Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.30
Liaison Stephen Ellis
Submission Date May 31, 2024

STARS v2.2

Boston University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 4.00 Lisa Tornatore
Sustainability Director
BU Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of the sustainability literacy of its students?:

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 list or sample of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment or the website URL where the assessment tool may be found:

See 'Sustainability_Survey_2022' above.

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 for students (e.g., undergraduates, graduates, post-docs, professionals, and no degrees) and employees (e.g., faculty and staff) at Boston University. Having information about the community's understanding and activities regarding sustainability helps BU Sustainability 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 the survey questions related to literacy.

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. FY2022's survey was sent out via email in February 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):

Out of the 1,418 total survey respondents:

  1. Accurate plastic recycling is key to reducing waste, saving energy, and protecting community health. In MA which of the following items can be recycled in regular household bins? - 88% of respondents chose the correct answer. (Laundry soap jug, plastic #7)

  2. On average which food product results in the greatest amount of carbon dioxide emissions from production and post-production processes? - 93% of respondents chose the correct answer. (Beef)

  3. Which of the following is NOT one of the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals? - 36% of respondents chose the correct answer. (Zero Waste) 

  4. How has environmental degradation worsened socio-economic inequalities? - 86% of respondents chose the correct answer. (All of the above: marginalized communities and communities of color experience greater exposure to climate-related hazards; climate change mitigation and adaptation measures can be very costly; industries often target low-income areas with poor representation for excessive air and water pollution)

  5. What does the term zero waste mean? - 94% of respondents chose the correct answer. (The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse and recovery of of products without burning and with no discharges to the land, water or air that threaten human health)

  6. Due to overfishing populations of large, predatory ocean fish (e.g. tuna) have been reduced to pre-industrial levels which affect the economy of coastal cities like Boston -89% of respondents chose the correct answer (false)"

Website URL where information about the sustainability literacy assessment is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

This represents FY2022 BU Metrics.

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.