Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 79.77
Liaison Josh Lasky
Submission Date April 4, 2023

STARS v2.2

George Washington University
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Joshua Lasky
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 was designed in the fall of 2022 in conjunction with GW's Survey Research and Analysis department.

The cultural assessment was modeled after similar tools developed by peer institutions that have successfully fulfilled the requirements of EN-6, then adjusted to ensure compatability with GW. The assessment was initiallly developed by staff within the GW Office of Sustainability, then reviewed by GW's director of survey research an analysis, whose feedback was incorporated within the tool.

GW reviewed the survey with the AASHE STARS team prior to deploying it.

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:
Sample Questions

Do you think climate change is happening?
How important is the issue of climate change to you personally?
How well could you explain the topic of climate change to someone who does not know about it (what is causing it or not, what are its potential consequences, etc.)?
Overall, how committed are you to sustainability?

During the past year, how often did you do the following when you had the opportunity?
Turn off the lights when I leave the room
Turn off the water while brushing my teeth
Wait until the dishwasher has a full load before I run it
Ride bus/Metro, walk, bike, telecommute, drive a zero emissions car, or carpool on my commute
Print on both sides of the paper (double-sided)
Recycle my paper/cardboard
Recycle my plastic/metals/glass
E-cycle my electronics/batteries/ light bulbs
Compost my food scraps

Overall, how would you rate/grade GW's efforts to:
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Conserve water
Encourage double-sided printing
Encourage recycling
Inform/educate students/faculty/staff about sustainability
Engage students in sustainability initiatives

A brief description of how representative samples were reached (if applicable) and how the cultural assessment is administered:
GW's director of survey research and analysis provided a representative sample of students, staff, and faculty to which the survey was distributed via email and administered using an online platform.

The GW Sustainability Culture Assessment was distributed to a random sample of all students, faculty, and staff.

The survey was initially distributed on 1/24/23, with reminders on 2/1/23 and 2/9/23.

A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment:
The response rate for faculty and staff was 41.28% (523 respondents out of 1267 invitees). The response rate for students was 17.64% (349 respondents out of 1978 invitees).

The open ended question created over 300 responses. For the most part, the top comments were focused on:
- Engagement/Education
- Waste
- Divestment
- Energy/Water
- Transportation

96% of all respondents believe climate change is happening, 92% indicated that climate change is moderately or very important to them personally, and 89% are moderately or very committed to sustainability.

More than half the students don't seem to factor in sustainability when selecting a college - 41% indicated that an institution's sustainability committment was moderately or very important when evaluating colleges; 59% indicated it was slightly or not at all important.

76% of the respondents believe their behavior is moderately or very important to reducing GW's environmental footprint.

It appears that turning out lights, turning off water, waiting for full dishwasher and washing machine loads, and other standard conservation measures are always or usually practiced by respondents but actions such as purchasing offsets and buying solar or wind electricity.

Similarly, most of the standard waste reduction strategies are implemented by most respondents. These include printing on both sides, recyling, and using reusable diningware. However, 58% of the respondents rarely or never compost food scraps.

59% of respondents purchase sustainable food at least half the time, while 61% eat meat at least 3-4 days per week.

In general, respondents were not comfortable grading GW's sustainability efforts; many selecting ""I Don't Know""

More than 80% of the respondents believe that recycling on campus and increasing renewable energy production on campus are moderately or very important. More than 70% of the respondents believe that becoming carbon neutral, increasing sustainable food in dining hall menus, and reducing water consumption on campus are moderately or very important.

GW is still reviewing the results of the survey and will continue to look at how student, staff, and faculty responses differed.

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

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
The post assessment will be deployed in 2-3 years as a way to assess cultural shifts due in part to GW sustainability programs and effort.

A copy of the survey is available upon request.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.