2018 Student Sustainability Survey

Augustana earns grant to advance sustainability

Augustana’s sustainability committee has completed their first sustainability literacy survey for students.

The committee's goal was to establish a baseline in order to measure where Augustana students currently are in terms of sustainability.

Out of the 1,160 on-campus students sent the Spring 2018 survey, 500 responded, a 43% response rate.

Overall response rate

This response rate helped the team determine areas Augustana could improve in and areas in which we are already doing a good job.

 

Survey questions

  • Turning off light frequencyWhen asked whether they turn off the lights when they are the last to leave a room, students responded differently based on the room. Students said they turn off their dorm room lights the most often, followed by study rooms, day rooms, classrooms and, finally, bathrooms. While the sustainability team is encouraged by the frequency of students turning off lights in dorm rooms and study room, they find the other rooms to be areas that should be improved upon. They have discussed the possibility of motion detector lighting in bathrooms, day rooms and classrooms.
  • Double-sided print frequencyOne response that the sustainability team was especially pleased with was how many students print double-sided. With 79% of students saying that they regularly print double-sided and 12% of students saying that they occasionally do so, only 9% of students rarely or never print double-sided. These results may be due to PaperCut funds reminding students to be mindful of how many sheets of paper they print. Whatever the cause, the sustainability team would like to remind professors to encourage students to print double-sided if they must print something to be turned in for class.
  • Knowledge of sustainable landscape practicesWhen responding to the question how they would rate their knowledge of sustainable landscaping practices on campus, students were not very confident. Only 7.6% of students considered their knowledge to be excellent, while 35.4%, 32%, and 25% of students believed their knowledge to be good, fair, and poor, respectively. As the sustainability team continues their work, which they consider to be only beginning, they feel confident that these numbers will rise in their upcoming surveys.
  • Prioritize valuesStudents were given seven options for green/sustainable landscaping values and were asking to pick the top three that they think the sustainability team should prioritize. Their options and the responses for each were:
    • requires least amount of inputs/resources, excluding water (34.4%)
    • creates a healthy, diverse ecosystem (63.4%)
    • supports native species (45.8%)
    • stormwater management (24.8%)
    • edible plants and trees; use of landscape as an educational tool for unique or endangered plant species (32.2%)
    • and recreational value, providing open spaces for leisure activities (64.4%)

The sustainability team will keep these results in mind when they are prioritizing their initiatives in the years to come.

  • Interaction with campus landscapeNext, the survey asked students how they interact with the landscape. The most popular activities are enjoying scenery when walking around campus (86.2%) and sit and interact, such as lawns, benches, and tables (74.6%). With only 4.6% of students saying that they don’t notice or use landscaping on campus, the sustainability team feels encouraged about sustainable landscape use around campus. Although many students do not feel confident in their sustainable landscape practice knowledge, their use of such spaces on campus is encouraging and a good place to move forward from.
  • Willingness to pay more for organic foodThe sustainability team wanted to gauge student feelings about organic food. They asked students if they would be willing to pay more to purchase organic food on campus. An overwhelming 57.8% said that they would not be willing to pay more. While the sustainability team would like to see a shift in these results, they found the 23% of students that would pay 5% more for organic food on campus to be promising.
  • Rank of suggested campus initiativesWhen students were asked how they would rank campus initiatives, the results were in the following order:
    • enhancing recycling literacy and participation
    • campus garden
    • outdoor classroom
    • environmental studies minor/major and, finally,
    • a Residence Hall conservation competition.

While it is possible that these were results were due to the top priorities being the most tangible and most widely-known, the sustainability team will, nevertheless, keep these priorities in mind.

  • The last question of the survey was a free response question that asked students how they think Augustana can make a more sustainable and responsible use of our resources. The responses were primarily focused on recycling.