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  • AASHE-STARS

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

Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 85.51
Liaison Jennifer Andrews
Submission Date July 27, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of New Hampshire
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Miriam Nelson
Director
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of sustainability culture (i.e. the assessment focuses on sustainability values, behaviors and beliefs, and may also address awareness of campus sustainability initiatives)?:
Yes

Which of the following best describes the cultural assessment? The assessment is administered to::
The entire campus community (students, staff and faculty), 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 Institute and the Dean of Students worked together to develop a sustainability literacy and culture assessment for all undergraduate students. This survey is a synthesis of best practices from other AASHE reporting institutions such as University of Michigan, Colorado State University, and American University. The resulting instrument was administered to the campus community in November 2016 with a follow-up conducted in April 2017. This survey targeted undergraduate students and is administered annually.

The sustainability literacy and culture assessment for students was adapted to create an employee sustainability perspectives and climate survey. A coalition of departments including the Sustainability Institute, the President’s Office, Human Resources, the UNH Survey Center, and Communications and Public Affairs collaborated on the refinement of the survey and the campus-wide administration of the survey. The survey was conducted in April 2017. This survey is now part of a larger university-wide survey to be administered every three years.


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:

See the attached file for a sample of the questions used to assess sustainability culture.


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

The student survey targeted all undergraduate students and the employee survey targeted all faculty and staff. Our goal is to compare classes of students rather than following a specific group of individual students. The student survey was sent out by the Dean of Students and the Director of the Sustainability Institute. The statistics were analyzed by staff at the Sustainability Institute. The faculty and staff survey was emailed by UNH’s president and the statistics were analyzed by the UNH Survey Center.

The student survey was completed by 1,894 (16%) respondents in November 2016 and 189 respondents in April 2017 via Qualtrics. The survey was advertised by email from the Dean of Students and Director of the Sustainability Institute and through channels on-campus such as the UNH website, students’ portals, social media, events, and newsletters. Participants were asked to answer a range of demographic questions to ensure the sample was representative.

The faculty and staff survey was completed by 1,263 (40%) respondents in April 2017 via Qualtrics. The survey was announced through multiple emails sent out by the Provost, Director of the Sustainability Institute, and department leaders. Participants were asked to answer a range of demographic questions to ensure the sample was representative, which it was.


A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment, including a description of any measurable changes over time:

In summary, both surveys demonstrate that our students and employees strongly agree that sustainability is important at UNH and to themselves. Among students, 54% indicated that sustainability is important to them personally and 31% indicated that they considered sustainability when enrolling at UNH.

Nearly all UNH faculty and staff members say sustainability is important to them personally and professionally. They express very high interest in individual sustainability issues including, access to healthcare, renewable energy, and human rights. The majority of UNH faculty and staff members always or most of the time practice personal sustainability habits such as recycling, turning off lights, and using a reusable liquid container. Few engage in more interpersonal activities such as contacting their representatives about issues they feel strongly about, university-wide gatherings to facilitate positive change, or events on sustainability issues.

A large number of students reported that they were concerned about waste and recycling on campus. To address this issue, Residential Life engaged students in reducing waste in the dorms. This past year, students reduced waste in the dorms by 10%. For staff and faculty, there continues to be some confusion over what is sustainability. A significant amount of communications work is underway on campus to facilitate a universal understanding of what sustainability means. This work is helping us to bring the campus together around sustainability.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives 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.