Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.84
Liaison Andrew Horning
Submission Date Dec. 19, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Michigan
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Andrew Horning
Managing Director
Graham Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of sustainability culture?:

Which of the following best describes the cultural assessment? The assessment is administered to::
The entire campus community (students and employees) directly or by representative sample

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 Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program (SCIP) is designed to inform educational programs and campus operations at U-M and is an outgrowth of the Community Awareness goal area of the U-M Campus Sustainability Integrated Assessment.

Building on information gleaned from focus groups, two questionnaires were designed and have been administered to samples of university students, faculty, and staff in Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Winter 2018, and Fall 2021. The web surveys yield responses from approximately 3,500 students and 1,500 faculty and staff members each cycle. Questions cover travel and transportation, waste prevention and conservation, the natural environment, climate change, food, and engagement, awareness, and ratings of campus sustainability initiatives. Survey data are supplemented with geographic data covering campus buildings where respondents live, work and study. In 2021, a new set of questions was added relating to U-M’s carbon neutrality efforts.

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:
Copies of the questionnaires, reports and other materials can be found at: http://graham.umich.edu/index.php/scip/materials

A brief description of how representative samples were reached (if applicable) and how the cultural assessment is administered:
Based on guidelines provided by the Survey Research Operations unit of the U-M Institute for Social Research, the selection of the sample of students is made by the U-M Office of the Registrar. In order to be eligible for selection, two key sample parameters were identified and defined the sampling frame: 1) a full-time undergraduate, graduate or professional student, and 2) registered for the fall semester on the Ann Arbor campus. In order to reach the targeted number of students from each undergraduate cohort and from graduate students, names are selected from each group (strata) who are contacted and invited to participate in the survey. The faculty and staff sample is drawn by the U-M Human Resources Records and Information Services. To be eligible employees have to meet two criteria: 1) be benefits eligible, and 2) employed on September 1, of the year of the survey. In fall 2021 a total of 19,499 students, faculty, and staff were contacted with a 26.0% overall response rate. Additional information can be found in the SCIP Methodology report found at: https://graham.umich.edu/index.php/scip/materials

Delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacted our survey administration plans. We had originally planned to use our 2018 student panel for pre and post-assessment but COVID delays ruled that out as all panel members have graduated. However, we can still offer the following longitudinal insights based on the representative samples from 2018 and 2021 (details in a brief summary).

A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment:
• Travel behavior has changed significantly since 2018 – mostly likely due to hybrid or work/study-from-home arrangements for students, staff, and faculty. Whether this will remain constant moving forward is yet known but will be an important item to examine in the future. Here is one insight from comparing 2018 and 2021 results. This shift is particularly important for staff who have longer work commutes than students and faculty, and overall University scope 3 emissions management.
Percent responding “Never” when asked about Driving a Car and Parking on Campus
Students Staff Faculty
2018 49 6 7
2021 66 28 21
In addition, there were interesting shifts in the number of staff and faculty reporting that they are now primarily working from home.

Percent responding “Always/Most of the time” when asked about Working from Home/Telecommuting
Staff Faculty
2018 1 0
2021 19 7

• In terms of waste prevention awareness there were mixed results regarding recycling but greater awareness about composting among students, staff, and faculty.
Percent responding they know “A lot/A fair amount” about Recycling
Students Staff Faculty
2018 63 61 68
2021 52 64 55
Percent responding they know “A lot/A fair amount” about Composting
Students Staff Faculty
2018 26 18 16
2021 43 43 39

• In terms of waste prevention behavior there were mixed results regarding recycling for students, but greater percentages of respondents indicating they compost among students, staff, and faculty.

Percent responding they “Sometimes or Always/Most of the time” Recycle
Students Staff Faculty
2018 93 83 93
2021 85 87 94
Percent responding they “Sometimes or Always/Most of the time” Compost food related items
Students Staff Faculty
2018 17 25 21
2021 35 42 38

• Finally, Sustainability Engagement Outside of the University results in 2021 (donating money, volunteering with, or serving in a leadership capacity with an advocacy organization) were similar to 2018. However, the percentage of students, staff and faculty reporting that they voted for a public office candidate because of their support for topics such as environmental protection, energy/water conservation, etc. increased from 2018 to 2021.

Percent responding “Yes” to voting question
Students Staff Faculty
2018 43 50 69
2021 55 59 73

Following each cycle of data collection and analysis, the SCIP research team hosts an update and key findings session for representatives from multiple campus offices which lead sustainability efforts (for example; student life, parking and transportation services, campus dining, campus sustainability). These meetings are important for starting conversations about how to best use SCIP results to inform efforts.

Copies of the questionnaires, reports, and other materials can be found at: https://graham.umich.edu/index.php/scip/materials. Since 2013, more than 400 individuals have downloaded copies of the SCIP questionnaires to support their work with assessing sustainability culture.

A case study on SCIP can be found in the AASHE resource hub.

Website URL where information about the assessment of sustainability culture is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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.