Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 53.85
Liaison Aimee Lemrise
Submission Date Jan. 10, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Southern Illinois University Carbondale
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 4.00 Geory Kurtzhals
Sustainability Coordinator
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of the sustainability literacy of its students (i.e. an assessment focused on student knowledge of sustainability topics and challenges)?:

Which of the following best describes the literacy assessment? The assessment is administered to::
A subset of students or a sample that may not be representative of the predominant student body

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 sample of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment or the website URL where the assessment tool may be found:

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

The "Health & Environmental Attitudes and Behaviors Among College Students" assessment was developed as a collaboration between the Sustainability Office and a faculty member Dawn Null, PhD, RD, LDN (Assistant Professor, Human Nutrition & Dietetics). The purpose of this study was two-fold: 1) to investigate the influence of an environmental marketing campaign on the attitudes and eating behaviors of SIU students; and 2) to complete assessments of sustainability literacy and culture of SIU students.

Some questions used to assess the sustainability literacy components were used with permission from Adam Zwickle at Michigan State University and are from the following article: Zwickle, Adam, and Keith Jones. “Sustainability Knowledge and Attitudes—Assessing Latent Constructs.” World Sustainability Series Handbook of Sustainability and Social Science Research, 2017, pp. 435–451. Other questions were developed internally or used with permission from another source.

The assessment was adopted for use during the fall 2019 semester. The post-assessment is scheduled for spring 2020 and will take place after strategic interventions of educational materials have been placed in the dining halls. In addition, a Masters-level graduate student will be reviewing this assessment in comparison to other options as a part of her masters research to help the Sustainability Office determine the right fit for sustainability literacy assessments moving forward.

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

Achieving a representative sample was not applicable for this survey. The subject pool was a convenience sample of SIU students who dine at Trueblood and Lentz dining halls. The majority (55.59%) of the students surveyed reported their academic year as "freshman."
Tables were set up near the dining hall entrances. Students helped to recruit students to take the (pre-intervention) survey electronically on their smart phone. Once the survey was complete, the student showed the confirmation screen and received a reusable coffee cup in exchange for their time to complete the survey. Email addresses were collected as part of the demographic information to contact the participants to complete the post-intervention survey in the spring.
See also notes below.

A brief summary of results from the literacy assessment(s), including a description of any measurable changes over time:

Utilizing the responses to questions 3-12, which focused on sustainability literacy, the following is a brief summary of results:
Of the 10 questions, the majority (over 50%) of students:
-selected the correct answer for 5 questions
-were unable to select the correct answer for 5 questions.
Of the 5 questions for which students were unable to select the correct answer, there was one question where a near majority (49.23%) chose the incorrect answer.

Measurable changes over time are not available, since the post-assessment is scheduled for spring 2020. However, the results of this survey are informing the interventions that will be used in the spring semester.

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

Additional documentation to support the submission:

The study design is a nonrandomized control group pretest-posttest design. The Health and Environmental Attitudes and Behaviors Pretest Survey was administered mid-November at each of the dining halls, Trueblood and Lentz, during meal times.

The intervention will start in the beginning of the spring 2020 semester and will consist of marketing materials designed to highlight the impact of certain foods on the environment. For example, a poster may say, “For every burger skipped, you can save enough energy to charge your iPhone for 4.5 years;” and “It takes 464 gallons of water to produce one serving of beef – enough water for you to drink for the next 3 years!” The goal is to inspire students to act since we are providing them with tangible, specific actions that they can take to directly impact the environment. The marketing campaign will include print media (posters and napkin holders) as well as digital media. Digital media will include various formats of such as videos, pictures, and stories.

The posttest will be administered prior to spring break. The marketing materials, however, will remain posted throughout the spring 2020 semester. The posttest will be sent via email to the students who took the pretest and provided their email address (as consent for the posttest). As incentive to complete the posttest, the students will be offered a “Saluki Green Action Team” t-shirt made with environmental impact in mind. The students will be contacted three times to complete the survey. No additional attempts will be made after that and the survey will close mid-April. T-shirts will be distributed to study participants at Trueblood and Lentz dining halls.

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.