Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.52
Liaison Gina Talt
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Princeton University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
-- 0.00 / 4.00 Shana Weber
Director
Office of Sustainability

This credit was marked as Not Pursuing so Reporting Fields will not be displayed.

In fall 2017, the Office of Sustainability, in collaboration with the Pace Center for Civic Engagement, began another multi-year survey effort to measure the attitudes and behaviors of Princeton students on sustainability during their undergraduate career. The first installment of the survey was administered to 140 first-year students from the Class of 2021 participating in the Community Action orientation service trip to the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC). 89 students participated in the Sustainability track, and 51 participated in the Arts track. While all students were immersed in nature and participated in outdoor activities, only those in the Sustainability track engaged in sustainability-specific service projects and discussions. Both before and after the PEEC Orientation trip, students were asked the same questions regarding specific sustainability attitudes. Although sample sizes were small, a key result from analyzing the before and after responses to these statements showed that all PEEC students (Sustainability and Arts) felt more strongly about a personal obligation to prevent the disposal of toxic substances after the trip versus before. The percentage of students who strongly agreed that “I feel a sense of personal obligation to take action to stop the disposal of toxic substances in the air, water, and soil” rose from 27% before the trip to 51% after the trip. This difference was statistically significant even when controlling for different programming between the groups and existing attitudes about sustainability. This finding coupled with a lack of statistically significant evidence that the sustainability-specific programming was solely responsible in changing attitudes, suggests that exposure to the natural world by itself - independent of programming - could have affected attitudes around polluting our air, water, and soil.

Future surveys administered to this cohort will be sent out after the students’ sophomore and senior years which will provide insights into how the campus sustainability culture affected attitudes/behaviors and engagement with sustainability over the students’ undergraduate careers.

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