Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 78.07
Liaison Cary Gaunt
Submission Date March 4, 2021

STARS v2.2

Keene State College
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Cary Gaunt
Director of Campus 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:

Keene State College (KSC) places high value on cultivating and assessing the culture of sustainability with the campus community. This assessment happens in multiple ways:
1) Longitudinally to measure change over time
2) Situationally to develop campus feedback on key topics like the definition of sustainability, campus priorities and goals for sustainability and climate action, and to gauge the efficacy of programs. The assessments that are completed situationally always use a stakeholder representation approach to ensure all constituent groups are covered.
In the previous three academic years three cultural assessments were developed and deployed:
1) Longitudinal survey administered to entering First Year students
2) Green Keene Focus Groups, Interviews, and Student Survey (conducted 2016-2017 and updated with additional faculty focus groups spring 2019), and
3) IPEX (Infrastructure Planning and Execution) Stakeholder Workshop on sustainability priorities and culture (May 23, 2019)
The most important assessment is the longitudinal survey that is administered to the majority of entering First Year Students and then again at graduation. The goal is 100% participation. This survey will be expanded to faculty and staff during the spring (April) 2021 and will administered to all three groups annually during April Earth Month moving forward.
In 2020 we surveyed 67% of the first year student population for the Sustainability Culture Assessment. The College has not yet surveyed the graduating class, but will commence that survey in 2021. As mentioned, faculty and staff will also be surveyed in April 2021. The longitudinal cultural assessment survey is included as part of the sustainability literacy assessment described in AC-6.
The cultural assessment was developed in a multifold way:
1) Student employees of the Office of Sustainability--Eco-Reps and ROCKS-student recyclers-developed an initial list of questions based on benchmarking research and exploration of other sustainability cultural assessments prepared by the top scoring AASHE STARS schools.
2) These questions were reviewed and revised by the Office of Sustainability staff for presentation to the President's Council for a Sustainable Future (PCSF; the advisory stakeholder group for sustainability and climate action at KSC).
3) After review by the PCSF, the Director of Campus Sustainability, Cary Gaunt, presented the cultural assessment to the Sustainability College-Wide Learning Committee for finalization.
4) The Director of Institutional Research prepared the questions as a Qualtrics Survey that was administered to the first year class Fall 2020.
Prior to formalization of the KSC Sustainability Cultural Assessment, the Office of Sustainability used a variety of techniques to gauge campus sustainability culture. These ranged from Focus Groups and Interviews conducted over a 2-year period to identify campus priorities as part of the Green Keene priorities assessment effort. Related to Green Keene was a randomized survey (supplemented with interviews) of 160 students across all academic classes to identify their interests and priorities for KSC.
More recently staff and faculty focus groups were conducted to identify academic and operational priorities and sustainability culture as part of the KSC SESCO (Sustainability and Energy Services Contract) initiative.

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 use the scale below to rate how often you acted in each of the following ways:
Save energy (e.g., turn off the lights when leaving a room, turning off my electronics when not in use, use the dryer only for full loads)
Conserve water (e.g., take shorter showers, turn off water when I brush my teeth)
Reduce waste (e.g., take only what I can eat at meals so I do not throw leftovers away, think before I buy, carry my own shopping bag, buy in bulk to avoid packaging, limit how much I print things and only do it double-sided)
Recycle what I can (e.g., bottles, cans, plastics numbered #1 and #2, paper)
Choose low-impact transportation (e.g., carpool, mass transit, bicycle, walk)
Make diet choices that support the planet’s sustainability (e.g., mostly plants, locally grown foods, smaller portions, Fair Trade products)
Compost food scraps and other compostable materials (e.g., paper towels, paper napkins, pizza boxes)
Print double-sided whenever I can
Get out in nature to appreciate the beautiful earth (e.g., hiking, gardening)
Get involved in making political choices for the earth and human health (e.g., vote)
Which of the following is the most urgent sustainability issue facing the world today?
• Hazardous waste landfills
• Overfishing the world’s oceans
• Building shopping malls
• Global climate change
• Don't know
What is the primary reason for increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?
• Evapotranspiration of plants
• Natural climate cycles moving at the same rate as they always have been
• Human activities that involve the burning of fossil fuels
• Gasses emitted by the world's oceans
• Don't know
What does it mean to live in a watershed?
• It means understanding that your impacts affect people downstream
• It means that what you do on the land (e.g., changing your oil, littering, fertilizing your lawn) has the potential to affect nearby streams and rivers
• It means that you live in a hard-paved area where the water from rain can penetrate the soil
• It means a and c
• It means a and b
• None of the above
• Don't know
If I want to be more involved in sustainability related activities on campus, I know where to get information about how to be involved.
• Yes, I am aware of the campus organizations and actions
• Partially: I know a little about what Keene State College is doing and how to get involved
• Not at all, I do not know how to get involved.

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

The Keene State College (KSC)Sustainability Cultural Assessment is administered to First Year students when they arrive and again to the same cohort when they graduate. It is included as a subset of the KSC Sustainability Literacy Assessment so that both assessments can occur with one survey instrument. The Office of Sustainability takes the lead on coordinating the survey and the Office of Institutional Research is responsible for administering and summarizing the survey. The Office of Sustainability received permission to administer the assessment to 100% of first year students during their Orientation during the information technology session where all students have laptops and go through a series of training activities. They are thus a "captured audience" as the sessions are mandatory. Similarly, graduating seniors have certain requirements in order to receive their graduation materials. Completing this assessment is seen as a vital part of evaluating the College's Sustainability College-Wide Learning Outcome, so the Provost approved it to be part of the mandatory graduation survey.

A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment:

Keene State College (KSC) students arrive on campus with an excellent general understanding that climate change is one of the most significant pressing problems facing the world today and they understand the role humans play in it. They also show a good general understanding of actions that are needed to reduce their impact on global warming, but lack an understanding of what comprises sustainable transportation. They demonstrate willingness and understanding of the importance to recycle and turn off lights -- over 70% of students say they do that Often or Always. BUT, they rarely choose sustainable transportation options (62% say they never or only sometimes choose low-impact transportation), 68% say they never or only sometimes make diet choices that support sustainability, and 59% never or only sometimes compost food scraps. This is just a subset of the findings that are being used by the Office of Sustainability and the Sustainability College-Wide Learning Outcome Subcommittee to make recommendations to curricular and co-curricular education at KSC. It will be interesting to compare these student results to those of faculty and staff when we conduct that portion of the survey in April 2021.

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

Additional documentation to support the submission:

The Sustainability Culture Assessment was administered during the fall semester 2020. It was administered at the same time as the Sustainability Literacy Assessment. It was administered to students in the fall and will be administered to faculty and staff during Earth Month, April 2021. Faculty and staff assessments of sustainability culture have occurred at multiple times in the previous three years using qualitative methods: interviews and focus groups. The Office of Campus Sustainability finds that to be a better way to get more detailed information while maintaining representation. However, we seek a unified vehicle that is manageable for the Office to administer and assess. We will use the survey administered to students in the fall of 2020 to assess faculty and staff in the spring. This will become the new protocol, and the Sustainability Culture Assessment Survey will be administered every two years, if not annually, to the whole campus community.

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