Promoting Sustainable Literacy at Higher Education Institutions

Fall
2012
Spring
2013
Project Theme(s): 
Campus Engagement
Curriculum
Research
Description: 

All college students should experience and understand sustainability, but few universities have been able to perform an assessment of their students’ sustainability literacy. This comparative case study at ten of the largest U.S. universities relies on data from AASHE STARS reports, campus sustainability websites, and interviews with sustainability staff to determine what the Universities are (not) doing to promote sustainability literacy among their students. Generally, the Universities lack sustainability learning outcomes, lack incentives for faculty to develop sustainability curricula, and have few sustainability courses. Some sustainability outreach programs are common (those related to general/integrated sustainability issues, recycling, and residence hall competitions that promote energy conservation and/or recycling) while others are uncommon (those related to water conservation, alternative transportation, and nature/wildlife). Based on these findings, I propose recommendations aimed at developing sustainability courses, creating sustainability outreach programming that incorporates uncommon themes, improving sustainability communication/marketing, and evaluating students’ conceptions and attitudes using a sustainability literacy assessment.

Departments/Organizations: 
Sustainable Duke
Nicholas School of the Environment
Additional Information/Links:
Instructor: 
Charlotte Clark
Tavey Capps
Project Team: 
Brent Ribble
Keyword(s): 
sustainable literacy