Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.31
Liaison Natalie Walker
Submission Date Aug. 9, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Pennsylvania
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 1.00 Natalie Walker
Sustainability Manager
Penn Sustainability
"---" 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::
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 Green Living Certification survey was developed in 2012-2013 to recognize and track the sustainability choices of students and provide on- and off-campus residents with an opportunity to reflect on their environmental impact.

Establishing greener lifestyles creates a tangible, positive impact on our campus. By offering Green Living Certification, residents are inspired to take further steps towards improving the health of our environment and to provide a model for others to do the same.

The survey assesses sustainability culture and behavior change via 2 questions toward the end of the survey (see below), as well as by having students complete the survey each year. Each fall, the survey is sent to previously certified students who have not yet graduated as a way to assess changes in their behavior regarding sustainability.


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:

"How likely or unlikely are you to engage in additional sustainability actions because of the preceding survey?"

"To what extent do you agree with the following statement: This survey informed me of sustainability actions or impacts that I did not previously know about."


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

The outreach plan includes:
- Emails: College Housing and Academic Services House Directors Listserv, Cultural Centers Listservs (Ex. Casa Latina, Makku, LGBT Center), Undergraduate Assembly, Graduate and Professional Student Association, Returning Certified Students, Academic Departments (ex. Earth and Environmental Science), Student Eco-Reps, PennGreen Pre-Orientation Participants, etc.

- Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages of Penn Sustainability; Class Facebook Groups (ex. Class of 2023 Facebook Group); Slack Channels for the Student Sustainability Association at Penn, etc.


A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment:

For the 2018-2019 to 2019-2020 academic years, 57 students took the survey and completed their Green Living certification for both years. Of these 57 students, over 1/3 (20) achieved a higher score the second time, with some students even jumping levels from Bronze to Silver, or Silver to Gold.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, over 85% of participants in the survey said they were either "highly likely" or "likely" to engage in additional sustainability actions because of the survey. For the 2019-2020 academic year, this figure was over 88%.

Additionally, in the 2018-2019 academic year, over 89% of participants in the survey said they either "strongly agree" or "agree" that the survey informed them of sustainability actions or impacts that they did not previously know about. For the 2019-2020 academic year, this figure was over 90%. "


Website URL where information about the assessment of sustainability culture is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The University of Pennsylvania is a major research institution, with over 3,000 degrees granted annually from twelve professional and academic schools at the Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate levels. Penn is committed to reducing emissions and energy use, as stated in the 2019 "Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0." This submission documents Penn's efforts during the FY20 year and compares them to the FY09 baseline year which corresponds with the University's "Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0." The submission relies on information related to the main, academic, West Philadelphia campus, but to more fully document efforts across the Penn system, information related to the Morris Arboretum and New Bolton Center has also been referenced and noted as outside the boundary in descriptions. The information is used to enrich examples of University efforts and is not intended to be the primary justification for credits. The responses for each of the questions and sub-questions are drawn from University materials, both internal and public documents. Each section notes the website where the information can be found.

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.