Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.06
Liaison Margaret Bounds
Submission Date June 18, 2021

STARS v2.2

Connecticut College
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
1.00 / 1.00 Margaret Bounds
Assistant Director of Sustainability
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 cultural assessment is delivered as part of our Sustainability Literacy and Culture Survey. The questions were developed in Spring and Summer 2019 through a collaboration between the Office of Sustainability and the Office of Institutional Research. The assessment was first delivered in 2019 and then again in 2020. We plan to administer the assessment every 2 years starting in 2022.

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 included in the uploaded file.

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

The cultural assessment is administered as part of our Sustainability Literacy and Culture Survey. The culture questions represent 34% of the full survey. It is administered through the Office of Institutional Research to the entire campus community. Students received automatic reminders to complete the survey, while faculty and staff received 3 reminders throughout the 15 day response period. In 2019, there were 477 responses - 318 students, 101 staff, 58 faculty. In 2020, there were 453 responses - 288 students, 100 staff, 65 faculty. We did not promote this survey in sustainability related venues to reduce over-representation. We also included questions about department or major for students and division for faculty and staff as a way to assess how representative the sample was.

A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment:

There are three main focus areas in our culture assessment. The first relates to student, faculty and staff understanding of sustainability and climate change. In 2020, 87% of our students responded that "climate change is mostly human-caused and is an urgent concern that requires immediate action." This was an increase of 5% from 2019. 80% of faculty and staff selected the same response. We also ask to what extent they view different areas as related to sustainability and a majority responded that all but two issues (access to capital for small businesses and access to job training) were very related to sustainability. This shows that our community has a broad view of sustainability encompassing social, economic and environmental justice.

The second area focuses on how important sustainability is to our community and how that is shown in their actions. In 2020, 81% of students said sustainability was very important or extremely important to them. This was an increase of 5% from 2019. 85% of faculty and staff responded that sustainability was very important or extremely important to them. This was also a 5% increase from 2019. Across both groups we saw increases in the sustainable practices that they regularly engage in. Donating to environmental organizations and engaging in political activism saw particularly large increases for students (15% and 16% respectively). We did see declines in the reported participation in sustainable events, but 56% of students and 41% of faculty and staff reported that their participation declined due to Covid.

The final focus area is how they view the College's commitment to sustainability. Interesting, the number of students who responded that they agree or strongly agree that "Connecticut College prioritizes sustainability in decision making" decreased by 3% while the number of faculty and staff who selected those responses increased by 15%. In both groups, over 90% responded that it was important to them that the college prioritize sustainability in decision making.

The full 2020 results can be found in the attached file below.

Website URL where information about the assessment of sustainability culture is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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