Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.00
Liaison Jessica Krejcik
Submission Date Dec. 22, 2021

STARS v2.2

Concordia University
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Cassandra Lamontagne
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of sustainability culture?:

Which of the following best describes the cultural assessment? The assessment is administered to::
The entire campus community (students and employees) 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 2021 SCLA survey was disseminated on October 5th and was open for three weeks, closing on October 25th, 2021. The survey was designed to meet requirements under AASHE’s STARS, version 2.2, and the objectives of the Office of Sustainability. The first section, not required under STARS, was designed to assess the influence of sustainability in students’ enrollment decisions. It included two questions for first year students only. The next section was on sustainability culture and engagement on and off campus. It included questions designed to generate opinions, thoughts, and beliefs about sustainability. The questions in this section were not associated with right or wrong answers, but were rather intended to collect data about how the Concordia population perceives sustainability, where they obtain information about sustainability, and how aware the community is about sustainability initiatives on campus.

The last section of the survey was designed to assess the sustainability literacy of the Concordia population. This section comprised of multiple choice and true or false questions where each is associated with at least one right or wrong answer. All survey questions (approximately 55) were mandatory, except an optional open-ended question at the end of the survey. The open-ended questions asked participants to write down what they think Concordia could be doing better to advance sustainability goals.

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:

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

In October 2021, Concordia’s Office of Sustainability, jointly with the Office of Institutional Planning and Analysis (OIPA), disseminated the university’s second comprehensive sustainability cultural and literacy assessment (SCLA). The online survey was sent to all full/part-time faculty, full-time staff, and to a representative sample of graduate and undergraduate students. Survey invitations were sent to 14,960 participants and resulted in 1,895 individual responses for a rate of 12.7%. The margin of error (at 95% confidence interval) was 2.1%. Two reminder emails were sent out to survey participants.

A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment:

The first question of this section asked survey participants to select from a list of channels the ones they use most to learn about sustainability. The question was designed to understand how Concordia community members obtain sustainability information. The results can help tailor sustainability communication efforts towards channels most used. The three most popular channels used by students to learn about sustainability are social media (78%), school/college/university (50%) and online news media (48%). For faculty/staff, as illustrated in Table 4, it is online news media (63%), social media (47%) and radio and newspaper (41%).

For the next section of the Sustainability Culture and Engagement portion of the survey, participants were asked the extent to which they agree or disagree with eight different statements. The goal was to measure individuals’ sustainability behavior and identify areas in need for greater awareness of sustainable practices. Statement 2: I often think about ethical or sustainability factors (e.g. labor rights, packaging, local, fair trade, cruelty free etc.) when making a purchase. Most students (69%) and faculty/staff (74%) strongly agree or agree with the statement. The level of agreement could be higher for this statement because it requires less direct action as compared with the previous statement that asks survey participants whether they have modified their diets.

Statement 5: I consider the carbon impact on my choice to use air travel. As illustrated in Figure 9, approximately 36% of students and 35% of faculty/staff strongly agree or agree with the statement. The most frequent answer among students (35%) and faculty/staff (34%) is “Neutral”.

Survey participants were then asked to what extent they agree or disagree with three statements related to learning about sustainability in general, through course work and engaging in a learning activity. The first statement was “I would like to learn more about sustainability”. More students (29%) strongly agree with the statement than faculty/staff (18%). Most students (52%) and faculty/staff (59%) agree with the statement. Indicating that a majority of the Concordia community would like to learn more about sustainability.

Survey participants were then asked to select up to three topics of sustainability that interest them the most. The sustainability topic of most interest to students (66%) and faculty/staff (62%) was climate change. A high percentage of faculty/staff (42%) and students (38%) are also interested in material waste. Students’ (40%) second and faculty/staffs’ (39%) third topic of interest is social justice/environmental justice/climate justice/human rights. Faculty/staff (40%) had a higher interest in sustainable food systems than students (31%). Some of the “other” topics of interest that faculty/staff (3%) identified as being most interested in but not on the list were government environmental regulations, sustainable engineering, sustainable fashion, and settler colonialism. Students (2%) listed topics such as animal rights, Indigenous sovereignty/rights, and employment/livelihoods.

A post assessment is scheduled for 2024.

Website URL where information about the assessment of sustainability culture is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.