Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.07
Liaison Katie Koscielak
Submission Date May 7, 2020

STARS v2.2

Humboldt State University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Morgan King
Sustainability & Waste Coordinator
Facilities Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of the sustainability literacy of its students?:
Yes

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:

The assessment includes questions specific to sustainability literacy, as well as questions on sustainability values, behaviors, beliefs, and awareness of campus sustainability initiatives. Below are the questions specific to evaluating sustainability literacy:

Which of the following is the most commonly used definition of economic sustainability?

 Maximizing the share price of a company’s stock
 Long-term profitability
 When costs equal revenue
 Continually expanding market share
 I do not know.

Corporate social responsibility implies a commitment to triple bottom line reporting, which includes:
Three forms of financial reporting
Ecological, social and financial performance
Offering health, dental and vision care to employees
Incorporating community and government representatives on the board of directors
All of the above
Do not know

Which of the following are principles of systems thinking?
 It views the measured outcome within the larger, more complex system
 It addresses problems in a way that does not create new problems in the future
 It considers the impact of actions beyond environmental, economic and social to also include time and space
 It can be thought of as the three dimensional ripple effect of your actions where nearly everything is somehow interrelated and interconnected
 All of the above

Workers around the world face a variety of social injustices, including low wages, poor working conditions, and lack of access to education. To help improve conditions for these workers you can:

Support corporations that do not allow workers to join labor unions.
Buy the newest products to keep factories around the world open.
Purchase items from companies that conduct business in a socially responsible way.
Support large corporations because they generally have more money to pay workers.
I do not know.

"Sustainability" with regard to natural resources means:
 Using natural resources as slowly as possible
 Using natural resources no faster than at the rate they regenerate
 Not introducing new technology too quickly
 Discovering new resources to allow maximum economic growth
 Do not know

Which of the following is the United Nations’ definition of sustainable development?

Ensuring that people continue to buy more goods and use more resources,
indefinitely
Setting aside resources for preservation, never to be used
Meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their own needs
Only using recycled materials for production

A technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life from cradle to grave (resource extraction through usage and disposal), is called:
An annual product review
 A life cycle assessment
 An energy audit
 A thermal system analysis
Do not know

Americans account for about 5 percent of the world's population and….
 More than 50% of the world's energy consumption
 Between 10 - 49% of the world's energy consumption
 9% or less of the worlds energy consumption
 I don't know

Which of the following in an example of sustainable forest management?
Relocating human populations so that a forest can be harvested
Never harvesting more than what the forest produces in new growth
Growing forests of only one species of tree
Removing regulations to open up more forests for logging
I don't know

What is an ecological service provided by wetlands?
 Provides fertile location for growing crops and grazing livestock
 Cleans the water before it enters lakes, streams, rivers or oceans
 Provides a secondary water source for cities in times of drought
 Keeps the number of undesirable plants and animals low
 Don't know

What is the source of water for Arcata and Humboldt State University?
 Van Duzen River
 Humboldt Bay Aquifer
 Eel River
 Mad River
 I don’t know

Which of the following buildings on campus are LEED certified: (check all that apply)
 Library
 Harry Griffith Hall (HGH)
 Behavior and Social Sciences (BSS)
 Nelson Hall East (NHE)
 Don't know


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

In the fall semester of 2016, a working group, comprised of the Office of Sustainability (OS) and faculty members, developed questions for a sustainability literacy assessment (SLA) at HSU. The group reviewed SLA’s from other institutions, and developed certain questions about local issues. The OS then compiled the questions, worked with the IRB and Office of Institutional Effectiveness (IE) to push out the assessment in April 2017, and analyzed the results. 1,018 HSU students completed this initial, 27 question assessment. Among the results,
• Response rate of approximately 12%
• All majors (except for Francophone studies) were represented
• Baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate were represented
The OS then worked with IE to deploy the same assessment in the spring of 2018. In the summer of 2018, however, the OS met with Dr. Tony Silvaggio, Department of Sociology, who had expressed interest in refining the SLA, using it as a tool to teach his students about survey development and analysis, and building it out to a longitudinal study by surveying new students (i.e., freshmen and transfers) in the fall semester and then surveying graduating students in the spring semester. The revised, longitudinal SLA was first launched in the fall of 2018, was again deployed in the spring of 2019, and will continue each year moving forward.


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

In the fall semester, the SLA survey is emailed out to all freshmen and transfer students, across all colleges and programs, by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness (IE). In the spring semester, the same questions are emailed out to graduating students. The survey is online and is hosted by QuestionPro. Respondents first review consent information and click on a consent button before they can enter the survey. The survey remains open for three weeks. To help bolster response rates, the OS requests department administrative support coordinators to request faculty to remind their students to take the survey. All identifying information is removed before IE shares survey data with Dr. Silvaggio and the OS.


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

Respondents to the Spring 2019 survey (graduating students) generally performed better than respondents to the Fall 2018 survey (freshmen and transfers), which may be a strong indicator that students, regardless of their major, are receiving sustainability education inside and/or outside of the classroom while at HSU. For example, in response to the question “What is an ecological service provided by wetlands?” 19% more Spring 2019 respondents answered correctly compared to Fall 2018 respondents (A=cleans the water before it enters lakes, streams, rivers or oceans). In response to the question “Which of the following is an example of sustainable forest management”, 17% more Spring 2019 respondents answered correctly compared to Fall 2018 respondents (A=never harvesting more than what the forest produces in new growth). Conclusively, Over 80% of Spring 2019 respondents (graduating students) either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “My understanding and awareness of sustainability related issues has increased since I have become a student at HSU”.
The SLA includes questions to help HSU better understand the impact sustainability can have on recruitment, enrollment and retention. In all SLA surveys between Spring 2017 and Spring 2019, over 40% of respondents answered yes to the question, “Was HSU’s commitment to sustainability a reason you chose to come here?”. Over 60% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I would prefer more sustainability-related content in my courses.”
The SLA also asks cultural/behavior/value questions. For example, in the Spring 2019 survey, 57% of respondents indicated they always use reusable water and coffee containers. In the Fall 2018 survey, 22% of respondents indicated they always use alternative transportation (ride bus, bike, carpool).


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

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