Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.97
Liaison Stephen Ellis
Submission Date Aug. 2, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Boston University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 4.00 Stephen Ellis
Director, Data Analytics
BU Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of the sustainability literacy of its students (i.e. an assessment focused on student knowledge of sustainability topics and challenges)?:

Which of the following best describes the literacy assessment? The assessment is administered to::
The entire (or predominate) student body, directly or by representative sample

Which of the following best describes the structure of the assessment? The assessment is administered as a::
Standalone evaluation without a follow-up assessment of the same cohort or representative samples

A copy of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment(s):
A sample of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment or the website URL where the assessment tool may be found:

See Sust Survey Questions 2018 pages 10-13

A brief description of how the literacy assessment was developed and/or when it was adopted:

The survey was designed to gauge progress on sustainability awareness at Boston University. Having information about the community's understanding and activities regarding sustainability helps sustainability@BU plan future efforts, programs and communications initiatives. Consistent with the guidelines of STARS, the survey was conceived to contain questions on general sustainability literacy. 1/3 of survey questions relate to literacy, 1/3 of questions are BU-specific, and 1/3 are behavioral.

A brief description of how a representative sample was reached (if applicable) and how the assessment(s) were administered :

The sustainability survey is conducted online early in the spring term each year. FY2018's survey was sent out via email in January to all Boston University undergraduate students, graduate students, staff and faculty. Out of the total questions, 33% of questions were related to literacy, 33% of questions were BU-specific, and 33% were behavioral. Students, as well as staff and faculty members who responded to it constitute the representative sample and reflect the general proportions of the BU community as a whole.

A brief summary of results from the literacy assessment(s), including a description of any measurable changes over time:

Out of the 2,259 total survey respondents:

1) What is the average annual cost of food waste for an American four-person household?
- 63% of respondents chose the correct answer ($1,600)

2) Climate change adaptation is defined as a strategy to reduce vulnerabilities to the effects of climate change. Which of the following are methods of adapting to climate change? Select all that apply.
- The percentage difference between correct and incorrect responses was very slim for this question. Only 5% of respondents correctly identified AC in buildings as an adaptation strategy 15% incorrectly identified Planting trees as a climate change adaptation strategy. The result from this question reveals that there is a need for education on the difference between environmentally friendly actions that will reduce climate change and actions that specifically reduce vulnerabilities to the effect of climate change.

3) Globally, communities face a variety of social injustices, including low wages, poor working conditions, and lack of access to education. Which of the following strategies can you employ to improve these conditions? Select all that apply.
- Respondents overwhelmingly selected the correct answers, "Buy fair trade certified products" and "Learn how companies from which you buy conduct business", to this question.

4) In 2015 the total plastic bottle recycling rate in the United States was ____?
- 50% of respondents chose the correct answer (30%). About 30% of respondents incorrectly chose (12%), 17% of respondents incorrectly chose (17%), and 2% of respondents incorrectly chose (75%).

5) What is the leading driver of deforestation in the world?
- 46% of respondent correctly chose "Agriculture" while 46% incorrectly chose "Urbanization", 5% incorrectly chose 'Desertification', and 4% incorrectly chose "Forest Fires". More respondents were incorrect than correct which reveals a need for more education about the drivers of deforestation.

6) What is the definition of "carbon neutrality"?
- 93% of respondents chose the correct answer "Having or resulting in no net addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This statistic reveals that the respondents have a firm understanding of this concept.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Answers to the survey are available online (see website URL above).

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.