Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.85
Liaison Geory Kurtzhals
Submission Date Jan. 10, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Southern Illinois University Carbondale
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 1.00 Geory Kurtzhals
Sustainability Coordinator
"---" 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::
Longitudinally to measure change over time

A brief description of how and when the cultural assessment(s) were developed and/or 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 culture 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 culture and behavior assessments moving forward.

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:

A brief description of how representative samples were reached (if applicable) and how the cultural assessment is 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 cultural assessment, including a description of any measurable changes over time:

Utilizing the responses to questions 13 and 14, which focused on sustainability attitudes and behaviors, the following is a brief summary of results:

Using a scale of 1—Strongly Disagree to 6—Strongly Agree, the overall measure of sustainability attitude (mean of all 11 items from question 13) fell very near 5/Agree at 5.054.
-The Ecological Sustainability Subscale (mean for Items 4, 8, 9, and 11) fell slightly above 5/Agree at 5.265.
-The Social Sustainability Subscale (mean for items 1, 2, 7, and 10) fell very slightly above 5/Agree at 5.0825.
-The Economic Sustainability Subscale (mean for items 3, 5, and 6) falling somewhat lower than 5/Agree at 4.733.

Using a scale of 1—Never to 7—Always, the overall measure of sustainability behaviors, revealed that (mean of all 13 items from question 14) in general, the sustainability behaviors fell about half-way between sometimes (4) and frequently (5) at 4.57.
-The highest scoring behavior was "switch off lights when not in use" at 5.63 and the lowest was "when shopping take own reusable bags" at 3.76.

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 was 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 Lentz Dining Hall 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 will 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.