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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 81.30
Liaison Sarah Munro
Submission Date June 30, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Connecticut
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Sarah Munro
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Environmental Policy
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of the sustainability literacy of its students (i.e. an assessment focused on student knowledge of sustainability topics and challenges)?:

Which of the following best describes the literacy assessment? The assessment is administered to::
The entire (or predominate) student body, directly or by representative sample

Which of the following best describes the structure of the assessment? The assessment is administered as a::
Pre- and post-assessment to the same cohort or to representative samples in both a pre- and post-test

A copy of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment(s):
A sample of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment or the website URL where the assessment tool may be found:


What is UConn's Climate Action Plan?
1 point
A document stating our university's commitment to promoting sustainability
A petition written by UConn's student population urging promotion of sustainability on campus
A framework for guiding our university towards carbon neutrality and a higher standard of sustainability on campus
a and c

Which of the following is true about the Spring Valley Student Farm? Check all that apply.
1 point
It is connected with UConn Living Community EcoHouse
It produces food for some of UConn's dining halls
It is located near Whitney Dining Hall
Cattle is raised at the Spring Valley Student Farm

What is the primary source of UConn's energy?
1 point
Eversource power company
The CoGeneration Facility
Wind power
Norwich Public Utilities

Which of the following are ecosystem services provided by a wetland?
1 point
Water purification
Flood protection
Food cropping
Wildlife Habitat
a and d
a, b and d

Which of the following buildings at UConn have been LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified?
1 point
Oak Hall
Beach Hall
Biology/Physics Building
a and b

How frequently should you recycle items while at UConn?
1 point
Once per week
Once per month

Which of the following items should be recycled? Select all that apply.
1 point
Plastic bottles

Does UConn have mixed recycling?
1 point

What is Footbal Green Game Day?
1 point
A day where students wear green to a football game to support sustainability
A day where student volunteers go to a football game to collect recyclables from tailgaters and promote environmental awareness
A day where environmental student groups go to a football game together in order to support sustainability
A game day where all football players wear green to demonstrate the university's commitment to sustainability

Climate change may result in:
1 point
Severe droughts
Severe flooding
Shifting in areas where crops can grow
All of the above

Which three countries have the highest populations in the world?
1 point
US, China and Brazil
China, India and the US
China, Mexico and the US
Russia, China and the US

What does Connecticut's DEEP stand for?
1 point
Department of Energy and Economic Promotion
Department of Environment and Energetic Processes
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Department of Environment and Ecological Protection

Which of the following elements are part of sustainability?
1 point
a and b
All of the above

What percentage of food is wasted in the US?
1 point

Why is the loss of major rainforest lands, such as those in the Amazon Forest, such a pressing problem?
1 point
The trees provide food, medicine and shelter, which will be lost if they are not harvested sustainably
The forests provide habitat for many important species
Trees counter climate change by absorbing oxygen from the atmosphere
a and b
All of the above

Which of the following strategies can you employ to reduce your environmental impact? Select all that apply.
1 point
Taking shorter showers
Turning the water off when brushing your teeth
Only washing full loads of laundry
Reporting leaking sinks to ResLife/landlord

Which of the following is the largest contributor to pollution in the ocean?
1 point
Oil leaking from boats
Runoff from land sources
Dumping garbage into the ocean
Noise pollution from shipping traffic

Why is buying local more sustainable than buying items imported from far away?
1 point
a. Less energy is used to transport the items
b. Well managed farms can conserve soil quality, protect water from pollution, and provide habitat for wildlife, like bees.
c. Supporting small businesses helps local economies flourish
d. All of the above

What is the most major concern associated with the global decline of bee populations?
1 point
Bees are consumed as food in many developing countries
Biomagnification of chemicals as contaminated bees are consumed by birds, snakes and mammals
Loss of pollinators, which are vital for the functioning of global agriculture
Plants controlled by bees will become overpopulated

Which fuel, when combusted, caused the largest emission (per unit fuel) of greenhouse gases?
1 point
Natural gas

A brief description of how the literacy assessment was developed and/or when it was adopted:

The questions in the survey were written to test for a variety of different topics under the umbrella of environmental/sustainability literacy, ranging from the basics of ecosystems, to sustainability initiatives at UConn, and issues like food waste, sustainable architecture, and greenhouse gases. The process of creating the survey included drafting many questions, and then choosing a select group of these to include in the survey, in order to have a sample representative of many different categories of sustainability literacy.

A brief description of how a representative sample was reached (if applicable) and how the assessment(s) were administered :

The survey was distributed electronically via a link posted in UConn’s Daily Digest, an email with daily news that is emailed to students, in December 2016. This distribution system was used to reach a representative sample of students at the university. The assessment was administered as a multiple choice, electronic Google form.The post-survey was administered to the same cohort of students through the same format in February 2017, and will be sent out again in October 2017 to continue gathering data from new and current students.

A brief summary of results from the literacy assessment(s), including a description of any measurable changes over time:

In the initial survey, we received 77 responses. Key findings include the following:
• 87% of students were aware of UConn’s Climate Action Plan
• 76% of students knew that wetlands provide water purification, flood protection and wildlife habitat
• 93% of students were aware that UConn has mixed recycling
• 98% of student identified severe drought, severe flooding, and shifting in areas where crops can go as results of climate change
• 90% of students knew that China, India and the U.S. were the most populous countries in the world
• 72% of students identified DEEP as standing for Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
• 96% of students knew that sustainability includes not only environment, but also social and economic stability
• 69% of students were aware that 40% of food produced in the U.S. is wasted.
In the follow up survey, 22 of the original 77 participants retook the same survey (~30%).

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Although just over 2% of the student population answered our survey, the data represents the university population relatively well. Given the number of students that attend the university, having everyone take the Environmental Awareness Survey would be challenging and limitations would arise. The demographics in this data are based on year in university (freshman, sophomore, etc.), gender, and whether or not students live on or off campus. Notably, gender was skewed towards female, with more female responses than other options. It is hard to determine the percentage of students assessed by this survey, but the voluntary survey questionaire went out to the entire student population through the Daily Digest.

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.