Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.69
Liaison Ciannat Howett
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

Emory University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Kelly Weisinger
Assistant Director
"---" 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::
Pre- and post-assessment to the same cohort or to representative samples in both a pre- and post-test

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:

A faculty 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 the literacy assessment was developed and/or when it was 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, and in 2018 additional faculty convened to revise the survey to be inclusive of employees.

A brief description of how a representative sample was reached (if applicable) and how the assessment(s) were administered :

An online survey was distributed to all faculty, staff, and students of Emory University and Emory Healthcare in January 2020 to assess 2019 sustainability literacy and culture. This was the first assessment of employees, but survey to students has been conducted annually since 2014. The combined literacy and culture survey will continue will be administered each year to the entire campus and healthcare communities to assess change over time.In this way, the entire student, faculty, and staff bodies are surveyed and followed up with. To enhance participation, we offer a raffle for three $100 gift cards.

A brief summary of results from the literacy assessment(s):

Over the past three years, students, faculty, and staff of Emory University and Emory Healthcare have become more conscious with sustainability regarding all surveyed areas such as energy usage, waste reduction, water usage, transportation, dietary choices, and course enrollment. Overall, 95% of respondents report their knowledge of sustainability issues has grown since joining Emory, and 93% of respondents indicate their sustainability-related behavior and level of awareness towards social justice issues have grown to some extent since joining Emory.
With 65% of respondents reporting that engaging in sustainability-related behavior is very important to them, 46% of respondents believes their behavior has changed either “Very Much” or “Completely” since being at Emory. Specifically, during the last calendar year, 79% of respondents have “Always” or “Usually” avoided purchasing bottled water by consuming water from bulk sources, a refillable bottle, or the tap. 86% of respondents have “Always” or “Usually” been careful with sorting waste into appropriate recycle and compost bins, rather than dumping all waste together into one bin. And 87% of respondents have “Always” or “Usually” been conscious to reduce their energy use when necessary.
72% of respondents “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” that sustainability accomplishments are a source of pride for them as a member of the Emory community. And the subsequent knowledge assessment shows that Emory students and employees are mostly familiar with topics regarding Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Inter-generational Equity with 99%, 88% and 60% of respondents indicating that they know something about these concepts respectively, but for topics relating to the Precautionary Principle or United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, levels of familiarity dropped slightly. In general, as the number of years since joining Emory increased, respondents demonstrate improvements in their sustainable knowledge, behaviors, and awareness.

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

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Survey was conducted in January 2020 for responses related experiences in 2019. Reporting year is 2019.

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.