Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.97
Liaison Alex Davis
Submission Date July 29, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Arizona State University
ER-13: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 2.00 Betty Lombardo
University Sustainability Practices
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Has the institution conducted a sustainability literacy assessment?:

Did the assessment include a baseline evaluation of students and then a follow-up evaluation of the same cohort?:

A copy of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment:
A copy of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment :

See attached.

A brief description of how the assessment was developed:

The University Sustainability Practices office developed the assessment by revising questions used in surveys at other universities and by writing additional questions. Our goal was to find a concise way to determine whether students were literate in sustainability topics and to get the most valuable data to be used for our office. An initial "test" survey was emailed to a small group of helpful students for review and feedback. Based on the feedback, the survey was updated and finalized. At the end of the survey, students can elect to view a webpage that includes the correct answers to the literacy questions, a variety of sustainability resources, and university related resources so that students could find ways to get involved in university sustainability efforts.

A brief description of how the assessment was administered:

Arizona State University has a very large and very diverse student body. We discussed multiple scenarios to determine the best method of administering the assessment to get a good response rate and as accurate a cross section of the student body as possible. Instead of emailing the assessment to a certain group from the student body, we made it available to all undergraduate, graduate, and online-only students. We posted a colorful banner with an active link to the survey during May 2011 on the student home page. We expected that students would see the banner during this month when they are more actively checking their home page for finals and grade information. We found that the students who made the effort to take the survey are more likely to be ones who are generally interested in sustainability than the average student. Our survey data supported this as 78% of the respondents said they have either a passion for or considerable interest in sustainability. Our highest response rates came from students in the School of Sustainability, a small college, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences which is our largest college.

A brief summary of results from the assessment:

268 students completed the survey.

Knowledge and Practice of Sustainability:
Overall the majority of respondents indicated that they felt sustainable behaviors were important or very important. When asked if they make an effort to be knowledgeable about sustainability and environmental issues or practice sustainable behaviors most respondents answered that they do so; and most also indicated that they usually or always practice sustainable behaviors.

When asked what sustainability programs they were aware had been implemented at ASU (prior to the survey) more than half of all respondents indicated they were aware of the following initiatives:
• Free shuttles between campuses and around the Tempe campus
• Farmers market
• ASU U-Pass Program
• Solar power installations and generation
• Bike co-op
• Sun Devil Dining sustainable food sourcing (ex. Engrained restaurant)

When asked if they were aware of what constituted a sustainable practice (prior to the survey) more than half of all respondents indicated they were aware of the following:
• Using alternative transportation
• Powering down electrical devices when not using them for more than 15 minutes
• Selecting double-sided printing
• Keeping indoor temperatures close to outdoor temperatures and dressing for that temperature
• Limiting meat consumption

Literacy Assessment Questions:
Juniors, Seniors, and Post-Graduates tended to answer the questions correctly more frequently than Freshmen or Sophomores.

Respondents who indicated that they had a passion for or considerable interest in sustainability tended to answer the questions correctly more frequently than those who said they were neutral or had little interest in the subject. Notably, those who said they had no interest in sustainability also answered the literacy questions correctly more frequently.

Respondents pursuing a degree (or degrees) in Barrett, The Honors College; the School of Sustainability; Graduate College; Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering; and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts tended to answer the questions correctly more frequently.
Respondents in the School of Nursing and Health Innovation and the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College answered the lowest percentage of questions correctly.

Resources and Follow-up:
The majority (>50%) of respondents indicated that they would find the following resources the most helpful in learning about sustainability:
• Websites
• Social media (ex. Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
• In-person workshops / classes
• On-campus signs

In learning about sustainability, the majority (>50%) of respondents indicated that they wanted to know more about the following topics:

• Tips for the home or residence hall (e.g. water and energy reduction)
• ASU sustainability programs and initiatives
• Lifestyle choices that impact your carbon footprint
• Renewable energy sources

The website URL where information about the literacy assessment is available:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.