Sustainability Surveys

UNH students working together


Sustainability is a core value at UNH because it is about creating a healthy, just, prosperous, and verdant world. We have numerous ways in which we engage with the UNH community to inform our work. One way we engage our community is through surveys. Surveys help us to develop benchmarks for various initiatives as well as to inform ongoing and new projects.


Student Literacy & Culture Assessment

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 universities 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 student survey targeted all undergraduate students. Our goal was 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 student survey was completed by 1,894 (16%) respondents in November 2016 and 189 respondents in April 2017 via Qualtrics. Participants were asked to answer a range of demographic questions to ensure the sample was representative.

Students indicated a high level of sustainability understanding. For all literacy assessment questions, over half the participants answered correctly.

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%. The survey showed that there is 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.

Click here to view or download the student literacy and culture assessment.


Employee Sustainability Knowledge & Perspectives Survey

The sustainability literacy and culture assessment for students was adapted to create a staff and faculty sustainability knowledge and perspectives survey. A coalition of staff and faculty from 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. Built on previous surveys, this survey is now part of a larger university-wide survey to be administered every three years.

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.

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. Similar to the student survey, there continues to be some confusion with faculty and staff over what is sustainability.

Click here to view or download the assessment.