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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 77.43
Liaison Claudia Frere-Anderson
Submission Date Oct. 14, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Washington, Seattle
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.53 / 4.00 Claudia Frere-Anderson
UW Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

The percentage of students assessed for sustainability literacy (directly or by representative sample) and for whom a follow-up assessment is conducted:

The percentage of students assessed for sustainability literacy (directly or by representative sample) without a follow-up assessment:

A copy of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment(s):

The questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment(s) :

Sustainability questions are included in the survey of incoming first year students. This survey is repeated at the end of the academic year.

What does the UW Climate Action Plan do? (select all that apply)
• Sets goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions
• Provides ideas for using renewable energy sources on campus
• Guides our efforts to include sustainability in the curriculum
• Outlines system and measures for tracking health of campus wildlife populations [FYI…CAP does NOT actually speak to this]
• Identifies opportunities in areas like purchasing to reduce our environmental footprint

What resources would you use to learn more about campus sustainability efforts such as recycling, composting, LEED buildings, and the UW Climate Action Plan? (select all that apply)
• UW Sustainability (green.uw.edu)
• UW Recycling
• UW Sustainability Facebook Page
• The student created and administered Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF)
• Student environmental and sustainability clubs

How often do you participate in an environmental activity such as recycling, composting, printing double-sided, etc.?
• Rarely (0-5 times a week)
• Often (6-15 times a week)
• Very often (15+ times a week)

In addition, our Housing & Food Services Department surveys residence hall tenants annually with their 12 question "Sustainable Literacy Survey". A sample of these questions include: "Prior to coming to campus, did the community you lived in support or promote the following?", "Do you believe that doing things more sustainably on an individual level has a broader impact?", and "Do you already choose to eat sustainably purchased foods?".

When you think about the UW’s sustainability reputation, how important are the following recognitions?
Very important Somewhat important Not important I don't know what this is
#12th “Cool School” ranking in the country by the Sierra Club in 2013. Down from #1 in 2011.
Green Honor Roll award by the Princeton Review in 2013.
LEED GOLD rating on all campus buildings completed since 2009.
2nd Place in the Academia category of the Seattle Business - Green Washington Award
Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) Gold ranking in 2012.

The UW has many initiatives to reduce its carbon emissions. How aware are you of the following on-going initiatives at the UW:
Very aware Somewhat aware Not aware I don't know what this is
Developing a regional Smart Grid network.
Offering “Zimride."
Operating free shuttle services around campus.
Monitoring all of its campus buildings' energy consumption.
Offering bike lockers , bike racks, and secure indoor “bike rooms” throughout campus.
Purchasing only Energy Star rated appliances.
Monitoring all of its campus buildings' water consumption.
Offering telecommuting options for staff.
Committing to a Climate Action Plan to reduce campus emissions.

Of the following current UW initiatives, please estimate what you believe to be the impact of each on the University’s reduction of carbon emissions:
High Impact Medium Impact Low/No Impact
Decreasing water consumption.
Decreasing paper purchasing.
Increasing purchases of recycled products
Increasing purchasing of locally processed food.
Decreasing the number of UW community members who drive alone to campus.
Maintaining campus energy consumption at current levels despite increases in buildings and population.
Increasing number of LEED certified buildings on campus.
Decreasing amount of waste sent to landfills.
Providing grants and funding for sustainability focused projects and research.

A brief description of how the assessment(s) were developed:

UW Sustainability Staff developed the questions to be included in the First Year Programs survey.

The assessment was conducted in February 2014 through a survey modeled after a similar survey sent out in 2012. The 2012 survey was developed by graduate students working with a faculty mentor in the business school with consulting/marketing expertise and went through various phases of pre-testing with official campus leaders such as deans and union representatives, as well as opinion chairs such as department chairs and student organization leaders. The original survey was intended to gauge awareness of sustainability and initiatives to reduce emissions, and develop a communications plan to further educate on these topics. The 2014 assessment was developed to again gauge awareness and track for improvements and changes in the knowledge and attitude of the campus community.

A brief description of how the assessment(s) were administered:

The First Year Programs survey is given to all incoming first year students.

The survey was administered through the campus Bulk Mail service. Any member of the campus with a current net id and University of Washington email address received an email containing the link to the survey through Catalyst and context for the justification of the survey.

A brief summary of results from the assessment(s):

The 2015-2016 academic year is the first year that sustainability questions will be included. Results will be evaluated at the end of the academic year and reported in our annual STARS update.

Results found increased interest and knowledge of recognitions such as Sierra Club’s “Cool School” Rankings, Princeton Review's Green Honor Roll and LEED building certification, with designation of importance more than doubling. Interests in campus sustainability were in decreasing solo drivers, encouraging use of UPASS (bus services) and hosting an on-campus sustainability summit moved from 5, 8 and 12 to 2, 3 and 5 on a list of 12 initiatives. Decreasing waste sent to landfills remained the top interest. Survey results showed an increase in respondents from 49% to 56% who were aware of the University of Washington’s commitment to a Climate Action Plan.

The website URL where information about the literacy assessment(s) is available:

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.