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West Valley City Journal

Granger High students win big at 2020 Clean Air contest

May 07, 2020 12:40PM ● By Jess Nielsen Beach

Romero’s winning submission. (Courtesy Ed Stafford)

By Jess Nielsen Beach | [email protected]

On Feb. 8, it was announced that students at Granger High School had won for their submissions to the 2020 Utah High School Clean Air Poster Contest.

The contest was started six years ago by Ed Stafford, professor of marketing at Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, and Roslynn McCann, a professor and Sustainable Communities extension specialist, both at Utah State. Originally, the contest was based in Cache County, with Granger High School added to the roster only this year.

“There were 14 finalists from just that school,” Stafford said of Granger.

Four Lancer students were honored as grand prize winners for their submissions: Juan Romero, Noely Morales, Alicia Ranquist, and Molica Chao.

Normally, the program extends from Southern Idaho to Moab; this year, however, it was up to Stafford alone to give information and encourage schools to participate, as McCann was on maternity leave.

“We give a presentation on air quality problems in Utah,” Stafford said. “We ask students about the sources of pollution and what strategies they can use to try and preserve air quality.”

The program’s goal is to reach high schoolers who are preparing to drive so they can understand the implications of their new status as license holders.

“We have collected data and found that students are more aware of air quality problems in Utah because of the contest,” Stafford said. “They are more willing to engage in clean air actions as a result.”

Many previous and current submissions have dealt with refraining from idling, biking to school, taking the bus and carpooling.

“Part of the fun is to get students to be creative on how they will educate others through their posters,” Stafford said.

High schoolers tend to lean toward pop culture parodies, including previous winning entries titled, “The Fault in Our Cars” and “Car Wars.” Although the posters can be silly or provoke a chuckle, not every student chooses to go with an entertaining idea.

“Other types of posters are terrifying,” Stafford said. “One poster from a few years ago featured a three-eyed devil baby. It was trying to communicate how air pollution causes birth defects, and while the artwork was exquisite, it was also chilling.”

The public service announcements are judged by a panel consisting of principals from participating high schools, business owners, past winners and the art director for the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art at Utah State.

“The sponsor this year is the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA),” Stafford said. “They will display the winning posters from around the state, which will be part of an exhibit tentatively called ‘Air.’”

The posters are set to be featured at upcoming art festivals later this year, including Logan’s Block Festival and Moab’s Art Walk.

Another potential opportunity for viewing these posters in person is in Salt Lake City.

“We’re hoping to put Granger’s winning posters up as billboards in downtown Salt Lake,” Stafford said. “This is a new initiative for us. Our main goal is education outreach, and while we have posters in small businesses, shop windows, and billboards, I am always looking for bigger venues for more outreach.”

Stafford hopes for the program to continue to grow. Businesses donate the prizes the students win, with many coming back to support the event year after year.

“We’re very excited to have Granger involved this year,” Stafford said. “I hope to have more high schools from Salt Lake County participate in the future.” 

The 2020 posters, as well as past winners, are available to view on

“People are free to download and share the images,” Stafford encouraged. “Let’s get the word out.”