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

STARS v2.1

Boston University
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Lisa Tornatore
Sustainability Director
BU Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of sustainability culture (i.e. the assessment focuses on sustainability values, behaviors and beliefs, and may also address awareness of campus sustainability initiatives)?:

Which of the following best describes the cultural assessment? The assessment is administered to::
The entire campus community (students, staff and faculty), directly or by representative sample

Which of the following best describes the structure of the cultural assessment? The assessment is administered::
Longitudinally to measure change over time

A brief description of how and when the cultural assessment(s) were developed and/or adopted:

The Sustainability Annual Survey is used partially as a cultural assessment as well as a literacy assessment for BU students, staff, faculty, and post-grads. The survey was developed and first administered in 2010 and we still ask many of the same questions in order to track from year to year how the culture has changed at BU.

A copy or sample of the questions related to sustainability culture:
A sample of the questions related to sustainability culture or the website URL where the assessment tool is available:

Questions relating to sustainability culture fall into four categories: BU, Global, Behaviors, and Literacy.
Sample Questions for BU are "I am aware of Boston University's efforts in reducing our environmental footprint" and "I am familiar with the following sustainability@BU initiatives & collaborations".

A Sample question for the Global category are "Please indicate the level of importance of the following sustainability-related topics at a global scale".

Sample questions for the Behavior category are "Do you use energy-saving LED light bulbs in your dorm/apartment", "Which of the following sustainable actions do you do"

Sample Questions for the Literacy category are "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" and "What is the definition of 'carbon neutrality'?".

A brief description of how representative samples were reached (if applicable) and how the cultural assessment is administered:

The assessment is administered via email to the entire BU community annually in January/February.

A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment, including a description of any measurable changes over time:

Since 2010 (with the exception of 2012 and 2013), sustainability@BU has administered a survey about sustainability-related issues on and beyond the BU campuses. Responses (which have ranged in number from 2,100 to 4,900) have aligned closely with actual BU demographics and have become increasingly representative of the general population (rather than simply those who are most interested in sustainability-related topics). While respondents are concerned about BU-related and global sustainability issues, results show that the general population is often unaware of specific sustainability@BU initiatives and collaborations, although knowledge of and involvement in such programs and resources has steadily increased since 2010.

The FY18 survey has 2,259 total respondents:
- 75% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they are aware of BU's efforts in reducing its environmental footprint.
- 70% of respondents reported that they have never taken a course that addresses sustainability or related topics.
- 84% of respondents believe slowing climate change is extremely important.
- 89% of respondents believe Access to Clean Water to be extremely important.
- 74% of respondents have set their computer's screen-saver to 'blank' or 'none'
- 66% of respondents report turning off their lights routinely.
- 63% of respondents chose the correct answer ($1,600) for the question "What is the average annual cost of food waste for an American four-person household?"
- 46% of respondent correctly chose "Agriculture" while 46% incorrectly chose "Urbanization", 5% incorrectly chose 'Desertification', and 4% incorrectly chose "Forest Fires" for the question "What is the leading cause of deforestation in the world".
- 93% of respondents chose the correct answer to the question "What is the definition of carbon neutrality".

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.