 0.3 percent decrease in people forgoing care because of costs and almost 0,4 more outpatient care visits per person. Aside from the possible biasedness of the surveys methodologies and other possible covariables, Nadeem believes his data to be reliable and robust. So, according to the data, raising the minimum wage does more good than harm as measured by a few important By: Author healthcare system metrics. In the future, however, research will have to take a new direction with its variables and Originally featured in Archive covariables because, as Nadeem puts it, “The ACA creates a whole different landscape.” This data is descriptive of national level policy, but it also finds support in data at a local level. A few communities with high costs of living have passed Living Wage Ordinances (LWO) to help their lowest wage earners feel less financially burdened, and researchers have investigated the public health implications of these policies. The first of these investigations was performed in San Francisco by Rajiv Bhatia, MD, MPH, and was also the first ever Health Impact Assessment (HIA) performed in the United States. HIA’s quantitatively describe the impacts of communitywide decisions like new developments of changes in policy from a neutral standpoint, and they are becoming an increasingly common tool used in local and state policymaking. Dr. Bhatia’s study estimated that the LWO in San Francisco would significantly reduce minimum wage earners’ sick days and depressive symptoms and increase their children’s odds of graduating from high school by about 0.34. These results do not necessarily apply to other communities, especially those with low costs of living, but have been used in discussions surrounding passage of LWO policies in states that allow local governments to pass them – not all of them do. This research supports Nadeem’s findings that an increase in the minimum wage has positive effects on healthcare metrics. Nadeem’s creative research using national surveys is representative of how any complicated problem begins to be understood: thoughtful investigation. Building on the work of others, Nadeem answered questions that can influence policy at a local or national level. He hopes that his research can, in a broader sense, “shed light on the fact that the policies we discuss actually effect people and how they live their lives. There are so many sides to policy, and this research only begins to scratch the surface of how and why people are affected by those decisions.” His advice for others seeking to make an impact in the world is that they “follow their interests. It is impossible to stay motivated unless you are doing something that is meaningful to you.”


disappointed in “how easy it is to have an opinion without being informed,” and believes that “data should be the driving force behind political decisions.


Human population growth and consumption have resulted in widespread pollution of tropical streams, yet, there are few studies examining the effects of pollution on aquatic invertebrates, which are often important bioindicators. Pollution severely impairs immune system function in a variety of organisms making them more susceptible to parasite colonization. Here, I examine the differences in colonization of Elmidae larvae by gregarine parasites in polluted and pristine stream environments. The stream habitat study sites were located in lower montane wet forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica. Twenty larvae were collected from two sites, both along the Quebrada Maquina. After larvae were collected, body length was measured and the peritrophic membrane of the gut was removed. Gregarine parasite abundance was determined by counting individuals after midgut staining. As expected by my hypothesis, individuals in the polluted environment had greater parasite abundance, greater numbers of parasites per cm of body length and were significantly smaller as larvae. This demonstrates that pollution is impacting gregarine parasite abundance in Elmidae beetles, specifically making hosts more susceptible to parasite infection. INTRODUCTION Human domination in the Anthropocene has had profound effects on Earth’s ecosystems and biodiversity [1]. This has resulted in extinction rates 100 to 1000 times greater than pre-human levels [2]. More specifically, unrestrained human growth and consumption have resulted in increased human impact on freshwater systems for irrigation, hydroelectric power, and flood control [3]. These anthropological impacts have had unparalleled effects on tropical stream ecosystems causing declines in biodiversity [4] and disruption of important ecological process like nutrient cycling, primary production, and decomposition [5].

Streams in highly populated areas that are subject to surfactant chemicals and wastewater dumping have higher concentrations of inorganic compounds and lower oxygen concentration, which places a large stress on stream communities [6]. Pollution often results in cover of the substrata, sediment on the bottom of a stream, reducing available space for stream organisms [7]. This pollution causes changes in biotic communities and species interactions, altering fragile stream ecosystems [5]; however, the full extent to which ecosystem structure is affected by anthropogenic disturbances remains largely unknown [8]. In many ecosystems, including streams, perturbations in structure and function (e.g. pollution) impact parasite transmission and abundance [9]. Polluted environments severely impair immune system function in a variety of host organisms [10]. Protozoan parasites, including gregarines, take advantage of the hosts’ compromised immune system and increase in colonization when under ecosystem stress [9]. Typically, parasite species are most abundant at moderate pollution levels suggesting that they may serve as good indicators for earlier detection of unwanted environmental effects [11]. Because of this, parasite populations may serve as powerful bioindicators of environmental stress [9]. Parasites can affect host fitness behaviorally, physiologically, or morphologically [9]. This has been observed in a variety of species throughout the animal kingdom. Previous studies examining parasite colonization of chub communities in various levels of polluted environments found greatest parasite richness in polluted rivers when comparing to pristine habitats and environments with signs of pollution [11]. Pollution also impacts parasite abundance of smaller organisms that are vital to stream ecosystems. Gut fungal parasite abundance of lotic black fly larvae was found to be in greater abundance in individuals from polluted streams than pristine [12].




Gregarine parasites (phylum Apicomplexa, class Conoidasida, subclass Gregarinasina) are large singlecellular parasitic protozoa commonly found inhabiting aquatic insect hosts [13]. Hosts typically ingest gregarine oocysts containing infective sporozoites [14] which then attach and penetrate the hosts’ intestinal cells or reproductive system [15]. Adults and larvae of family Elmidae (riffle beetles) are known hosts of gregarine parasites [16]. For the purposes of this study, it was assumed that gregarine parasites affect hosts similarly to other parasites. Elmidae is also particularly sensitive to the degradation of streams and found at greater abundances in pristine habitats [17]. This ability to react to stream quality reflects their ability as bioindicators due to a chance in parasite abundance depending on stream quality. Bioindicators are species that reflect the abiotic or biotic state of environment as well as serve to represent the impact of environmental change of an ecosystem [18]. Elmidae larvae, found most often in well-aerated streams [19], contribute greatly to stream ecosystems by feeding on wood and creating highly grooved and sculptured surfaces [20]. These spatially complex surfaces support diverse invertebrate communities [20]. To the best of my knowledge, there are no previous studies examining Elmidae and their response to anthropogenic impacts in the tropics. The purpose of this study is to determine whether Elmidae larvae have the potential to serve as bioindicators indicative of stream pollution. Here, I examine the difference in colonization of Elmidae larvae by gregarine parasites in polluted and pristine tropical stream environments. Based on previous studies, I hypothesize that individuals from polluted environments will have greater gregarine parasitic load, greater density of gregarine parasites as well as shorter body length, than individuals of pristine stream environments. METHODS STUDY SITE

Larvae from the pristine habitat were collected every 3 days beginning April 16, 2016 and concluding April 30, 2016 for a total of 5 days. Larvae from the polluted habitat were collected every 3 days beginning April 26, 2016 and concluding May 3, 2016 for a total of 4 days. Sampling was performed until 20 successful individuals were dissected from each site. All samples were obtained along a 20 m stretch of stream. At each site, a dip net was placed vertically into the substrate at the bottom of the stream. Rocks and sand were disturbed in front of the net and were collected into the net. Contents of the net were placed onto By: Author a white tray for examination and identification of Elmidae. Using tweezers, larvae were placed into jars containing 80 Originally featured in Archive percent alcohol. Larvae were all dissected within 72 hours of capture and, if necessary, were refrigerated overnight to preserve the peritrophic membrane, a semi-permeable structure that forms the midgut of the larvae. DISSECTION AND MICROSCOPY Larvae were measured length-wise to the nearest hundredth of a centimeter under an Olympus CX22 dissecting microscope using a centimeter ruler. Body length was measured to approximate the length of gut. After measurement, a larva was placed in a Petri dish with a small pool of water containing a few drops of 1:4 dilution of Giemsa stain and buffer. Giemsa stain is commonly used to stain blood and bone marrow cells, as well as protozoan blood parasites. Using dissecting scissors, the ninth segment of the abdomen was removed to free the inferior end of peritrophic membrane of the midgut (Fig. 2a). The head was then removed from the prothorax using a pin. This served to separate the superior end of the midgut from the pharyngeal muscles. Using tweezers, the eighth segment of the abdomen was then squeezed to push the midgut out of the inferior end (Fig. 2b). Once a sufficient portion of the peritrophic membrane was visible, the midgut was removed by carefully grasping the end and pulling away from the abdomen. Following complete removal of the midgut, tweezers were squeezed along the membrane to completely clear the gut of feces content. This was also accomplished by gripping one end of the membrane with tweezers and repeatedly lifting out of a small pool of distilled water. The membrane was then colored with 1:4 dilution of Giemsa stain (Fig. 2c). After coloring, each larvae membrane was wet mounted and examined with an Olympus CX22 compound microscope at 400x magnification. Total number of gregarine individuals were counted and recorded for each larva midgut (Fig. 2d).


Elmidae larvae were collected from two sites in Lower Montane Wet Forest in Monteverde, Puntarenas, Costa Rica (Holdridge life zone). The first collection site (pristine) was an undisturbed stream habitat along the Quebrada Maquina at the Monteverde Biological Station at 1535 m in elevation (Fig. 1). The second collection site (polluted) was further downstream of the Quebrada Maquina, at an elevation of 1450 m, which experiences dumping of organics and other waste from residential areas (Fig. 1). Sites were chosen as there was access off lightly used trail.



Statistic values are reported with mean and standard error. Unpaired Student’s t-tests were performed to analyze the comparison of individuals from the two sites. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was conducted to determine if there was a significant difference between the number of gregarine parasites based on body length when controlling for habitat. All tests were performed in R and P<0.05 was regarded as significant.

Elmidae larvae displayed a significant difference in body length between pristine and polluted habitats (independent t-test, p < 0.001, t = 5.3265, df = 32.769, n = 20 larvae/site). Individuals collected from pristine habitats (1.28 ± 0.02 SE cm) were, on average, 15 percent longer than individuals of polluted environments (1.1 ± 0.03 SE cm; Fig. 5).


By: Author Originally featured in Archive

Twenty larvae were collected from each habitat: pristine and polluted. Individuals from the pristine habitat ranged in body length from 1.1 – 1.4 cm and hosted between 0 – 7 gregarine parasites. Individuals from the polluted habitat ranged in body length from 0.7 – 1.25 cm and hosted between 1 – 7 gregarines. To the best of my knowledge, all gregarine parasites belonged to the same species as they were morphologically similar and found inhabiting Elmidae midguts. The mean number of gregarine parasites counted on the peritrophic membrane of Elmidae larvae from polluted stream habitat (3.8 ± 0.4 SE individuals) was, on average, 33 percent higher than individuals collected from pristine habitat (2.55 ± 0.36 SE individuals; independent t-test, p = 0.026, t = 2.32, df = 37.6, n = 20 larvae/site; Fig. 3).

The mean number of gregarines counted on the peritrophic membrane of Elmidae larvae, adjusted by gut length, from polluted environments (3.57 ± 0.36 SE individuals/cm) were, on average, 45 percent higher than those from pristine habitat (1.97 ± 0.4 SE individuals/cm; independent t-test, p = 0.003, t = 3.18, df = 35.6, n = 20 larvae/site; Fig. 4).

An ANCOVA was conducted to determine if there was a significant difference between the number of gregarine parasites based on body length when controlling for habitat. It was determined that the number of gregarine parasites did not increase in proportion with increasing body length for either habitat (ANCOVA, F = 0.20, df = 1, p = 0.20, n = 20 larvae/site, Fig. 6).

DISCUSSION This study demonstrated, consistent with my hypothesis, that gregarine parasites are more abundant in Elmidae hosts from polluted stream environments than those from pristine environments as found in previous studies with different host organisms. It was also demonstrated that gregarine infestation per centimeter of body length increased significantly in more polluted habitats when compared to pristine inhabiting individuals. Unsurprisingly, also consistent with my hypothesis, larvae from the polluted habitat were significantly shorter than those from pristine habitat. These results clearly demonstrate that stream pollution is correlated with increased level of gregarine infestation of Elmidae midguts. Previous studies evaluating intestinal parasites of fish found that toxin exposure increases parasite burden [21]. It is often found that parasites, like gregarines, with direct life cycles increase in abundance in contaminated habitats [21]. Parasites with direct life cycles infect their host without an intermediate host where they




reproduce and complete their entire life cycle. This is supported by the fact that pollution compromises host immune systems increasing susceptibility to parasite loads in a variety of organisms [9]. Another possible explanation is the “density-dependent prophylaxis hypothesis” which states that as host densities increase and are more exposed to infective stages of parasites because of larger population sizes, hosts allocate more energy towards parasite resistance, making them less susceptible [22]. Studies on Oriental armyworm moth (Mythimna separata) larvae found that virus-induced mortality declined from 95 percent for insects reared solitarily to 37 percent for insects reared at the highest density [23]. This idea could potentially be applied to parasite transmission. Thus, since Elmidae abundances are greater in pristine habitats, due to Elmidae’s sensitivity to stream degradation, they will have greater resistance to parasite colonization in pristine habitats.

By: Author Originally featured in Archive

This study also shows that Elmidae larvae body length varied significantly between habitats with smaller individuals found inhabiting polluted stream habitats. While studies on Elmidae life cycles are somewhat lacking, it has been proposed that the larval cycle lasts one year with them hatching early summer which serves as a control for age [24]. Therefore, smaller individuals with higher gregarine loads were found in polluted environments. Gregarine infected individuals experience delayed development and decreased longevity, especially under environmentally stressful conditions [25]. Previous studies on earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris) determined that there was a significant negative relationship between parasite load and growth. Thus, parasite-mediated lower growth rate represents a fitness cost because mating success and choice is often correlated with size [26]. This connective nature between pollution, increased parasites and inhibition of growth demonstrates the potential overarching impacts on the ecological function of Elmidae. While larvae were identified by family level characteristics, there was no reason to believe that genus or species level differences would result in different outcomes due to strong morphological similarities and similarities in substrate between individuals collected from both sites. Therefore, there was no reason to believe the larvae were of different species despite my inability to classify them to species level.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my advisor Dr. Johel Chaves for his continuous guidance throughout the research process. Thank you to Dr. Alan Masters for helping develop my project idea and Moncho Calderón for his continuous patience and support in developing my methods and general encouragement. I would also like to thank Madison Cox for her advice and answering any experimental design questions. Finally, thank you to all CIEE staff and the Monteverde Biological Station for providing me with a field study site and facilities. 33 |  TRIPMAG.COM

In conclusion, elevated pollution levels are correlated with higher gregarine abundances in Elmidae hosts. This indicates that parasitism levels of Elmidae may serve as powerful bioindicators for stream water quality. Future studies sampling Elmidae from a range of stream qualities and determining if there is a correlation with parasitic load would shed light on Elmidae as an effective bioindicator. Furthermore, the ecological impact of parasitized Elmidae larvae would help complete the overall ecological picture of anthropogenic impact. In order to determine, while the overall ecological impact of higher levels of parasitism in Elmidae is still yet well understood, this study demonstrates, consistent with my hypothesis, that pollution is impacting gregarine parasite abundance in Elmidae beetles, specifically making hosts more susceptible to parasite infection.

References 1. Vitousek, P.M., Mooney, H.A., Lubchenco, J., Melillo, J.M. Human Domination of Earth's Ecosystems. Science. 1997; 277(5325): 494 – 499. 2. Pimm, S.L, Russell, G.J., Gittleman, J.L. & Brooks, T.M. The future of biodiversity. Science. 1995; 269(5222): 347 – 350. 3. Morley, N. J. Anthropogenic effects of reservoir construction on the parasite fauna of aquatic wildlife. Ecohealth. 2007; 4: 374-383. 4. Benstead JP, Douglas MM, Pringle CM. Relationships of stream invertebrate communities to deforestation in Eastern Madagascar. Ecol Appl. 2003; 13(5): 1473 – 1490. 5. Wallace J.B and J.R. Webster. The role of macroinvertebrates in stream ecosystem function. Annual Review of Entomology. 1996; 41: 115 – 139.

By: Author

6. Mallin, M.A. & Johnson, V.L. Comparative impacts of stormwater runoff on water quality of an urban, a suburban, and a rural stream. Environ Monit Assess. 2009; 159: 475 –491. Originally featured in Archive 7. Carlsson, G. Environmental factors influencing blackfly populations. Bulletin of the World HealthOrganization. 1967; 37: 139 – 150. 8. Ramírez, A., R. D. Jesús-Crespo, D. M. Martinó-Cardona, N. Martínez-Rivera & S. Burgos Caraballo. Urban streams in Puerto Rico: what can we learn from the tropics? Journal of the North American Benthological Society. 2009; 28 (4): 1070 – 1079. 9. Marcogliese, D. J. Parasites of the superorganism: Are they indicators of ecosystem health? Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl. 2005; 35: 705 – 716. 10. Rice, C. D., Kergosien D.H., & Adams, S.M. Immune function as a bioindicator of pollution stress in fish. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 1996; 33: 186 – 192. 11. Galli, P., Crosa G., Mariniello L., Ortis M., & D’Amelio, S. Water quality as a determinant of the composition of fish parasite communities. Hydrobiologia. 2001; 452: 173 – 179. 12. Cox, M. Stream pollution and Trichomycete gut fungal abundance in lotic larvae of Simulium sp. (Diptera: Simuliidae). CIEE Fall 2013 TEC: 53 – 61. 13. Brusca, R.C., and G. J. Brusca. The Protozoa. In R. C. Brusca and G. J. Brusca (Eds.). I Invertebrates. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, Massachusetts; 1990. pp. 161 – 162. 14. Logan, J.D., Janovy Jr. J., & Bunker, B.E. The life cycle and fitness domain of gregarine (Apicomplexa) parasites. Ecol Modell. 2012; 233: 31-40. 15. Roberts, L. S. & J. Janovy Jr. Phylum Apicomplexa: Gregarines, Coccidia, and related organisms. In L.S. Roberts and J. Janovy Jr. (Eds.). Foundations of Parasitology. McGraw Hill, New York, New York. 2005; pp. 124 – 126. 16. Brown, H.P. Biology of riffle beetles. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 1987; 32: 253 - 273. 17. Criado, F. G. & Alaez M.F. Aquatic Coleoptera (Hydraenidae and Elmidae) as indicators of the chemical characteristics of water in the Orbigo River basin (N-W Spain). International Journal of Limnology. 1995; 31 (3): 185-199. 18. Hodkinson, I.D. & Jackson, J.K. Terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates as bioindicators for environmental monitoring, with particular reference to mountain ecosystems. Environ Manage. 2005; 35: 649 – 666. 19. Elliott, J.M. The ecology of riffle beetles (Coleoptera: Elmidae). Freshw Rev. 2008; 1: 189-203. 20. Steedman, R.J. & Anderson, N.H. Life history and ecological role of xylophagous aquatic beetle, Lara avara LeConte (Dryopoidea: Elmidae). Freshw Biol. 1985; 15: 535 – 546. 21. Marcogliese, D. J. Parasites: Small players with crucial roles in the ecological theater. Ecohealth. 2004; 1: 151 – 164.

23. Wilson, K. & Reeson, A.F. Density-dependent prophylaxis: evidence from Lepidoptera baculovirus interactions? Ecol Entomol. 1998; 23 (1): 100-101. 24. White, D.S. Life cycle of the riffle beetle, Stenelmis sexlilneata (Elmidae). Ann Entomol Soc Am. 1977; 71: 121 – 125. 25. Zuk, M. The effects of gregarine parasites, body size, and time of day on spermatophore production and sexual selection in field crickets. Behav Ecol Sociobiol. 1987; 21: 65 – 72. 26. Field, S.G & Michiels, N.K. Parasitism and growth in the earthworm Lumbricus terrestris: fitness costs of the gregarine parasite Monocystis sp. J Parasitol. 2004; 130: 397 – 403.


22. Locklin, J. L., & Vodopich, D.S. Patterns of gregarine parasitism in dragonflies: host, habitat, and seasonality. J Parasitol Res. 2010; 107: 75 – 87.



By: Kelsey Beuning Originally featured in Sifting and Winnowing

- Carroll et. al in Corporate Responsibility: The American Experience, describing the demand for corporate responsibility, 2012. Introduction: The Changing Nature of Corporate Social Responsibility The place of the corporation in society and its attendant rights and responsibilities have been formed, reshaped, contested, and debated consistently since the establishment of corporate structures and limited liability in the late 1800s.1 Arguably, the contested nature of the corporation is as intrinsic to capitalism as the debate around the positives and negatives of capitalism itself. Today, the public sphere continues to debate the meaning of the corporate citizen and its rights and responsibilities within this role.


Socially, environmentally, politically, and economically, the notion of corporate responsibility and the corporate place in society is re-defining itself. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the controversial Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission ruling, stating that corporations could be constituted as a “legal person” with attendant rights and responsibilities, including freedom of political speech.2 Between that time and 2015, political spending by corporations nearly doubled since the last election cycle to hit $486 million.3 During roughly the same time period, the business world saw the number of certified B-corporations – a label indicating significant company value creation for non-shareholding stakeholders - rise from zero to more than 1,700 in over fifty countries.4 At the UN World Climate Change Summit

in December 2014, the CEOs of ten major companies, including Unilever and General Mills, sent a letter urging world leaders to take action which would encourage climate sustainability, and later participated in the summit alongside these same political figures.5 In 2015, Supply Chain World, a business publication, published a risk management issue where they listed “responsibility and regulation” as the second largest risk facing businesses today – and to put that in perspective, climate change was in third place.6 In February 2016, General Electric announced their commitment to developing green energy, including a $10 billion investment by 2020.7 Andrew N. Liveris, CEO of DOW Chemical, in a 2010 keynote lecture at Bentley University, stated: “Modern-day corporations need a modern day lens. And if you embrace the view – as we do, that we are part of the world and therefore have an ethical obligation to help humankind move forward – then business, any business, can be so much richer and more rewarding.”8 The millennial generation (born early 1980s – 2000) is coming of age in this environment and is both influencing and being influenced by corporate involvement in society. As the consumers and business leaders of the future, their perceptions and attitudes have the potential to shape interactions between consumers, government, and companies. Moreover, their unique generational attitudes toward consumption, information, and political participation have been explored within other fields of research – but their reaction to, role within, and feelings toward the transformation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) remain unexamined. These attitudes and behaviors, however, potentially influences transformation of CSR. Therefore, the goal of this research is to understand millennial attitudes around this rise of modern corporate social responsibility through the lens of changing forms of civic engagement and political participation.


“We noted the tenacity with which American society held on to the free enterprise system, despite frequent disillusionment. Indeed, the demand for “corporate responsibility” emanating from the American public square is in many ways the embodiment of that tenacity, of confidence that the system can be made to work in an ethically acceptable way – finding remedies without revolution.”

(CSR) as a concept. At its most basic level, CSR is a collaborative search by corporations and their communities to “secure public acceptance, endorsement and support – in other words, social legitimacy.”9 This definition, and this research, focuses specifically on large-scale, incorporated business structures (corporations) – though of course many of the principles apply to partnerships, sole proprietorships, etc. as well. While these other smaller business structures also engage in CSR, they are more likely to do so personally (a business owner to his community nonprofit) versus on behalf of a brand personalizing itself to a large audience. This search by a large organization for normative ‘social legitimacy’ creates both more impact and more implications for business civic engagement. The exact definition of corporate responsibility - or corporate social responsibility, the terms are used interchangeably - is difficult to nail down precisely though many agree that, as a concept, it involves “the idea that the corporation exists in society and has rights and responsibilities as a member (or citizen) of that society.”10 Corporate responsibility is a “normative challenge to business and executives to do good…[and] to do well;” however, that may be executed within any given business or corporate activity.11 For many firms, this takes the form of the “Third Bottom Line,” which considers business goals in the context of people, profit, and planet. Social responsibility is so difficult to define precisely because it has, in practice, taken many different forms. Literature conceptualizes social responsibility in five major categories: 1) environmental, 2) social, 3) economic, 4) stakeholder values and 5) voluntariness.12 Motivations for CSR typically blend, among other things, a genuine desire to give back and do good, an opportunity to differentiate brand value, and create a positive PR image to appeal to consumers and stave off regulation and activism. Although corporate social responsibility has changed in form over time, from the paternalistic “Gospel of Wealth” philosophy around charity, to intense political campaigning by some firms in the 1950s, to modern environmental and social policies, many of these broader goals remained constant. This paper will focus on this modern definition, with an emphasis on the idea of voluntariness by firms, as this encompasses what firms do without coercion in the pursuit of social legitimacy. CSR is not new, but its prevalence within modern corporations is unprecedented.13 In 2016, when nearly every major corporation has a sustainability statement or a social mission, it’s easy to take corporate social responsibility for granted and to assume that this is businesses as usual. To do this, however, would be to forget that only half a century ago Milton Friedman asserted that the “social responsibility of business is to increase its profits,”14 - describing CSR as a malicious force which undermined natural economic stabilization and provided a “stepping stone to socialism.”15 It would ignore the fact that General Electric – who have just pledged to invest $10 billion in renewable energy – claimed in a speech by 19571960 GE President Robert Paxton that the corporate responsibility of General Electric was to prevent any sort of government regulation of business functions.16 The rise of the modern corporate social responsibility concept has reflected a change in the traditional relationship between the corporation and the citizen. Increasingly, corporations and business leadership are acting in a way which indicates they see themselves not as isolated systems but as a part in a broader group of societal stakeholders.

Why is this change occurring? In the business community, traditional explanations for why companies implement CSR programs include “shared value” reasons such as employee engagement, increased profitability through price increases, a brand value-add, and as a differentiating feature.17 Political scientists, including Margaret Scammell, have cited activist brand targeting and corresponding “upsurges in consumer activism”18 as an attack which companies buffer against by developing corporate social responsibility initiatives.19 Behind such rationalizations is the simple intuition that corporate responsibility is something that consumers, employees, and other stakeholders care about and reward, financially or otherwise. Following from this, if By:then Author CSR programs are increasing in scope and intensity, modern consumers and other stakeholders must care more Originally featured in Archive about corporate responsibility. It also implies that they feel that the burden of social responsibility should fall upon corporations in addition to traditional actors such as government or non-profit organizations. This is particularly interesting and relevant in the context of millennials who are both the next generation of company stakeholders and are experiencing significant changes in how they participate in civic life. The implication is that the millennial generation cares about CSR, perhaps even more than previous generations. However, our understanding of whether, how, and why they care is significantly less clear. This research asks – do millennials care about CSR as the behavior of business would ostensibly lead one to believe? If so, why do they care? If not, what limits them? Is their view of CSR connected to their changing ideas of civic responsibility and forms of civic engagement? Where do they fit into this trend of corporate social responsibility and changing corporate citizenship? Understanding the answers to these questions can help better illuminate the future of CSR and provide a better idea of whether and how corporations should move forward. This research suggests an alternative to complement other analyses of the motivations for consumer and business support of CSR. It tries to answer questions on changing forms of corporate citizenship through the lens of a simultaneous rise in individualized political action and politicized consumption. Through a series of qualitative interviews, this research attempts to understand consumers as not just a set of value preferences but as people who view corporations through the perspective of their own sense of citizenship and political involvement. It focuses on a specific age group – millennials - as this demographic 1) is experiencing shifts in traditional forms of civic engagement and 2) represents the next generation of consumers who are currently in a formative purchasing phase. This analysis does not contradict previous research but rather complements it by adding this political engagement perspective to the analysis of consumption and reasons for consumer support of corporate social responsibility. This paper builds upon both business research of CSR as well as civic engagement research which suggests that, increasingly, citizens are using consumption not just as an expression of their lifestyle but as a form of civic participation; these attitudes affect both buying and boycotting behavior. Specifically, it explores whether the larger societal factors that shape changing political attitudes and behaviors also affect changes in attitudes toward corporate social responsibility. The research hypothesizes that factors affecting attitudes toward political involvement also affect expectations for corporations. It posits that as millennial consumers begin to value more individualized and direct forms of civic engagement, they expect this kind of engagement from companies and


Integral to understanding the perception of changing corporate citizenship by society, and especially the millennial generation, is first a definition of Corporate Social Responsibility


and exercise politicized choices in their consumption of goods as well as their consumption of politics. This analysis suggests that this politicized consumption creates a societal pressure such that the idea of corporate social responsibility is no longer something that is simply a product-value add but rather a central, normative customer expectation. These results suggest that CSR, broadly defined, should not be viewed as a premium added to products but rather an expectation of corporations and corporate citizenship by increasingly informed and connected millennial consumers.

“It should be noted, however, that although evidence of direct, short-term impact of CSR behaviors is largely absent with respect to financial gain to the firm, long-run economic benefits via indirect effects may be considerable. Such impacts may accrue by means of favorable treatment in the press, the ability of the firm to attract (and manage) superior management and staff personnel, the firm's ability to forestall undesirable regulation, etc. Needless to say, financial advantage attributable to these factors is difficult to determine and evaluate.”29

Theoretical Foundation

These results indicate that CSR may have more nuanced effects beyond direct financial performance.

Business Literature The (albeit minimal) theory that exists around corporate social responsibility generally conceptualizes three models to explain and illustrate company engagement in corporate social responsibility: the shareholder value model, the stakeholder model, and the business ethics model.20 The shareholder value model is reminiscent of Milton Friedman21 and his statement that the only responsibility of business is profit and shareholder returns. The stakeholder model, in contrast, argues that businesses are responsible to those whom their business directly affects. The business ethics model believes that businesses are more generally responsible to society as a whole. In general, there seems to be a belief that the stakeholder and business ethics models are beginning to predominate due to societal pressures,22 with some authors even expressly advocating for this change.23 These theoretical models, however, are typically a post hoc analysis of general attitudes toward the place of business in society rather than a model to predict how they will behave. In practice, most research around CSR focuses primarily on combining responsibility with profit and measuring the tangible effects that implementing social responsibility programs – defined as everything from supply chain sustainability to charitable donations – can have on financial performance, brand perception, purchase intention, and other sales metrics. For example, numerous past studies have pointed to links between corporate social responsibility practices and improved firm financial performance,24 indicative of both productive management of prosocial activities25 as well as of good management more generally.26 A recent study in the Journal of Management Science found that the immediate adoption of CSR policies by shareholders had statistically significant short-term increases in labor productivity and sales growth.27 Another study found that CSR was more likely to provide statistically significant financial gains to a company when it was targeted to specific shareholder groups based on their social or philanthropic preferences.28 However the links between finances and CSR programs, whether measured through investment growth or sales returns, are typically seen in the long-term results. As a landmark quantitative analysis of financial performance of corporations by Murray and Vogel (1997) found, CSR rarely provides short-term financial pay-offs. However, as they go on to say:


By: Author

To analyze these other effects, several additional studies Originally featured in Archive have further explored the relationships between firm behavior and positive consumer action,30 purchase intention,31 or perception32 – including examinations of awareness,33 fit, and company motivation.34 The results are mixed. While much of this research comes to the conclusion that CSR is generally perceived positively, there are multiple caveats. Consumers care at various levels about different kinds of CSR.35 One of the only comprehensive case studies on purchase intentions based around consumer preferences regarding CSR, conducted by Mohr and Webb (2015), found that participants could be broken up in four different categories based on their level of involvement in CSR: precontemplators, contemplators, actioners, and maintainers. There was a large difference in purchase intention between those who cared about and acted on CSR regularly and those who did not, with approximately equal numbers of people in each group. Other research explored the importance of identity and the “fit” of company initiatives in consumer purchase intention.36 Becker-Olsen (2006) found that positive effects of CSR were conditional based on consumer perception of whether or not the initiatives were well-motivated or fit with the company mission. Moreover, the effects were not overwhelming: “though social initiatives may be used to differentiate offerings…they are unlikely to influence consumers’ assessments of desired functionality.” Essentially, customers may well think CSR is good, but they still strongly consider other variables, such as functionality and price, in their purchasing decisions. Longinos, Ruiz and Rubio (2008) and Bhattacharya (2004) found similar results with the importance of fit, with Longinos et. al. specifically finding that consumers were likely to respond to CSR only in cases where they identified with the cause or company mission behind that corporate responsibility – and even then, their “response” was measured in perceived brand loyalty rather than purchase intention. Specific case studies on clothing and Fair Trade coffee found a similarly normative importance of personal values and causes in affecting purchase intention.37 Other research conducted by Sen & Bhattacharya (2001) supported these conclusions and even found that if consumers believe that the CSR initiative is poorly motivated or not a good fit for their personal values, it might negatively affect their purchasing intentions.38 In addition, other research has explored the issues surrounding awareness,39 credible information,40 and trust41 specifically finding that a positive response to CSR, measured by purchase intention, is contingent upon these major factors. Sen (2006) and Mohr (2005) both found that CSR could positively affect purchasing intention and behavior under two conditions. Consumers needed to be aware of and trust the information they received, which both studies found was not always the case.42 In addition, Boulstridge & Carrigan (2000) explored the methodological limitations of these CSR studies, questioning the ability of self-reported perception to truly capture consumer behavior and price sensitivity.43


This research builds upon two major theoretical foundations: first, the existing literature surrounding corporate social responsibility as a business practice; and second, trends in civic engagement and politicized citizenship since the 1960s. The intent is that the second can be used as lens through which to view the first, in order to explain consumer motivations behind support for corporate social responsibility and resulting company motivations to participate in such practices.

This research leaves some noteworthy gaps. For example, no business literature has specifically examined the effect of CSR on any specific consumer age range, such as the millennial generation. Stakeholders are always divided into shareholders and consumers, with no studies focusing on the importance of CSR for employee and talent retention. In general, there is a focus on the positive effects that CSR can elicit from consumers rather than the negative effects of boycotting, with the exception of an afterthought by Mohr and Webb that some customers seemed to mention they were “more likely to boycott irresponsible companies than support responsible companies.”44 Most importantly, this research all operates under the assumption that CSR is valuable to consumers - enough to make it worth studying how they care and how much. However, past research has chosen not to explore this assumption or provide insight into why it is that consumers care or why companies serving a responsible role in society is normatively important to their stakeholders. In addition, corporate responsibility in the business community has not been studied in relation to other socio-political changes such as a transformation in the way that citizens express themselves politically. All of these gaps and questions fueled the primary question of this research – do millennials care about CSR and, if so, why? Civic Engagement Literature In contrast to analysis of reasons for changing CSR, changes in civic engagement from the mid-twentieth century and onward have been studied extensively by scholars of civic life and politics. This robust body of research has documented significant changes in the experience of individuals who engage in politics and civic life in the United States. In the mid- to late-1900s, people generally engaged more in group participation, became members of organizations, and voted in higher numbers.45 Then, beginning around the 1960s, this began to shift as civic engagement became more individualized.46 As Robert Putnam argues in his famous work, Bowling Alone (2000), people became less likely to join bowling leagues and participate in group activities and more likely to do things individually or among small groups of friends.47 Voting numbers began to decline.48 The reasons for this continue to be debated, with Putnam positing it was possibly related to the advent of television, with other scholars implicating factors such as increasing wealth inequality and changing forms of participation.49 Regardless of the reason, this decline in “traditional” forms of civic engagement has resulted in a modern era with high rates of volunteerism, individuality, and “entrepreneurship” in public service and civic engagement.50 This research found evidence supporting the hypothesis put forward by Lance Bennett and others, that civic engagement is not, in fact, declining but rather taking different forms. That is, people (including millennials) are still engaging in civic life, but rather than expressing this engagement through participation in structured organizations or political parties, they are instead choosing to be involved in projects individually tailored to the causes they care about – “politics by other means.”51 Other theoretical studies further conceptualized these new forms of ‘collective action.’ Schudson offered the “monitoring citizen” definition, suggesting that younger generations typically mobilize reactively and respond individually to problems or issues that they see, rather than proactively joining organizations

which address problems.52 Flanagin, Stohl and Bimber (Appendix, Figure 1), modeled the civic engagement space as a grid between personal and impersonal, and institutional and entrepreneurial, with a transition from impersonal and institutional to personal and entrepreneurial. 53 Both of these models explain a transition among citizens, from group members more involved in collectivist-based political and civic action, to individuals interested in enacting political change in their own life. In other words, members of the next generation are not political party-line voters. They are individual volunteers (a distinction used later in this research). Understanding these changes to how the millennial generation has experienced political life and By: Author changing forms of civic participation presents an interesting way to think about how these changes may also apply to Originally featured in Archive changing priorities of consumption and expectations of corporations in society. More specifically, if millennials are increasingly enacting political change in the private sphere rather than through group participation, they are more likely to exert political pressure through everyday choices – such as what they buy. These new forms of civic engagement are often described as “lifestyle politics”, everyday decisions and actions which, while inherently part of a private lifestyle, hold political meaning through their intention and action.54 Moreover, these lifestyle politics need not just be political in in the traditional sense – a protest to an offensive political comment, an entrepreneurial donation to a non-profit, an online petition or volunteering – but can also take the form of politicized or politically relevant consumption. As stated in the introduction to a special Annals of the American Academy of Political Science edition in 2012 focused on communications, consumers and citizens: “political consumerism in the form of boycotting and ‘buycotting’ exemplify the expansion of what qualifies as civic engagement, moving beyond periodic and dutiful action to directed at the state to more personalized forms of lifestyle politics.”55 Specifically, multiple research studies have viewed changing consumption (or lack thereof) as a form of politicized activism. One study by Micheletti and Stolle (2007) analyzed the anti-sweatshop movement and the mobilization of ethical consumers as a political action intentionally identified by activists in the absence of global political responsibility.56 They found that by identifying a critical mass of shoppers and internal agents of corporate change, these political consumption mobilizations could have effects on company practice.57Another study by Bennett & Lagos (2007), found that some activists would even attach their own branding and messaging to specific mainstream corporate brands to create change although they also identified the dangers of only punishing certain companies for unethical behavior instead of recognizing industry-wide issues.58 Further research has implicated the development of information technology, specifically the internet, as a key mechanism behind these changes. Kim (2012) argues that issue publics, groups of people who organize activism around single issues rather than typical organizational structures, as well as changing forms of citizenship and lifestyle politics can be primarily explained by new media and personalization of issues.59 De Vreese (2007) noted an example of the internet as a tool for individual political action, showing that most Dutch teens’ internet use was associated with increased online political activity.60 This is an important catalyst for the “monitoring citizen’s” increasingly individualized and entrepreneurial political action though no research explicitly designates it as an important factor in consumer activism as well.61 Finally, Willis and Schor (2012) found a specific connection between conscious consumption and political action - that is, those citizens who were more politically engaged were also more likely to be conscious consumers.62


These studies all conclude that customers care about CSR and that it is typically positively associated with brand value, purchase intention, and financial performance, but it adds these values only under certain conditions.


This research seeks to synthesize the existing literature and then use that synthesis to ask more pressing questions. We know that companies care about CSR and that it can have effects on their financial performance and consumer perception or choice. We know that shifts in civic engagement reflect a younger generation that is more individualized and lifestyle-oriented in its political actions. Where does the millennial generation fit within this picture? Do they care about CSR, and if so, why? Are their forms of political engagement, and the reasons they engage in them, similar to their relationship with the concept of CSR? These questions, asked against a backdrop of the narrative of social and political change, seek to understand the shifting landscape of perceptions about how we can make our voices heard and solve problems facing future generations. Methodology & Limitations Understanding the complex relationship and intersections between millennials, their sense of citizenship, political involvement, consumption patterns and views on company responsibility lent itself to qualitative, in-depth interviews. This research included fourteen qualitative interviews with millennials between the ages of 19 and 28. Of the millennials interviewed, 42% were male and 58% were female. Nine were Caucasian, two Chican@/Latin@, one Asian, one black and one mixed race. Eight had achieved high school diploma or equivalent, five had a completed undergraduate degree, and one had a completed graduate degree. Twenty-one percent had a family SES below $30,000/year, 21% were between $30,000-$50,000/year, 35% were between $50 $100,000/year and 21% were over $100,000. Seven were students, six were employed full time and one was unemployed. Of those employed full time, two were employed in the public sector and four in the private sector. These millennials were primarily recruited from a middlesized city in the Midwestern United States. Participants were recruited on a voluntary basis, through announcements in work settings on a university campus, classrooms, and on social media channels. The participants generally were either acquaintances or friends-of-friends with the interviewer. However, given the conversational, noncontroversial, and non-personal nature of the interviews, it was determined that this personal connection did not hinder the interviewees from speaking freely.


The interview process followed the human psychology school of qualitative consumer analysis, which assumes that people understand their habits and motivations but need assistance to “make explicit views and values that people have not thought about in a very conscious way or do not normally admit to.”63 While the interview followed a series of specific questions, the primary purpose was to understand whether, why, and how CSR affected consumption, employment, and general attitudes toward a firm. Typically, the interviewee would answer a question and the follow-up would be “why” – asking participants to dig deeper into their own motivations and gut reactions. In addition, the interview attempted to customize the case studies of CSR to By: Author the interviewees. For example, if the interviewee cared more about the environment than labor rights, more time would Originally featured in Archive be spent discussing the impact of the Volkswagen case study than the Starbucks case study. Each interview lasted approximately 1-1.5 hours. Each began with background questions on the participants and then transitioned into questions on self-perception of political involvement, how respondents’ self-perceived ideas of CSR affected their consumption and employment decision, their knowledge and thoughts on specific case studies, and their general normative ideas of CSR and engagement with CSR. The case studies covered General Electric’s Ecomagination project, Volkswagen’s emissions scandal, and Starbucks’ tuition assistance program and Fair Trade guidelines. The complete list of interview questions and case studies is in Figure 2 (Appendix). The data was then coded for the following variables: self-perceived level of civic involvement, self-perceived level of political involvement, civic style (voter vs. volunteer), methods used to monitor company responsibility (social media, traditional news and word of mouth), familiarity with and attitude toward each of the case studies, description of ethical behavior, belief that companies should or should not give back, and belief that millennials should or should not care if companies give back. Then, the research was analyzed for larger thematic elements, such as how participants described their civic engagement, how they described companies who did or did not give back and why they felt certain issues were important to them personally. Over the course of the interviews, several specific themes emerged, including a belief that CSR is achievable, a belief that companies have a responsibility to give back, and a sense that irresponsible actions by companies were more important than responsible ones. Specifically, the research looked for cases in which interview participants went beyond just making broad claims (i.e. “I support corporate social responsibility” or “I do not believe corporations have a responsibility to be involved in their communities”) by giving specific examples of how these claims, values or beliefs affected their employment and consumption decisions. This study faced a limitation in terms of representativeness, as the available study sample was statistically more white, wealthy and educated than the typical United States citizen. In addition, the study was limited by the nature of an interview setting, specifically the fact that attitudes and discussions of behavior do not always match actual behaviors. The interview process attempted to mitigate this limitation by asking questions in a non-biased way with non-judgmental formulation that factored in complexities inherent in choice. For example, instead of asking “Would you work for a company that had unethical practices?” participants were asked “If you were choosing a job and one of your choices involved a company with some known unethical practices, how would you decide and what other factors would you take into your decision?” Another tactic used to elicit more honest responses was repeating


These changes in lifestyle politics and conscious consumption both fit within the same broader canvas of dynamic social change. Over the past decades, shifts in social identity are occurring which have been shown to measurably affect views toward civic engagement and politicized consumption, specifically in the form of boycotting and activism. The literature around the political implications of these changes is extensive. However, it has never before been used as a frame to analyze corporate social responsibility, especially in the context of the millennial generation. Given the trend in millennial engagement with CSR, this research hypothesizes that consumption habits and attitudes toward corporate social responsibility stem from the same underlying societal changes which influenced changing political expression and civic engagement. Moreover, as politicized consumption is a form of civic engagement in its own right, this research asked whether the story of lifestyle politics and transforming political participation could help illuminate whether, why and how millennials care about corporate social responsibility.

As a small-sample qualitative research study, this paper does not presume to draw connections to the behavior of all millennials or provide quantitative claims. Instead, it attempts to lay a groundwork for understanding corporate social responsibility within a population and a frame which have not previously been explored. Moreover, it compares the qualitative patterns and claims with quantitative research. In many cases, quantitative studies both of broad millennial attitudes and of millennial purchasing behavior supported what participants said in their interviews. In cases of discrepancies, the perspective of the qualitative research was re-evaluated. It is the hope of this paper that this research can provide a framework for more in-depth quantitative research on millennial CSR practices and viewpoints compared with trends in political engagement. Results: Major Findings Millennials believe strongly in direct forms of civic engagement and feel that CSR is positive, important, and achievable. All millennials in this study appeared to have attitudes consistent with previous findings regarding trends in civic engagement, namely that they considered themselves very involved in more individualized, direct ways rather than in groups or through political participation.64 65 All but two interview participants said that they would rather volunteer than vote. Interview responses elaborated on these sentiments: “volunteering is something that can impact people’s lives in a more direct sense,” “Volunteering has a direct impact; with politics something might change, versus [if I volunteer] I can give somebody food and then they’re not starving,” “I know voting matters but I feel like I could make a bigger difference volunteering, actually getting out there and doing something for the community,” “It feels more personal, it feels like I’m actually contributing something…a lot of times I do vote but I just feel like it doesn’t make that much of a difference” and “I think the fundamental basis of the political system is flawed and doesn’t actually stand for all of us…I think volunteering is a much more impactful use of my time.” The importance of direct, tangible service and involvement opportunities to millennials seemed to come from both a desire for instant gratification and a disillusionment with the current political system. In the words of one millennial: “I like seeing immediate gratification, seeing the fruits of my volunteer labor being immediately present versus a political system that’s giant…I think it has to do with individualism as well, when you’re talking about a political system that’s trying to unite a whole country versus volunteering for your local shelter you’re doing something you want to do for a cause that you feel passionate about.” Others were more pointed, such as A.W. (f, 21) who said, “There are instances where if certain people were in power, my vote would be more effective, but then there are cases where…I could be more effective volunteering.” When asked which she would do with the current political system, her response was, “Volunteer, definitely. I feel like I’m doing something by being able to volunteer.” These sentiments were similar across race, gender, and age range within the millennial generation.

The importance of direct civic engagement was not limited to volunteering. Direct civic engagement included any and all individualized service and community engagement opportunities – from serving on a local committee for park improvement to making a direct philanthropic donation online to help farmers in other countries. Nearly all participants believed strongly in the importance of civic engagement of some kind and the responsibility of citizens in society to create change where they can. In the words of an older millennial, S.H. (f, 28) “I think being an active part of your community is what makes a democracy healthy.” Another said: “I just feel like it's my duty as a citizen of [city] to give back to make sure [city] is as good as people say it is.” Many millennials also spoke positively of CSR By: as a Author form of engagement that could make a difference and express Originally featured in Archive their beliefs about how society should be. One participant (L.B., f, 21) spoke about her perception of millennials involvement, saying: “For us it’s a big concern where our money is going to.” Some (A.W., f, 21) spoke about this in relation to values, i.e. “I would probably choose the ethically produced product just because it goes back to having that base value and moral about what you stand for as a person”, while others spoke about it as a “no-brainer”, for example C.L. (m, 25), “if a company is more responsible in their community hands down someone, myself included, is going to be more willing to purchase their product…that's just how people's brains are wired”. As another participant (D.C. m, 27) said: “I do think that consumers should care and act on that when they buy, you know we all have to breathe this air.” Inherent in this belief in CSR is a sense of agency by millennials that they can make an arguably political difference via their credit card. One participant, A.T. (f, 21), explained why she feels strongly about using her money in a way that sends a message: “Yeah [it’s important] because we’re purchasing their profit. We’re adding into their ‘piggy bank’ and you somewhat have a responsibility to be like ‘uh that’s messed up so I’m not going to add to your piggy bank’. And there are companies who are willing to do [CSR] so I’ll pay to be a part of their product or organizations. But yes, consuming their product you have a responsibility to know where it’s coming from.” Others such as N.F. (f, 22) added their input on how supporting CSR could lead to long term change, saying things such as “I think when we don’t think about that then we support the companies that aren’t doing good things, and then those companies are being pushed up higher. But obviously if we do think about it and act on it the companies that aren’t caring as much will start thinking they do need to care.” A.W. (f, 21) agreed: “I feel like if we care it forces companies to start adopting those [corporate responsibility] policies…and by the time it’s our turn to run some of those or new companies that’s just going to be ingrained in the business culture to give back.” Still others directly voiced their sense of empowerment in being able to enact change via buying behavior: “I think as consumers we have more power than we think we do, so I think we do have a responsibility to care if companies give back. It’s our money that we’re ultimately handing over.” Overall, there is a sense that direct, individualized engagement is important and that rewarding CSR is a form of useful and effective direct individual engagement, and therefore supporting it is important.


questions in the third person, so, for example, later in the interview after asking “Do you believe it’s your responsibility to make sure companies give back?” the interviewer would also pose the question, “Do you think millennials have a responsibility to make sure companies give back?”


In addition to supporting previous findings on civic engagement, this research also found similar results to surveys which showed millennials considered CSR more in purchasing than previous generations.66 67 68 All but one person interviewed said they considered CSR when purchasing a product and 80% provided specific examples of cases in which they shopped at certain companies specifically because of policies or programs surrounding environmental and social responsibility. These companies varied widely depending on the person and the cause they cared about but the theme of certain companies creating a positive brand association using CSR was consistent. For one participant, D.C. (m, 27), this company was Vans: “They’re even good to their sweatshop workers in Thailand, and they’re super transparent, they’re really clear about the whole process of how the shoe is manufactured, and they clearly follow the whole process. I just think that’s important.” For another, L.B. (f, 21), this was Krochet Kids International – “they set up weaving and sewing operations, they’re in Kenya and Peru right now, to help women in the community who need jobs and sell it.” Another, K.T. (f, 22), had been specifically turned onto Stella Artois because, in her words, “I really just loved their ‘buy a lady a drink’ campaign.” A.W. (f, 21) “love[s] Warby Parker because of how they give glasses away and they’re making a profit but also giving to communities in need.” In addition to these positive examples which came to mind while discussing corporate responsibility, every single person discussing the Volkswagen case study said that the company’s breach of trust through their emissions scandal would negatively impact their view of the company, and most said that they would not want to buy a car from VW anymore – the rest said it would not completely discourage them, but they would reconsider and do further research. In contrast, when discussing the case of G.E.’s environmental sustainability program, every single participant said that they felt more positively toward General Electric after hearing the program and all but two said they would consider that in their purchasing decisions. At least in their verbal reflections, millennials appeared to make these choices based on their valuation of CSR, as discussed earlier. In the interviews many of the participants articulated a direct relationship between their ideas that CSR is important in the abstract and their cognizance of buying decisions. In further explaining the importance of these companies policies to their purchasing decisions, one millennial, C.L. (m, 25) specifically articulated that “especially now that I’m more of an adult I can pay a little more money for a product that supports my community… that does play a role in my buying.” N.F. (f, 22), echoed him: “I’d probably spend 15-20% more on a product that’s produced more ethically or not trying to screw people over.” Another, D.C., (m, 27), said: “I feel like if you’re gonna tell yourself you’re gonna live a certain way you should have a focus on those things and do your research on what you’re doing or I said I don’t really buy stuff but when I do try to think about where it’s from and what impact it’s having.” To compare these millennial attitudes with previous generations, the data was compared with the only widely cited and peer-reviewed quantitative research into consumer attitudes toward corporate social responsibility where consumers were ranked by their differing attitudes toward CSR.69 This study from 2005 interviewed 25 adults of all ages. The consumers were then divided into four


categories based on their attitudes toward corporate responsibility and how the presence of CSR programs affected their purchase intentions and overall perceptions of a product or company. These categories were: precontemplators, who were not aware at all of CSR and did not consider it; contemplators, who knew of CSR and viewed it positively but did not consider it in purchasing; maintainers, who considered CSR and said it affected some of their purchasing; and actioners, who said that CSR consistently affected their decision to purchase at least one product.70 In the case of Mohr’s study, the division was 1/3 pre-contemplators, ¼ contemplators, ¼ maintainers and 1/6 actioners. Applying this same model of analysis to the qualitative data in this study and using the same By: Author descriptions Mohr et. al. used to categorize their Originally featured in Archive participants, this study found that none of the millennial participants were pre-contemplators, two or 1/7 were contemplators, seven or ½ were maintainers and five or 5/14 were actioners. This distribution shows a definitive difference from the Mohr study. In this research paper’s findings, all of the participants had heard of CSR and considered it, at least in passing, before. One half of the participants said that they considered it when buying some products, double the results of the Mohr study. A much larger percentage of this study’s respondents, 29% (compared to 17% in Mohr), considered it consistently. To ensure this number was representative and not just what millennials were claiming they did, these percentages only includes millennials who could give specific examples of their ethically-motivated purchases. These striking differences support the qualitative claims that millennials feel very engaged with CSR and that they consider it when making purchasing decisions. For millennials, Corporate Social Responsibility programs are equally or more important in their employment decisions as in their consumption decisions. Millennials interact with companies on multiple stakeholder levels; they are future consumers as well as future employees. Knowing that millennials care about CSR and view it as part of their civic responsibility as well as a company responsibility, it is important to also understand how this affects these two key stakeholder relationships. This is particularly salient as all previous research has focused almost exclusively on the “consumer” stakeholder relationship. For the millennials interviewed in this study, CSR was not just something they considered and found important in their consumption decisions but also something that they viewed as integral to picking a job. Similar to secondary studies finding that millennial companies care about responsibility in their buying, data from secondary studies have shown that, more than any other generation, millennials seek meaning and fulfillment when choosing a career.71 Participant interviews reflected this: “I do think missiondriven work is really important to me” was a refrain throughout the process. When discussing the case studies, every single participant said that they would be more likely to consider working at GE over a competitor upon learning about their environmental program, while every single one also said that learning about Volkswagen’s issues made them considerably less likely to work there. Of those, half said they would never consider working there again. Comments consisted of “I would not want to have that associated with my personal brand,” “as a human being I’d feel responsible for giving input so if there’s a company or brand that’s not like that it is definitely more likely for me not to associate myself with them,” and “I’d never work there, what happens makes them all sound like liars.”


Millennials consider CSR more in purchasing decision than previous generations.

Similar to consumption decisions, several interview participants were able to reflect on times when they would actually turn down jobs because they did not feel that they were an ethical fit. This was heavily skewed toward the older interviewees, which was inferred to simply be a factor of the reality that many of the younger participants were still students or not holding jobs that they considered an extension of their career. Among the older participants, one participant J.T. (m, 27) had turned down a job in his career field with double the pay because of how they treated their employees – “Even though I would’ve had the chance to pursue a job in the direction that I want to further my career I couldn’t because the company didn’t offer an environment that I felt comfortable supporting or that was good for me personally, so I had to turn it down.” Similarly, S.H. (f, 28) had turned down what she had thought was her “dream job” at a foundation in D.C. because she felt “they weren’t walking the walk the way they talked the talk.” Finally, one aspiring advertiser who had been graduated for six months and was still underemployed, N.F. (f, 23) specifically turned down an agency job where she would be asked to advertise for cigarette companies. As she said, “I didn’t think I could do that because ethically I don’t think it’s a good idea to smoke. On the job application they’d been like ‘check this if you’d be comfortable working on this’ and I couldn’t say yes.” In each of these cases, the ethics of the company played a critical role in career decisions for these older millennials. Millennials believe it is the responsibility of companies to be involved in CSR. In addition to having a personal stake in CSR, most millennials also believed that it is important for companies to be engaged in some form of corporate social responsibility, even if it is just as a philosophy of doing business. Typically, these expectations of “responsibility” were not necessarily specific; rather, millennials simply feel that it is something companies should do in some form and to the extent of their abilities. In the words of participant A.W. (f, 21), “I honestly think companies should give back in some sort of way to the community to be ethical.” Another said, “I think that’s definitely what makes a business good, being involved in the community.” The exception was a participant who identified as “strongly politically conservative”, S.J. (m, 24) who said, “I don’t know if they have a responsibility. I think definitely there’s no way it’s ok for them to be held ‘responsible’ by the government or regulation or whatever. But they have an incentive to because people care about those things.” When asked if he cared and would spend more, he responded “I mean I do, and for some things I would, definitely.” Certain millennials did feel that certain programs were more important or had different concepts come to mind regarding how they identified responsible and ethical companies. K.T. (f, 22), spoke about philanthropy: “I think it rallies the community

together in a way, like when you know a company is helping out financially that they’re not selfish, they care, and they’re not just doing it for the money.” Another, C.S. (f, 23) spoke about employee treatment and was more blunt: “I think they should care more about their people than their profit margins.” Another, A.T. (f, 21) explained how she’s particularly focused on supply chain ethics after her experiences living in Ghana: “If you’re sourcing your product from another country and don’t know the circumstances...those communities also need help. Like other people are struggling too, so however your company impacts society or whoever it directly impacts I feel like there’s a responsibility there to give back.” Overall though, By: Author the sense of “just do something” pervaded the discussion, as summarized by participant D.C. (m, 27) in answering the Originally featured in Archive question “Do you think companies have a responsibility to give back?” – “Yeah, absolutely, we’re all in this together…I think the smart way to do it is not hurting your bottom line. I feel like the frequency or the amount of whatever you’re giving is irrelevant compared to the fact that you’re just doing something and inspiring others to give back and do something. It doesn’t really take a whole lot, just effort and people and ideas and passion.” There was also a sense that companies did not necessarily need to sacrifice business objectives to be responsible or give back to the community – which added to the sense of it being a responsibility that companies should invest in. As one student studying International Business, L.B. (f, 21) said in relation to the Volkswagen case study: “I think what they did was bad…what I don’t get is you’re already a highly profitable company. I know the point of business is to make money and give shareholders good returns – that’s the point. So to an extent I get that that’s what they’re trying to do. But the other part of me is just like, you know, spend the extra time.” A.T., (f, 21), felt similarly: “If you’re going into business you’re doing it to make money, but I think a part of you has to go into the business not just for the money [but] with the idea that you’re creating a resource the world needs and not producing money...I think you’re creating a product and at the end of the day the product is for humanity. You do have an obligation to humanity not just to provide the basic resource but to make sure it’s being done effectively and ethically.” Across the board, participants believed that to an extent, CSR and thinking beyond simply profit should be the responsibility of companies. An interesting linguistic aspect of these descriptions of company responsibility was the personification of business and the consistent references by interview participants to companies as if they were people. In some ways, this may have been an inadvertent reflection on the awareness of there being specific people running companies who have the capacity to choose, but it is still fascinating how these groups were referred to collectively. This suggests that the same sense of responsibility millennials seem to feel in their personal engagement with CSR extends to other people, and by extension, to companies. As S.H. (f, 28) said: “I think that they [companies] have the responsibility to give back to community the same as I believe every person has the responsibility to give back to their community.” One participant, J.T. (m, 27) personified company ethics specifically by referring to them as “human.” “I mean knowing in every business class I’ve ever taken they just say…to do well as a business is your goal. So by that definition no [they should not be ethical], they should just do business. But I personally think there needs to be a human aspect to business and a responsible side of business. Just don’t be a shitty human. That was put bluntly…but yeah, I believe that.” Another, L.B. (f, 21) using similar language when referring to Starbucks and Fair Trade:


Interestingly, several participants did say that they would be willing to take less ethical jobs if they felt like they were empowered and able to create an impact within company policy. As S.H. (f, 28) said, “I might pick the one a little less desirable if I was in the position to make changes. But that’s where culture comes into play because even if it’s like “fix the program” if you’re not supported you’re not going to fix it. Or you’ll cry a lot.” Others such as C.L. (m, 25) agreed, “I would look at what sort of relationship I could have with the management and what sort of responsibility I could take on…if I’m just an hourly worker doing my job and clocking in and out I’d definitely go for the job with the cleaner human rights record because I’d be in no position to make change.”


Millennial support of CSR is dependent on available information, personal definition and other purchasing factors considered. Now is the time to complicate the narrative developed so far. From the above findings and quotations, one might make the mistake of assuming millennials hold companies to almost unrealistically high standards and see CSR as a perfect solution which they act on perfectly in their purchasing behavior. While it is something they value, find important, and that ties into their sense of civic engagement, there are a few caveats to add to millennial attitudes toward, and behavior surrounding, CSR. While they believe it to be very important, it is vital to recognize that this generally positive support of CSR is complicated by sometimes conflicting definitions of specific forms of CSR, a forgiving nature toward companies and other factors that affect purchasing and employment decisions such as budget constraints and information. First is the lack of any clear definition of CSR. Many of the participants had the sense that they could name examples of corporations doing responsible work, as well as those who were not, but typically had a hard time defining specifically what a responsible company looks like. As S.K. (m, 22) said: “I think ethics really relates to community orientation in the broadest sense, so that when you’re producing or creating working conditions that all the actions you’re taking have the best informed intention and are respectful of your community.” When asked how consumers could identify this he answered: “I guess having awareness because a lot of companies say they do good things and do they really do good things, I’m not sure.” Another participant, A.T. (f, 21) said, “An ethical company is a company that makes sure they’re doing the right thing.” When asked what this “right thing” looked like, however, she could identify pieces such as supply chain integrity but ended up concluding, “I guess I just know it when I see it.” This theme appeared in nearly every interview. Companies should do something, and while participants can identify what is important to them, they have a hard time explaining any consistent reasoning behind those decisions or reconciling it with their sense that in many cases, companies do not necessarily do what they say. In many ways, the normative attitude previously discussed of “just do something to give back” works against companies and consumers in this case – as there are no clear-cut expectations by consumers of what this should look like, and therefore what will be rewarded or punished through


consumption and employment choices. Second, although millennials believe companies have a responsibility to give back, this is not a hardline attitude. They are generally very forgiving of companies as long as they are “trying” in some way. As K.T. (f, 22) said, “I think it is your responsibility to make sure you’re not screwing everyone over, but at the same time I get focusing – like if your main focus is employee relations do a good job with that, focus on that and don’t lie about that – versus if it’s the environment focus on that.” Another said, “I mean if they have the money they should give back but if they’re struggling then I get it and maybe they can help out in a Author different way like instead of resources maybe haveBy: their employees go volunteer.” The idea of volunteering was Originally featured in Archive prevalent among other participants as well: “a company can look at different ways to make an impact without hurting their bottom line, and one way to do that is to let your employees volunteer during company time cause the only thing you're affecting is wages, you're not affecting necessarily profit or sales, so I feel like it's up to a company to try and gauge the kind of impact that they can make on a manageable level and if they can then they should.” Another added, “I definitely feel like sometimes you have to compromise, like who is that extra profit helping, is it going to top people or is it because you’re actually doing something… I feel like it just depends on where the profit is going and deciding from there.” Yet another said, “I do think there are fewer companies who do CSR well than who do it poorly. I think there are a majority who do a lot of giving with the best intention.” Another spoke about how the amount companies should give back depends on where they lie on the “success spectrum”; “for example if you’re barely breaking even…you’re going to fail and that’s short-lived help.” Similar to the hazy definition of CSR, this assumption that companies will be doing or trying to do the right thing and only if they are not will they be punished - leads to the puzzling logical conclusion that consumers can understand and easily identify the complexities of the decision-making process, the details of their finances and even company intentions. This assumption raises questions about the actual difficulty in identifying those specifics, how informed millennial attitudes about company behavior really are, and in turn how this information affects consumption and employment decisions. Despite being an important factor in how most millennials decide what to buy or where to work, corporate social responsibility is by no means the ultimate or only factor which affects these decisions. As C.L. (m, 25) said: “I mean I think I would see a company in a more positive light as compared to a company that hasn’t developed [a CSR program] but in terms of whether or not that’d lead to buying their products, I think there’s still a lot of other factors that contribute to that decision…like I said I also pay attention to quality and durability and stuff.” Most of the participants discussed the biggest obstacle to supporting CSR in all shopping – budget constraints. As one participant said: “I try to be mindful…I try to look for balance, but it’s hard sometimes, especially on a college student budget. I would love to buy Fair Trade and organic everything but that’s not always feasible.” Another participant said, “I guess price is a big issue like for example a seven dollar lipstick versus a thirty dollar lipstick where one is cruelty-free and the other is not – like that’s important to me but it’s hard because I don’t want to buy thirty dollar lipstick.” A.T. (f, 21), who studies social work, specifically brought to light her concerns about expecting consumers to have perfect information and be able to act on it accordingly: “If people start making a trend towards more ethically produced and sustainably made products then companies will start 


“I don’t think continuing to be an unethical person with your product…is acceptable when you obviously have the means to improve something that might not have been ethical in the past.” Another participant, in reference to Volkswagen, said they needed to “get their life together”. Others were not quite so direct, for example, S.H. (f, 28) elaborated: “I do think it’s everyone’s responsibility to think about their spheres of influence and where they can create impact…so if you’re a company I do think you have a responsibility to think about how not only to drive a profit but ways you can create positive social change.” Another participant added: “I think we need a better world where people and companies care about what they’re doing and who they’re affecting…so yes, I think it’s absolutely necessary that companies are caring about the community as well.” In both cases, however, the implication was a personalization of the company, the company’s responsibility, and the kinds of actions attributed to a company – no longer is making a profit its sole function but more humanized characteristics such as caring and giving.

Finally, access to information on CSR was a major barrier to most millennials in how CSR affected their shopping or boycotting habits. As one participant said, “honestly I don't know too much about what companies are doing unless I hear it from the news.” Even those, such as L.B. (f, 21) who identify as someone who strongly considers CSR in purchasing, acknowledge their limited knowledge, “I think I could pay attention more to it because I don’t necessarily think of it first when I’m buying clothing.” Another, S.K. (m, 23), said “I like to think I care about CSR…but at the end of the day you can’t always be perfectly informed about what you’re buying. But for example if I’m buying food I buy organic food or things produced locally.” These constraints complicate the idea that millennials can and will support CSR in their decisions by adding additional factors to their decision-making process. Negative attitudes toward corporation behaviors are more well-known and memorable than positive ones. Despite the vague, forgiving and limited nature of CSR perceptions, this is not to suggest that it is only something to which millennials give lip service without follow-through. A key finding of the research was that while perhaps picking a job or choosing a product was only slightly affected by the presence of CSR programs, among a variety of other factors, companies who did not practice corporate responsibility or were actively irresponsible were heavily punished for those actions in millennial employment and consumption choices. As one millennial reflecting on his consumption, J.T. (m, 27) said, “I think actively buying or not buying products tends to help – for me I think it’s more important what I don’t buy than what I do buy – because people rarely stick to that or there are not enough people to really make a dent until something crazy happens. So VW for example, they’re forced to change…showing it with your wallet is the best way to do it. Like hey I don’t like you so I’m not giving you money.” Of all the participants, every single one said that they negatively viewed Volkswagen and would not want to work there or would strongly reconsider buying products from there in the future. Half said they would never consider it again. In the words of C.L. (m, 25): “that's not a product that I want to buy, like in the next couple months I'm going to be buying a car and VW is not something that I will be looking into.” In comparison, those talking about GE used less strong descriptors such as “somewhat”, “maybe” or “adding into the decision” of their consumption or employment. Moreover, every single participant was able to give examples of companies they refused to shop at because of various practices, in contrast to only nine who could say the same for positive CSR examples. Some examples, from S.H. (f, 28) of these included Walmart: “I don’t shop at Walmart and I

and I haven’t shopped at Walmart in over 10 years, specifically because of what I know it does to small rural economies.” Another example was Cheetos: “I saw on the news how Cheetos is contributing to deforestation, and that really changed my opinion of them.” Still another spoke about both Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-A, “I mentally boycotted Hobby Lobby because of the birth control stuff [their refusal to provide healthcare coverage that covered birth control]…I’ve struggled very much too with Chick-fil-A, because they have incredible food but their stand against LGBT people and then recently the Blue Lives Matter shirts in certain locations…I just don’t appreciate that.” One participant, C.S. (f, 23) felt she could never work for a Author shaving company because “through their productsBy: they’re perpetuating gender stereotypes and they do things like Originally featured in Archive charge more for women’s products – so I would not be comfortable working there in that environment.” Overall, in the words of A.W. (f, 21) upon reflecting on the interview, “Hearing that [information about G.E. case study] it made me realize how ignorant I am to what I buy intentionally and what those companies stand for, I guess I know much better the places I don’t shop or that I avoid.” Or in the words of another, K.W. (f, 19): “I do think about what I know and I know I can’t be an expert about the social practices of every company but some of the bad things really stick out to me.” In part this may be because, from an information standpoint, millennials were much more likely to know about breaches of trust than positive programs. While only two participants knew about General Electric’s environmental sustainability program, and only one knew about Starbucks’ work with healthcare, all but two participants had heard about the Volkswagen incident. All were disappointed and upset. Interestingly, while several of them spoke about being upset in the context of the environmental impacts of VW’s behavior, most were upset first and foremost because the company had chosen to lie about their environmental impact. In the words of S.K. (m, 23): “Knowing about what they did they just seem like a less conscious company, a less ethically conscious, environmentally conscious and socially conscious company…by feeling they need to be deceptive to sell their product.” Other comments reflected this attitude, from “I think intentionally lying or doing things to cheat or beat the system is really not cool” to “I think because from my point of view it seems like they were intentionally lying and I don’t think lying is ok in any sense” to “I think it’s stupid for a company to try to lie to its consumers.” Even S.J., who identified as less influenced by CSR programs, expressed a frustration at the choice to lie, “That’s really interesting that they lied about it – it wasn’t just something that went wrong that they didn’t fix, they specifically lied. For me that definitely discredited them.” D.C. (m, 27) was upset about both the company lying and the environmental impacts: “You’re literally affecting the lives of everyone on the planet and you’re probably saving a little bit of money as a result and when you go into that you can’t have this ignorance that ‘oh it’s fine it’s not that big of a deal’. You don’t make a conscious decision like ‘hey let’s fudge these numbers real quick because it won’t matter for our carbon footprint.’ You have to make a decision like ‘hey we’re making a little bit of money but we’re fucking up the earth is everyone cool with that?’ Alright great. And like that’s not cool. There’s not an accidental way to do that, like “oh sorry our bad, we thought it was less [emissions]. You know it was more.” In this case, regardless of their views on the environment, millennials were upset about what Volkswagen had done not just for what it meant ethically and environmentally but for the deception that it represented, the breach in trust and expectation they put in a company to be responsible.


seeking them out because that's what people will buy. I don't think it's reasonable to expect everyone to follow that trend though; there are so many factors that play into different shopping and spending habits: your means, what you can and can't spend. I don't think it's fair to judge people based on that.” Another student spoke specifically to their personal experience with these constraints, saying, “I try to buy ethical…I think you get what you pay for, so I’ll pay more for well-made, hopefully ethical clothing so it’ll last longer. But I always try to buy within my means. That comes first.” In many ways, this aspect of CSR takes into account the fact that while millennials may be the spenders of the next generation, they are also currently paying for education or facing debts which leads to serious budget constraints at this point in time. As one said in relation to shopping with CSR in mind: “I usually buy ethical if I have some extra money to spend on myself – you know, it’s a treat-yo-self kind of thing.”


Social media & information technology is a key enabler of millennial lifestyle politics surrounding CSR. This study found that information and awareness about CSR is a vital piece in understanding millennials’ attitudes and behaviors toward company responsibility (or lack thereof). Millennials can have many beliefs on how companies should act, but without the information about those companies, they cannot act on and communicate those beliefs through purchasing or employment decisions. Easy access to information via the internet, particularly social media, is key to millennial’s actionable awareness of CSR. Similar to the monitoring citizen concept,72 this information being readily available allows millennials to browse and then act upon those causes most important to them. In the study, every single participant identified the internet as how they found out whether companies were being responsible or not, and all but one said that they were most likely to hear about it from their social media feed. Study participants consistently echoed the same thing: “I think that popped up on some social media,” “I saw it on Facebook,” “I probably wouldn’t have heard of Krochet Kids until this post my friend Instagrammed about them” and “Probably on social media, like if there’s a hashtag against a brand…or if they did something I usually see it on Twitter or Facebook or Buzzfeed.” Several millennials even said they did not know if they were more active because they cared more about CSR than previous generations, or were just more aware because the information was easier to access. In the words of A.W. (f, 21): “I like to think I’m pretty aware, not necessarily of what I’m buying but of the issues going on.” K.T. (f, 21), said “there’s access to information about issues so I feel like that also makes people more motivated to be engaged.” Other participants echoed them: “I think it’s easier to be more aware of what's going around the world - the connectedness you can have through the internet - and social media and technology” and “Now with social media, anytime anything happens it’s an important way people find information and it spreads like wildfire.” Even if information doesn’t just “pop up” or appear spontaneously, the internet allows millennials who care strongly about specific issues to investigate further. For example, N.F. (f, 22) said, “I do think social media has become a pretty good way to find out about different organizations and companies…like for me I look up the tests on the amount of animal testing my make-up. So you know it’s definitely an age where it’s easier to find out information about anything.” Others agreed: “If there’s something I’m curious about, it’s pretty easy to find out information and be like maybe I won’t buy that.” Overall, it became clear throughout the interview process that information technology and social media were the key drivers behind millennial awareness, and possibly millennial action on CSR. Discussion & Implications In business, there is a concept known as an “order qualifier.” An order qualifier is defined as a feature of a product which it absolutely must have in order to be able to sell on the market. These order qualifiers evolve over time depending on consumer preference. Today, examples of order qualifiers include quality and safety. Once, though, safety was not


necessarily an order qualifier. A common example is the seatbelt and the backlash of car companies against seatbelt regulation. Some companies continued to create unsafe products, even lobbying against safety regulations and guidelines, while others were ahead of the curve. Those who did not create safe products or follow best practice guidelines held out until severe consumer backlash and government regulation made manufacturing or selling unsafe products absolutely unprofitable. In the words of J.T. (m, 28): “I mean it’s great if you have an environmental program, but at the end of the day it’s like everyone should be doing that anyway. Hey cool you’re By: Author catching up to modern times.”

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This research points to the conclusion that millennials are very normative in their beliefs of CSR; they know it when they see it, and take notice of its absence. They appear to believe that its general presence is important and its absence is unacceptable. From the results of this study, it would appear that millennials strong normative expectation of corporate responsibility is not a product feature that only appeals to certain consumers, but rather an “order qualifier” of sorts. While specific preferences in the kind of CSR or the support of certain programs (Fair Trade, organic, crueltyfree, etc.) vary by person, the general, normative standard of “do something” and “think about more than just a profit” appears to be prevalent. Of course, millennials are not always able to reward this behavior due to budget constraints or imperfect information. However, the fact that CSR appears to be such an aspirational purchasing feature that is, even those who cannot afford it now would like to in the future - indicate that this is not a trend that will go away. Instead it will only become more important as millennials become more financially stable. Moreover, while ethical behavior is not necessarily always rewarded in purchasing, unethical behavior going against this norm is typically reported, shared, identified, remembered and punished via boycotting behavior. Just as some companies still create unsafe products, this does not mean that all companies will now think of more than just profits and consider the “third” bottom line of social and environmental sustainability. Instead it means that not doing so presents a risk factor to a company’s perception and potentially its sales. Therefore, instead of conceptualizing corporate responsibility as a program that is tied to a product valueadd, it should instead be viewed more broadly as an addition to the brand value, and as a safeguard against risk. The research also leads to several other, more definitive conclusions regarding how businesses can streamline and optimize their Corporate Social Responsibility programs to appeal to the millennial generation. Specifically, this research points to three major concepts businesses can utilize to specify, implement and leverage CSR as a competitive advantage and an order qualifier.

Communication and Transparency: Targeting, Packaging and Advertising Although many companies have already jumped on the CSR bandwagon, this research supports an increasing consensus that the CSR program is a vital part of the 21st century company. More importantly, companies cannot just walk the walk; they need to talk the talk. CSR cannot lead to changes in purchasing decisions if it is not advertised to its intended audience. This kind of targeting can occur through a variety of mediums: packaging, third-party verifications, and even as the foundation of certain advertising campaigns.


Ultimately, negative cases were significantly more memorable and had a larger effect on millennial purchase behavior, as evinced by their memory of places they did or did not shop and their explanations of what they consider in buying.

Authenticity: Community-Based Development The concept of an order qualifier also includes the presumption that not all CSR is created equal. Essentially, if all companies are implementing CSR programs, customers will be more critical than if they were not – both because of an increase of choice, and because of the perception that “they might be doing this just because everyone else is”. Therefore, it is increasingly important that companies bring community-based approaches and feedback, as well as more rigorous Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on the effects of their programs, into place. This will not only help with the above-mentioned communication, but ensure that companies are 1) actually meeting existing needs in the community, 2) working cooperatively with the people already addressing these needs, and 3) doing both of these things effectively. Integration: Mission-Orientation Finally, it is incredibly important that the CSR efforts align not just with the community and the consumer, but the company itself. Companies that are mission-oriented are more effective and less distracted. The alignment of CSR with a company’s mission is just as important as the alignment of any other business aspect. For example, it does not make sense for an energy company to focus on technology education, just as it does not make sense for a technology company to invest in a water power project. While there are exceptions to every rule, in general, aligning CSR with the rest of the mission will lead to more focused and more sensible projects that more easily address the first two recommendations. In addition to the business implications, this research also has potential consequences for civic life and political engagement by millennials. It strongly supports previous findings on millennial engagement and involvement in civic life. Millennials are increasingly likely to be involved individually in tangible volunteer and service projects than they are to engage with traditional and group-focused civic mechanisms. This does not mean they value civic engagement less, just that they engage in a different way. Among these new forms of expression is politically motivated consumption. The participant responses indicated that politicized consumption is, for them, a definitive form of this modern civic engagement. In individualizing and personalizing their civic actions, millennial consumers appear to see their personal sphere, including their consumption decisions, as a place in which they can leverage influence to create meaningful social change. The attachment of civic responsibility and meaning to consumption fuels this strong, normative belief that the modern corporation holds a responsibility for making communities a better place. It also indicates that changing norms of civic engagement have consequences beyond simple involvement in the political sphere. Instead, the

normative implication is that millennials consumption and lifestyle, as well as political actions, can be leveraged to create desired community changes. Finally, this research implicated the rise of information technology as an information source for CSR decisions and mechanism by which boycotting and purchasing actions can be taken to support CSR. This has several implications for that technology. First, it showed the importance of investigative reporting on the web, and the key role that publishing accounts of corporate irresponsibility can have. In addition, it showed the importance of social media and the sharing of these stories in both spreading the word and By:of Author conveying to other millennials that these issues are importance and value to their peers. It also showed the Originally featured in Archive importance of showcasing which companies are doing well, because millennials do care about and reward that behavior, even if they do so to a lesser extent than they punish unethical companies. Therefore, third party certifications and external reports on the companies, which also indicate transparency, can result in increased trust and belief that companies are doing the “right thing.” Qualitative research helps illuminate some of these larger themes and adds value by creating connections and exploring motivations and reasoning which otherwise could not have been elaborated on. Further research, however, could help bolster some of these claims by exploring specific aspects that emerged in these conversations more critically and in-depth. One further strain of research could explore a comparative analysis of other generations’ selfperception of CSR engagement. This would help to understand if this shift is truly generational, or more “timestamp,” and how varied millennial perceptions are from older, and younger, generations. It would also be valuable to analyze views on employment and consumption separately in a large scale quantitative format to reach a broader geographic, racial and socio-politically diverse study sample. It may also be valuable to compare these views internationally as well as among millennials or other groups within the business community. Finally, it would be helpful to analyze how and whether specific millennial perceptions, attitudes, and claims are enacted in actual purchasing and employment behavior. This research hopes to spark interest in a topic which to date has had relatively limited academic exploration and yet has the potential to create a large impact on positive social change and corporate behavior in the 21st century. Society has experienced huge shifts in civic engagement, in technology and even more prominently in the rise of CSR. These changes have affected businesses directly and indirectly. Some of the changes, such as the Citizens United ruling on political contributions by business, have been argued to have negative consequences on political expression and involvement by citizens. However, the prevalence of and importance the millennial generation places on CSR bodes well for the idea of businesses being held accountable for creating positive change while reducing negative impacts on society. Moreover, as this research finds, this accountability is not likely to decline within the next generation. Millennial perceptions point to change and to an expectation of business as unusual.


Another important part of this research pointed to the fact that different kinds of CSR can resonate with different people depending on the issues they personally care about. Instead of seeing CSR and CSR communication as being targeted at those consumers who care about corporate responsibility and those consumers who do not, companies should increasingly be aware of the complexity of the growing first group. For example, if you are trying to reach women 20-30 year olds who specifically consume pomegranates, you should target your CSR (and your communication about it) to the issues this group cares about.


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By: Author Originally featured in Archive


By: Eric Fleming Originally featured in Wisconsin Engineer Magazine


Dr. James Lattis is the director of UW Space Place, the outreach and education center for the UW-Madison Astronomy Department. Lattis cleared up a common misconception about the rarity of solar eclipses by stating, “the appearance of a total solar eclipse at a specific point on the Earth is the rare thing, not the eclipse itself.” To better clarify: a total solar eclipse, which occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth and completely covers the sun, are only visible from a small area, while partial solar eclipses, where the moon covers only part of the sun, are relatively common and can be seen across a wide area. The defining characteristic of total solar eclipses are that they are only visible in a narrow range about 100 miles wide. The last time a total solar eclipse occurred in the US at all was in 1979, but it has been since 1918 that the path of totality has stretched from Atlantic to Pacific. Observers will get about two minutes of totality this year. Total solar eclipses get much more attention than the more common partial eclipses as they are far more dramatic. When situated in a broad viewing area during a total eclipse, an observer can watch the shadow of the moon race across the landscape. Lattis describes this as being “like a science fiction movie.” When the shadow reaches the viewing point, shadow bands, which are light and dark bands, are painted


across the landscape. This phenomenon continues as temperatures drop sharply once the area is covered in sudden darkness. At the abrupt arrival of nighttime conditions, birds and other animals behave strangely. Looking around, there is twilight circling the entire horizon. Higher in the sky, stars and even planets are visible, despite it being midday. However, the most striking part of a solar eclipse is the sight of the sun’s outer atmosphere, the solar corona. The surface of the sun, or photosphere, is extremely bright. The atmosphere, or solar corona, is orders of magnitude dimmer and can only be seen during a total solar eclipse. “Even in a partial eclipse that’s 99% covering the surface of the sun, the sunlight is still extremely bright,” Lattis says, “and there’s enough of it that the atmosphere never gets dark and you can’t see the corona.” In the absence of the photosphere, the solar corona is bright and vivid. According to Lattis, in a total solar eclipse, “photographs can’t really capture the bright and dark detail.” It’s truly something that must be seen in person. The solar corona is not just mystifying to casual observers; it still has many secrets astronomers have yet to unlock. As the atmosphere of the sun extends away from the surface, it increases in temperature, from a few thousand degrees to a few million. This is counter-intuitive: generally, things get colder further from a heat source. Solar eclipses are an important time for astronomers to study why this occurs. “There is an interesting physics going on there in that plasma environment that we have yet to understand completely,” Lattis says. Although astronomers at UWMadison are not currently participating in the ongoing research on the solar corona, they were once heavily involved, back when solar eclipses were used for a wider range of observations. Before advances in astronomy, solar


In 1918, the year better known as the end of World War I and a raging influenza pandemic, a total solar eclipse traversed the United States from coast to coast. Now, 99 years later, Americans will finally get another chance to experience one of nature’s most awe-inspiring displays. On the morning of August 21st, 2017, a total solar eclipse will travel across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. Along the way, it will pass over thousands of cities, towns, and parks, giving millions of people the chance to cross viewing a total eclipse off their bucket lists.

eclipses were used to search for undiscovered planets near the sun, and UW astronomers partook in “eclipseexpeditions” in the early 20th century in the unsuccessful search for a planet closer to the Sun than Mercury. Lattis has been in the path of two solar eclipses in the past. On one occasion, it was cloudy and rainy, but it still got noticeably darker during the eclipse, even through the clouds. However, that didn’t compare to the second time, when he was treated to a perfect view of the total eclipse. He described it as “absolutely astounding,” declaring, “you can’t compare it to anything.” Lattis says other astronomical events, like meteor showers, “might be fairly subtle,” but “you can’t possibly miss a total solar eclipse. It’s probably the most dramatic astronomical experience that I can think of.” Lattis plans to drive down to Kansas for this eclipse and certainly is not alone in his pursuit. Many people, especially enthusiasts called “eclipse-chasers,” plan years in advance for solar eclipses. It’s not uncommon for these eclipsechasers to book accommodation in multiple locations, waiting for the big day to determine which spot will have fairer skies. The United States’ roads and highways will make this eclipse particularly accessible, as many total eclipses, by chance, are only visible from the ocean or remote areas of the Earth.

By: Author Originally featured in Archive

It’s recommended that those interested in viewing the eclipse make travel plans as soon as possible, as camp grounds and hotels near the path of totality have been filling up for quite some time. There are many public events occurring along the path of totality and Lattis expects it to be a “huge bonanza for science outreach in the US.” Whether in the path of totality or not, it’s important to protect your eyes during a solar eclipse. Looking at the sun is always dangerous and it is only during the brief period of totality that it is safe to look at it unfiltered. In Wisconsin, there will be no period where it is safe to view the eclipse directly. However, there are ways to safely observe a partial eclipse. Sun viewing filters, number 14 welder’s glasses, or pinhole projection devices can all be used to observe the partiallyeclipsed sun. The UW Space Place recently ordered several thousand sun-viewing filters in anticipation of local demand. Lattis also warned against using equipment to view the sun. Concentrated solar rays can easily damage cameras, telescopes, and binoculars.


The 2017 “Great American Solar Eclipse” promises to be a breathtaking sight. Anyone who is able to should try to witness it. But fortunately for those unable to get to the path of totality this August, the US will be graced by another total eclipse relatively soon, in 2024. However, as the experience of Dr. Lattis shows, it’s a good idea to plan to attend both. Astronomers can guarantee when and where a total solar eclipse will occur, but they can’t guarantee it won’t be cloudy.



By: Morgan Adkins Originally featured in Wisconsin Engineering Magazine

As technology continues to dominate the business of agriculture, intelligence gathering forms a foundation for these advances. Farmers have access to an increasing amount of data relating to every aspect of their fields. Instead of managing land on a per field basis, precision farming now allows farmers to manage their fields with accuracy down to the square foot. To achieve this kind of precision, farmers use remote sensing data, satellite imaging, variable rate technology, and drones (or unmanned aircraft vehicles). The result? James Bond meets Barnyard. The Benefits Brian Luck, an assistant professor and extension specialist in the UW-Madison department of biological systems engineering, deals with precision agriculture on a daily basis. Essentially, precision farming is site-specific management. Today, farmers have both the equipment and the manpower to micromanage their fields in order to more efficiently and effectively oversee their croplands. “Different areas of the field are being treated differently with inputs, so the end goal is to manage on a smaller area to minimize input and optimize, or maximize, profit,” Luck says. Essentially, the farmer uses less input — herbicides, pesticides, water, etc. — to make the most profit. It’s an issue of input and resource allocation for either maintaining yields or using the land optimally.


Yet maximization of farmers’ profits isn’t the only benefit of precision agriculture. This technology can also reduce the negative impacts of farming on the environment. Overapplication of chemicals is the main cause of agriculture’s environmental repercussions. This problem can be combatted by using the tools of precision farming, Luck explains. Instead of applying chemicals consistently across an entire field, growers can specifically target areas of need

within their fields and apply the right amounts of chemicals where and when they are needed, saving both time and money and minimizing environmental impact. The same idea can be applied to water conservation. As humans are increasingly exploiting springs, rivers, and lakes across the world, the need to conserve water grows. Irrigation in many parts of the world can be both difficult and expensive, and it is all too easy to over-irrigate, wasting precious time, money, and water. By obtaining more detailed information with precision technology, farmers can precisely compute how much water each plant requires. How it Works The basic concept behind precision agriculture is as each individual plant grows, it will react differently to the same growing conditions and therefore will develop different needs than neighboring plants. The plants take in sunlight, nutrients from the soil, and water. Based upon this, GPS imaging, drones, and remote sensors can detect physical properties of each plant, which a producer can use to determine the plant’s needs. From this information, the farmer can individually cater to each plant’s needs. “While we aren’t quite there yet, we can theoretically tell you the location of every seed in every field based on the accuracy of our equipment.” — Brian Luck Take irrigation for example. As plants grow, incoming sunlight is either reflected or absorbed through their leaves and then used for photosynthesis or converted into heat. Similar to the way people perspire to cool off, healthy plants “transpire” to keep cool under the heat of the sun; they release heat through tiny pores on their leaves that open to allow water droplets to evaporate. But a plant that is under stress does not transpire well, starts to overheat, and begins wither and change its texture, shape, and color. Remote sensors can measure the temperature of plants, or to be more precise, they can measure how much energy plants


Reconnaissance has always been a crucial element in the intelligence world. Is agriculture next?

The Gadgets There are quite a few gadgets that make all of this possible. Precision farming found a legitimate foothold with the establishment of Global Positioning System (GPS). At that time, accuracy of the imaging was within plus or minus a couple of meters, according to Luck. Today, Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) satellite navigation brings that error down to plus or minus a few centimeters. Along with better satellite imagery came resolution improvement of application equipment, such as planters and spreaders. “While we aren’t quite there yet, we can theoretically tell you the location of every seed in every field based on the accuracy of our equipment,” says Luck. That might even be more impressive than anything James Bond can do. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), too, are key tools in the recon arsenal of the precision farmer. Drones are the scouting tools; they let growers know when something is wrong. Information gathered from drones can be used to mark areas of a field that seem problematic (i.e. more yellow than others), allowing for targeted checks in the field that may reveal a problem with insects, nitrogen shortages, or lack of water. Whatever the issue, treatment can then be focused to the problematic area instead of applied to the whole field. The most crucial instrument to the success of precision farming is the variable rate technology now being used on farming equipment. These technologies can be programmed to control the dispersion of chemicals, water, seeds, etc. based upon the data collected from satellite imaging, drones, and remote sensors — all of the reconnaissance work.

Go Big or Go Home? A controversial topic surrounding precision farming is its impact on the family farm. Is precision farming helping to bring about a decline in small-scale farming operations? During the infancy of its development, this tech was only benefitting big industry due to initial cost. However, it has come to a point where small-scale farming operations can reap the rewards of this technology, too. With the dropping equipment prices, it is now becoming economically feasible for the family farm to implement precision farming technology as well. Imaging costs can be shared between growers with multiple-field images, lessening the burden of By: Author investing in precision agriculture, and remote sensing technology is dropping in price as well. It is advantageous to Originally featured in Archive all producers to have more information, both in quantity and quality, about their crops. “We know exactly, on average, what we need to put into the field to get the maximum amount of yield with the least amount of cost. Who wouldn’t want to do that?” — Brian Luck With agriculture entering into the big data trend of the 21st century, farmers are expected to know seeding rates, soil fertility, yields, planting data, chemical data, and more about their croplands — years’ worth of data. With this information, farmers can seek out crop consultants to determine how best to optimize their resources to get the most bang for their buck. As Luck puts it, “We know exactly, on average, what we need to put into the field to get the maximum amount of yield with the least amount of cost. Who wouldn’t want to do that?” Future Outlook Looking to the future, the next step for precision farming is to integrate these reconnaissance techniques with automated solutions to the problems they expose. Traditionally, farmers have been out in the field, in the barns, running their operations firsthand. Only in recent years has the dairy industry been moving to a more automated system with technology like robotic milking. Now, crop production is heading that way as well. The company Case IH has recently come out with a fully autonomous concept agricultural vehicle as novel and hightech as James Bond’s Aston Martin. Without a cab, or even a steering wheel, it is a revolutionary idea in the world of agriculture. Unlike a person, “it won’t get tired, and all it needs is fuel,” Luck points out. This means producers can harvest for 72 hours straight if need be. He goes on to explain, “We’re able to make the most of narrow harvest windows for optimal crop harvest and crop quality,” and so the timing of planting and harvesting can be perfected to get the best crop possible. Because agriculture machines are becoming more automated, the newest concept designs for them are actually becoming smaller to improve safety. With lower costs, these smaller automated vehicles are safer, more affordable, and more easily serviceable. “The next big leap,” Luck says, “is going to be autonomous, and it’s going to be swarm-type farming: Multiple smaller machines doing multiple tasks in the same field.”

Photo by: Dylan Guelig

Because of this marriage of big data with variable rate technologies, growers are no longer limited to treating fields as a homogenous unit. More information is leading to optimizing every part of the crop industry: targeting problem areas, reducing inputs, and perfecting planting and harvest times. This means less cost, more energy savings, and even more profit: it’s a win, win, win situation. Beat that, James Bond.


emit at thermal infrared wavelengths. The plants’ temperatures can then be used to determine just how much water the plants are using by relating water intake to the surrounding air temperature. If farmers are getting accurate and timely measurements of plant and air temperature from their remote sensors, then they can program exactly when and how much water to give each crop through an irrigation system. This is just one application of precision farming; many other plant attributes can be measured to indicate which variables — such as photosynthetic activity or soil moisture — are changing over time and by how much.


By: Ben Zastrow Originally featured in Wisconsin Engineering Magazine


To illustrate the concept, Dr. Jack Williams, director of the Nelson Center for Climatic Research, uses the example of brook trout in northern Wisconsin that need cool water temperatures to survive. Fish are often some of the highestrisk species because unless several bodies of water are connected, they have no way to move to a more beneficial environment once the original habitat becomes unsuitable (in this case, too warm). Managed species relocation would address this issue by identifying new bodies of cooler water to which the trout can be moved, and transporting them to the new location. While the main argument in favor of species relocation tends to be biodiversity preservation, there are other more practical reasons relocation is useful — for example, in the case of certain species of trees. “It’s true that you want to keep species from going extinct, but another side of it is managing and maximizing safe timber yield,” Williams says. This may not seem related to species relocation at first glance, but in order to account for climate change, foresters have to consider when it might be beneficial to get seeds for a certain tree species from a more southerly or lower elevation source. “There are some [species] that are doing fine on their own, some that are savable, and there are some that are unsavable — and so you focus on the savable ones.” — Dr. Jack Williams“ .


“[Alberta foresters] are already starting to plant for the forests of, say, 50–80 years from now, and so they’re already building climate change forecasts into their scenarios,” Williams says. The benefit of doing so is that planting seeds of a strain that is better suited to the climate of 30 years from now (i.e. a warmer or wetter climate) could improve the quality and quantity of timber when it is eventually harvested. This kind of interest in the uses and dangers of species relocation can extend to many different applications. Even industries like tourism, where the appeal of unique local plants or animals draws visitors and money to a region, could benefit from such considerations. It’s clear that there is much to gain from utilizing species relocation, but there are many concerns associated with it as well. The risks are well-documented and, unfortunately, grounded in instances from the past when invasive species have been introduced into an ecosystem and wreaked havoc on native plants and animals. One example of how species relocation can go wrong is seen in the problems caused by buckthorn, a plant that many Wisconsin natives know well. Buckthorn was first brought to the United States in the 1800s as a hedging material but was quickly found to be incredibly invasive, crowding out and killing off local plants. The reason it is so successful here is that it leafs out very early in the spring and retains its leaves until late into the fall, suffocating many native plants. This instance of species relocation backfiring illustrates how important it is to consider not only the impact that relocation will have on the species being moved, but also its effect on any local species that may suffer as a result. Cases like that of buckthorn illustrate one of the earliest lessons that ecologists learned about species relocation: moving species from one continent to another is almost never a good idea. “There are different kinds of assisted migration,” Williams explains. “My general philosophy is that


As the climate warms and alters ecosystems across the globe, many species are discovering their habitats are changing drastically and that they must adjust or risk extinction. One proposed solution is managed species relocation, which involves moving a species to a new habitat where conditions are similar to those in the species’ original environment.

I’m against intercontinental or continent-to-island assisted migration. That to me is a very bad idea, but I’m generally okay with assisted migration within continents.” The paleological justification for Williams’ philosophy is that many species naturally move outside of the area their original habitats. Therefore, movement of a species within a small region of the world is not nearly as risky. “Species range shifts are one of the primary mechanisms by which species accommodate climate change, so all we’re doing is facilitating a natural mechanism in that sense,” Williams says. Even disregarding any concern about the impact a move might have on local species, we still must be careful in choosing which species are good candidates for potential relocation. As Williams puts it, “there are some [species] that are doing fine on their own, some that are savable, and there are some that are un-savable — and so you focus on the savable ones. That’s where you choose put your resources.”

By: Author Originally featured in Archive

Scientists have developed an acronym, DAMP, which summarizes the different ways that a species can deal with the changing characteristics of their native habitats. The first possibility is that the species simply dies out (D) because they are incapable of any other form of response. If it doesn’t immediately die out, a species can adapt (A), a strategy typically available to species with short life cycles or those capable of evolving quickly in other ways to match the new challenges of the new environment. A species might also move (M) to a more suitable environment. This is the approach that managed species relocation simulates artificially. Finally, some species can simply persist (P) without changing at all. Typically species that already are suited to living in a wide range of climates might be able to do this successfully. Considering these four possible approaches and a given species’ likelihood of falling into one of those categories is a good way of deciding if they are a candidate for managed relocation.


Species relocation as a solution to the threat that climate change presents to biodiversity has both supporters and opponents within the scientific community. While for some people the root causes of climate change are still up for debate, the fact that the earth is warming up is undeniable. The associated changes in ecosystems around the globe will have to be dealt with somehow, and species relocation provides an implementable, concrete solution that has the chance to save many species from extinction. There are demonstrable risks involved that must be seriously considered in each individual case before any actions are taken, but there are also very real concerns about the future of biodiversity and survival of many species on earth that need to be addressed. “People are starting to rewrite the rules and the codes that they use for managing these forests and these systems,” Williams says. So while species relocation is a tough issue to get right, hopefully some of these new changes to the rules will make it well worth our efforts to figure it out before it’s too late.



ABOUT WUJA The Wisconsin Undergraduate Journal Association (WUJA) is an interdisciplinary network of undergraduate student publications at the University of Wisconsin. Established in the Spring of 2017, WUJA was created to be a medium of exchange and collaboration for the authors, editors and faculty of each member journal. The Association currently includes Sifting and Winnowing, ARCHIVE: the Undergraduate Journal of History, the Journal of Undergraduate Science and Technology, the Madison Journal of Literary Criticism, Equilibrium, the Wisconsin Engineer, the Wisconsin International Review and Avukah: the Undergraduate Journal of Jewish Studies. These journals feature the best of UW undergraduate research on topics related to political science, public policy, history, religious studies, economics, science, literature, technology, and mathematics. WUJAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mission is to strengthen each journal by engaging and promoting a network of students who are passionate about undergraduate research and scholarship. For those interested in learning more about WUJA, please contact Hilary Miller (

WUJA Best Of Publication  

JUST is a member journal of the Wisconsin Undergraduate Journal Association and helped to publish the best undergraduate research from sever...

WUJA Best Of Publication  

JUST is a member journal of the Wisconsin Undergraduate Journal Association and helped to publish the best undergraduate research from sever...