Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.09
Liaison Jennifer Andrews
Submission Date Aug. 16, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of New Hampshire
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Fiona Wilson
Director/Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer
Sustainability Institute/UNH
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of sustainability culture?:
Yes

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:

A prior version of our assessment of sustainability culture at UNH was administered in Fall 2016 and with a follow-up in Spring 2017.

Over the last 18 months, to reflect evolving best practices, the Sustainability Institute worked collaboratively with UNH's Survey Center, as well as Communications & Public Affairs, The office of the Provost, and others, to develop new versions (one for students and another for faculty and staff) of the instrument to assess sustainability values, behaviors, beliefs and awareness of campus sustainability initiatives. The survey instruments are also a synthesis of best practices from other AASHE reporting institutions.

Originally due to be administered in Fall 2020, we administered the surveys in Spring of 2021 due to the high level of Covid-19 communications in Fall of 2020 and concern by the University's Communication and Public Affairs team about additional emails and requests during that time. Moving forward, with our new instrument, we will administered the survey to both groups on an annual basis, each Spring, to provide longitudinal data to assess changes in levels of awareness and beliefs.


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 full set of all questions are contained in the uploaded copies of the survey instrument. (Faculty and staff version is contained above, student version is included below in "additional documentation to support the submission.)

Sample questions include:

Q1
Which of the following is the United Nation’s definition of sustainable development?
Achieving responsible production and consumption (1)
Addressing the climate crisis (2)
A collective commitment to human dignity and wellbeing for all people and ecological integrity in all places (3)
Eradicating poverty (4)
Don’t know/Not sure (98)

Q2 Knowledge of Sustainability at UNH
How much have you heard about each of the following UNH sustainability initiatives? ROTATE STATEMENT Nothing at all (1) Only a little (2) A fair amount (3) A great deal (4)
UNH is ranked Platinum by STARS (Sustainability Tracking and Rating and System), one of only a handful of institutions to have achieved that ranking
UNH has reduced its carbon footprint by more than half since 2001
UNH provides 1 day of paid time off each year for all employees to dedicate to community service
UNH has a program that guarantees free tuition for NH students receiving Pell grants
UNH hosts and encourages faculty, staff, and students to participate each year in the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge
The majority of the energy used to heat and power UNH's Durham campus comes from methane gas piped in from a local landfill and from small hydroelectric dams in New England
UNH has a Student Emergency Assistance Fund which provides short-term financial assistance to UNH students who are unable to meet essential expenses due to a temporary or unexpected hardship
UNH has four 3-star Green Certified restaurants on campus
In 2020, UNH launched a Postdoctoral Diversity and Innovation Scholars program to increase the diversity of UNH's faculty
UNH has a Sustainability Task Force comprised of staff, faculty, and students to guide a shared vision of sustainability at UNH
UNH composts food waste from the dining halls, using the resulting product to fertilize fields at our research farms
UNH Dining Services created a program called
Swipe it Forward to address food insecurity on campus
UNH has a unique partnership with our local utility, Eversource, that promotes campus energy efficiency
More than 25% of the UNH endowment is now invested in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) qualified investments
UNH employees have access to several Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) qualified investment options through the USNH Retirement Plans
UNH recognizes and incentivizes sustainability leadership among our faculty, staff, and students through the Sustainability Awards Program
UNH is one of the few universities in the country to have a dual major in sustainability, open to students from any major
UNH has many co-curricular options to engage students in sustainability (e.g. Sustainability Fellowship, Sustainability Advocates, Changemaker Fellows)

Q3 Values & Beliefs Regarding Sustainability
The following questions ask about your sustainability values and beliefs.
Indicate the degree to which you agree or disagree with the following statements:
Sustainability includes cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors (1)
My lifestyle has become more sustainable since working at UNH (2)
Through my work, I feel empowered to contribute to sustainability at UNH(3)
I considered sustainability when I chose to work at UNH

Q4 The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
How likely are you to engage, or do you currently engage, in addressing the 17 SDGs in your professional or civic life?

Q7 How often do you engage in the following activities?
Make food choices with broader impacts in mind (1)
Select sustainable investment options through my retirement plan or other investments (2)
Participate in political organizing and social movements (3)
Use a reusable water bottle, coffee container, etc. (4)
Seek out products and services from companies that engage in sustainable practices. (5)
Participate in university-wide councils, forums, and other types of gatherings to facilitate positive change on campus (7)
Contact local, state or national representatives when I feel strongly about an issue (8)
Attend lectures and events on sustainability issues (e.g., human rights, arts, and society)
(9)
Volunteer or engage in community service (10)

Q15 Overall, how important is sustainability to you personally?
Not at all Important (1)
Not Very Important (2)
Somewhat Important (3)
Very Important (4)
Don’t know/Not sure (98)

Q16 Overall, how important is sustainability to you professionally?
Not at all Important (1)
Not Very Important (2)
Somewhat Important (3)
Very Important (4)
Don’t know/Not sure (98)

Q17 Please share your thoughts on how UNH can improve our sustainability efforts regarding, education, research, and practice, across our three campuses


A brief description of how representative samples were reached (if applicable) and how the cultural assessment is administered:

The survey was administered by the UNH Survey Center, our professional on-campus quantitative research experts.

Prior to the launch of the surveys, the leadership of the UNH Sustainability Institute contacted Deans and Directors across the University giving them a heads up that their faculty, staff and students would be receiving an invitation to participate in the annual survey. We asked Deans and Directors to send their units a message talking about the value and importance of the survey (especially in light of sustainability being a key component of all four of the UNH President's four strategic priorities, and one of the key performance metrics) and encouraging their units to participate. An email then went from the leadership of the UNH Sustainability Institute to faculty, staff and students with a similar message and inviting their participation. Two additional reminders went out during the survey period.

The survey is hosted on UNH's Qualtrics platform and built and administered by the UNH Survey Center.

Because of the ongoing high level of Covid-related communications to students, faculty and staff during the period, we opted to send the survey to a representative sample as follows:
Faculty/Staff (50% random sample)
Students only seniors (100%)
Other undergraduate students (33% random sample)

Participants were asked to answer a range of demographic questions to ensure the sample was representative.

The responses were analyzed by staff at the Survey Center and the reviewed and discussed by staff at the Sustainability Institute.

Invitations were sent to a random sample of half of UNH faculty and staff (N=2,027). Of those, 333 faculty and staff members completed the survey between April 22 and May 12, 2021, yielding a response rate of 16%.

Invitations to complete this survey were sent to all Durham Seniors and a random sample of one-third of the remaining undergraduate student body (N=6,381) on
April 22, 2021. Of those, 252 undergraduate students completed the survey between April 22 and May 12, 2021, yielding a response rate of 4%. Data were weighted by student class standing to targets provided by UNH to make the results representative of the UNH undergraduate student body.


A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment:

Faculty and Staff:
Knowledge of UNH Sustainability Initiatives: Among sustainability initiatives at UNH, responding UNH faculty and staff report the greatest awareness of UNH’s platinum rating by STARS, how UNH composts food waste and uses it for fertilization, and how the majority of energy used by the Durham campus comes from methane and small dams. By contrast, only one in eight have heard that much about how UNH employees have access to ESG qualified investment options or how more than a quarter of the UNH endowment is invested in ESG qualified investments. Faculty and staff report most frequently hearing about these initiatives through direct email communications and through colleagues.

Sustainability Values and Beliefs: The vast majority of responding UNH faculty and staff agree that sustainability includes cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors, but only about half say they feel empowered to contribute to sustainability at UNH or that their lifestyle has become more sustainable since arriving at UNH. Only one in eight say they considered sustainability when they chose UNH. Respondents aged 25 to 34 are more likely than others to feel empowered to contribute to sustainability, feel that their lifestyle has become more sustainable, and to have considered sustainability when they chose to work at UNH. A majority of responding UNH faculty and staff believe the UN's definition of sustainable development is a collective commitment to human dignity and wellbeing for all people and ecological integrity in all places while one-third say they don’t know. Among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UNH faculty and staff are most likely to say they are currently engaging or are likely to engage in achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education, and ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being. Respondents are least likely to report being engaged or being likely to engage with promotng sustainable economic growth that allows poor nations to improve quality of life and wealthy nations to reduce excessive consumption, reducing inequality within and among countries, or strengthening the means of implementation and revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development. Faculty and staff who work or teach in the College of Life Sciences & Agriculture are on average more likely to be currently engaged in these SDGs or say they are likely to do so. Nearly two-thirds of respondents agree that the 17 SDGs should be elements of a single integrated approach that requires all goals to be met simultaneously.

Engagement with Sustainability Activities: Seven in eight responding UNH faculty and staff say they always or most of the time use a reusable water bottle or other container and about half say they always or most of the time make food choices with broader impacts in mind and seek out products and services from sustainable companies. Relatively few report frequently volunteering, contacting elected representatives, selecting sustainable investment options, attending lectures and events on sustainability, participating in political organizing and social movements, or participating in university gatherings to facilitate change on campus.
Importance of Sustainability: More than 95% of responding UNH faculty and staff say that sustainability is very or somewhat important to them personally and seven in eight say that sustainability is very or somewhat important to them professionally. Those who work or teach in the Colleges of Life Sciences & Agriculture and Engineering & Physical Sciences are more likely than others to say sustainability is very important to them personally and professionally.

Importance of Sustainability: More than 95% of responding UNH faculty and staff say that sustainability is very or somewhat important to them personally and seven in eight say that sustainability is very or somewhat important to them professionally. Those who work or teach in the Colleges of Life Sciences & Agriculture and Engineering & Physical Sciences are more likely than others to say sustainability is very important to them personally and professionally.

Student Survey:
Knowledge of UNH Sustainability Initiatives: Among sustainability initiatives at UNH, responding UNH students report the greatest awareness of UNH's initiative of composting food waste and using it for fertilization, UNH being one of the few universities in the to offer a dual major in sustainability open to any major, and UNH earning a platinum rating from STARS. By contrast, less than one-fifth have heard that much about how UNH guarantees free tuition to NH students receiving Pell grants, how a quarter of the UNH endowment is invested in ESG qualified investments, and how UNH has launched a program to increase the diversity of UNH’s faculty. Respondents report most frequently hearing about these initiatives through direct email communications and through friends.

Sustainability Values and Beliefs: The vast majority of responding UNH students agree that sustainability includes cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors, but only about half feel empowered to contribute to sustainability at UNH or say that their lifestyle has become more sustainable since arriving at UNH. One in three considered sustainability when they chose UNH. Responding students are considerably less likely than in 2020 to say their lifestyle has become more sustainable since enrolling at UNH. Six in ten responding students believe the UN's definition of sustainable development is a collective commitment to human dignity and wellbeing for all people and ecological integrity in all places. Among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), responding UNH students are most likely to say they are currently engaging or are likely to engage in taking urgent action to combat the climate crisis and its impacts and ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns. Students are least likely to report being engaged or being likely to engage with promoting sustainable economic growth that allows poor nations to improve quality of life and wealthy nations to reduce excessive consumption, ending poverty in all forms everywhere, and strengthening the means of implementation and revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development. Three-quarters of students agree that the 17 SDGs should be elements of a single integrated approach that requires all goals to be met simultaneously. Men are less likely to be currently engaged or be likely to engage with the SDGs and are less likely to believe they should be elements of a single approach.

Engagement with Sustainability Activities: Seven in eight responding UNH students say they always or most of the time use a reusable water bottle or other container and about half say they always or most of the time seek out products and services from sustainable companies or make food choices with broader impacts in mind. Few report frequently volunteering, attending lectures and events on sustainability, participating in political organizing and social movements, participating in university gatherings to facilitate change on campus, or contacting representatives.

Importance of Sustainability: Seven in ten responding UNH students say that sustainability is very important to them personally, with nearly all the rest saying it is somewhat important. Freshmen and those pursuing a degree in the business school are less likely to say that sustainability is very or somewhat important to them.


Website URL where information about the assessment of sustainability culture is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.