Sustainability Survey 2023
Sustainability Literacy & Culture Assessment
Sustainability is a core value at Grand Valley State University and it is accepted and valued as having an integral role in fulfilling the mission of the university. This integration of sustainability builds the capacity to positively impact sustainability issues across complex and interrelated economic, environmental, and social frameworks. The survey assessment is an initiative to understand students' knowledge and perspectives about sustainability at GVSU. This survey is a synthesis of best practices from university leaders in sustainability. The resulting instrument is administered to randomly selected and representative undergraduate students. By taking the survey, students can directly help us understand their knowledge and perspectives about sustainability at GVSU. This survey helps our office to align engagement opportunities with students’ priorities, while promoting a culture of sustainability to benefit the GVSU community and beyond.
Why is it important?
The survey is designed to gauge progress on sustainability awareness at Grand Valley State University. Having information about the understanding and activities regarding sustainability will better help us plan future efforts, programs and communications with the GVSU community. Survey results are also reported in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System.
Students were most aware of and placed the most importance upon our initiatives in sustainable education and community outreach and engagement. About 74% of students were aware of our office and its initiatives and scored very highly in terms of sustainability literacy. In terms if sustainability culture, 81% of respondents said they would like to learn more about sustainability at GVSU. 79% said sustainability issues were discussed in their classes. 52% were aware of the Sustainable Agriculture Project, with 15% having volunteered there. Zero waste events, sustainable agriculture, sustainability education, student scholarship, and community outreach ranked highly in terms of student priorities. 67% of respondents use sustainable transportation or are in walking distance from campus. A majority of respondents think about the impacts of their food choices and their purchases. Nearly all respondents reported that they almost always sort their waste. 94% agreed that their actions today affect the quality of life for future generations, with 93% feeling that they have a personal responsibility to help make a difference on environmental issues such as waste, resource consumption, and water use and social issues such as safety and security, education, and health and wellness. These results reflect our success in creating a culture of awareness and accountability when it comes to sustainability in our campus community. We recognize that this is a small sample and look forward to expanding this survey in the future.