Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 71.65
Liaison Laura Bain
Submission Date Jan. 19, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Furman University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 4.00 Laura Bain
Associate Director of Sustainability Assessment
David E. Shi Center for Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of the sustainability literacy of its students (i.e. an assessment focused on student knowledge of sustainability topics and challenges)?:

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

37. [DESCRIPTIVE TEXT] The next section will gauge your current knowledge of
sustainability. It’s ok if you do not know all of the answers. Pease do not use outside
information to respond to these questions.
38. People often talk about the “Three R’s” in waste management. While all are helpful, they
have varying degrees of impact on natural resources. Which of the following is NOT one of
the “Three R’s?
Recycling and aluminum can
Reusing an old T-shirt as a cleaning rag.
Reorganizing your closet to save space.
Reducing your fuel consumption by biking instead of driving.
39. The Earth’s current population is estimated at:
• 3.4 billion
• 5.2 billion
• 7.5 billion
• 9.6 billion
• 12.1 billion
40. Which country is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases?
• China
• United States
• India
• Brazil
• Russia
41. Which one of the following is NOT typically considered one of the three components of
• Society
• Democracy
• Environment
• Economy
42. What is the name of the primary federal agency that oversees environmental regulation
in the United States?
• Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA)
• Department of Health, Environment, and Safety (the DHES)
• National Natural Conservation Agency (the NNCA)
• Federal Pollution Control Agency (the FPCA)
43. The term for the benefits that nature provides such as clean water, clean air, productive
soils, and pollination of plants is:
• Ecosystem Services
• Environmental Economics
• Ecological Footprint
• Resilience
• Environmental Conservation
44. The amount of carbon on Earth is an example of a/an:
• closed system, with the same amount of carbon staying in each pool
• closed system, with carbon moving between different pools
• open system, with the same ratio of carbon staying in each pool
• open system, with carbon moving between different pools
45. What are believed to be the key factors that influence human impact on the Earth?
(choose all that apply)
• The number of people on the planet
• The amount of materials used per person
• The use of technology
• The enforcement of governmental regulations
46. Certain substances in the atmosphere, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and
nitrous oxide, influence the Earth’s temperature and climate. These substances are commonly
referred to as __________ .
• Ozone
• Solar gases
• Ultraviolet Light
• Radiation
• Greenhouse gases
47. Life cycle analysis is:
o The amount of environmental impact that the average person creates within their
o A measure of the resources needed to sustain a person’s lifestyle
o An assessment of the total environmental impact of a product from the time the
raw materials are gathered to their ultimate disposal
o A comparative analysis of an individual’s carbon footprint based on one’s quality
of life
48. Who is Furman’s primary energy provider?
• Duke Energy
• Santee Cooper
• South Carolina Electric and Gas
• Tennessee Valley Authority
• We generate the majority of our energy on campus
49. What is the primary electricity generation source for Furman’s energy provider?
• Solar
• Coal
• Wind
• Hydropower
• Nuclear
50. Furman aspires to be carbon neutral by what year?
• 2020
• 2026
• 2033
• 2050
• 2100
51. The largest contributor to the university’s carbon footprint is:
• Faculty, Staff, and Student Commuting
• Study Abroad Travel
• Purchased Electricity
• Natural Gas
• Campus Paper Use
52. Which of the following currently CAN be recycled on campus? (choose all that apply)
• Paper
• Glass
• Plastics #3 – #7
• Plastics #1– #2
• Cardboard
• Aluminum Cans
• Batteries and Electronic Waste
53. The new 743 kilowatt solar installation across from the main gate, called the “Solar
Farm,” has reduced Furman’s electricity bill by about ______.
o 0%
o 5 –10 %
o 5 – 20%
o 25 – 30%
o 45 – 50%
54. Furman Lake is part of what watershed?
o Saluda River
o Enoree River
o Catawba River
o Broad River
o Greenville River

A brief description of how the literacy assessment was developed and/or when it was adopted:

The assessment was developed by conducting a review of other school’s sustainability literacy surveys, identifying the most common similarities, compiling the most appropriate questions that covered a comprehensive array of literacy topics, and obtaining feedback from selected faculty members to ensure a broad base of questions were chosen. These questions were included in a survey also designed to obtain feedback on individual’s perceptions and behaviors related to specific sustainability topics. A staff member from the Shi Center for Sustainability collaborated with the university’s Assistant Director of Institutional Assessment and Research and a highly-qualified research staff member to develop the survey instrument and sampling methodology.

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

A representative sample was randomly selected by the Assistant Director of Institutional Assessment and Research, with correction to ensure proportionate representation from all class years and genders. The assessment was administered as part of Furman’s Sustainability Survey which has been administered to students, faculty, and staff, every third year since 2008. The survey was administered through the Qualtrics survey platform and distributed via an individual e-mail with one follow-up reminder email to unfinished respondents. In order to encourage participation and completion of the survey, the first 250 respondents to complete the survey were offered an incentive valued between $5-$8.50.

A brief summary of results from the literacy assessment(s), including a description of any measurable changes over time:

There were 337 respondents to the assessment. Respondent roles were 67% student, 16% faculty, and 17% staff and gender descriptions were 60% female and 39% male, which is representative of the campus population. The mean literacy assessment score was 68.6%. The 2017 survey included all new sustainability literacy questions that better reflect Furman's focus on systems thinking and broad sustainability definition.

While the following questions do not measure sustainability literacy, they do measure changes in sustainability perceptions over time:

The percentage of respondents who say they agree or somewhat agree with the statement, "sustainability is important to how I live my life" increased from 78% in 2014 to 93.5% in 2017.

The percentage of respondents who say they agree or somewhat agree with the statement,
"I am interested in integrating sustainability into my current or future professional career"
increased from 59% in 2014 to 78% in 2017.

The percentage of respondents who say they agree or somewhat agree with the statement "Furman is committed to sustainability efforts" increased from 77% in 2014 to 97% in 2017.

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

Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.