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University Students' Perception on Sustainable Development: A Case Study from Turkey

How can universities realise their powerful role in dealing with issues of environmental degradation, education for sustainability and changing life styles? Being a developing country and having young people amounting to one-third of the total population, it is a very important challenge to help especially the young in Turkey to recognise the social, economic and cultural dimensions of the environment in order to achieve a sustainable future. Thus, this study aims at investigating university students' perceptions of sustainable development and changing life styles and examines the effect of gender and enrolment on environment-related courses. A total of 823 students from three faculties of Middle East Technical University (Ankara) participated in the study. Data were obtained by administration of a modified version of Environmental Attitude Scale and analysed by two-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). The results revealed that while there was a statistically significant mean difference between boys and girls with respect to perception on sustainable development, there was no statistically significant mean difference between students who enrolled in an environment-related course and those who did not.