Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 60.54
Liaison Michael Amadori
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

Hobart and William Smith Colleges
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Michael Amadori
Sustainability Manager
Office of 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 Sustainability Literacy and Culture Survey was developed by by the Office of Sustainability with assistance from Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Robin Lewis and Dean of Student Engagement and Conduct, Brandon Barile. Our current survey builds on the sustainability literacy research conducted by Robin Lewis. We reanalyzed those questions, added questions related so sustainability culture on campus, and then compiled a list of possible questions for feedback from other faculty members in the Environmental Science dept. Following their feedback, the new Sustainability Literacy and Culture Survey was finalized and submitted to the HWS Institutional Review Board for review and approval.


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

This research involves the administration a pre- and post-survey on the HWS campus. The target population was all first-year students and other students, faculty or staff who are interested in taking the survey.

To get a representative sample that includes every major, minor, race, gender, and economic background we have elected to administer the pre-surveys with in person visits to every First-Year Seminar class. After the majority of the first-year class was given the survey, we emailed out the survey to the sophomore, junior, and senior classes. Participation rate in the other groups was around 20%. To motivate individuals less interested in sustainability, raffle prizes were offered to anyone who completed the survey. The post-survey for first-year students was done by collaborating with RA's from the residential halls. We would visit the dorms during scheduled evening programs and and requested a few mins to have the first-year students retake survey. Students were not required to attend their evening program so our post survey was around 50% of the first year class. For sophomore, junior, and senior classes as well as all faculty and staff the same email method was use with around 10-20% response rate.


A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment:

Some interesting findings is that a level of concern about a particular issue did not always correlate to a change in behavior. For example, all of the students who admitted to driving more often than walking or biking still ranked a high level of concern for climate change, energy use, and resource depletion. Another example is the vast majority of survey participants are concerned about energy use, yet 1/3 of those individuals never or rarely use cold water to wash their laundry. Lastly, over 70% of students indicated they were concerned about social justice issues. Of those individuals, only half of them seek relationships with diverse groups of people, only half of them independently learn about social justice issues outside of class, and less than 20% of them will actively volunteer within Geneva or their home community to help those less fortunate. These results clearly show more work is needed to get individuals to connect the dots between their actions and the impact it makes. We must be the change we want to see.

Over the summer the Office of Sustainability is creating a report highlighting major findings and changes that will be made to our programming and initiatives based on the results of this survey.


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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