Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 77.02
Liaison Laura Bain
Submission Date June 22, 2021

STARS v2.2

Furman University
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
1.00 / 1.00 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 sustainability culture?:
Yes

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 assessment was developed by conducting a review of other school’s sustainability surveys, identifying similarities, compiling and tailoring questions specific to Furman, and obtaining feedback from students to ensure relevancy. These questions were included in a survey also designed to assess sustainability literacy. A staff member from the Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities 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. The current version of the survey was adopted in 2017 and modified slightly in 2020.


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:

Please indicate how much you agree or disagree with the following statements (agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, disagree):
Sustainability is important to how I live my life.
I am interested in integrating sustainability into my current or future professional career.
Furman is committed to sustainability efforts.

Please indicate the frequency with which you currently do the following things (most of the time; sometimes, rarely):
Use a "power-save" scheme for your computer.
Wash clothes in cold water.
Unplug appliances to eliminate ghost power use.
Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms.
Minimize the waste you generate.
Ride a bike or walk instead of using a car.
Repurpose an item instead of throwing it away.
Recycle paper, plastic, or aluminum.

How familiar are you with the following initiatives or places on campus (I am very familiar with it; I've heard of it and/or I know a little bit; I've never heard of it):
Furman's sustainability master plan, Sustainable Furman.
The Solar Farm
The Greenbelt
The American College and University President's Climate Commitment
The Place of Peace
The Living Machine
The Sustainability Science Major
The Shi Center Sustainability Fellowship Program

Would you support a Green Fee that would help improve student sustainability efforts at Furman? This fee would be included in student tuition.


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

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. In 2020, the survey was sent to all students, all faculty, and all staff. 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 125 respondents to complete the survey were offered an incentive valued at $10.

There were 703 respondents to the assessment. Respondent demographics were:
70% student (493)
8% faculty (55)
22% staff (153) and

gender descriptions were:
69% female (487)
29% male (205)
0.29% prefer to self describe (2)
0.29% prefer not to answer (2)
and 0.71% identify as non-binary (5)

Class descriptions were:
25% Freshmen (124)
27% Sophomores (133)
23% Juniors (111)
24% Seniors (119)


A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment:

Would you support a Green Fee that would help improve student sustainability efforts at Furman? This fee would be included in student tuition. (student respondents only)
174 Yes
187 Maybe
132 No

If a Green Fee was included in your tuition, what is the most you would be willing to pay per semester (USD)? Average: $15 (student respondents only)

Climate change refers to a long-term increase in the Earth's average temperature, attributed largely to increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. How much of a problem do you think climate change will be in your lifetime?
(all respondents)
481 Major
164 Minor
13 No problem at all
43 I'm not sure

(students only)
343 Major
112 Minor
8 No problem at all
30 I'm not sure

How much of a problem do you think climate change will be for future generations?
(all respondents)
603 Major
60 Minor
7 No problem at all
30 I'm not sure

(students only)
430 Major
42 Minor
4 No problem at all
17 I'm not sure

Student respondents reporting that they ride a bike sometimes or most of the time:
262 Females
92 Males

Freshmen:102
Sophomores:109
Juniors: 80
Seniors: 63

Sample of longitudinal results:
In 2017 45% (26/58) of Freshmen responded that they agree with the statement, "Sustainability is important to how I live my life." In 2020, 61% (73/119) of Seniors (representing the same group of students), responded that they agree with the same statement.

In 2017 67% (39/58) of Freshmen responded that global warming will be a "major problem" in their lifetime and 86% (50/58) said it would be a "major problem" for future generations. In 2020, 69% (82/119) of Seniors (representing the same group of students), responded that global warming will be a "major problem" in their lifetime and 85% (101/119) said it would be a "major problem" for future generations.

In 2017, 85% (49/58) of Freshmen responded that they ride a bike sometimes or most of the time. In 2020, 53% (63/119) of Seniors, representing the same group of students, responded that they ride a bike sometimes or most of the time.


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