Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 72.63
Liaison Karen Oberer
Submission Date Aug. 22, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

McGill University
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.25 / 1.00
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of sustainability culture (i.e. the assessment focuses on sustainability values, behaviors and beliefs, and may also address awareness of campus sustainability initiatives)?:

Which of the following best describes the cultural assessment? The assessment is administered to::
A subset of the campus community or a sample that may not be representative of the entire community

Which of the following best describes the structure of the cultural assessment? The assessment is administered::
Without a follow-up assessment of the same cohort or representative samples of the same population

A brief description of how and when the cultural assessment(s) were developed and/or adopted:

As part of a student's undergraduate honours thesis in environment studies, a voluntary online survey distributed to first year students living in resident housing on campus was conducted in the Fall of 2015. "The two main objectives of this research project were: 1) to investigate the variations in sustainability conceptions, motivations, attitudes and behaviours held by undergraduate first year students living in residence halls at McGill, and 2) to propose strategies to effectively move forward with sustainability initiatives on campus from a student standpoint."

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 of Questions:
8. Please rate your level of familiarity with the concept of sustainability:
Not at all familiar   Very Familiar
1 2 3 4 5

9. Consider the term sustainability. Please list any keywords, ideas or actions that come to mind when you think about Sustainability. Please spend one minute brainstorming ideas and list whatever comes to mind (minimum 5 items). Do not worry about spelling or grammar.

10. How would you define to the best of your ability what is meant by ‘sustainability’?

12. For respondents who put “McGill’s commitment to sustainability” as “somewhat important or “very important”, could you please elaborate/ explain what about sustainability at McGill interested you? I.e. what from McGill specifically attracted you, how did you find out about it, etc.?

14. How would you best describe your attitude towards sustainability? Please select only one response.
• I think it is a waste of time and effort
• I am not really interested in it
• It is OK if others want to do it
• I think it is a good thing
• I am interested but I’m no eco-freak
• I am a passionate advocate

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

"167 first year students living in downtown residences completed the online survey, yielding a response rate of 5.8%. It should be noted that there is underrepresentation of students native to Montreal considering the survey was restricted to students living in McGill downtown residences." A representative sample of the McGill student body was not reached, as the sample size was too limited and skewed.

A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment, including a description of any measurable changes over time:

"The study revealed that the environmental pillar was most frequently articulated of all three dimensions of sustainability (ecological, social and political). Interestingly, verbs and words pertaining to sustainable ‘actions’ were most commonly mentioned. Results also showed that sustainability was not a motivational factor in attending the institution for most entering students. Respondent attitudes demonstrated differences in viewpoints across the three dimensions of sustainability, and across three scales: societal, institutional and personal. Findings substantiated the effectiveness of the residence dining hall-composting program. Recommendations included utilizing students’ desire to partake in research experience, and highlighting these opportunities across all disciplines. The study further highlights the role of McGill University as a significant place to educate, motivate and support community sustainable action." For full results and discussion, please see the document uploaded in the supporting documents.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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.