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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 Gold
Overall Score 65.89
Liaison Marian Brown
Submission Date Dec. 13, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Wells College
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 1.00 Marian Brown
Director
Center for Sustainability and the Environment
"---" 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::
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 Introduction to Sustainability class participants are required to take an online sustainability behavior/practice inventory and are tasked with pledging to commit to at least 1-2 new sustainability behaviors at the beginning of the semester. The students are assigned to return to their earlier commitment pledge toward the end of the semester to review how they did at meeting these "stretch" commitments and assess why or why they were successful at adopting those behaviors.


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:

The following are some of the 100 possible pledge statements related to fostering broader sustainability culture on campus, more than just making individual behavior changes that others may not notice:

Resource Conservation
I pledge not to purchase or use a personal microwave oven or toaster oven and use the appliance(s) in the hall kitchen.
I pledge not to purchase or use a personal refrigerator and will store my food in the hall kitchen refrigerator.
I pledge to limit my shower time to 10 minutes or less.
I pledge to turn off lights in common areas (laundry room, bathroom, lounge) if I am the last one to leave or I walk by and see that the lights are on and the space is not in use.
I pledge to clean the dryer lint trap before and after I use the dryer.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
I pledge to carry and use a reusable cold beverage bottle instead of purchasing cold beverages in disposal containers.
I pledge to carry and use a reusable HOT beverage mug or container instead of purchasing hot beverages in disposable containers.
I pledge to learn what is recyclable in the "single stream" recycling system and ensure that all items I generate are properly recycled.
I pledge to use my own personal hand towel in the residence hall bathroom instead of using a paper towel to dry my hands.
I pledge to visit the Bargain Basement at least once during the semester to see if something I need is there instead of buying new.
I pledge to place still-usable items in the "share box" in our laundry room if I no longer need them.
I pledge to take still-usable items to the Bargain Basement if I no longer need them.
I pledge to ask my professors if it is acceptable to submit papers or other assignments online instead of in printed form.
I pledge to share magazines and newspapers I purchase with others instead of recycling them after I read them.
I pledge to ask my professors if it is acceptable to submit papers with reduced margins (from 1" to 3/4") and to reduce or eliminate line spacing, in order to conserve paper.

Transportation (8)
I pledge to create a Zimride.com rideshare account and use it to request/offer a ride for shopping or entertainment.
I pledge to create a Zimride.com rideshare account and use it to request/offer a ride home for breaks.
I pledge to never run an errand in my car without offering a ride to at least one other person or offering to pick up something they need when I am shopping.
I pledge to try to fill my car if I am driving home for break or for weekend trips home.

Food
I pledge to observe "Meatless Monday" and eat vegetarian (or vegan) on that day each week.

Pollution Prevention:
I pledge to learn about proper disposal of excess household cleaning products and their empty containers.
I pledge to learn how and where to properly dispose of excess or expired medications.

Leadership and Advocacy
I pledge to model more sustainable behaviors for others and be proud of what I am doing.
I pledge to verbally and non-verbally acknowledge others when I see that they are making more sustainable choices.
I pledge to verbally and non-verbally correct others when I see that they are making LESS sustainable choices.
I pledge to help the Sustainability Center with sustainability-related outreach efforts in my residence hall (creating RA bulletin board, floor programs, Installments replacements, waste separation station monitoring, etc.)
I pledge to attend sustainability learning events on campus this semester so I can learn more, not just for extra credit that may be awarded for attendance.
I pledge to volunteer in at least one sustainability-related community service activity.
I pledge to consider making more sustainable choices to be part of my adherence to the Wells Honor Code.
I pledge to share at least one idea with the Sustainability Center for a way to make Wells College more sustainable.


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

The Introduction to Sustainability class is open to all students and has attracted students from all grade levels and many major. Over three years that the class has been delivered, a number of students have moved from freshmen to rising seniors.

The assessment is administered as a homework assignment for the class - the pledges are taken on-line via a SurveyMonkey survey. Each class member is required to revisit their earlier pledge statements later in the semester and determine barriers/incentives to adopting sustainability behavior pledges.


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

Each class participant reports differently, but a number of reported some success adopting more sustainable behaviors, but generally these are behaviors with relatively low barriers to adoption (like adopting Meatless Monday).

Based upon review of the student responses to both the initial pledge statement assigment and their later assigment to revisit those pledges to identify barriers or incentives to their success in keeping those pledges, the Sustainability Center re-evaluates sustainability-related outreach and marketing efforts. We seek to determine if there are any structural barriers to desired sustainability behaviors, and we review our efforts to raise awareness of and participation in campus sustainability-related practices and initiatives. Examples include engagement with recycling, dining hall organics composting, campus reuse programs, energy and water conservation efforts, ridesharing, etc.

We have experienced students taking this cultural assessment in the SUS 101 class going on in other courses (PSY 335 to develop individual and group projects that seek to address some of these sustainability behaviors (recycling). Our campus performance in external sustainability programs (e.g. RecycleMania) has improved markedly in successive years. Our energy and water use has declined, in large measure due to community engagement in resource conservation efforts.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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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.