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Sustainability Literacy and Culture

Interpretations, Attitudes, Engagement, Practices and Knowledge

Dickinson strives to educate our students and employees about sustainability principles, challenges, and solutions and to nurture a culture of action for sustainability on our campus and in communities. We do this by integrating sustainability into courses across our liberal arts curriculum, making sustainability a graduation requirement, organizing sustainability campaigns and events throughout the year, hosting sustainability leaders and activists to speak on campus, run workshops, and meet with students, faculty, and staff, reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, conserving water and energy, diverting wastes from landfills, growing organic food on the Dickinson Farm, and working with community partners to help advance social, economic, and environmental sustainability goals in Carlisle and beyond. 

To measure some of the impacts of our efforts, we periodically assess students’ sustainability literacy and the sustainability culture of our campus. In April 2023, Dickinson’s Center for Sustainability Education administered two surveys. One survey focused on students’ sustainability literacy and was administered to a sample of 1000 students, representing 47% of all Dickinson students at the college. 238 students completed the survey, for a response rate of 23.8%. The literacy survey included questions about a dozen selected sustainability topics. 

A second survey, focusing on sustainability culture, was administered in April 2023 to a different sample of 1000 students and to all 1000 Dickinson employees (yes, we had exactly 1000 employees in spring 2023). 273 students responded, for a response rate of 27%, and 402 employees responded, for a response rate of 40%. The culture survey included questions about students’ and employees’ sustainability interpretations, attitudes, and behaviors.

Results of the surveys are summarized in the linked reports: