Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 57.27
Liaison Jane Stewart
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

Washington and Lee University
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 1.00 Kimberly Hodge
Director of Sustainability Initiatives and Education
Student Affairs
"---" 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::
Without a follow-up assessment of the same cohort or representative samples of the same population

A brief description of how and when the cultural assessment(s) were developed and/or adopted:

The assessment was a senior capstone project, completed in April 2020, and advised by the Director of Sustainability and the Environmental Studies faculty. In order to assess the sustainability culture on Washington and Lee University’s campus, a survey was conducted within W&L’s community. The survey was constructed using SurveyMonkey and utilized logic in order to properly assess students as well as faculty and staff members.

At the start of the survey participants were asked to identify themselves as either a student or a faculty and staff member. The corresponding survey questions were tailored based on the participants identification as either a student or a faculty and staff member at W&L. The methodology behind assessing two separate groups was based upon the University of Michigan’s (UM) Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program (SCIP) Methodology Report (Weise, 2018).

In addition to mimicking UM’s targeted response groups, UM’s survey sections and
questions were modified to fit the needs of W&L’s sustainability culture and practices. The survey was composed of seven sections, strategically included to assess all aspects of the sustainability culture on W&L’s campus. Survey sections included: Transportation, Conservation and Waste, Food, Sustainability at W&L, General Sustainability Perspective, Climate Change, and Demographics. Survey questions were structured to learn about the participants sustainability behavior, awareness, engagement, and commitment in relation to each survey section.


A copy or sample of the questions related to sustainability culture:
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A sample of the questions related to sustainability culture or the website URL where the assessment tool is available:

The selected
questions from the student survey included:
• During the past year, how often did you do the following when you had the opportunity?
How often did you:
1. Turn the lights off when I leave the room
2. Unplug electrical appliances when I leave the room
3. Use the power saving settings on the computer
4. Use a motion sensor/”smart” power strip
The selected questions from the faculty and staff survey included:
• How often do you the following at work when you have the opportunity?
1. Turn off the lights when leaving the room
2. Turn off my computer when I leave work
3. Use the power savings settings on the computer
4. Use a motion sensor/”smart” power strip

The selected questions from the student survey included:
• During the past year, how often did you do the following when you had the opportunity?
1. Recycle
15
2. Use a reusable water bottle, coffee cup, travel mug, etc.
3. Print double-sided
The selected questions from the faculty and staff survey included:
• How often do you do the following at work when you have the opportunity?
1. Recycle
2. Use a reusable water bottle, coffee cup, travel mug, etc.
3. Print double-sided

The selected questions from the student and the faculty and staff surveys included:
• How aware are you of W&L efforts to:
1. Conserve energy
2. Promote composting
3. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
4. Promote zero waste events

The selected questions from the student survey included:
• During the past year did you participate in any of the following at W&L (Select all that
apply)?
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1. Zero waste events
2. A W&L organization dealing with sustainability
3. A W&L course that addressed sustainability (most likely a course that drew
connections between environmental, social, or economic issues)
4. Visited the W&L Sustainability Website
The selected questions from the faculty and staff survey included:
• During the past year did you participate in any of the following at W&L (Select all that
apply)?
1. Zero waste events
2. A W&L group dealing with sustainability
3. Taught a W&L course that addressed sustainability (a course that draws
connections between environmental, social, and/or economic issues)
4. Visited the W&L Sustainability Website


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

The distribution methodology for this survey included multiple techniques in order to maximize the number of participants from a wide variety of student, and faculty and staff member groups. The first distribution technique involved social media campaigning. An informational flyer including a link to the survey were shared on Instagram and Facebook. Copies of this informational flyer with a QR code corresponding to the survey link were then printed and posted throughout the W&L campus. Targeted buildings were high volume and ranged across numerous majors. Buildings included: Center for Global Learning, Science Center,
Leyburn Library, Tucker Hall, Huntley Hall, El Rod Commons, and Payne Hall. Additionally, targeted emails were sent to contacts with access to large email groups. Targeted emails asked participants to pass along the survey link and the short informative paragraph describing the purpose and importance of the survey included in the email. This email chain technique was sent to members of the athletic department, environmental studies department, geology department, engineering department, religion department, business school, campus fraternities and sororities, sustainability interns, and sports teams. The final distribution technique involved daily postings in the university’s Campus Notices. The daily posting included a short descriptive paragraph and a link to the survey.


A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment:

Overall, the sustainability culture on Washington and Lee’s campus is relatively strong as indicated by both students and faculty and staff members scoring above 6 in five out of eight indices (Figure 2). Of these five indices, which includes the Conservation Behavior, Waste Prevention Behavior, Sustainable Food Purchases, W&L Sustainable Initiatives Awareness, and Commitment indices, both students and faculty and staff members achieved index scores greater than 7.5. An index score above 7.5 indicates an extremely strong sustainability culture in the corresponding area. The two indices in which both students and faculty and staff members scored above 7.5 were Waste Prevention Behavior and Commitment. Based on the results of this study, future university policy changes will seek to mimic current sustainable waste management practices on campus as they have been extremely successful in creating a strong university culture in relation to Waste Prevention Behavior. A strong sustainability culture amongst students and faculty and staff members in relation to Commitment indicates that community members would be open to suggested policy changes that seek to improve all aspects of the sustainability culture on campus, as they too are committed to improving the sustainability culture on campus. The three indices in which either students and/or faculty and staff members achieved scores lower than five were the Travel Behavior, W&L Sustainable Engagement, and General Sustainable Engagement indices (Figure 2). The average student index score of 5.8 for the Travel Behavior index indicated a relatively strong sustainability culture for students. Campus housing is and required for 3 out of the 4 years undergraduate students attend W&L, making sustainable transportation methods, such as walking or riding a bike, more feasible for students. Contrarily, the average faculty and staff Travel Behavior index score was 3.9, indicating a low sustainability culture amongst this group in relation to sustainable transportation. Unlike students, many faculty and staff members live off campus making sustainable transportation methods less convenient and overall more challenging. Both students and faculty and staff members scored extremely low for the W&L Sustainable Engagement index (scores of 2.8 and 2.6 respectively) and the General Sustainable Engagement index (scores of 2.7 and 3.1 respectively) shown in Figure 2. These extremely low Sustainable Engagement scores do not reflect the relatively high W&L Sustainable Initiatives Awareness index scores for students and faculty and staff members (scores of 6.2 and 6.8 respectively). Meaning, both respondent groups have high levels of awareness in relation to sustainable initiatives and practices on W&L’s campus; however, there is a large disconnect between knowing about these initiatives and physically engaging in them. The extremely low index scores for both respondent groups highlights an area of weakness within W&L’s sustainability culture. Both groups are in need of policy changes that seek to remove the disconnect between awareness and engagement in sustainable initiatives on campus.


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