|Submission Date||May 11, 2021|
Saint Michael's College
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture
|0.25 / 1.00||
Director and Instructor
Center for the Environment; Education
Does the institution conduct an assessment of sustainability culture?:
Which of the following best describes the cultural assessment? The assessment is administered to::
Which of the following best describes the structure of the cultural assessment? The assessment is administered::
A brief description of how and when the cultural assessment(s) were developed and/or adopted:
Historically we have done a sustainability literacy assessment every few years; however, due to staffing changes and then COVID, we have not had a survey in the past three years. This year, a student in a Sociology course (Food, Environment, Society) developed a survey to assess the understanding of our students with regards to recycling and composting on campus. Because we were not able to do a more comprehensive sustainability assessment this year, we will use the results of her survey to inform our plans to develop informational initiatives about campus waste management next year. Next year we will incorporate these questions into a broader sustainability assessment survey, which will become an annual 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:
Questions: (a multiple choice of answers is provided for each question)
Did you grow up recycling and/or composting?
While living on campus, how often do you separate your waste into trash, recycling, and composting piles prior to disposal?
What prevents you from sorting your waste?
Has the COVID-19 Pandemic affected your recycling and/or composting routine on campus?
Do you believe our current recycling/composting system is effective?
What would be helpful in aiding you to recycle and compost more on our campus or off?
Please select all the materials you believe to be recyclable.
Please select all the materials you believe to be compostable.
What happens if something non- recyclable is placed into a blue recycling bin? Or, what happens if something non-compostable is placed into a green compost bin
A brief description of how representative samples were reached (if applicable) and how the cultural assessment is administered:
The survey was administered on a Google Form through social media. Most of the students surveyed (given the classes that were surveyed) were sophomores and juniors, and the courses were in a variety of disciplines (Philosophy, Sociology, Political Science, Gender Studies) so it is a fairly representative group of students who have been on campus for at least one year. Next year we will design a survey that has a more explicit target audience.
A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment:
*75% of students separate their waste into trash, recycling and composting Often or Always.
*80% of the students who don't separate their waste regularly indicate that it takes too much time or they don't know how to separate it (what goes where)
*Nearly 42% of students don't know if our system is effective.
*Generally, students understand which items belong in each category.
*Students provided some good suggestions about how to promote waste sorting.
Based on these pilot survey results, the EcoReps will plan a waste minimization educational initiative for next year, particularly with first-year students during Orientation. They will also assess the student's suggestions about improvements, and recommend the top ones to the offices that can implement the changes (student life, Facilities).
Website URL where information about the assessment of sustainability culture is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
Due to a number of factors in the past few years, we have been unable to survey students or the community-at-large about sustainability literacy. This is a high priority for us for next year. The Eco-Reps and other students working in the Center for the Environment will develop a survey instrument and a campus educational plan, both to be implemented in the fall of 2021.
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