Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.01
Liaison Patrick McKee
Submission Date March 6, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Connecticut
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Richard Miller
Office of Envirnmental Policy
"---" 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::
The entire (or predominate) student body, directly or by representative sample

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 questions in the survey were written to test for a variety of different topics under the umbrella of environmental/sustainability literacy, ranging from the basics of ecosystems, to sustainability initiatives at UConn, and issues like food waste, sustainable architecture, and greenhouse gases. The process of creating the survey included drafting many questions, and then choosing a select group of these to include in the survey, in order to have a sample representative of many different categories of sustainability literacy.

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

The survey was distributed electronically via a link posted in UConn’s Daily Digest, an email with daily news that is emailed to students, in October 2019. Flyers were also put up in main student gathering places. This distribution system was used to reach a representative sample of students at the University. The assessment was administered as a multiple choice, electronic Survey Monkey exam. The post-survey was administered to the same cohort of students through the same format in January 2020. The next round of surveys will be administered in October 2020, with a post-survey administered in January 2021. This will ensure that UConn continues to gather data from new and current students.

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

In the initial survey, we received 436 responses. Key findings include the following:

• 91% of students were aware that habitat loss is the primary threat to wildlife in the U.S.
• 82% of students knew that beef is one of the most carbon-intensive foods to produce (per kilogram)
• 82% of students knew the definition of single stream recycling
• 74% of students identified current and predicted effects of climate change
• 89% of students identified an example of sustainable forest management
• 81% of students knew the name of the primary federal agency that oversees US environmental regulation (Environmental Protection Agency)

In the follow up survey, we received 492 responses. 154 of the original 436 participants retook the same survey (~35%), so there were approximately 774 unique student responses between the two assessments.
Measurable Changes:
• Knowledge of the UN’s definition of “sustainable development” increased from 62% to 71% (~15% increase). This change shows that the student body has become more knowledgeable about the definition of sustainability, which is the foundation of all environmental matters. The results suggest this knowledge will allow a better understanding of issues both at UConn and beyond.

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

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Although about 3.4% of the student population answered our survey, the data represents the University population relatively well. Given the number of students that attend the University, having everyone take the Environmental Awareness Survey would be challenging and limitations would arise. The demographics in this data are based on year in university (freshman, sophomore, etc.), gender, and whether or not students live on or off campus. Notably, gender was skewed towards female, with more female responses than other options. It is hard to determine the percentage of students assessed by this survey, but the voluntary survey questionnaire went out to the entire student population through the Daily Digest, and thus, was offered to 100% of students.

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.