Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.92
Liaison Sally DeLeon
Submission Date Feb. 12, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

University of Maryland, College Park
ER-13: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Sally DeLeon
Acting Manager
Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution conducted a sustainability literacy assessment?:
Yes

Did the assessment include a baseline evaluation of students and then a follow-up evaluation of the same cohort?:
Yes

A copy of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment:
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A copy of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment :

University of Maryland Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Please circle which describes you best:
a.) Faculty
b.) Staff
c.) Undergraduate Student
d.) Graduate Student – Masters level
e.) Graduate Student – Doctoral level

Please select the college that you are a part of (LIST OF COLLEGES)

If you are an undergraduate student please select your class level:
a.) Freshman
b.) Sophomore
c.) Junior
d.) Senior

Please select which best describes your current residency:
Residence hall
Commons/Courtyards
Fraternity/Sorority house
Your family’s home
Other off-campus housing

Ethnicity (approved CAWG categories)

Please circle your gender:
Male
Female

Please select the classification that best classifies you as a student:
International
Maryland resident
Out of state resident

How concerned are you about the following issues?
Please use the following scale for your responses
1. Not at all concerned
2. Not very concerned
3. Neutral
4. Somewhat concerned
5. Very concerned

a.) The state of the economy
b.) Social justice/equality
c.) The health of the environment
Politically, how do you identify yourself?
a.) Democrat
b.) Republican
c.) Independent
d.) Other
e.) I don’t care about politics

1. Why is it important to recycle? (Choose all that apply)
a.) recycling decreases the amount of habitat lost due to resource extraction.
b.) recycling typically takes less energy to process recycled materials than to use new materials.
c.) recycling cuts down on the amount of trash that goes into landfills.
d.) None of these (recycling is not an efficient way of dealing with our wastes.)

2. What are the potential effects of global climate change? (Choose all that apply)
a.) loss of habitats
b.) less severe weather
c.) expansion of deserts
d.) decrease in sea level

3. Living in Maryland, we see signs about entering the Chesapeake Bay Watershed or about “Saving the
Bay.” Which of the following pressures lead to degradation to the Bay’s ecosystem?
(Choose all that apply)
a.) application of fertilizer on lawns
b.) overfishing
c.) use of landfills to dispose of waste
d.) conversion of natural space to human developments (buildings, roads, homes, farms, etc.)

4. Imagine you are one of many fishermen who rely on the fish you catch from the Chesapeake Bay as your main source of income. The Fishermen Council, which regulates the amount of fish that can be taken from the Bay each year, determined that each fisherman must limit his/her catch to 5 tons per year to maintain the fishery. You decide to catch 6 tons of fish this year. What could be the results of your decision? (Choose all that apply)
a.) You make more money this year than you would have if you caught 5 tons of fish.
b.) You make less money this year than you would have if you caught 5 tons of fish.
c.) The total number of fish that are available to catch each year could decrease.
d.) Fishermen, including you, could go out of business.

5. The most significant driver in the loss of species and ecosystems around the world is:
a.) overhunting/overharvesting
b.) conversion of natural space into human developments (farmland, cities, etc.)
c.) acid rain
d.) breeding of animals in zoos

6. Using non-renewable resources, like fossil fuels, can create economic growth but future generations will be disadvantaged if the current generation overuses these resources. Which of the following principles can we follow if we do not want to disadvantage the next generation? (Choose all that apply)
a.) Renewable resources such as fish, soil, and groundwater must be used no faster than the rate at which they regenerate.
b.) Nonrenewable resources such as minerals and fossil fuels must be used no faster than renewable substitutes for them can be put into place.
c.) Pollution and wastes must be emitted no faster than natural systems can absorb them, recycle them, or render them harmless.
d.) None (Humans will never run out of non-renewable resources.)

7. Imagine that we had to pay for all the costs associated with the manufacturing of the goods we use every day. What would go into calculating the true costs of a product? (Choose all that apply)
a.) the cost of raw materials to make the product
b.) the cost of environmental damage caused by production
c.) the cost to transport that product from its manufacturing location to your location
d.) the cost of health care for employees who manufacture the product

8. Of the following, which contributes the most to sustainability?
a.) recycling products
b.) reusing products
c.) buying the newest products to increase economic development
d.) reducing consumption of products

9. The best way to support a local economy, such as the local economy of College Park, is to buy goods
(groceries, clothing, toiletries, etc.) at
a.) large chain stores such as Target or Walmart
b.) farmer’s markets and stores that sell locally-produced goods
c.) locally-owned stores and restaurants

10. What factors influence human population’s impact on Earth’s resources?
(Choose all that apply.)
a.) size of the population
b.) amount of materials used per person
c.) use of technology that lessens our impact

11. Which of the following statements about water is/are true? (Choose all that apply)
a.) The number of people who lack access to clean drinking water will decrease over the next two decades
b.) Globally, freshwater reserves (aquifers) are used faster than they are replenished.
c.) Many people around the world do not have access to clean drinking water, so their only option is to drink contaminated water.
d.) Global warming does not threaten to decrease freshwater reserves.

12. Put the following list in order of the activities with the largest environmental impact to those with the smallest environmental impact:
A. Keeping a cell phone charger plugged into an electrical outlet for 12 hours
B. Eating one McDonalds quarter-pound hamburger
C. Eating one McDonalds chicken sandwich
D. Flying in a commercial airplane from Washington DC to China

a.) A, C, B, D
b.) D, A, B, C
c.) D, C, B, A
d.) D, B, C, A

13. Globally, communities face a variety of social injustices, ranging from low wages, poor working conditions, and lack of access to education. To help improve communities around the world you can:
(Choose all that apply)
a.) support US corporations that do not allow labor unions
b.) buy fair trade certified products
c.) make all purchases online
d.) learn how companies you usually buy from conduct business

14. Which of the following is an example of environmental justice?
a.) Urban citizens win a bill to have toxic wastes taken to rural communities.
b.) Government dams a river, flooding Native American tribal lands, to create hydro-power for large cities.
c.) Indigenous communities being involved in setting a quota for the amount of wood that they can take from a protected forest next to their village.
d.) Corporations building factories in developing countries where environmental laws are less strict.

During your time at the University of Maryland, how many courses have you taken that address the topics presented in this survey?
a.) 0 (none that I remember)
b.) 1-2
c.) 3 or more

Additional Comments:
Please add any comments that you may have in regard to any of the above questions or concepts.


A brief description of how the assessment was developed:

With input from Office of Sustainability staff, a graduate student reviewed literacy assessments from other schools and then developed an assessment that is unique to the University of Maryland.


A brief description of how the assessment was administered:

The assessment survey was emailed to a random sample of a quarter of all undergraduate students and a quarter of all graduate students.


A brief summary of results from the assessment:

We received about 1400 responses to the assessment survey. Findings show that in general UMD students have a good understanding of sustainability concepts. There was slight variation between UMD's twelve colleges. Proficiency was correlated with the number of sustainability-related courses a student has taken in their time at UMD.


The website URL where information about the literacy assessment is available:

MARK- Can you upload a copy of the assessment questions?

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.