Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.12
Liaison Ciannat Howett
Submission Date July 25, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Emory University
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 1.00 Kelly Weisinger
Office of Sustainability Initiatives
"---" 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::
A subset of the campus community or a sample that may not be representative of the entire community

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:
Faculty from Sociology, Nursing, and Anthropology met in May, 2014, to develop a brief sustainability literacy survey for Emory undergraduate students. Additional faculty in Sociology/Oxford, Biology/Oxford, Japanese, and Public Health supported the efforts. The goal was to develop a pilot survey, to test whether we can get meaningful results, using the research generated by Drs. Karen Hegtvedt and Cathy Johnson on the sustainability-themed residence hall over the last decade. The 2014 pilot initial and follow-up surveys provided meaningful results, so starting in 2015, faculty slightly revised the survey to ask more current questions. In 2016, the faculty added a new section to meet the criteria for both sustainability literacy and cultural assessments. The survey was administered to all undergraduate students in summer, 2014, and to all undergraduate and graduate students in summer of 2015 and 2016. It will be administered each year to assess change over time and follow up with the same representative sample of all students each year. The survey is not currently administered to staff and faculty.

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:
Our committee developed an instrument that we hope can be completed in 10 minutes, focused on 4 areas of information:
a. knowledge of areas of sustainability behavior change that are relevant to student lives;
b. knowledge of Emory’s topical sustainability initiatives;
c. sustainability identity and students’ commitments as persons who care about sustainability (to assess shift over their time at Emory);
d. and knowledge of sustainability topics and challenges.

The actual survey questions are attached. Emory uses a single assessment for both literacy and culture.

A brief description of how representative samples were reached (if applicable) and how the cultural assessment is administered:
An online survey was distributed to all undergraduate students in July 2014, including graduating seniors and rising freshman, and has been administered to all graduate and undergraduate students in 2015 and 2016. In this way, the entire student body is surveyed and followed up with. To enhance participation, we offer a raffle for three $100 gift cards.

A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment, including a description of any measurable changes over time:
The survey indicates that a majority of respondents practice sustainability-related behavior at least “Often” to “Always.” However, some behaviors are reported as being practiced more frequently, with examples being: reducing electricity use by turning off lights or electronics (79.26%); reducing waste by use of reusable water bottles and shopping bags (72.29%); and conserving water by reducing showering time and by turning off the faucet while brushing teeth (56.15%). Behaviors which were least likely to be reported as being practiced “Often” to “Always” include: seeking out a course relating to sustainability (11.5%), and engaging in Emory sustainability-related activities (12.67%). Overall, 68% of respondents report a “Moderate” or higher increase in their sustainability-related behavior since being at Emory, and 70% of respondents report that engaging in sustainability-related behavior is important to them. In addition, 75% of respondents report a “Moderate” or higher increase in their awareness of social justice since being at Emory.
Comparing the 2015 – 2016 survey results to 2014 – 2015 results, there are few major differences. Demographically, the respondents are almost identical. A modest gain of 5% was seen in the percentage of people “Always” acting to reduce waste (17% in 2015 – 2016 versus 12% for 2014 – 2015). There was a modest decrease in the percentage of respondents reporting their sustainability-related behavior has increased at least “Moderately” since being at Emory, falling from 73.48% for 2014 – 2015 to 67.79% in 2015 – 2016. However, this was not mirrored by a decrease in the average response value measuring respondent’s valuation of the importance of engaging in sustainability-related behavior. In fact, it increased slightly (5.08 for 2014 – 2015 to 5.11 for 2015 – 2016), indicating possibly that respondents who entered Emory recently did so with more experience in practicing sustainability than compared to the year prior.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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